Arkaroola

Flinders Ranges National Park, South Australian Tourism Commission

Arkaroola is set in an incredible landscape of ranges laced with precious minerals, waterholes nestled inside tall gorges and places with songful names like Nooldoonooldoona and Bararranna. What's more, the Flinders Ranges are still alive, rumbling with up to 200 small earthquakes a year. It was a place that geologist Reg Sprigg found fascinating, and worth conserving. He purchased the Arkaroola property in 1968 and created a wildlife sanctuary for endangered species. Today a weather station, seismograph station and observatory (tours available) add to its significance and the spectacular four-wheel-drive tracks entice many visitors. The village has excellent facilities for such a remote outpost.

Visitor Information

Arkaroola Village reception; (08) 8648 4848

www.arkaroola.com.au

Nearby national parks

Nearby towns

  • Leigh Creek

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  • Blinman

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  • Marree

    Marree is the perfect image of a tiny outback town. It is frequented by four-wheel-drive enthusiasts taking on the legendary Birdsville and...more

Nearby

Ridgetop Tour This, the signature attraction of the northern Flinders Ranges, is a 4WD tour along an insanely steep track. The original track, built for mining exploration, wound through the creek beds, but run-off from the ridges washed the road away in just a few years. The idea was formed to create a track along the ridges themselves. A few bulldozers later, the track was complete. This is a guided tour, but Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary also has 100 km of self-guided 4WD tracks, including the popular Echo Camp Backtrack.

Vulkathunha–Gammon Ranges National Park This park is directly south of Arkaroola, taking in much of the distinctive scenery of the northern Flinders Ranges. The Adnyamathanha people believe that the Dreamtime serpent, Arakaroo, drank adjacent Lake Frome dry and carved out Arkaroola Gorge as he dragged his body back to his resting spot, inside Mainwater Pound. His restlessness is the cause of the earthquakes. Features include the surprisingly lush Weetootla Gorge, fed by a permanent spring, and Italowie Gorge, the unlikely spot where an impoverished R. M. Williams began making boots. Park Headquarters at Balcanoona; (08) 8648 0048; 32 km S.

Waterholes: many picturesque waterholes along Arkaroola Creek and tributaries west and north-east of the village.

Bolla Bollana Smelter ruins: where the ore from surrounding mines was once treated. It includes a Cornish beehive-shaped kiln; 7 km NW.

Paralana Hot Springs: the only active geyser in Australia, where water heated by radioactive minerals bubbles through the rocks. Swimming or extended exposure is not recommended; 27 km NE.

Big Moro Gorge: rockpools surrounded by limestone outcrops. The gorge is on Nantawarrina Aboriginal Land; obtain permit from Nepabunna Community Council, (08) 8648 3764; 59 km S.

Astronomical Tours: boasts some of the best star-watching conditions in the Southern Hemisphere at 3 magnificent observatories; (08) 8648 4848.

Scenic flights: over the ranges or further afield; details from village reception.

Campsites around town

Arkaroola Campground 1 km

Magnificent arid highlands in the far north of the Flinders Ranges are home to a special wilderness sanctuary, famous for its striking peaks and gorges. A geological marvel, Arkaroola is ideal for bushwalking,... Find out more


Mainwater Well camping area 13 km

Secluded self-sufficient camping here on the park’s northern fringe is a good kick-off point for exploring Mainwater Pound. Signposted access is 18.5 km along Idninna Rd from the Mt Serle–Yankaninna Rd.... Find out more


Grindells Hut camping area 21 km

A good base for exploring Weetootla Gorge and the various branches of Italowie Creek, this 4WD route via the Wortupa Loop Rd is 26 km north-west of park headquarters. The road is suitable for off-road camper trailers,... Find out more


Weetootla Gorge camping area 22 km

Close to Balcanoona, this site for self-sufficient campers (permit required) gives easy access to the popular Weetootla Gorge hike. It’s signposted along Weetootla Track, 7 km north-west of the park headquarters.... Find out more


Lochness Well camping area 22 km

The closest vehicle-based camping to the plateau’s major gorges and peaks is reached from Wortupa Loop Rd, 31 km north-west of the park headquarters. Access is 4WD only. Check road conditions and bring a permit... Find out more


Italowie Gorge camping area 31 km

Two easily accessible sites – one a sheltered nook on the south-western side of the gap, the other to the north-east at the head of the Italowie Gorge Hike – are signposted off Copley–Balcanoona Rd, 82... Find out more


Arcoona Creek camping area 38 km

Camp among the pines and red gums close to this major creek system draining the north-western corner of the park, which acts as a staging post for wilderness walks to the plateau and Gammon Hill. Signposted access is 23... Find out more


Moro Gorge camping area (bush camping) 43 km

Access via Balcanoona–Wertaloona Road, 14 km south of Balcanoona opposite Wertaloona access track. Access depends on road conditions. Permit required. Bring own water and firewood. Gas/fuel stove preferred.... Find out more


Chambers Gorge camping area (bush camping) 71 km

This northern Flinders Ranges outlier is flanked by craggy summits and steep gorge walls. This is a handy stopover for travels further north, with good walks and significant Aboriginal rock-art sites. Access is... Find out more


Warraweena camping areas 75 km

Take your pick from designated camping areas within the property, some with bush huts nearby; come with wood and water. The main homestead is 30 km east of Beltana Roadhouse, off the Leigh Creek Rd. Signposted access is... Find out more


Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary

This outpost in the far-flung northern reaches of the Flinders Ranges is an outback legend. Pioneered by the Sprigg family, the resort has evolved into a self-styled village. The accommodation is eclectic – from... Find out more


Grindell’s Hut

For intrepid spirits, this castaway retreat in the wild confines of Vulkathunha–Gammon Ranges National Park, just south of Arkaroola, is an unforgettable experience. Only accessible by four-wheel drive, the hut is... Find out more


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