Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park

Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park

Enhanc­ing the vis­i­tor expe­ri­ence at Ikara-Flinders Ranges Nation­al Park 

Vis­i­tor facil­i­ties in the Ikara-Flinders Ranges Nation­al Park are being upgrad­ed to show­case some of its most unique land­scapes and cul­tur­al attractions. 

Locat­ed approx­i­mate­ly 450 km north of Ade­laide, Ikara-Flinders Ranges Nation­al Park is in the cen­tral Flinders Ranges and is con­sid­ered one of the state’s icon­ic destinations.

The part­ner­ship

Ikara-Flinders Ranges Nation­al Park (I‑FRNP) is man­aged by the I‑FRNP Co-man­age­ment Board (the Board) in part­ner­ship under a Co-man­age­ment Agree­ment with the Adnya­math­anha peo­ple. This co-man­age­ment arrange­ment com­menced in 2012, and the Board sets the strate­gic direc­tion for the park includ­ing sup­port for the State Government’s bid to secure World Her­itage recog­ni­tion of the Flinders Ranges in the future.

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia

The project

This project aims to cel­e­brate the nat­ur­al and cul­tur­al assets of Ikara-Flinders Ranges Nation­al Park while boost­ing region­al tourism oppor­tu­ni­ties for the long-term.

Through­out the upgrades, Abo­rig­i­nal rep­re­sen­ta­tives mon­i­tor each aspect of the work to ensure the her­itage and cul­tur­al val­ues are respect­ed and preserved. 

The result of the project aims to pro­vide a unique oppor­tu­ni­ty for local Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­ni­ties to devel­op busi­ness­es that offer tours and cul­tur­al expe­ri­ences and link vis­i­tors to accom­mo­da­tion and ser­vice providers in adja­cent townships. 

Projects under­way

To ful­ly enable vis­i­tors to enjoy the nat­ur­al beau­ty, geol­o­gy and spir­i­tu­al con­nec­tion of the land and Adnya­math­anha cul­ture, upgrades to vis­i­tor facil­i­ties are under­way and will con­tin­ue through to late 2022.

Akur­ra Adnya (Arka­roo Rock) — Stage 1

The Akur­ra Adnya (Arka­roo Rock) trail pro­vides one of the best exam­ples of Adnya­math­anha rock art and is already a pop­u­lar walk­ing expe­ri­ence in the park. The 2 hour / 3 km round loop trail leads to a rock shel­ter con­tain­ing ochre and char­coal images that depict aspects of the Yura Muda for Ikara (Wilpe­na Pound).

Adnyamathanha rock art that will be protected and celebrated at Arkaroo Rock

After a short site clo­sure while work was car­ried out, stage 1 of the upgrades to vis­i­tor facil­i­ties were com­plet­ed in ear­ly Decem­ber 2021 and the site has re-opened.

The entry area to the hike has been reju­ve­nat­ed with new­ly devel­oped inter­pre­ta­tion that shares the cul­tur­al sig­nif­i­cance of the area.

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia

The exist­ing car park which was in dis­re­pair has been resur­faced and mod­i­fied to max­imise shade for vehi­cles. Bol­lards have also been installed to guide traf­fic flow and ensure safety.

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia

New pic­nic facil­i­ties now allow vis­i­tors to linger longer after a hike and to refresh amongst some of the most spec­tac­u­lar scenery in the north­ern Flinders Ranges.

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia

A much wel­comed addi­tion to the site is the inclu­sion of a toi­let. The toi­let not only pro­vides relief for visitor’s thirsty work hik­ing the near­by trail, it will aid pro­tec­tion of the envi­ron­ment assist­ing vis­i­tors in a bust­ing situation.

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia

Akur­ra Adnya (Arka­roo Rock) — Stage 2

Prepa­ra­tions for stage 2 upgrades are well under­way which are antic­i­pat­ed to com­mence in late 2022 (pend­ing approvals). 

Stage 2 upgrades will focus on the rock-art site along with a bridge replace­ment on the hik­ing trail. The rock-art site itself will receive a new view­ing area that will enable vis­i­tors to see the ancient ochre and char­coal rock-art images up-close in the best pos­si­ble con­di­tions. A unique­ly designed inter­pre­tive screen will pro­tect the paint­ings that have been car­bon-dat­ed to more than 6,000 years of age. 

Inter­pre­tive sig­nage will be locat­ed at the view­ing area to bet­ter inform vis­i­tors of the site’s cul­tur­al significance.

In mid-2021, autho­ri­sa­tions under the sec­tions 21 and 23 of the Abo­rig­i­nal Her­itage Act 1988 (SA) (Act) were sought for the pro­posed stage 2 works.

