Almanac Road Trip:  Part 5 – Burra to the Flinders Ranges


Burra to the Flinders Ranges


With the persistent wintry weather and the forecast of more adverse weather to come, we decided it was time for  a break from our van for a few days until conditions improved.  Burra was our next destination. Checking accommodation sites  we found an old stone miner’s cottage which looked absolutely fantastic and booked it for three nights.





It was a slow slog from Mildura to Burra with a very strong head wind and drizzly rain for most of the journey.  Our fuel consumption jumped dramatically emphasised the difficulty towing the van in such trying conditions so it was a relief to finally reach our destination.


‘The Peppers Cottage’, our home for the next few days turned out to be an absolute cracker. Warm and snug, the wood heater kept us cosy day and night, and made us forget about the severe wind, the bitter cold, and the heavy rain belting down outside.







Plenty of rest and relaxation, mainly reading, and the chance to recharge the batteries. Reading especially.


As is my wont, I love frequenting bookshops, and this journey proved to be no exception, and much time was spent searching for hidden gems, classics I hadn’t read and should read, and other delights catching my attention. In Echuca I discovered a first edition cricket book written by, and signed by John Arlott for $75. It’s condition was a ragged, dirty and dusty, and I thought it too expensive for what you got. On reflection, I now wish I had bought it! Perhaps it will still be there hidden away in its corner next time I’m there.


In the early stages of the trip, I’d already bought too many books, too many more to be added to the increasing book piles at home, and more to be read, if I ever get the chance to read them. This is one of the great dilemmas of my life. Will I  ever read the books I want to read, the books I should read, and will I ever find the time to do so? With that in mind, the wild weather and our cosy cottage in Burra provided the opportunity to give the stockpile a nudge.



The bar of the Bon Accord Hotel.



When we were able to get out and explore the township we were absolutely blown away by the history of the place. Stone buildings from its tin mining past predominated in the town, and it was a fantastic to see an old town retain and maintain its historic heritage for the appreciation of present and future generations. From small, compact miners cottages to the larger, and more majestic homes we were disappointed we were unable to have more time to explore the many streets with these wonderful buildings in them.


We are determined to return to Burra to fully explore the town.



The ‘Midnight Oil’ house on the outskirts of Burra.



Our next stop was Hawker, and from there we explored the Flinders Ranges and Wilpena Pound.



The old Hawker railway station, a stop for the old ‘Ghan’.



The drive from Hawker to Wilpena Pound is about 55 kms provides an interesting contrast in the landscape compared with Hawker’s flat and stark conditions. The Flinders Ranges rise majestically as you approach, thankfully the rain held off though a strong wind remained prevalent, and we made stops to admire the view.





Eventually we arrived at the Pound, coffee and cake taking precedence then a stroll around the resort and camping ground to get a feel for the place. The rangers at the information centre pointed out some options for driving through some of the many gorges along dirt 4WD roads to enter the inner parts of the Pound. We thought that a good choice for  exploring the area which we believed would also take us away from the crowds. However, the corrugations in the road and the overbearing vibrations they caused to the car  made us quickly reconsider whether to continue for another 30 kms or turn around and appraise other options. The decision did not require a lot of thought  – we turned around. Back on the main road we drove north until stopping to cast our gaze on two of the most breathtaking panoramas you could ever wish see.  Both lookouts are on hills, and you gaze upon Wilpena Pound and the Ranges from a distance, the outlooks are stunning to say the least, providing a scenario for some of the best  photographs I’ve taken for a long while. The views were sensational as I hope the attached images will emphasise.







We returned to the information centre / café in the Pound for a late lunch. After satisfying the hunger pangs we took one of the walks within Wilpena Pound to Hills Homestead, and from there I ventured up to the lookout overlooking the site. Wonderful!



Majestic remnants of an old eucalypt



Inside Wilpena Pound



We are back home after a two day drive, and although the weather was against us for most of the trip it was well worth the effort, and we plan to return at a later date when the weather is kinder.



All photos taken by Col on his iPhone.



You can read more of Col’s trip Here


More from Col Ritchie can be read Here


To return to the  home page click HERE


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About Colin Ritchie

Retired teacher who enjoys following the Bombers, listening to music especially Bob Dylan, reading, and swimming.


  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I liked the picture of the majestic remnants of an old eucalypt and also the big tree behind you.

    Looks like you both had a cracking time Col.

  2. Great pics Col. SA has some well-kept secrets. And some not so well-kept secrets. Burra is a classic old town. And the Flinders Ranges region is spectacular.

  3. Everyone talks about how ancient the Flinders are and visiting last year for the first times in ages I understood this well. Although it’s not a tall ranges and landscape I often felt small and fleeting there. Enjoyed your series Col. Thanks.

  4. Roger Lowrey says

    Interesting reading Col.

    In particular, I empathised with your various dilemmas with books. Despite my periodic attempts to cull it, my own collection just seems to keep growing.

    Whenever I acquire another book I smuggle it discreetly into the shelves somewhere lest I incur Mrs RDL’s ire.


  5. Burra and the Flinders are truly excellent travelling. My first visit to Arkaroola in 1970 caused a life long love affair with the Flinders and the outback in general.

    I’m with you RDL and Col on the book front. My problem is that the occasional cull leads me up to the local Vinnies to donate, but then, I go inside and often come home with the same number or even more. Serious problem….

  6. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Awesome photos Col and I admit obviously compelled to to the right thing and buy books from authors who have supported mine I have a lot of unread books at the moment

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