Enhancing the visitor experience at Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park
As part of Government’s commitment to improve its nature-based tourism offering, 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.
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.
An investment of $3.5 million by the South Australian Government 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, an Aboriginal representative will monitor every aspect of the work to ensure the heritage and cultural values are respected and preserved.
The result of the investment 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.
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 mid 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Akurra Adnya (Arkaroo Rock) - Stage 2
Preparations for stage 2 upgrades are well underway which are anticipated to commence in April 2022.
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.
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.
Concept planning has already been completed to guide upgrades for key nodes along the 20 km trail.
Through new signage, the upgrades will ensure visitors are better informed to appreciate the geology, Adnyamathanha culture and features of the landscape. Digital interpretation is also being developed. Along with improved traffic flow and safety, this project will highlight the Ediacaran Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP), otherwise known as the Golden Spike site.
Detailed design has been completed for the Golden Spike site which is the only one located in the southern hemisphere.
Construction will commence in March 2022 which will see improved access to see the spike location and is anticipated to be completed by mid 2022. The former shale quarry adjacent to the Golden Spike site has been rehabilitated earlier this year and vegetation has begun sprouting. A carpark will be developed at this area with a short walking trail to the Golden Spike site.
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.
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.