Re-fuelled by that enormous burger in Hawker, and after replenishing our supplies, we climbed back into our 4WD and headed north again into the Flinders Ranges National Park to Wilpena Pound.
Wilpena is very popular with people visiting the Flinders Ranges and as we arrived latish in the day we couldn’t get a powered site, but we were not really worried as we have solar panels that charge up our camper batteries. We could select our own site, which were not so crammed together as the powered sites (another bonus) and chose one sheltered by some trees and overlooking a rehabilitation area. Nice. We could see kangaroos grazing amongst the trees only about 30 metres from our camper. We put up our full annex as we booked in for 3 nights – it gives us a bit more private space and the wind had come up strong during the afternoon.
We woke up next day to a fine clear morning, and put a load of washing into the washing machine before breakfast, and got organised to go for a bush walk. We had studied our guide the night before and worked out what we wanted to do while we were here.
There are 18 walk and hiking trails in the Flinders Ranges, some of which are easily accessed from the Wilpena Pound camp ground. Once the washing was on the line we drove to the Arkaroo Rock Hike about 17km south of Wilpena. Here there is a 3km return walk to see some Adnyamathanha aboriginal rock paintings under a rock overhang which are best seen in morning light. These ochre and charcoal drawings depict aspects of Ura Muda (dreaming) for Ikara (Wilpena). They have been enclosed in a wire enclosure to protect them from graffiti. Sad that this has had to be done, but at least they are now being protected and preserved. The Adnyamathanha people are the traditional custodians of the Flinders Ranges.
Hubbie likes taking photos of lizards - you can see one in the collage below...
After lunch, we followed a 116km scenic loop drive through the Ranges which brought us to some lookouts with magnificent views and we checked out a few of the bush camping sites.
We also visited Aroona Hut built in 1925 from typical pine and pug construction. The Australian landscape artist, Sir Hans Heysen’s used to often come to paint. You can see his inspiration in the magnificent river gums and the Flinders Ranges.
Parts of the long distance Heysen walk trail meanders through the Flinders Ranges.
On the way back from camp we saw lots of emus with chicks in the grasslands by the roadside.
Our second night was very cold and the wind was up so we put on our thermals and were in bed by 8.30pm. A bit different to the heat we’d had on the Oodnadatta Track!
Next morning we rose early and were on the 7.8km return Wangara Lookout Hike by 8am. This trail starts near the Wilpena camp ground. It was a lovely cool morning for walking. The first part is easy going and it was very pleasant walking on the flat trail beside the creek under the Red River Gums and I was delighted to be able to take some wildflower photos.
The trail takes you to the old stone-built Hills Homestead built in the early 1900s by early settlers, the Hill's family. As well as the history of farming in the area you can learn about the creation of the Flinders through aboriginal dream-time stories.
From here there is a rocky path to the lookout. There is a lower lookout 300 metres from the homestead, and an upper lookout 300 metres further up. Both lookouts give you magnificent views over the Wilpena Pound, known as Ikara by the Adnyamathanha people. The Pound itself is a huge natural amphitheatre 11km long and 5km wide. Surrounded by ranges, the highest point is St Mary Peak, 1170 metres high and the highest peak in South Australia.
My photos certainly don't come close to portraying the grandeur of Wilpena Pound.
A shuttle bus can take you the first 2km along the trail if you wish, but it is an easy walk. We decided that we didn’t need to do the more strenuous St Mary Peak walk to see the Pound and views of the Flinders Ranges. 22km and 9 hours, you would need a reasonable level of fitness to do this hike.
On the way back we viewed the Artists of the Flinders Art Exhibition at the old Wipena Woolshed. (Sadly all the paintings I would have bought had already been purchased – not that I would have known how we were going to transport a painting for the rest of our trip!)
Some info: ………..
- The Flinders Ranges National Park is one of South Australia’s iconic destinations. It covers 95,000 hectares of the central Flinders Ranges, approximately 450km north of Adelaide.
- Camp sites at Wilpena Pound are suitable for tents, camper trailers, motorhomes and caravans. You can buy basic supplies, drinks, snacks, and souvenirs from the shop adjacent to the Visitor Information Centre.
- You can enjoy a meal at the Wilpena Pound Resort restuarant.
- Walks and hikes range from 500 metres to 31km, including guided walks and challenging overnight treks. Please refer to brochures and information boards regarding distances, level of fitness required and degree of difficulty.
- The long distant Heysen walking trail stretches 1200km from the tip of the Fleurieu Peninsular in the south to Parachilna Gorge in the Flinders Ranges. The 900km Mawson mountain bike trail runs from Adelaide through the Flinders to Blinman.
- Best time to visit: April to October
- Park pass and camping fees apply.
- Pets not permitted.
- Another caravan and camping park close by to Wipena is Rawnsley Park Station - www.rawnsleypark.com.au
- For more information about the Flinders Ranges please click here www.parks.sa.gov.au
- Flinders Ranges - An Adventurer’s Guide by Ron and Viv Moon is an excellent guide book - www.guidebooks.com.au
If you missed any of my previous posts about our South Australia trip you can catch up by clicking on the links below -
- Part 1 - On the road through South Australia
- Part 2 - Granite & Woodlands Discovery Trail - Hyden to Norseman, Western Australia
- Part 3 - Crossing Australia - the Eyre Highway and the Nullarbor, Western & South Australia
- Quandongs - delicious bush food
- Part 4 - Rock Formations and wildflowers in the Gawler Ranges National Park
- Part 5 - Woomera, Coober Pedy, Arkaringa & the Painted Desert
- Part 6 - Outback on the Oodnadatta Track
- Part 7 - Brachina Gorge in the Flinders Ranges
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