Sunset spots in the Flinders Ranges

The Flinders Ranges is a truly spectacular part of South Australia. The rugged mountain ranges that make up the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park are some of the most visually stunning and geologically significant landscapes in the whole country. While there’s plenty of things to do in the Flinders Ranges, you’ll often find yourself simply marvelling at the view from different lookouts in the park.

The colours of the rocky outback landscape are at their most beautiful in the early morning at sunrise and late afternoon at sunset. The warmth of the rising and setting sun lights up the quartzite and creates dramatic shadows that delight even the most well-travelled of photographers. If you’re keen to admire the sunset in the Flinders Ranges, then I’ve rounded up the best lookouts in the national park for you. 

I spent weeks in and around the area with almost two weeks at Wilpena Pound Resort alone, in the heart of the national park. I caught plenty of sunsets and a few sunrises in my time there, chasing views at every chance I could get. So, here are the best sunset spots in the Flinders Ranges, so you can start planning your perfect mornings and evenings in the park.

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Wangara Lookout
Wangara Lookout

1. Wangara Lookout

Access to viewpoint: Walk only
Start from: Wilpena Pound Resort
Walking distance required: 3.9km one way

This is a great walk and viewpoint close to Wilpena Pound Resort. Sitting up on a hill above the historic Hills Homestead, the two viewing platforms at the lookout offer a beautiful vantage point of the pound and surrounding mountains. While it’s not overly high up, the relatively easy walk is convenient to do one afternoon straight from the resort and campground at Wilpena Pound.

The walk follows the flat and shady trail southwest of the Visitor Information Centre which is shared with a bunch of other hikes in the area. For the Wangara Lookout, you need to follow the blue tags on the signposts. You first need to walk the 3.3km to the old homestead and then from there, climb the 600m up to the highest viewing platform. it should take just an hour to reach the upper lookout from the campground if you’re relatively fit. If the last steep climb is too much, there is a lower lookout at 300m, which offers views almost as good as the upper one. 

Mount Ohlssen Bagge
Mount Ohlssen Bagge summit

2. Mount Ohlssen Bagge

Access to viewpoint: Walk only
Start from: Wilpena Pound Resort
Walking distance required: 3.4km one way

Widely considered to be the best view of the Flinders Ranges near Wilpena Pound, Mount Ohlssen Bagge is a strenuous hike beginning right from the resort and campground. You need to follow the orange tags on the signposts for this one. 

The trail diverts off the shady trail southwest of the Visitor Information Centre mentioned above. From there, it steadily climbs for 2.7km, gaining nearly 400m of elevation, to the rocky peak of Mt Ohlssen Bagge. There is a couple of rock scrambling sections and it’s quite a steep walk. However, this is by far one of the most popular hikes in Wilpena Pound, so you’ll likely see a few other people on the trail (we even saw families with little kids). 

From the top, you get a full 360-degree panoramic view of the pound known as Ikara by the Adnyamathanha people, resort area and surrounding landscape. It’s the perfect place to sit and enjoy the stunning national park. It would be a great spot for either sunset or sunrise, but either way you’ll have to carry a headtorch with you for the ascent or descent and allow at least an hour to get to the top.

Read next: 12 Best Walks in the Flinders Ranges

Sunset from Stokes Hill
Sunset from Stokes Hill

3. Stokes Hill Lookout

Access to viewpoint: Steep drive off Flinders Ranges Way
Driving distance from Wilpena Pound: 19km or 25 minute drive 

Considered the best drive-in lookout in the Flinders Ranges, Stokes Hill is a very popular spot to be for sunset or sunrise. It offers a beautiful 360-degree view of the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park but requires a very steep and rocky drive to reach it. While a 4WD is recommended, I made it up in my old Toyota Hiace van easily enough (there’s a sign warning no towing vehicles). It’s technically on private land of Willow Springs Station but is open to the public. You can reach it by following the main sealed road north of Wilpena until the lookout turnoff on your right where you’ll come to a dirt road heading up to the top of the hill.

The lookout is quite well-known, so you certainly won’t be alone, but the view is truly spectacular. At sunset in winter, you can see the sun setting behind the ranges, while at sunrise you can see the first light hit the ranges in front of you. Either way, it’s a beautiful sight if the sky is clear. There would certainly be less people at sunrise if you wanted it all to yourself.

Hucks Lookout
Hucks Lookout

4. Hucks Lookout

Access to viewpoint: Drive in carpark area off Flinders Ranges Way
Driving distance from Wilpena Pound: 15km or 20 minute drive

A nice alternative to Stokes Hill and a much easier drive in, Hucks Lookout is just off the side of the main road, the Flinders Ranges Way. It’s signposted with a nice drive-in car parking area, enough to fit quite a few people enjoying the sunset or sunrise. It’s technically on private land of Upalinna Station, but accessible to the public just off the side of the road.

It offers a similar view of the Flinders Ranges as Stokes Hill but is much lower, so you don’t get the full panorama. Still, it’s only a 20-minute drive from Wilpena, so it’s a convenient place to head for a quick sunset mission if you’re short on time. It’s also a nice alternative if you’re not confident driving up to Stokes Lookout.

