Flinders Ranges & Taste of the South
12/ 0 9 /2022
$3,995 PER TWIN SHARE | $4,895 per single
$4,295 PER TWIN SHARE | $5,099 per single
Discover the best Southern Australia has to offer in an 8 day microcosm of unique wildlife, stunning architectural sights, mesmerising cultures, dusty red roads and wild, ancient landscapes. Witness some of the darkest skies on Earth eat at some of the most celebrated award winning restaurants and try the best native food in the world.
Day 1 - Welcome to Melbourne
We start our tour at the Rydges Hotel in Melbourne where we check in before embarking on the must-do activity of our premier Foodie City, a walking tour that takes you to the places that only the locals really know. Taking in colourful laneways, historic arcades and some of the country's finest, tastiest, and most imaginative street food is a fantastic way to start to bond with your fellow travellers. Whether you're there for the vibrant street art on AC/DC or Hosier Lane or to try out every mouth-watering treat you can lay your hands on, your senses will be tantalised by the sights, sounds and smells of the multiple heritages, languages and cuisines that make up the beating heart of modern multi-cultural Australia
Take a selfie outside your favourite Celebrity Chef's restaurant, worship at the shrine of AC/DC, go on the search for a Banksy or simply indulge in world beating dumplings, gelato, patisserie and coffee.
Make a note of your favourite eateries as you go (and those where you were just too full to squeeze in another thing), just in case you decide a return visit is in order on your return at the end of the tour! Make sure you save a little room for dinner at the hotel where your host will entertain you and provide essential tour information over welcome drinks. Watch bustling Chinatown and the Theatre District spring into life from the high ceilings, marble and velvet surrounds of the hotel's restaurant. Locanda, where award winning chef Bas van Uyen is ready to delight you with exquisitely prepared, locally sourced produce.
OVERNIGHT: Rydges, Melbourne
Day 2 - Melbourne to Mildura
After breakfast at the hotel, we board our luxury air conditioned coach, where you can lean back and gaze at the rapidly changing views as we transit from urban cityscape through rolling hills and forests and onwards into the more arid landscapes where we will start to find the true spirit of pioneering adventurers. Our facilities are completely at your disposal, and our team keen to get to know you and answer every question as we wind our way from Melbourne to our first stop at Sea Lake.
On the shores of Lake Tyrell, a giant, shallow salt basin that can appear pink, Sea Lake lies in the 'Cereal Bowl' of Victoria, a place of serenity, calm and freedom, far from the bustle and care of daily life. We stop for lunch and have time to explore the township, including learning about the Boorong people, known for their extensive studies of the sky and the Aboriginal meaning of the lake's name ('Tyrille' means 'Space Opening to the Sky'). The benefits and importance of having time to be still and to have a feeling of oneness with the universe are reflected in the huge and dramatic Silo art (part of the Southern Australia Silo Art Trail) entitled 'Drapl and the Zoo Keeper'.
Old Wentworth Gaol, Perry Sandhills, Lake Tyrell and Sea Lake Silo Art
Back on the coach and on the way to Wentworth and Mildura, our home for the night, keep a look out for increasing levels of wildlife such as Euros, Kangaroos and Wallabies and the changing birdlife as we travel into dryer ecosystems. At the the confluence of the Murray and Darling Rivers, Wentworth was once the busiest inland river port in Australia. Take a stroll by the Red Gum lined river banks to stretch your legs or pay a visit to Heritage listed Old Wentworth Gaol or the Pioneer Museum to see the fossilised Megafauna.
Our final stop of the day is at Mildura, a food-lovers' delight, where we disembark at the landmark Grand Hotel. Checking in, we have time to explore this charming local hub before meeting back at the hotel for dinner. One of the standout attractions of the entire region is Stefano's, a restaurant started by Venetian immigrant, Stefano De Pieri. Inspired by food memories of the Veneto region, you may like to research his journey and food ethos in his book or TV show 'A Gondola on the Murray'. People come from miles around to enjoy his take on 'Cucina Povera', the art of making every day items into masterpieces. He draws his inspiration from the amazing local producers, creating fresh, simple and flavoursome dishes infused with love, time, patience and commitment. His restaurant and bistro, housed in the cellars and corridors of the Grand Hotel are the perfect atmospheric place to relax with a wine pairing dinner after a travel-filled day
Stefano's at The Grand Hotel, Mildura.
