The Flinders Ranges – Rawnsley Park Station

posted in: South Australia, walks | 0

The mountains that have been looming in the distance suddenly seem to be in front of us, beside us and behind us. It seems like we just turned a corner and here we are, surrounded.The open highway passing by golden wheat fields and hills dotted with wind turbines is left behind as we drive into the Flinders Ranges. We have pulled into Quorn for refreshment and I feel like we have stepped back in time. The old railway town of Quorn looks unchanged from the 1880’s. It’s getting late in the day and its taken us longer to drive up here from Adelaide with Harry than I anticipated. I would love to spend longer exploring Quorn but have to settle for a quick lap of the block. Back into the car and we head for Rawnsley Park Station via Hawker.

Views of the mountains near Hawker
Views of the mountains near Hawker
Roadside viewing area and some information on local wildlife near Hawker
Roadside viewing area and some information on local wildlife near Hawker
Driving into the mountains Flinders Ranges
Driving into the mountains

The colours of these jagged ancient mountain ranges is striking against the deep blue sky. We stop at some vantage points along the way to read about the area and take in the views. I don’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t this. This 540 million year old landscape is ancient and knowing. I feel small yet embraced by something so much bigger than me at the same time. I’m captivated.

surrounded

We turn off into the dusty dirt road towards Rawnsely Park Station, a working sheep station that has successfully turned its hand to tourism. The station sits at the foot of Rawnsley Bluff which forms the southern tip of Wilpena Pound, with views to the Chance Ranges in the east. The accommodation is clean and comfortable, motel style with a full kitchenette, bathroom and deck. We are keen to stretch our legs after the long drive and set about exploring the property. The station was settled in 1851 as part of Arkaba Station.  Harry and Winnie the Pooh enjoy setting up a fire in the old stone fireplace and checking out the old wagon.

Harry making a fire at Rawnsley Park Station
Harry making a fire at Rawnsley Park Station
Harry and Winne taking a tour of the property at Rawnsley
Harry and Winne taking a tour of the property at Rawnsley
View towards Rawnsley Bluff
View towards Rawnsley Bluff
Rawnsley Park Station gets Harry and Winne the Poohs tick of approval
Rawnsley Park Station gets Harry and Winne the Poohs tick of approval

There are many walking tracks on the property and we want to catch the sunset from a good vantage point. We walk to the top of Allison’s saddle a short 1.6 km walk that affords great views of Rawnsley Bluff, the Chance Ranges and over the mountains back towards Hawker.

Sun beginning to set at Rawnsley Park Station
Sun beginning to set at Rawnsley
Sunset views of the outer wall of Wilpena Pound from Rawnsley Park
Sunset views of the outer wall of Wilpena Pound from Rawnsley Park
Sun setting on the nearby Chance Ranges
Sun setting on the nearby Chance Ranges
View back towards Hawker from Allisons Saddle, Rawnsley Park
View back towards Hawker from Allisons Saddle, Rawnsley Park

We sit and watch this amazing landscape, the result of millions of years of erosion and uplift transform before our eyes. First golden orange, then a firey glowing red before dimming to a deep purple hue. I hear the words of Hans Heysen “The bones of the earth laid bare” echo in my head. Heysen, the famous artist who spent much time in the Flinders Ranges sums up this vast, ancient and unusual landscape very succinctly with this beautifully simple quote.

I feel a sense of peace descend upon me as we walk back down the hill, the mountains now a dark silhouette against the emerging night sky. A sprinkling of stars is already visible. And this is only the beginning. I can’t wait to see what magical places we will discover over the next few days.

Sun setting on Rawnsley Bluff
Sun setting on Rawnsley Bluff. View from Allisons Saddle

sunsetrawnsley

View from Allisons Saddle, Rawnsley Park Station
Sunset view of the Chance Ranges from Allisons Saddle, Rawnsley Park

At a Glance

mapFlinders Ranges
located 450 km north of Adelaide.
http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/Find_a_Park/Browse_by_region/Flinders_Ranges_and_Outback/

mapRawnsely Park Station
Wilpena Road Via Hawker South Australia
http://www.rawnsleypark.com.au/

walkfixAllisons Saddle
Short 1.6 km walk at Rawnsley Park Station
Great for watching the sunset.

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