I grew up on some of Queensland’s most stunning beaches and coral reefs.
A beach girl at my core, nothing feels more home than the deep blue.
Balcony sits, beer sips.
The Sunshine State is hard to beat.
But this Easter, I traded in my bikini for hiking boots.
Enter, South Australia’s spectacular Flinders Ranges.
Step aside Opera House, Ayers Rock and the Great Barrier Reef.
If you want to lift the veil on authentic Australia, the Flinders is the real must-see.
In the words of Australian artist Hans Heysen, at the Flinders you will find, “the bones of the earth laid bare”.
Oozing history and cultural significance, the Flinders has been called the land where time began.
But when you’re there, time doesn’t matter.
The stars shine brighter.
The air is cleaner.
The people are friendlier.
The silence is meditative.
Sleep is more sound.
Amid the immensity and the serenity of mother nature, you can’t help but contemplate the absurdity that can be city life.
Gumtrees rooted in parched creek beds.
Jagged cliff faces.
Perhaps the most jaw-dropping part of the Flinders are the colours.
Baby blue skies.
Purple bleeding into auburn.
It’s no wonder artists, photographers and film directors alike find Flinders their muse.
I stayed in the nucleus of the Flinders – Rawnsley Park Station – located at the base of Wilpena Pound (or “Ikara” as it’s traditionally known). Wilpena Pound is a dramatic, naturally formed amphitheatre, 18km in length.
From there, we hiked part of the famous Heyson walking trail. No i-phone. No e-mails. Just the satisfying crunch of hiking boots on dirt. Silence interspersed with companionable conversation.
I was also lucky enough to explore the region by helicopter, the ultimate bucket list experience. Even then, I was but an insignificant fly buzzing through the expanse of Wilpena Pound.
Words defy the sheer vastness of the land.
So what did I get from my time at Rawnsley Park Station other than a t-shirt tan and a suitcase of clothes steeped in the burnt ochre-hued dirt of outback Australia?
A camera roll of spectacular sunsets and stunning landscapes.
An affinity with this unique country I didn’t realise I was lacking.
A conviction that this beach girl won’t be retiring her hiking boots anytime soon.
This Easter, the Flinders stole a piece of my heart.