OVERNIGHT: The Grand Hotel, Mildura
MEALS: B, L, D
Day 3 - Mildura to the Heart of the Flinders
Having slept off our epic Italian feast, it's time to board the coach again with a big day of travel ahead of us. A day of contrasts, we cross the border from Victoria to South Australia as we wind through the abundant Murray Riverland area's winelands and distilleries. Keep your eyes open along the way for another feature of the Silo Art Trail as we pass Paringa just before the township of Renmark. Travelling through the historical town of Morgan, you'll witness heritage railway and wharf buildings of the long-gone transport terminus that made it such an important hub. Nowadays, visitors take advantage of the amazing watersports in the Red Gum-lined Murray, surrounded by majestic cliffs, lagoons and creeks. Eventually, we begin skirting conservation parks and start to traverse the edge of Chowilla Regional Reserve, offering kilometres of picture perfect, otherworldly, rugged outback landscapes.
Paringa Silo and the Heritage station building in Morgan
Disembarking on the first stop of the day, it's time to explore the unique mining town of Burra. On the edge of the Clare Valley wine region, Burra once saved Australia from bankruptcy through the work of over 1000 Cornish and Welsh immigrants who excavated huge amounts of copper in what became known as the Monster Mine. For those of you who missed the Megafauna fossils yesterday, there is another opportunity to view some Diprotodon remains, unearthed at the mine, which are housed at the Railway Station Museum. For those of you wanting atmospheric photos, the 'Midnight Oil House' is nearby. Made famous by the rock band's album cover for 'Diesel & Dust' it's one of the most photographed ruins in Australia.
On our way through to the heart of the Flinders ranges and our dark sky experience, we pass the railway town of Peterborough, with it's Gum lined wide main street and grand architecture, befitting of one of the most important transport hubs of the golden age. Also known as Steamtown, and the main way point between Broken Hill and Adelaide, the station was also the starting point for the first crossing of the Nullabor Plain in 1917.
Tonight is the start of a very special two night stay at the Wilpena Pound Resort, a natural amphitheatre in the very midst of the Ikara-Flinders mountains, full of arid-land wildlife and awe-inspiring, endless rugged vistas. The only accommodation in this area of the national park, we are privileged to be staying in luxury accommodation on the Yura Ngawarla country of the Adnyamathanha people. As part of the experience, we may be lucky enough to take part in a traditional Welcome to Country and witness songs and stories that this 800 million year old panorama inspired in our First Nations people. This area is one of the world's oldest landscapes; 750 million years older, and 8 times larger than the Grand Canyon. The lack of light pollution means it is home to one of the darkest skies it's possible to witness. Those photographers among us certainly need to break out the long-exposure settings and wide angle lenses.
The dark skies at Wilpena Pound Resort, Burra Monster Mine, the station at Peterborough and the 'Midnight Oil House'
OVERNIGHT: WIilpena Pound Resort
MEALS: B, D
Day 4 - Ikara-Flinders in Depth
Despite what may have been a late night of star gazing for some, today we have the opportunity to join a local guide for an in depth tour of the unique Ikara-Flinders National Park. In the local, Adnyamathanha language, Ikara means 'meeting place'. Our starting point at our Wilpena Pound Resort is perfectly placed as a point to come together, in the centre of the Heysen, Brachina and Bunyeroo Gorges. As we explore the area, the delicate beauty of the multitude of wild flowers, for which the area is famous, is shown in dramatic contrast to the towering, sharp, sawtooth ridges of quartzite that stretch for kilometres like the backbones of long dead giants. Weather permitting, we visit Brachina and Bunyerro Gorges, where we can view sacred canyon rock engravings and paintings, track creeks and watch out for endangered Yellow Footed Rock Wallabies.
