Halfway across the country is the town of Kimba, once named ‘the kindest place in Australia’. Kimba is the eastern gateway to the Gawler Ranges National Park and chock full of community spirit – just take a look at creative hub Workshop26 and the stunning silo art depicting a little girl standing in a paddock of ripe wheat as examples. You can’t miss the Big Galah, an 8m high statue painted bright pink (you really can’t miss it) situated on the highway and be sure to check out the award-winning free camp at the Recreation Reserve.
It’s just across from the 6km return Roora Nature Trail featuring sculptures of native animals made from recycled steel. The trail leads to Whites Knob Lookout which overlooks the countryside and features a sculpture of explorer Edward John Eyre and Aboriginal tracker Wylie, who helped Eyre survey the area. Out of town, Secret Rocks Nature Reserve is home to a small population of native bandicoots, which have been reintroduced to the area as part of conservation efforts in the area. Lake Gilles Conservation Park is also full of wildlife and accessible by 2WD – take a picnic amongst the salt pans!
A little further afield and truly in ‘the outback’, the vast salt pans of Lake Gairdner are a spectacular place to visit. See the stunning contrast between the red earth and rocks, the white salt lake and the gorgeous blue sky – and if there’s a little water on the lake, it’ll act like a mirror. You can access the lake easily via Mt Ive Station, a family-owned sheep station that’s perfect for an outback getaway. Mt Ive has a range of accommodation options and amenities, historic landmarks, 4x4 tracks and resident kangaroos to go with its lake access.
Meet some locals at Workshop26
You may have heard of Workshop26, a former tractor shop which has been converted into a creative hub by some enterprising local businesswomen. It’s home to nine micro-businesses and is part retail space, part artisan studio, part event space and part community centre – all wrapped up in one little tractor shop. This collection of ‘shipping container’ shops is just as warm, cosy and just as welcoming as the people themselves. Grab a barista-made coffee from the coffee van usually parked out front and watch the artists at work, shop vintage wares and support local business. There’s so much to discover here, and get a taste of the wonderful community of Kimba – you won’t regret popping in.
Explore the Gawler Ranges National Park
As you travel along the winding roads through the Gawler Ranges, it’s difficult to comprehend that these gentle and peaceful hills were the result of powerful volcanic activity millions of years ago. Explore the stark white salt lakes of Lake Gairdner National Park, walk through fields of wildflowers in spring and discover the vast granite outcrops and the majesty of the Organ Pipes. You can also find Sturt Desert Peas here – South Australia’s floral emblem! Just remember, this environment is truly pristine – and we want to keep it that way! So please take your rubbish with you and treat the area with respect. You’ll need a few days to truly soak in the spectacular scenery of the Gawler Ranges, but whatever you decide to do, you won’t be disappointed. The Gawler Ranges is a breath-taking destination for those looking for a truly authentic Australian experience.