Flinders Ranges National Park
|Flinders Ranges National Park|
|Managing authorities||Department for Environment and Heritage|
|Official site||Flinders Ranges National Park|
The Flinders Ranges National Park is situated approximately 400 km north of Adelaide in the northern central part of South Australia's largest mountain range, the Flinders Ranges. The park covers an area of 912 km², northeast of the small town of Hawker. The Heysen Trail and Mawson Trails pass through the park.
The park centre at Wilpena Pound is accessible by sealed road from Hawker. Other areas in the park can be reached by un-sealed roads, which are mostly accessible by two-wheel drive vehicles except in bad weather or after heavy rain. There are many lookouts, scenic vistas, small canyons and unusual rock formations located in the park. These include Wilpena Pound, Wilkawillina Gorge, Hucks Lookout, Brachina Gorge, Bunyeroo Gorge and Arkaroo Rock. The park has some stone ruins from early European settlement and Aboriginal rock art sites. An amazing rock formation called the Great Wall of China is located just outside the park. Camping is permitted at many locations in the park.
The Flinders Ranges are largely composed of folded and faulted sediments of the Adelaide Geosyncline. This very thick sequence of sediments were deposited in a large basin during the Neoproterozoic on the passive margin of the ancient continent of Rodinia. During the Cambrian, approximately 540 million years ago, the area underwent the Delamerian orogeny where the geosynclinal sequence was folded and faulted into a large mountain range. Since this time the area has undergone erosion resulting in the relatively low ranges today.
Most of the high ground and ridgetops in the Flinders are sequences of quartzites that outcrop along strike. The high walls of Wilpena Pound are formed by the outcropping beds of the eponymous Pound Quartzite in a synclinal structure. The same formation forms many of the other high parts of the Flinders, including the high plateau of the Gammon Ranges and the Heysen Range. Cuesta forms are also very common in the Flinders.
Flora and fauna
The flora of the Flinders Ranges is composed largely of species adapted to a semi-arid environment such as cypress-pine, mallee, and black oak. Moister areas near Wilpena Pound support grevilleas, Guinea flowers, lilies and ferns. Reeds and sedges grow near permanent water sources such as springs and waterholes.
Since the eradication of dingos and the establishment of permanent waterholes for stock, the numbers of red kangaroos, western grey kangaroos and euros in the Flinders Ranges have increased. The yellow-footed rock-wallaby, which neared extinction after the arrival of Europeans due to hunting and predation by foxes, has now stabilized. Other endemic marsupials include dunnarts, planigales and echidnas. Insectivorous bats make up significant proportion of mammals in the area. Reptiles include goannas, snakes, dragon lizards, skinks and geckos. The streambank froglet is an endemic amphibian.
There are a large number of bird species including various parrots, Emus, the Wedge-tailed Eagles and small numbers of waterbirds. The land within the national park has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA) because it contains an apparently sustainable population of the range-restricted Short-tailed Grasswren.
The Flinders Ranges as seen from the Sturt Highway.
- Ediacara (disambiguation)
- Gammon Ranges
- Mawson Plateau
- Mount Chambers
- Protected areas of South Australia
- Wilpena Pound
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