We break for a picnic lunch at Gumcreek Station, alongside the picturesque Wockerawirra Creek, under the Kekwick Tree, named for William Kekwick, a former store keeper from Burra who is often considered the forgotten man of Australian exploration. Kekwick travelled through the Flinders area in the company of John McDouall Stuart, and, according to local legend, he was taken ill and buried where the tree now stands leaving his wife and four children destitute.
Ikara-Flinders National Park in panorama.
This afternoon, we return to the Wilpena Pound Resort, where we have the opportunity to relax, take photos, take a scenic flight (charges apply) or simply take in the sunset and contemplate the bravery of the explorers and the resourcefulness of our First Nations. Tonight we will be treated to a locally sourced outback dining experience focussing on native and locally sourced ingredients, paired with the finest wines South Australia has to offer.
Brachina and Bunyeroo Gorges
OVERNIGHT: WIilpena Pound Resort
MEALS: B, L, D
Day 5 - Flinders to Port Augusta
Get up early to witness an unforgettable panoramic sunrise over ancient Wilpena Pound and take a last look around and some final photos before breakfast. This afternoon we are moving South, on from the Flinders National Park in the footsteps of Sturt, the explorer who forged the inland track from the South to the North Coast of Australia. But for lunch, we head a little further North, with a real treat in store, especially for the more adventurous foodies in the group. Renowned for the innovative treatment of unusual and native ingredients in its 'Flinders Feral Feasts', The Prairie Hotel in Parachilna is a fourth generation establishment, whose family also run the Nilpena Cattle Station. The hotel is rightly famous for its menu, which features the likes of homemade kangaroo pastrami, camel mettwurst and emu pate, with a great selection of quandong (bush peach) desserts. For less daring gourmets, there are plenty of more familiar items on the menu! Be prepared to tease your tastebuds with seasonings from native finger limes to pepperleaf, wattle, acacia and muntries in both sweet and savoury form.
Native ingredients, and mouth-watering menus at The Prairie Hotel, Parachilna
After lunch, we start on our journey South, through the Aroona Valley, passing through the regional former railway town of Hawker and the historic ruins of Kanyaka Station before arriving at Quorn, the 'Capital of the Flinders' and location for productions such as Gallipoli and Wolf Creek. Another thing Quorn is famous for, is the start of the Pichi Richi Pass, through which we will take the Afghan Express to our overnight destination in Port Augusta. Named for an Afghan passenger, who alighted at Quorn for his evening prayers, we follow the original route of the now famous tourist attraction, The Ghan. The Pichi Richi Pass was bypassed in the 1930s to allow the current wider gauge route to carry more people, but the narrow gauge route still exists. Taking in spectacular scenery as we cut through gorges and over bridges in classic steam-powered luxury, we will be transported back to the times of romantic travel, at a slower pace and (where possible) with all the luxurious trappings of the original rolling stock. On arrival at Port Augusta, we are met by the coach to take us to the hotel and have some spare time to explore the area or take a welcome dip in the pool before dinner.
Flinders NP wild flowers, the Pichi Richi Steam Train and Pichi Richi Pass with views to the Flinders
OVERNIGHT: The Standpipe Hotel, Port Augusta
MEALS: B, L, D
Day 6 - Port Augusta and Adelaide
Port Augusta is a small city, nestled at the far northern end of a natural harbour inlet of the Spencer Gulf. Named for the Augusta Young, the wife of an early colonial governor, life in this arid, coastal region is relaxed and friendly, with locals who have an immense pride in their unique history and ecosystem. The largest settlement directly east of the majestic and intimidating Nullabor, Port Augusta has always been the natural place to take on last minute supplies or to rest for days after the epic trip from the west.
Following breakfast, we take a short hop in the coach over to the Wadlata Outback Centre, where we can learn more about the traditional land owners, the Nukunu people and gain a better understanding of the unique local ecology and social evolution through exploring their award winning, 'Tunnel of Time' interpretive centre. With luck we'll be there on a day when we can witness food tastings, dance, music and performances of traditional significance.
