Article written by Michael Ellem for Club 4X4


If you haven’t visited the Bendleby Ranges before, add it to your bucket list right now and start planning. It promises to be one of the best adventures you’ll ever have in your 4X4.


Michael Ellem

Dec 08 2023

If you haven’t visited the Bendleby Ranges before, add it to your bucket list right now and start planning. It promises to be one of the best adventures you’ll ever have in your 4X4.

In a country with an abundance of amazing 4WDing spots, it’s hard to find a location better suited for every 4WD enthusiast than this. Spanning 37,000 acres, the Luckraft family has established a wide variety of 4X4 tracks catering to enthusiasts. These tracks are meticulously mapped out to cater to everyone, from easy tracks for beginners or standard vehicles, all the way to extreme tracks that will challenge experienced 4WDers with their more capable setups.

A trip to Bendleby caters to any individual’s style, offering a wide variety of experiences. Charlie has curated an array of tracks, focusing on different types of 4WDers, and designed camp sites to appeal to all camping enthusiasts. Leveraging Bendleby’s landscape—its rolling hills and fairly steep terrain to the Northwest of the property—Charlie has created enjoyable, easier drives suitable for families. Conversely, to the Southeast, the Hungry Ranges boast some of the steepest terrain in the area.

I’m certain that Charlie gazes up at a peak, thinking to himself, “That’ll be tricky to reach…” He then ventures out and, in some cases, hand-builds these tracks all the way to the spot he observed from a distance. This effort undoubtedly presents incredible opportunities to test both you and your 4×4 vehicle’s capabilities. Simultaneously, it offers some of the finest views south of the Flinders Ranges. Charlie and the team continuously plan new tracks, so if you’ve visited before, return and explore the new Monument Loop Track, one of the hand-built trails.

This week, our focus will be on the Bendleby Ranges, and we’ll cover the more extreme Hungry Ranges in an upcoming article.

The Bendleby Ranges are situated directly south of the Flinders Ranges, approximately 3.5 hours north of Adelaide. Your journey will likely take you through Orroroo, where you can gather most supplies before embarking on a 32 km drive along a well-maintained dirt road leading to the property’s entrance sign. Don’t miss the chance for a photo here. For adventurous souls like myself, it’s advisable to fill your fuel tanks in Orroroo since you’ll cover quite a distance exploring the Bendleby Ranges property.

Owned and operated by Charlie and Kylie Luckraft, the property underwent diversification and welcomed tourists in the year 2000. With an unwavering dedication to continuously enhancing the site for visitors, Bendleby has transformed into an Adventure and Eco Tourism destination with a unique appeal. Charlie and Kylie take immense pride in their efforts and commitments to tourism, having received numerous Tourism awards over the years, recognizing their contributions.

Some visitors come here solely to relish the fantastic camp sites, unwinding and soaking in the serene surroundings, finding solace in the tranquility while appreciating the beauty of nature.

For photography enthusiasts, it’s essential to keep your camera within reach, as the landscape offers stunning imagery. The diverse wildlife and birdlife will keep your shutter clicking incessantly, presenting an abundance of fantastic shot opportunities.

Even if photography isn’t your passion, a visit to Sunset Hill is a must. Recently, Charlie added a captivating sculpture designed for everyone to appreciate and capture the setting sun through its center.

I feel that most people coming here are looking for a great get-away experience where they can camp and explore the land made available to them by this fabulous family. While many parts of Australia have faced track closures, properties like this have welcomed the public, inviting everyone to embrace the land. Bendleby, in particular, goes the extra mile, catering to families and friends seeking an adventurous Outback Australia experience within a comfortable setting. The hospitality and amenities provided make you feel like part of the family.

If you are into Astronomy, this site is a regular visit for enthusiasts who are interested in a clean sky to see the distant stars.

Consider taking a stroll through the local area’s history. The original mail run from Sydney to Perth once passed through this very property.

If you’re up for a bit more activity, there are numerous bushwalking tracks to explore. Additionally, you might enjoy tackling the hills on a mountain bike. Personally, armed with a camera at the ready, I prefer the idea of navigating the tracks in the purpose-built 4WD we have for this exact purpose.

Designated private camping grounds are available throughout the property, offering a variety of scenic backdrops. Chat with the Bendleby staff about your preferred camping style, and they’ll surely recommend the perfect site for your family. You can even bring along your caravan or camper.

If you prefer a bit more comfort, there are various accommodation options to choose from. You can opt for the well-maintained shearer’s quarters, offering good accommodation along with a central camp kitchen. Alternatively, there are self-contained Gumdale and Acacia Cottages, providing comfortable lodging for your family and a unique experience of country living.

For the ultimate luxury experience on this site, the Crotta Homestead stands out. It accommodates small groups, offering six spacious rooms, a full kitchen, and BBQ facilities—a perfect base for your next adventure.

To see the Crotta Homestead… click here

With an extensive range of tracks set in this captivating Outback Landscape, all open for your next adventure, why not carve out some time to plan your next holiday at this remarkable location?

Once you’re here, you’ll witness firsthand Charlie and Kylie’s passion and dedication to make this a standout destination—one that might just become your favourite spot for future getaways.

As a 4WD photographer, Bendleby Ranges ranks among my favourite spots in Australia, offering a distinctive backdrop for the subjects I capture, including those for clients like ARB. With each day I spend here, Bendleby Ranges continues to surpass my expectations, consistently getting bette


Michael Ellem | Offroad Images