Flinders Ranges mountain bike day trips

The Flinders Ranges in South Australia are one of my favourite places to get out for a day trip on the mountain bike. Having recently picked up a pair of Focus 29’ers we decided that the loops around Brachina Gorge would be a good testing ground with lots of corrugated dirt tracks and cross country sections.

Brachina Gorge, Aroona Valley and Bunyeroo Gorge also offer some fantastic views of the surrounding ranges and the tracks follow some of the valleys. We camped at Bunyeroo Gorge and decided to visit the Aroona Valley first, giving us a 25km ride to get used to the bikes. The roads were quite good (by Australian standards) although the corrugations meant that downhills of anything over 30km/hr  coincided with a severe brain shaking, even with full suspension.

The Aroona Valley ride heads to the old Aroona Station ruins and the natural spring, making for a great ride with stunning scenery.

Looking along the Aroona Valley plain

Looking along the Aroona Valley plain

The Aroona Valley plain

The Aroona Valley plain

Ruins of the Aroona Station homestead

Ruins of the Aroona Station homestead

The road ahead

The road ahead

Next day we decided on a loop along the Bunyeroo Gorge, Brachina Gorge and then cross country following the Heysen long distance walking trail to link up again with the Bunyeroo Gorge road. A round trip of over 35km with lots of rough terrain.

View towards the ABC Range

View towards the ABC Range

That's us

That’s us

The old stockyards

The old stockyards

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A sweeping downhill as the road heads into Bunyeroo Gorge

A sweeping downhill as the road heads into Bunyeroo Gorge. Spot the bike rider.

Climbing out of Brachina Gorge

Climbing out of Brachina Gorge

We spent time watching and photographing the local wildlife.

Robyn watching Wedge Tailed Eagles

Robyn watching Wedge Tailed Eagles

Eagle in the trees watching us

Kite in the tree watching us

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Wedge Tailed Eagle

Black Kite soars overhead

Brachina Gorge has a number of fossil sites, some being among the worlds oldest. We found these on a rock face near the track.

Fossils in the rocks

Fossils in the rocks

Of course there are a few hazards in this area, especially on a bike. Luckily no snakes this time but having a swarm of grasshoppers jump up your shorts is an experience not to be missed.

We came across a Red kangaroo standing over 2m tall, who just stared at us, daring us to pass in front of him. This guy was HUGE and we decided to wait until he moved on before proceeding. Just imaging hitting this guy on a bike; you would definitely come off second best.

Big red Kangaroo -" don't mess with him"

Big red Kangaroo -” don’t mess with him”

There are also other animals to watch out for on the tracks. Lots of male emus with chicks were in the gorges and you are best to give them a wide berth and let them go about their business undisturbed.

Emus drinking in waterhole Brachina Gorge

Emus drinking in waterhole Brachina Gorge

Emu father with chicks

Emu father with chicks

……and watch out for the occasional feral goat running out on the track…

Feral goats

Feral goats

….as well as sleepy lizards out to catch some sunshine.

Sleepy lizards

Sleepy lizards

And late in the afternoon, walking near our campsite, we enjoyed the company of  a rare Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby and her joey. The wallaby is not a nomad like the kangaroo, living within one area, and even creching their young, just like humans.

Near our campsite

Near our campsite

 

Yellow footed rock wallaby and joey

Yellow footed rock wallaby and joey