In ear­ly 2022, Abo­rig­i­nal Affairs and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion con­sult­ed with Tra­di­tion­al Own­ers and Abo­rig­i­nal Peo­ple that have an inter­est in Akur­ra Adnya (Arka­roo Rock). The appli­ca­tion is cur­rent­ly under review. The con­struc­tion start date is depen­dent on the Min­is­ter for Abo­rig­i­nal Affairs approv­ing the project under the Act.

3D artist impression of the proposed upgrade of visitor facilities at the Arkaroo Rock art site.
3D artist impression of the proposed upgrade of visitor facilities at the Arkaroo Rock art site.
Artist impression close-up of the rock-art site with new interpretive screen.
Artist impression close-up of the rock-art site with new interpretive screen.

The Brachi­na Gorge Geo­log­i­cal Trail

The Brachi­na Gorge Geo­log­i­cal Trail is a self-dri­ve expe­ri­ence that reveals a series of geo­log­i­cal for­ma­tions that were cre­at­ed between 640 to 520 mil­lion years ago. 

Enhanc­ing the unique geo­log­i­cal and pale­on­to­log­i­cal val­ues dis­played along the Brachi­na Gorge Geo­log­i­cal Trail will aid the upcom­ing nom­i­na­tion for World Her­itage for the Flinders Ranges. The nom­i­na­tion is slat­ed for sub­mis­sion to UNESCO in 2024 and will recog­nise the Flinders Ranges as the only place on Earth where 350 mil­lion years of near-con­tin­u­ous geo­log­i­cal sequence can be seen. The Flinders Ranges demon­strates evi­dence of the rise of a hab­it­able plan­et and the dawn of ani­mal life.

Family enjoying the creek bed along the Brachina Gorge Geological Trail

Upgrades along the Brachi­na Gorge Geo­log­i­cal Trail have already com­menced and aim to improve traf­fic flow and safe­ty through improved wayfind­ing prompts, updat­ed inter­pre­ta­tion and vis­i­tor ameni­ties. Local­ly sourced con­struc­tion mate­ri­als have been sourced that are hard wear­ing to with­stand the ele­ments and com­ple­ment the nat­ur­al envi­ron­ment – pre­dom­i­nant­ly mild steel, sus­tain­ably sourced cypress pine and local grav­els and stone.

The four key vis­i­tor nodes that are receiv­ing upgrades include:

East­ern Gate­way
Con­sid­ered to be the main entry into the park and accessed by the Flinders Ranges Way. 

Youn­goona Hut
Locat­ed 4 km from the east­ern Brachi­na Gorge Road gate­way, the site is a pop­u­lar loca­tion for vis­i­tors to see the stro­ma­to­lites in the near­by Eno­ra­ma Creek. 

Edi­acaran Glob­al Stra­to­type Sec­tion & Point (GSSP)
Also known as the Gold­en Spike, the GSSP attrac­tion is a brass mark­er iden­ti­fy­ing the end of the Elati­na glacia­tion and Cryo­gen­ian Peri­od and the start of the Edi­acaran Period.

West­ern Gate­way
Locat­ed 12 km east of the Out­back Way, it is expect­ed that traf­fic to this site will increase when roads become bitu­minised fur­ther north of the location.

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia

The vis­i­tor expe­ri­ence along the Brachi­na Gorge Geo­log­i­cal Trail will be ampli­fied, with enhanced con­nec­tion to the land­scape in an unob­tru­sive and respect­ful man­ner. The upgrades will also ensure vis­i­tors are bet­ter informed to appre­ci­ate the geol­o­gy, Adnya­math­anha cul­ture and fea­tures of the landscape. 

A project high­light includes new vis­i­tor facil­i­ties at the Edi­acaran Glob­al Stra­to­type Sec­tion and Point (GSSP), oth­er­wise known as the Gold­en Spike site. 

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia

Upgrad­ed vis­i­tor facil­i­ties at the Gold­en Spike

Work is near­ing com­ple­tion at the site of the Edi­acaran Glob­al Stra­to­type Sec­tion and Point (GSSP) also known as the Gold­en Spike and is the only one locat­ed in the south­ern hemisphere. 

Until now, its loca­tion on the edge of the Eno­ra­ma Creek has been some­what unknown but sought-after by geol­o­gists and vis­i­tors who are eager to see the lay­ered chap­ters of time.

At the entry to the attrac­tion, the for­mer shale quar­ry was reha­bil­i­tat­ed in 2021 and recent­ly con­vert­ed into a park­ing area for 6 angled vehi­cle spaces and 40 metres of long-vehi­cle par­al­lel park­ing. A clear and defined turn-around space has been cre­at­ed with cypress bol­lards allow­ing for pedes­tri­an safe­ty adja­cent to the trail lead­ing to a new view­ing platform.

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia

From the park­ing area, a com­pact­ed shale trail pro­vides uni­ver­sal access to a new view­ing plat­form over­look­ing the Gold­en Spike and sur­round­ing creek bed. 

