How to spend a few days in Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park

How to spend a few days in Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park



Want to make the most of your vis­it to this his­to­ry-rich park? We’ve got you cov­ered with this four-day itinerary.


The ancient and rugged desert land­scape of Ikara-Flinders Ranges Nation­al Park is a favourite des­ti­na­tion for vis­i­tors from all over the world.

The park is blessed with dra­mat­ic gorges and moun­tains, abun­dant wildlife and the rich cul­tur­al her­itage of the land’s Tra­di­tion­al Own­ers, the Adnya­math­anha people.

With so much to see and do, you’ll need to set aside a few days to tru­ly expe­ri­ence this fab­u­lous park.

Ranger Tom McIn­tosh has kind­ly put togeth­er an itin­er­ary to help you make the most of your next vis­it. Here are his tips:

Day 1 – arrive at the park

If you’re trav­el­ling from Ade­laide, Ikara-Flinders Ranges Nation­al Park is about a 5‑hour dri­ve, so by the time you arrive you’ll prob­a­bly want to head straight to your camp­site to set up.

There’s 10 camp­grounds dot­ted around the park. Most have toi­let facil­i­ties, as well as fire pits that can be used out­side of the fire dan­ger sea­son.

My favourite camp­ground is Tre­zona Camp­ground, which is locat­ed along the Brachi­na Gorge Road on the edge of a gum creek.

It has tall trees offer­ing plen­ty of shade, and the camp­sites are big and suit­able for all campers includ­ing car­a­vans and motorhomes. There are no street lights any­where near­by, so it’s the per­fect spot for stargaz­ing.

Top tip: You’ll need to book your camp­site and vehi­cle entry fees before you arrive as there’s no mobile phone cov­er­age at any of the camp­grounds. Camp­sites can be booked online or at one of our book­ing agents such as the Wilpe­na Pound Vis­i­tor Cen­tre.

How to spend a few days in Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park

Day 2 – Brachi­na and Bun­yeroo Gorges

Morn­ing

There’s no need for an alarm clock, the birds will let you know when the sun starts peak­ing over the horizon.

After an ear­ly break­fast, head into Brachi­na Gorge and try to spot a yel­low-foot­ed rock wal­la­by. If you’re lucky you’ll see them high up on the steep slopes of the gorge.

While you’re there, check out the Brachi­na Gorge Geo­log­i­cal Trail. Brachi­na Gorge is home to some of the old­est fos­sils on earth and pro­vides a win­dow into the 650 mil­lion years of the earth’s history.

The trail is a 20 km self-guid­ed trail with sig­nage explain­ing the fas­ci­nat­ing geol­o­gy of the area.

Top tip: Your best chance to see yel­low-foot­ed rock wal­la­bies is in the morn­ing and late after­noon, par­tic­u­lar­ly dur­ing hot weath­er as they try to escape the desert heat by bask­ing in the shade of the gorge.

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Brachi­na Gorge

Lunch

Make your way south towards Bun­yeroo Gorge and stop at Twin Gums Pic­nic Area for lunch.

The twin gums stand tall on either side of the road and make an impres­sive nat­ur­al frame for the bud­ding pho­tog­ra­ph­er. If you need toi­lets, there’s some locat­ed at the near­by Acra­man Camp­ground.

After­noon

Con­tin­ue your jour­ney into Buyeroo Gorge. If you feel like stretch­ing your legs, take a stroll along the Bun­yeroo Gorge Hike and explore the peace­ful gum-lined gorge.

The 7.5 km return hike will take about 3.5 hours to com­plete, but if you are short on time, you can always turn back early.

Fol­low the road through Bun­yeroo Gorge and as you climb up the hill make sure you stop at Razor­back Look­out to see one of the park’s most icon­ic landscapes.

It’s now time to start mak­ing tracks back to your camp­site. You can either com­plete the loop road that will take you to the Hawk­er to Blin­man Road or you can head back through the gorges.

Top tip: If you head back via the Hawk­er to Blin­man Road, make a stop at the Per­awurtina Cul­tur­al Her­itage Site (near Din­g­ley Dell Camp­ground) to vis­it the Abo­rig­i­nal engravings.

