460km (285 miles) N of Adelaide

The dramatic craggy peaks and ridges that make up the Flinders Ranges rise out of the South Australian desert. The ragged mountaintops are actually the eroded stumps of a range that was once higher than the Himalayas. And, as well as being one of the oldest landscapes on the planet, the Flinders are also some of the richest geological areas in the country; the rich, primeval colors of the ranges vary from deep red to orange, blue, and purple, depending on the light, and the sedimentary lines that are clearly visible running down the sides of cliffs.

The heart of the Flinders is Wilpena Pound, inside Flinders Ranges National Park, a massive 83-sq.-km (32-sq.-mile) craterlike circular ridge accessible through a gorge. There are several good lookouts giving great views of the Elder Range and the outer ramparts of Wilpena Pound, but it's really best seen from the air, which you can arrange at Wilpena Pound Resort. It's a remote and rugged place; most of the main roads are unsealed and some of the side tracks are four-wheel-drive only. The best time to visit is in spring, when the hills and valley floors are carpeted in wildflowers.