Arden Hills trail, Flinders Ranges

By Andrew

Ed was visiting from Vancouver for a project we are working on so I offered to take him for a few trips around the area. Last Sunday we went on a club trip to the beaches around Cowell and this week we went to the Flinders Ranges. We didn’t leave Whyalla until about 10am (bit slow after a night out) so rather than doing Wilpena and Skytrek I decided on something closer to home.

We arrived in Quorn a bit after 11am and went first to the Tourist Office where we collected some pamphlets and then headed around to the Austral Hotel (opposite the railway station) which is a one stop shop for a lot of the pay-as-you-go 4WD tracks around Quorn. $35 later (plus $5 key deposit) we had trek notes, map and key for the Arden Hills trail.

Back up the main street past the Bowling Club and turned right, back towards PtAugusta, crossed the rail line and then its straight ahead following the signs pointing to Warrens Gorge & Dutchmens Stern. (If you haven’t been to Quorn for a while the intersection has been realigned and Give Way signs have changed)

A fast 20km run out to Warrens Gorge on an excellent dirt road then about two thirds of the way into the Gorge we took a track to the left that leads to a locked gate. The gate is signposted so you know you’re on the right track. Unlocked and opened the gate and we were off!

The tracks are in good condition and, although very dry out there, the scenery is spectacular with views in all directions. There are some steep climbs, some rocky and loose sections, some deep trenches to avoid and some very steep and rocky downhill sections. This trail is for dual range vehicles only and for experienced drivers and is of an intermediate to advanced standard. The trail is a 3 or 4 hour drive depending on stops. Most of the travelling is on exposed hills so it’s best to arrange for lunch stops to be made either before starting the trail or, like we did, when you return to Warrens Gorge.

From Warrens Gorge it was back to the Austral in Quorn where we returned the key and put the $5 back over the bar for a couple of beers before heading back to Whyalla. We were back home by 5pm with another Flinders trail crossed off the list and reminded again how fortunate we are to have these trails so easily accessible and close to home. If 4WDers continue to support these tracks then I have been assured that there are a lot more yet to be opened up on many properties around Quorn.

Ed got to see a snapshot of the Flinders and although COMPLETELY different to the Canadian Rockies that he goes bushwalking in he enjoyed the trip and is going home with a lot of photos, except for the damned kangaroos that refused to stop and pose. Photos of kangaroos was his kids only request so I guess they will be getting stuffed ones from the airport shop and a few postcards as compensation. (He did get an extensive collection of photos of their ears poking up from the low scrub and photos of the backs of roos as they ran away)