How to spend a few days in Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park

Day 3 – Wilpe­na Pound

Morn­ing

The icon­ic Wilpe­na Pound, known as Ikara to the Adnya­math­anha peo­ple, lies at the heart of the park and also at the heart of the Adnya­math­anha Dreaming.

This spec­tac­u­lar land­form is a must see when vis­it­ing the park and can be enjoyed along one of the many bush­walk­ing trails.

How to spend a few days in Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park

Head out on one of the many trails, of var­i­ous lengths and dif­fi­cul­ty that depart from the Wilpe­na Pound Vis­i­tor Centre.

The Hills Home­stead Walk is rat­ed as an easy trail, and makes its way inside Wilpe­na Pound to the orig­i­nal home­stead that was home to the ear­ly pastoralists.

From the Hills Home­stead you can head up to the Wan­gara Look­outs via the short but stren­u­ous 1.2 km trail. The look­outs will reward you with spec­tac­u­lar panoram­ic views of the inte­ri­or of Wilpe­na Pound.

Allow your­self 2 hours to com­plete the Hills Home­stead Walk and 3.5 hours if you con­tin­ue to the lookouts.

Up for a big­ger adven­ture? Go on an all-day hike on the St Mary Peak — Ngar­ri Mud­lan­ha Hike. St Mary Peak is the high­est point of the Flinders Ranges at 1171m above sea lev­el and is cen­tral to the to the Adnya­math­anha Dream­ing cre­ation story.

For this rea­son, the Adnya­math­anha peo­ple would pre­fer that vis­i­tors don’t climb to the sum­mit of the peak and instead only go as far as Tander­ra Sad­dle, which offers spec­tac­u­lar views.

You can either take the direct 14.6 km return route, which takes about 6 hours, or the longer 21.5 km loop which takes about 9 hours.

This hike is rat­ed as hard and requires a high lev­el of fit­ness and prepa­ra­tion. Make sure you take plen­ty of water, start the hike ear­ly in the day and bring first aid sup­plies. Note: the trail is closed dur­ing the sum­mer months for safe­ty reasons.

How to spend a few days in Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park

Lunch

After work­ing up an appetite, head back to Wilpe­na Pound Resort for a bite to eat. Options at the resort com­plex include the IGA Xpress Store that sells gro­ceries and take­away food and the Pod­dy Dodgers Bar that has sit-down restau­rant meals.

After­noon

Spend the after­noon explor­ing and learn­ing about the pas­toral her­itage of the Flinders Ranges on the Liv­ing with the Land Walk.

The 1 km walk will take you around the build­ing of the old home­stead, where you’ll learn about the ear­ly Euro­pean set­tlers and Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple who share the pas­toral her­itage of the area. Along the way you’ll like­ly see lots of kan­ga­roos, euros, emus and abun­dant birdlife.

On your way back to your camp­site make sure you stop at the Hucks and Stokes look­outs which you’ll find just off the Hawk­er to Blin­man Road. Both of these look­outs offer amaz­ing views and are great spots to admire a desert sunset.

Top tip: An alter­na­tive option for the after­noon is to take a scenic flight over Wilpe­na Pound to get a full appre­ci­a­tion of the grandeur of this amaz­ing place. Scenic flights can be booked through the Wilpe­na Pound Vis­i­tor Centre.

How to spend a few days in Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park

Day 4 – on the way home

Morn­ing

Unfor­tu­nate­ly all good things must come to an end, so unless you have a few extra days to spend here it’s time to pack up camp and head home.

If you’re head­ing south towards Ade­laide, make sure you take some time to vis­it the Adnya­math­anha rock paint­ings at Arka­roo Rock. The ochre and char­coal images tell the Dream­ing sto­ry of the cre­ation of Ikara (Wilpe­na Pound).

It’s best to see them in the morn­ing light when the sun is shin­ing on them. The 3 km Arka­roo Rock Hike loop trail will take about 2 hours to com­plete and is rat­ed as a mod­er­ate hike. There are some steep sec­tions and loose sur­faces, but you’ll find it rewarding.

Top tip: Avoid the heavy traf­fic of High­way 1 and head home to Ade­laide via Wilm­ing­ton and Mel­rose. If you have time, drop into Alli­ga­tor Gorge in Mount Remark­able Nation­al Park.

How to spend a few days in Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park

Main image: Cazneaux Tree

This sto­ry was orig­i­nal­ly post­ed in July 2019


This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living