5 treasures in Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park

5 treasures in Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park

Vis­it­ing the Flinders? Explore like a pro with these tips from our park insiders.

If the icon­ic scenery of out­back Aus­tralia is what you’re after, Ikara-Flinders Ranges Nation­al Park cer­tain­ly delivers.

From rugged moun­tain ranges and stun­ning gorges to abun­dant wildlife and his­tor­i­cal sites, there’s no short­age of mag­i­cal places at this park.

Locat­ed 450 kilo­me­tres north of Ade­laide, Ikara-Flinders Ranges is also home to Ikara/​Wilpena Pound, an ancient meet­ing place of the park’s tra­di­tion­al own­ers, the Adnya­math­anha people.

We explored the park with Senior Ranger Tom McIn­tosh and Park Admin­is­tra­tion Offi­cer and Adnya­math­anha woman Tanya McKen­zie, who shared some of their top picks for you to check out on your next visit.

1. Abo­rig­i­nal heritage

If bush­walk­ing is up your alley, make your way to Arka­roo Rock, about 17 kilo­me­tres south of Ikara/​Wilpena Pound. When you get there, be pre­pared for a gen­tle uphill hike. It should take about an hour to com­plete the round-trip. Pause to take in the lush sur­rounds and stun­ning views as you make your way to Arka­roo Rock. Here you’ll find ochre and char­coal rock paint­ings from the land’s tra­di­tion­al owners.

Oth­er­wise, plan a vis­it to Sacred Canyon, about 19 kilo­me­tres south-east of Wilpe­na Pound. This site can only be accessed with an Adnya­math­anha guide through a cul­tur­al tour booked at Wilpe­na Pound Resort. Enjoy the short walk along the creek until you’re ful­ly immersed in a spec­tac­u­lar gorge. Look around and you’ll see Abo­rig­i­nal etch­ings in the rock faces, thought to depict ani­mal tracks and people.

Insid­er tip: Don’t be con­fused if you see anoth­er show-stop­ping rock as you make your way up the hill to Arka­roo Rock – it’s not time to turn back. Keep walk­ing and you’ll soon see the amaz­ing her­itage site. Stay on the track as it winds itself back down the hill.

5 treasures in Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park

2. Pound Gap Track

The jour­ney into Ikara/​Wilpena Pound is almost as breath­tak­ing as the pound itself. Walk along the Pound Gap Track on the Wan­gar­ra Look­out Hike route and take in the seren­i­ty. The majes­tic trees, Wilpe­na Creek and the water­hole all tell a sto­ry of the rich his­to­ry of this part of the park.

Keep walk­ing along the track and you’ll see Hill Home­stead and the signs for the Wan­gar­ra Look­out. It’s a short­ish, mild­ly stren­u­ous trek to the top, but the views are worth it. This is Wilpe­na Pound from the inside.

Insid­er tip: the water­hole is more than 40 metres deep and is the sole water source for the near­by Wilpe­na Pound Resort.

5 treasures in Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park

3. Wildlife

When you get warned to watch out for roos – they’re not kid­ding. As dusk falls, you can see hun­dreds of kan­ga­roos graz­ing in the grass­lands or flip­pant­ly bounc­ing across the road in front of you.

Con­ser­va­tion is a big deal at this park. For Yel­low-foot­ed rock-wal­la­bies, Ikara-Flinders Ranges Nation­al Park has been a sav­iour for this once-threat­ened pop­u­la­tions. The Bounce­back pro­gram that start­ed in the ear­ly 90s is all about restor­ing the nat­ur­al ecol­o­gy of the park and as well as the Yel­low-foot­ed rock-wal­la­by recov­ery, it’s also includ­ed the rein­tro­duc­tion of local­ly-extinct species like west­ern quolls and brush­tail pos­sums. See how many you can spot around the park.

Insid­er tip: If you go to the back of the Vis­i­tor Cen­tre at Wilpe­na Pound and cross the road, you’ll find a series of signs explain­ing the flo­ra and fau­na con­ser­va­tion efforts in the park.

5 treasures in Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park

4. Brachi­na Gorge

A geologist’s dream real­ly comes to life in Brachi­na Gorge. You’ve got mil­lion-year-old rocks sur­round­ing you and fos­silised ani­mal remains pre­served in the rocks – now that’s what you call his­to­ry. Take a wan­der through and see if you can spot a fault line through the rocks or the shell-like remains of an ani­mal that exist­ed long ago. Watch your back while you’re at it, this area’s a haven for Yel­low-foot­ed rock-wallabies.

Insid­er tip: Tip some water over the lime­stone rocks and you’ll get an even clear­er look at the pre­served fossils.

5 treasures in Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park

5. Old Wilpe­na Station

Adding to the his­tor­i­cal nature of this park is Old Wilpe­na Sta­tion. It was a work­ing sta­tion for 135 years, right up until 1985, and is one of South Australia’s best pre­served pas­toral sites. The blacksmith’s cot­tage, sta­bles, garage, home­stead and ceme­tery will give you a pic­ture of the region’s first Euro­pean settlers.

Insid­er tip: Look out for Bookkeeper’s Hut – it’s among the old­est sur­viv­ing build­ings in the Flinders Ranges.

5 treasures in Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park

Park of the Month

Through­out the month of July, Ikara-Flinders Ranges Nation­al Park is being cel­e­brat­ed as one of Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice’s Parks of the Month.

There are heaps of events and activ­i­ties to get involved in to help you explore the park. Check the web­site for all the details.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living