Port Augusta with distant Flinders ranges and the Wadlata Outback Centre
Next on today's itinerary is a visit to the Australian Arid Lands Botanical Garden. This unique facility was created by the community to aid scientific understanding and explain the unique nature and special, aridzone natural adaptations of the plants and animals of the area to local visitors and tourists alike.
With thousands of plants and animals of all kinds, this well established local resource was opened in 1996, with views of the coastal waters, grey mangroves and the possibility of seeing dolphins as well as hides for watching over 150 species of birds that frequent the gardens. Most visitors find the gardens fascinating - the perception that an arid environment is empty and barren is very far from the truth! Another attraction of the Botanical Garden is an excellent cafe, where we will pause for some lunch (we recommend the lemon myrtle pancakes with quandong ice cream) before boarding the coach for our trip to South Australia's capital, Adelaide which takes us through Port Pirie and past Lake Bumbunga.
The Spencer Gulf, Walkways and flora in the Australian Arid Lands Botanical Gardens and Native Blue Wrens
OVERNIGHT: Rydges Hotel, Adelaide
MEALS: B, L, D
Day 7 - Highlights of the City and the Adelaide Hills
Waking for breakfast in the Capital of South Australia, you will anticipate we have a full day, so make sure you load up before joining our regular guide along with a local specialist on the coach to take in as many of the sights of this fascinating city before being exploring some of the most unique areas of the CBD. The rejuvenation of Adelaide has been significant over the past few years and it has seen great investment and dedication to restoration of the North Terrace to the height of its Glory Days and the development of the Torrens River area as a result of the renovations of the now utterly spectacular Adelaide Oval.
North Terrace and the Torrens River
Hahndrof Prussian village life, Montefiore Hill and St Andrews' Cathedral
Making a stop at the top of Montefiore Hill, we can see the point from which Colonel Light first conceived and planned the valley city that was to become the state capital. Visible from this vantage point are the many cathedrals, churches and soaring spires as well as the abundant Green Belt Parklands that make the city so liveable for families and so easy to relax in as tourists.
Before we head to the Hills, we stop for lunch at Adelaide Central Markets. Opened in 1870, the new building, built in 1900 now houses over 80 different stall holders, all with different specialities and areas of expertise. try Kangaroo Island Wines, The Smelly Cheese Shop or Con's Deli, one of the longest tenants, that who have been around since 1959. Do some research before you go and make sure you head straight for the top of your 'Must Try' list!
Back on the coach, we head into the picturesque Adelaide Hills region, paying a visit to the Hahndorf area, home to German Prussian immigrants since the 1800s, which fiercely preserves its historic squares, leafy main streets, unique identity and historic leatherwork and jewellery shops along with handmade traditional European breads and cheeses. Before we stop for the night, we enjoy a tasting at the stunning Hahndorf Hill Winery and pick some strawberries at the Beerenberg farm to fortify us for the final stretch.
The verdant, rolling Adelaide Hills
We end today's journey at The Bend, a world class, F1 style, motorsport complex, which was brought into life through consultation with world leading drivers such as Mark Webber and super-car manufacturers. Ending a busy day dining amongst the super cars, we can walk off our dinner in the pit lane or join our host for a few glasses of the best of South Australia to celebrate the final night of a truly memorable tour, Rediscovering Australia and seeing the best of the South East of our amazing country.
OVERNIGHT: : Rydges Pit Lane at The Bend
MEALS: B, D
Day 8 - Return to Melbourne
After our final breakfast as a group, we check out and prepare to leave for Melbourne. On the journey back to our starting point, make sure you swap contact details and take a few photos of people you want to share more memories with.
More than 85% of the people you meet on our tours have travelled with us before, so when you travel with the team at Rediscover Australia, you never know when you'll run into a familiar face or two!
Drop offs at Melbourne Airport and Melbourne CBD
Optional extra night in Rydges Melbourne (not included)
Sustainable Tourism Statement
Rediscover Australia is committed to sustainable tourism.