Bunyeroo Valley Lookout
Bunyeroo Valley Lookout

5. Razorback Lookout and Bunyeroo Valley Lookout

Access to viewpoint: Drive in carpark area off Bunyeroo Road
Driving distance from Wilpena Pound: 25km or 40 minute drive to Razorback Lookout

I’ve combined both of these together, as they are on the same road and just 1km away from each other. As some of the best Flinders Ranges lookouts, both Razorback and Bunyeroo Valley requires a bit more of a drive on a dirt road if you’re coming from Wilpena Pound or Rawnsley Park, but are worth the effort. You first need to head north on the Flinders Ranges Way and on your left, you’ll see the turnoff for Bunyeroo Road, which is one of the most scenic roads in the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park. However, it’s a rough dirt road for 16km to the lookout area, so if you’re in a 2WD you’ll have to take it slow.

There’s actually a few lookouts on this road. You’ll come to Bunyeroo Valley Lookout first which offers a great view of the ranges. However, for many people, Razorback is definitely the highlight. From here, you feel much closer to the mountains and are able to get one of the nicest landscape photos than from anywhere else in the park. If you make it here for sunset or sunrise, you’ll also likely have the lookout to yourself as most people tend to head to Hucks Lookout or Stokes Hill instead.

St Mary's Peak at sunrise
View of St Mary’s Peak at sunrise

6. Wilpena Pound Campground Lookout

Access to viewpoint: Walk only
Start from: Wilpena Pound Resort
Walking distance required: 400m from unpowered campground

This unofficial lookout is actually one of the best places to admire the Flinders Ranges up close and is very convenient if you’re staying at Wilpena Pound. I noticed this hill after I’d already spent around a week at Wilpena and soon realised that I wasn’t the only one who had spotted this hilltop. There’s a worn trail up to the top which starts from the back corner of the unpowered campground area in Wilpena Pound. 

You need to pass through a small gate in the back fence, which leads onto a road that heads to the Homestead and Park Office, but instead you need to head straight up the small hill in front. It takes just a minute or two to reach the top and then you can walk along the hilltop as far as you want.

You can get beautiful views of the pound wall, including St Mary’s Peak. I went at both sunrise and sunset but actually found sunrise slightly nicer as you can enjoy the first light against the mountains tops.

Read next: Staying at Wilpena Pound Resort and Campground

Arkaroo Rock
View from Arkaroo Rock

7. Arkaroo Rock

Access to viewpoint: Walk only
Start from: Arkaroo Rock Carpark (16km south of Wilpena Pound Resort)
Walking distance required: 3km return

This is one of the most underrated walks in the national park, which also surprisingly provides a nice little sunset spot in the Flinders Ranges. I happened to do this short but wonderful walk to the significant rock paintings of the Adnyamathanha people in the late afternoon and got to enjoy some beautiful colours produced by the setting sun.

As you walk back down from the rock towards the car park, you’ll see the ranges in front of you light up a brilliant orange, if the sky is clear in the late afternoon. It was an unintentional view, but definitely worth the late start, if you’re staying nearby. The walk only takes around an hour to complete, and it’s not overly difficult but is slightly uphill to get to the rock art.

View from Red Hill Lookout
View from Red Hill Lookout

8. Red Hill Lookout

Access to viewpoint: Walk only
Start from: Aroona Campground (53km north of Wilpena Pound Resort)
Walking distance required: 4.6km one way

This is a long drive and walk for sunrise or sunset, but would be worth it if you camped at Aroona Campground. Red Hill Lookout is a much less visited viewpoint in the Flinders Ranges which offers 360-degree views across the Heysen Range and further afield. It’s accessible from the campground directly up an old 4×4 track or as a side trip on the Yuluna Hike. If you opt for the more direct route on the 4×4 track, you have to follow Bull Gap Track for 4.6km to the top.

It’s a bit of a long and steep walk but the views are pretty nice and would make a great sunset spot if you camped nearby. The Aroona Campground is 53km from Wilpena Pound on Aroona Road off the Brachina Gorge Road, so it would be a big effort if you were coming from Wilpena just for the sunset. Otherwise, it also makes for a nice day trip, if you still want to enjoy the lookout, which is what we did. Brachina Gorge Road and Aroona Road are rough dirt roads, but we made it in a 2WD. Ask at Wilpena Pound Information Centre about the latest road conditions before setting out.

Stokes Hill at sunset
Stokes Hill at sunset

When to visit the Flinders Ranges

The best time to visit the Ikara-Flinders Ranges is during the cooler months from April until September. Temperatures and conditions are too hot in summer, so winter is peak season for the Flinders. This is perfect for sunset chasers too, as the clear sky of winter creates the best colours and light for the best sunset spots in the Flinders Ranges. However, this means that daylight hours are shorter, so sunrise is around 7am and sunset is around 5pm. You’ll have to do a quick Google to check the exact times depending on when you plan to be there.

Where to stay in the Flinders Ranges

There are a few campgrounds and stations in the national park where you can stay. However, the most convenient place is at Wilpena Pound Resort and Campground. Located right in the middle of the national park, almost all of these sunset viewpoints are easily reached from Wilpena. 

They have hotel rooms, glamping tents and a huge campground for powered and unpowered sites. Check out my review about staying at Wilpena Pound Resort and Campground for more information.

Read more about the Flinders Ranges

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