When you’re a kid, camping sounds exciting. You put up a tent outside, perhaps in your backyard, light a fire and roast some marshmallows over it, and then gaze up at the stars before you drift off to La-La Land in your sleeping bag (or, you know, run back into the house to sleep in your own bed).
On the other hand, not all adults would dream of spending their vacation time camped out in the great outdoors. Loads of them are put off by the presence of bugs, sleeping on the hard, smelly earth, and having to do no. 1 or no. 2 out in the woods with no toilet paper.
And as though you needed more reasons to visit Adelaide, there happens to be a place within it that lets you experience all the wonders of camping without the accompanying discomfort.
Located about 200 km north of Adelaide, Flinders Ranges are the biggest mountain range in South Australia. With its varied landscape (think lush, green plains blending into brown, rocky wilderness) and the wide, clear skies stretching out in an uninterrupted mass above it, this place looks every bit how you would imagine the Outback to be. So, why would you want to spend your time here cooped up in a cookie-cutter hotel room, right?
And with “station stays,” you won’t have to. Sheep, cows, and horses have figured prominently in the South Australian Outback for more than a hundred years now, and the sheep and cattle stations that house them in Flinders Ranges have revamped their premises to give their guests a truly unforgettable experience.
For starters, you get to stay on an actual farm. Many of the properties set aside accommodations like their old shearer’s quarters for their guests. While these rooms still retain their rustic charms, they are fully equipped with comfortable amenities like beds and closets, and some are even big enough to share with a family or a large group of friends.
Station stay guests also have access to fully-functioning kitchens that have refrigerators and gas stoves, laundry rooms with washing machines, and toilets and showers supplied with running water.
But what really puts the glam in the Flinders Ranges’ “glamping” (glamorous camping) experience is the abundance of choice it affords every visitor. Prefer to really camp out in the clearings beside the shearer’s quarters? Provided you ask for permission beforehand, sure, why not? Do you want to cook your own food, and over a skillfully-constructed fire pit on the grounds at that? Go right ahead. Leaning towards joining your hosts at their well-appointed dining table to experience an oasis of luxury in the middle of the wilderness? That’s would do too.
Interested in booking your own station stay in Flinders Ranges? Check out the following properties that offer this one-of-a-kind immersion:
1. Almerta Station
235 Almerta Road, Carrieton
(08) 86 589 076
2. Angorichina Station Shearers Quarters
Angorichina Station, Blinman
(08) 86 484 863
3. Arkaba Station
Arkaba Station via Wilpena Road, Hawker
1300 790 561
4. Blue Gum House
Bully-Acre Road, Orroroo
(08) 86 586 021
5. Catninga Farm Stay Accommodation
655 Catninga Road, Catninga, Stirling North
(08) 86 436 327
6. Horseshoe Top-End
1133 Horseshoe Road, Moockra
(04) 48 048 836
7. Kookaburra Creek Retreat
Lot 2, Shanks Road, Melrose
(08) 86 662 004
8. Merna Mora Station
Western Wilpena Pound via Hawker to Parachilna Road, Hawker
(08) 86 484 717
9. Nuttbush Retreat
Pandurra Station via Eyre Highway, Port Augusta
(08) 86 438 941
10. Rawnsley Park Station
Wilpena Road, Hawker
(08) 86 480 030
If you’ve ever wanted to give camping a try but are too intimidated to go all the way, station stays are a great way to get started. As you’ve seen, you decide just how far you want to “rough it” so that you too will end up with a camping experience that’s exactly to your liking.