Trail Partially open

Southern Flinders Rail Trail

South Australia

4 based on 1 reviews
Location: Flinders Ranges, 207 km north of Adelaide, SA.
Length: 34 km
Surface: Coarse gravel, Fine gravel
Start / End: Laura/Melrose to Stone Hut/Wilmington
Public Transport: Coach
Suitable for:
  • Cycling – Mountain BikesCycling – Mountain Bikes
  • Horse RidingHorse Riding
  • WalkingWalking

Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway

DETAILS

Why visit the Southern Flinders Rail Trail?

  • A trail that blends into the landscape and challenges the rider with rough sections and stony creek crossings
  • Complements MTB trails at the base of Mount Remarkable and surrounding forest areas 
  • Mt Remarkable, Alligator Gorge, Wirrabara Forest and the Southern Flinders Ranges provide an imposing backdrop 
  • Work will begin soon on linking sections of the trail together to create an 88 km rail trail 
  • Creek crossings are great fun!

Attractions

  • Climb Mount Remarkable and walk through narrow Alligator Gorge
  • Ride world-class MTB trails of Mt Remarkable and surrounding forests
  • Ride the Pichi Richi Railway and visit the Flinders Ranges
  • Enjoy the natural setting of Melrose campgrounds

Trail Guide

Overall description

The Southern Flinders Rail Trail consists of four sections that vary in terms of trail surface, scenery and topography:

  • Laura to Gladstone (2.5 km) – open farmland
  • Laura to Stone Hut (7 km) – a good rural cycle path
  • Wirrabara to Stone Hut (3 km) –through hills and pine trees
  • Melrose to Wilmington (22 km) –follows the base of Mt Remarkable, then crosses open plains and small creeks
  • Future expansion of the trail will link all four sections

Section Guides

Laura to Gladstone (2.5 km)

This section runs parallel to the Main North Rd.

  • Starts on the southern outskirts of Laura at the ‘Welcome to Laura’ sign and runs south for nearly 3 km toward Gladstone
  • Coarse gravel, suitable only for walkers and mountain bikes

 

Laura and Stone Hut (7 km)

Completed in 2011, this section also runs alongside the Main North Rd.

  • A high-class rail trail with a smooth, hard-packed gravel surface suitable for road bikes
  • Begins at the northern ‘Welcome to Laura’ sign
  • A couple of gates adjacent to the Laura Golf Club
  • Finishes about 65 0m before Stone Hut: use the road to get to the bakery at Stone Hut

 

Wirrabara toward Stone Hut (3 km)

This short section of trail was completed in 2011, and is a fair quality gravel surface with a rough creek crossing suitable for hybrid or mountain bikes.

  • Follows the rail alignment south from the silos in Wirrabara
  • Winds through scenic hilly country and shady pine trees

 

Melrose to Wilmington (22 km)

This section was completed in 2011 and is generally a good quality trail that follows the old railway alignment where possible. The trail surface is compacted fine gravel with some sections of coarse gravel and creek crossings. It features stunning views of Mt Remarkable to the west, and views of the Flinders Range to the east.

 

Note that the trail is best travelled between autumn and spring, and can be very hot in summer. Regardless of the time of year, take adequate water and food supplies and be aware that travel times can be slow due to creek crossings and wind. Wilmington cannot be relied on for food and water, but toilets are available.

  • Begin from the corner of Joes Rd and Horrocks Highway, opposite the ‘Over the Edge’ cycle hire shop. Follow Horrocks Hwy 700 m north to Dorrington Rd; use the footpath if the road is busy
  • At Dorrington Rd the trail enters private property through a gate on the corner. It is a privilege to use this private land; please leave as you found it. This section includes a ford across Willochra Creek and meanders through large eucalypts on its way to another gate at the entrance to Melrose Showground
  • Follow the path around the Showground buildings and the old railway alignment to the gate at the northern end. The Showground is also a camping area; respect the privacy of those using the grounds
  • The trail continues on the old rail alignment through open fields with Mt Remarkable behind you and the Southern Flinders Ranges to the left. The Flinders Ranges are in the distance to your right. The entrance to Willowie Forest Mountain Bike network is on the left
  • Along this section you cross Goyder’s Line, a surveyed line that separates good cropping land from marginal cropping land (low rainfall). Surveyor George Goyder prepared the line (which can only be found on plans.) in 1865 by observing native plants while travelling 3200 km on horseback across SA. It has stood the test of time: you will notice the vegetation change as you ride north along the trail, particularly in open areas
  • About 7 km from the Showground the trail crosses Horrocks Hwy and continues through open country with sweeping views of the plains to the northeast
  • After crossing Spring Creek, you will see an old chimney on the right, all that remains of the township and railway siding of Terka. The town was surveyed in 1924, but people showed no interest and the town failed to develop. The siding has also completely disappeared – a reminder of how difficult life in the Southern Flinders Ranges was in the early years of last century.
  • A short distance from Wilmington is the last creek crossing. Stony Creek lives up to its name; dismount and walk across the stony creek bed. It’s an enjoyable walk that gives you time to take in the scenery
  • At the end of the trail turn left into Gogler Rd, which veers to the right. Continue past the silos to Tuckwell St, a wide and substantial sealed road. Proceed up a slight rise past the primary school to the main road and the Wilmington Hotel. The hotel or shop/café may be open; if not, head down the street to the corner of Dignan St, where there is a small shopfront with self-serve machines for snacks and drinks. Public toilets are on the opposite side of the road, next to the fire station. Street signs are difficult to find; use features such as the silos, school, hotel and fire station
  • Mobile phone coverage is limited

Background Information

Traditional owners

We acknowledge the Nukunu people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the trail is built.

 

Rail line history 

A narrow gauge railway once joined Gladstone, Laura, Stone Hut, Wirrabara, Yandiah, Booleroo Centre, Perroomba, Melrose, Terka and Wilmington. It started in Gladstone in June 1884 to serve the rapidly developing wheat growing region and was opened to Wilmington by 1915. The last train left Wilmington’s wheat silo in July 1988.

 

Gladstone was once a busy and important station with a mixture of narrow and broad gauge lines. It had main lines from Adelaide, Peterborough and Port Pirie, and branch lines to Wilmington and a munitions depot. It had grain silos, sheep and cattle yards, goods sheds, loco sheds, a turntable, and an impressive railway station. Little remains today.

 

Development and future of the rail trail 

 

Mount Remarkable Council will begin construction of a 17 km extension of the trail from Melrose to Booleroo Centre in 2021. On completion of this section, 51 km of the 88 km Southern Flinders Rail Trail (Wilmington to Gladstone) will have been built, featuring views of Mt Remarkable and the Flinders Ranges.

 

PHOTOS

SERVICES

No services listed for this rail trail.

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REVIEWS

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One review of “Southern Flinders Rail Trail”

Just rode Melrose to Wilmington track and found it to be not too bad. Local bike shop owner advised it was pretty rough and it was, with rocks all along the graded track. MTB’s for sure. Great fun though and made a nice change from the single track action around Mt Remarkable, with great views of the mountain. It’s great to see the rail corridor getting used, especially for biking!

NEWS

Grant funding for Southern Flinders Ranges Rail Trail (SA)

Posted: 17/05/20

The District Council of Mount Remarkable will match the South Australian Governments Opens Space and ...

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