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia

A low dry stone wall sup­ports the paved view­ing plat­form and includes seat­ing and steps to the Tre­zona Loop Walk Track and clos­er access to see the Gold­en Spike mark­er up-close. An inter­pre­ta­tion post has also been incor­po­rat­ed in the design that will pro­vide vis­i­tors with infor­ma­tion of the area’s sig­nif­i­cance in the near future.

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia

Upgrades at Youn­goona Hut site

The next stage of upgrades along the Brachi­na Gorge Geo­log­i­cal Trail are now under­way at the site of Youn­goona Hut.

New trail access and a vehi­cle turn-around space is cur­rent­ly being devel­oped at this pop­u­lar loca­tion where vis­i­tors seek-out the stro­ma­to­lites in the near­by Eno­ra­ma Creek. As part of the upgrade, improved wayfind­ing mark­ers and inter­pre­ta­tion will be incor­po­rat­ed in the near future. 

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia

Upgrades to the East­ern Brachi­na Gorge Road Gateway

A more impact­ful east­ern gate­way entry/​exit will be cre­at­ed for the Brachi­na Gorge Geo­log­i­cal Trail.

Locat­ed 35 km north of Wilpe­na Pound, the east­ern entry to Brachi­na Gorge Geo­log­i­cal Trail is con­sid­ered to be the main entry into the park, and is accessed by the Flinders Ranges Way.

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia

In the future, inter­pre­ta­tion posts will wel­come all vis­i­tors to the geo­log­i­cal trail and invite them to stop upon entry.

A notice­able upgrade will be the extend­ed, 95 metre shale grav­eled park­ing area (accom­mo­dat­ing long vehi­cles) and pro­vid­ing greater safe­ty for vis­i­tors who stop to learn about the area.

Adja­cent on the west­ern side, there will also be a new, 45 metre long vehi­cle turn around space cre­at­ed off the Brachi­na Gorge Road. Both vehi­cle areas will be dis­tinc­tive­ly sec­tioned from pedes­tri­an zones through instal­la­tion of cypress bol­lards and signage.

The exist­ing shel­ter will be adapt­ed to pro­vide a vis­i­tor expe­ri­ence that feels more open-to-the-land­scape’ and uni­ver­sal­ly acces­si­ble. The exist­ing sides of the shel­ter will be opened with a new adja­cent area ded­i­cat­ed to inter­pre­ta­tion of the trail.

New seat­ing will allow vis­i­tors to linger longer and to appre­ci­ate the sur­round­ing envi­ron­ment as they jour­ney plan. The exist­ing memo­r­i­al stone will be relo­cat­ed to com­ple­ment the over­all site.

Refuse areas will remain but screened sym­pa­thet­i­cal­ly with­in the landscape.

Upgrades to the West­ern Brachi­na Gorge Road Gateway

A more impact­ful west­ern gate­way entry/​exit will be cre­at­ed for the Brachi­na Gorge Geo­log­i­cal Trail.

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia

Locat­ed 12 km east of the Out­back Way, the exist­ing rock entry sig­nage will remain but be enhanced with new inter­pre­ta­tion posts and road-island sig­nage to wel­come all vis­i­tors to the geo­log­i­cal trail.

The more impact­ful entry will encour­age vis­i­tors to stop at the land­scape view­ing area. It is expect­ed that traf­fic to this site will increase when roads become bitu­minised fur­ther north of the location.

Park­ing areas will be for­malised using cypress bol­lards clear­ly indi­cat­ing turn-around areas (accom­mo­dat­ing long vehi­cles) with wheel stops installed for indi­vid­ual car parks.

The north­ern and east­ern sides of the exist­ing shel­ter will be opened to pro­vide greater views of the land­scape. An adja­cent area will be lev­elled for a uni­ver­sal­ly acces­si­ble area. New seat­ing will also be intro­duced enabling a place to con­tem­plate and jour­ney plan.

The Cazneaux Tree

Tor­ren­tial storms rav­aged the Flinders Ranges over the 2021 Aus­tralia Day long week­end with flood­ing dam­ag­ing the bridge to the Cazneaux Tree view­ing area. 

Since then, work has been under­way to rebuild the bridge and enable vis­i­tor access back to this pop­u­lar site which is pop­u­lar for cap­tur­ing a tree that has endured years of harsh weath­er con­di­tions against the sun­lit Flinders Ranges. 

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia

Also com­ing soon is inter­pre­ta­tion along the short walk­ing trail in and around the tree’s view­ing area which will explain the untold sto­ries of the site. Met­al sign podi­ums have already been installed and the inter­pre­ta­tion designs are almost com­plete for pro­duc­tion and then instal­la­tion. Both are ear­marked for com­ple­tion by mid 2022 which will see a new vis­i­tor attrac­tion locat­ed not far from Wilpe­na Pound in the Ikara-Flinders Ranges Nation­al Park.

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