The Brachina Gorge and Bunyeroo Gorge is within the Flinders Ranges National Parks and are accessible from the Wilpena to Blinman road and from Hawker to Parachilna road. The Brachina Gorge and Bunyeroo Gorge are scenic drive to do in the Flinders Ranges National Park either as self drive or as a tour. Ask for direction if unsure from the Hawker VIC ( Visitor Information Centre).
BUNYEROO GORGE AND VALLEY
Travelling North on the Hawker to Blinman road at approximately 57 kilometres is the turnoff to Bunyeroo Gorge.
Bunyeroo Gorge is within the Flinders Ranges National Parks and a parks pass is required to enter. This pass can be purchased from the Hawker Visitor Information Centre or from other outlets in the area.
Bunyeroo Gorge is one of the main gorges which runs through the Heysen Range towards Lake Torrens. The drive down the razorback to Bunyeroo Valley gives spectacular views South towards the Pound Range. In this area a variety of wildlife including kangaroos and euros can be seen . There are many excellent designated picnic spots and camp grounds.
A number of walking trails are situated in the Bunyeroo Gorge area and the Heysen Trail also passes through the gorge. The book “Explore the Flinders Ranges” is an excellent resource for visitors to the Flinders Ranges as it includes detailed information on the entire area. The Bunyeroo Gorge road continues on between the Heysen Range and ABC Range to Brachina Gorge and Aroona Valley, joining the Brachina Gorge road at a tee junction.
7km north of the Oraparinna Homestead (National Parks Station) is the turnoff to Brachina Gorge and Aroona Valley can also be accessed through Bunyeroo Gorge road as above.
Brachina Gorge meanders its way through sharp sawtooth ridges of resistant quartzite. This spectacular gorge was once used as a pass through which bullock teams pulled their loads and is now a favourite picnic and camping area. “Brachina” derived from the Aboriginal word ‘vachina’, meaning cranky, refers to a mythical argument between birds over a grind stone.
The scree slopes on the western side of the Gorge are home to a population of the vulnerable Yellow-Footed Rock Wallaby (Petrogale xanthopus). There is a chance to pull off of the trail and watch the Wallabies move across the rocky outcrops or bask in the afternoon sun. The animals in Brachina Gorge form part of the largest population of Yellow-Footed Rock Wallabies in Australia, with an estimated population of 2000 in the Flinders Ranges.
The ‘Corridors through Time’ Geological Trail has been established through this Gorge which interprets the geological history of the area. Interpretive signs are located at significant points throughout the gorge. A brochure and map of the trail are available at information outlet. The Flinders Ranges have been referred to as the ‘cradle of life’ and are the home to the ‘golden spike’ of the Ediacaran Period which is, the first geological time period to be declared in the Southern Hemisphere.
Known as the Golden Spike, this brass disc marks the geological reference point for the Ediacaran Period in the world. When you visit this location please respect the location so that other people enjoy and learn the same as you.
The picturesque Aroona valley flanked by the ABC range on one side and the Heysen Range on the other is a favourite camping, picnicking and bushwalking area. The ruins of the old Aroona Homestead, built in the 1850’s, serves as a reminder of the difficult early years of European settlement. The risk of failure through adverse seasons and native hostility to their intrusion was an ever-present factor in the pastoralists survival.
With little understanding of the character of the land, or culture of the Aboriginal people, many found the harsh conditions too rigorous.
However, some such as the un-compromising John Hayward, first manager of this property, were fortunate to experience favourable seasons before the once of drought conditions in the mid 1860’s. This location is where Sir Hans Heysen completed some of his most inspiring works.