The Flinders Ranges are full of incredible places to camp, and we’ve just come back from an amazing 3 week trip exploring a huge range of places. One of the spots we were very keen on exploring was Willow Springs, located in an easy to access location with reviews that seemed almost impossible.
In the back of my mind I thought this would be a giant caravan and camping enterprise, and was quite surprised to see what its really like. In this post we cover everything you need to know about Willow Springs, and whether we feel its worth a visit or not.
Where is Willow Springs?
This property is located not too far away from Wilpena Pound, and about a 50km drive from Blinman in the north. It’s right off the main bitumen road, and follows a driveway into the property itself.
What’s the road condition like?
The road into Willow Springs is reasonably narrow, but suitable for 2WD’s and 4WD’s and even large caravans. It’s certainly not smooth and perfect, and there are a number of pot holes and even sections of mud after rain, so don’t arrive expecting a pristine driveway to the homestead. The driveway itself is about 4km, and then you may have to back track a bit, depending on where you are camping.
You do need a bit of clearance though, with a number of pot holes, and some creek crossings when the water is flowing.
The main road that goes past Willow Springs is bitumen, and a fantastic drive.
What’s at Willow Springs?
This property is a family run sheep business, with a small number of cattle on the side that has been opened up for tourism. It’s got a small number of bush camping sites, a few around the main amenities and a couple of accommodation options.
There’s a number of attractions and bush walks that you can do, with the scenery being truly amazing. We were so surprised at how much variation there is in the Flinders Ranges, with Willow Springs having big rolling hills, with a number of creeks and gorges that make it truly spectacular.
Willow Springs Camping
If you want to camp at Willow Springs, you have two options; camp near the homestead and the main amenities, or ask for a private, bush site which comes with a portaloo (that is brand new, pristine and as good as you can get.
We were lucky to get a private bush camp, and thoroughly enjoyed the location and our time there.
We were very fortunate to snag a cancellation not only for ourselves a day before arriving, but for my folks who’d be arriving a day later, and they ended up able to fit on our bush camp with their van instead of camping at the kitchen, which was even better.
It’s worth knowing that this property is kept very small; there’s probably only about 15 camp sites in total, with roughly half of that being private bush camping, so far from the huge camping and caravanning conglomerate that I was expecting.
We got wet
I mentioned above that we had a really interesting stay at Willow Springs. We knew the wet weather was coming (for the second time in our stay in the Flinders), and set up accordingly. I was quietly hoping that we might see the creeks start to run, and we got a huge amount of rain. It did make our camp site quite soggy, and on a number of occasions we were literally in the clouds, but it was hugely picturesque, and I feel privileged to have seen it change the way it did.
On the way out we did have a bit of fun with the caravan sliding, but we got out without any issues or damage to their track or our gear, and had a truly amazing time.
What does it cost to stay?
Camping on an unpowered site is $30 for two adults, and $8 for additional people over 3 years old. We just snagged it for $38 a night, with Cooper not quite 4, but it could add up fast if you had multiple kids.
Willow Springs attractions
When you arrive, you’ll get given a booklet and map, with some of the most detailed information I’ve ever seen upon arriving at a station (or even a caravan park for that matter). This covers all of the bush walks and attractions, and shows you the walk trails and what you’ll see.
There’s also a heap of other attractions nearby, but off the property; Wilpena Pound, Brachina gorge, Bunyeroo gorge and a number of ruins.
Skytrek 4WD track
Perhaps the most well known attraction at Willow Springs is the Skytrek 4WD track, that starts off near the homestead and winds its way through hugely picturesque scenery for about 80km. The track takes 7 hours, and requires a 4WD (or you can do a tour in one of Willow Springs 4WD’s).
We arrived at Willow Springs with a fair bit of rain on the horizon, and whilst we could have rushed and left at just after lunch (and probably arrived back in the dark), we chose to wait for the following day. Unfortunately, they closed it that morning, and it wasn’t likely to open for a number of days, so we missed out. I was a bit frustrated, but we had some pretty incredible weather and you can’t control the rain!
What’s the Willow Springs point of difference?
We always take the time to read reviews on Wikicamps, of people who’ve stayed at Willow Springs. I was surprised to see that it had so many reviews raving about the property, but also that so many had mentioned how clean the amenities and camp sites are.
Sure enough, we checked in to some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met, who directed us to our campsite. When we arrived, it had just been cleaned, and they even go to the effort of raking it all, and making it pristine.
We took a short drive in not long after to see what the camp kitchen and toilets were like, and to use the complimentary WIFI, and were staggered at how spotless everything was, and how well set up.
Station stays are typically not the most amazing in terms of amenities and cleanliness, and Willow Springs set the bar higher than I’ve seen anywhere else.
Is Willow Springs worth a stay?
I’m going to find it very hard to pick a number one location in the Flinders Ranges, but Willow Springs certainly is up there. Our camp site was nothing short of magic (similar to Witchies at Moolooloo, but marginally nicer), the hosts are absolutely lovely and the property is pristine.
We loved watching the rain roll in and completely transform the property, and whilst this is probably unlikely, its such a stunning spot.
Yes, its absolutely worth a stay, and you should book well in advance as its popular and fairly well known.