I recently decided to make the most of the weekend and show Tom one of the most beautiful places in South Australia (in my humble opinion): the Flinders Ranges. Having only 2 days, we decided to only go as far as the Southern Flinders (about 100km shy of the famed Wilpena Pound). It was a lovely break, and one I would highly recommend for anyone wanting a taste of the Flinders but with a limited timeframe.
You could also of course head on to the heart of the Flinders after checking out some of the South side!
A great resource for the Southern Flinders is this website, however we were unfortunately not able to reach all the destinations due to the devastating bushfires which have recently affected the region. It is also worth noting that extremely wet conditions may lead to some of the roads being closed in the Flinders.
So, here is what we did:
1. Adelaide -> Clare (141km)
Regular readers of this blog would know about my Barossa Valley obsession, however the Clare Valley is another one of South Australia’s gorgeous wine regions. We elected not to taste any of the vino as we were driving, and instead headed for a quaint bakery on the main street and enjoyed a pie and coffee. If you have more time than we did, Clare would be a great place for an overnight stay!
2. Clare -> Peterborough (115km)
Onward from Clare, we headed north to the town of Peterborough which is a small but charming railway town founded in the mid-1800s. Originally known as Petersburg, its name was changed to Peterborough after World War One due to anti-German sentiment. For a town with a population of less than 2,000, there is quite a lot to do, including:
- Steamtown, a museum/information exhibit which examines the town’s railway history. At night, it also has light show every night (bookings essential).
- ‘Bob the Dog’ – a monument to Bob the railway dog, which includes some information about the cute (and true) story of the dog who travelled all over Australia on the railways.
- Motorbike museum
- St Cecelia’s Heritage Museum, with daily tours at 11am and 3pm.
- History walk. You can download a map and instructions from to Peterborough tourism website here.
3. Peterborough -> Magnetic Hill (35km)
One of the funnier things I have done on my travels around Australia is ‘Magnetic Hill’ where your car will roll up-hill! To get there, take the road from Peterborough to Orroroo for about 25km until you come to a T-Junction. Turn left and travel approximately 1km, when you will cross over a railway crossing. Around 400 metres further along, on the right-hand side of the road, there is a gravel road with a sign that says ‘Magnetic Hill 8 km’. Turn onto that road and follow it, and eventually you will come to ‘Magnetic Hill’. Drive past the red magnet and stop your car (WATCH OUT FOR TRAFFIC AND OBEY THE ROAD RULES). It will roll up the hill*!
* A word of warning, a local told me there is a reason it’s also known as ‘bullshit hill’! However, it is fun nonetheless!
4. Peterborough -> Jamestown (50km)
From Peterborough, we headed to the bustling town of Jamestown with its interesting main street and great food options, which we made the most of. Jamestown is home to one of the most famous country race meetings in South Australia, the Jamestown Cup, and this would be a great time to visit the town (it will be held on October 3, 2015).
5. Jamestown -> Stone Hut (40km)
After a delicious lunch in Jamestown, we headed onward to our accommodation in Stone Hut. Stone Hut is a tiny town with a surprising number of attractions, including a cute lookout, an amazing bakery and a winery. We stayed at Stone Hut Cottages and could not recommend it highly enough – the little tin cottages have rustic charm but have been renovated beautifully. Plus, the breakfast at the little bakery is AMAZING. Highly recommended!
6. Stone Hut -> Melrose (50km)
After driving up to the little lookout just up the road from the Stone Hut Cottages, we headed north to the little town of Melrose at the base of Mount Remarkable, which is the oldest town in the Southern Flinders. This is a really cute little town, with nice eateries including a few cafes and a pub. There are also a lot of walking or biking trails, so this is a great place to go exploring! You can also find out more about the town at the Melrose Courthouse Heritage Centre, or by wandering through the local cemetery which provides a lot of information about the town’s early residents.
7. Melrose -> Port Germein (Via Murray Town) (50km)
From Melrose, we drove through Murray Town and toward the seaside town of Port Germein. The drive between Murray Town and Port Germein is absolutely breathtaking – Tom the Pom thinks it is one of the most beautiful sights he has seen in Australia. From there we went to the town itself, which has ‘one of the longest Wooden jetties in the Southern Hemisphere’. Despite the many qualifiers in that sentence, it is really long and quite a walk. After the walk, we headed to the local pub and had a delicious pumpkin soup for just $5.
8. Port Germein -> Adelaide (244km)
We actually stopped at Gawler, about 50km shy of Adelaide. However, it is certainly possible to drive all the way through to the CBD, although it is quite a long drive and not particularly exciting.