Your Guide To The Hungry Ranges

If you are looking for an absolute adventure to test out your 4WD, you need to get your crew together and check out what “The Hungry Ranges” has to offer.

Michael Ellem
Dec 21 2023

If you are looking for an absolute adventure to test out your 4WD, you need to get your crew together and check out what “The Hungry Ranges” has to offer.

The Hungry Ranges are accessed through the Bendleby Ranges station. If you haven’t read about the Bendleby Ranges, click here. We have split this into a two-part story to ensure you make the most out of these amazing locations.

Running almost North-South just to the Southeast of The Bendleby Ranges, The Hungry Ranges stand as a completely distinct range. Despite their difference from the Bendleby Ranges, most people tend to refer to their drive in Bendleby Ranges even when navigating the steeper terrain of the Hungry Ranges.

It's somewhat peculiar; while these two ranges sit closely together on Australia's map, they are, in fact, remarkably dissimilar.

The geology of the Hungry Ranges is a a stunning testament to events that occurred millions of years ago. The amalgamation of worldly pressures birthed the Flinders and crafted the exquisite landscapes of both the Bendleby Ranges and The Hungry Ranges. I must confess, during my time in high school, our Geology teacher ought to have brought us here. It feels like I might have ventured into Geology and History instead of Photography. Witnessing these extraordinary formations, shaped by the ever-evolving pressures of the Earth, is truly captivating. Perhaps, as a photographer, I've developed a heightened appreciation for such phenomena, but I'm eager to hear your perspectives on this.

The geological activities of many, many years ago have fashioned an unparalleled environment in this region. Astounding upturned rock formations have given rise to locations tailored by Charlie and his family to accommodate the inner 4WD adventurer within us all.

For those seeking milder 4WD terrains, Charlie and his team have crafted tracks that allow you to relish the stunning vistas of these locations.

However, if a serious 4WD adventure beckons, you're undeniably in the right place. This is the distinctive aspect of these two properties: while they operate as working stations, they have adeptly adjusted to facilitate every 4WD enthusiast in exploring our magnificent country. They have swung their doors wide open, inviting all eager 4WDers to come and experience this extraordinary place!

Undoubtedly, the steeper terrain here differs significantly from the Bendleby Ranges, resulting in a distinctly different climate and environment. This encompasses the driving surface you'll encounter and the diverse flora that graces this landscape.

Bendleby Ranges showcases amazing river gums, dry creek beds, shale, and lots of clay in the higher grounds whereas the Hungry Ranges is a much tougher environment to contend with. The area is a more arid environment with all the hard foliage, and spinifex growing out between the hard rocky outcrops. This is as rugged as it is beautiful like this spot climbing on the Hungry Highway.

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When you check into Bendleby Ranges, I would suggest you look at letting your tyres down straight away as you will find travelling around the property will be a much more enjoyable experience. While Charlie and the team are available for assistance, starting with approximately 24 PSI for low-range driving—factoring in your tire specifications and vehicle weight—serves as a solid initial point. However, if you're venturing into the steeper tracks of the Hungry Ranges, adjusting your tire pressure to a range between 16 and 20 PSI, once more contingent on your tyres and vehicle weights, is advisable.

To 4WD in The Hungry Ranges, realistically, you will need an aftermarket suspension kit, good off-road tyres at the right pressures, underbody protection equipment and at least a rear locker or equivalent. If your vehicle has this and you are reasonably experienced at 4WDing amongst rock, you will most likely enjoy the experience travelling this unique location.

If you head to the Hungry Ranges, you will need to fill out the boards to show you are effectively checking into these tracks and then checking out of them. This is a great safety feature to ensure that no one is left out on the track.

Again, the Bendleby team has meticulously mapped out the tracks, providing details on the difficulties of each one. Therefore, there's a track suited for every skill level. However, within the Hungry Ranges, certain tracks stand out as truly remarkable. They might not cater to everyone, but for those seeking adventure, these tracks promise breathtaking scenery alongside an exhilarating challenge for the 4WD enthusiast within you.

The first I would like to talk about is my absolute favourite, The Kings Ridge Track.

Not too many years ago, Charlie crafted this track specifically to facilitate stock access and navigate the challenging terrain for goat transportation. The track ascends a remarkably steep incline before tracing along a ridge line, offering some of the most breathtaking views in South Australia. It's highly recommended to include this track in your itinerary when you venture out to Bendleby Ranges, as it's sure to be an unforgettable experience.

Driving along the ridge line, you'll encounter numerous opportunities for captivating photography, especially while gazing eastward at the mesmerizing Valley of the Kings. This sheer drop-off unveils the stark beauty of this arid environment, making it a true showstopper.

Following in the footsteps of his father Warren, Charlie has continued the legacy by developing the renowned track, Billy Goat Ridge. Warren recognized the need for access to the property's eastern boundaries and, using his old Komatsu Dozer, engineered this remarkable, seemingly endless track that ascends while dropping off on both sides. The intriguing name, Billy Goat Ridge, stems from Warren observing goats navigating this ridge en route to water, deeming it the optimal path to follow.

There's a tale circulating that during the track's creation, a goat, in pursuit of a ride, reportedly stamped on the Komatsu's bonnet as Warren maneuvered the dozer through some seriously challenging angles. Though another version of the story exists, let's stick with this one. Regardless, this track is destined to become one of your all-time favorite 4WD experiences, without a doubt.

Pats Peak is another awesome track with a difference as it runs up and over numerous peaks with the driver challenged to steep inclines and declines and with it the panoramic views. According to Charlie, this is one of the steepest tracks on the property and is definitely worth a look.

The Hungry Ranges truly stand out as an extraordinary destination for 4WD enthusiasts, a must-add to your bucket list for an adventure-filled experience. You will be forever amazed by what you will find here, and I guarantee, you will be telling all your friends about how unique this place is,

I am looking forward to heading back there, really soon.

“Cheers”

Michael Ellem | Offroad Images

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Michael Ellem
Michael Ellem is a long term friend of the Club 4X4 Insurance and voice of The Campfire. He is also an expert adventure, 4X4 photographer from the renowned Offroad Images and has over 20 years experience in the industry.