My wife Pat and I have been to the Flinders Ranges many times, we’ve stayed in the national park, ‘free camped’ at places like Trezona or the Brachina East Campgrounds.
We’ve stayed at Willow Springs and Mount Little Stations, unfortunately the latter was closed to campers because of the current lack of rain, and is up for sale at the time of writing this, we wish current owners, the Blackmores all the best. However, we have never stayed in Wilpena Pound Caravan Park, something I wish we had discovered years ago.
Wilpena has always been a stop for supplies or fuel if required, but never for accommodation.
It was through a Travel Auction, purchased by my sister-in-law, that we were able to share five nights in the park. Kathy (sister-in-law) and Peter (brother-in-law) had never been through the Flinders, so we really wanted to show them some sights and help them discover it’s majestic beauty.
At this point, I want to acknowledge the Adnyamathanha people (pronounced Ad-na-mut-na), Traditional Owners of the Wilpena Pound (Ikara) and Flinders Ranges area, and co-managers of the Ikara Flinders Ranges National Park that surrounds the Resort.
Now, I’m not going to attempt to describe the cultural and spiritual connection to this land that the Adnyamathanha people have … best left to them. There are numerous occasions and tours that are available to help visitors understand this connection. We attended a traditional Welcome To Country, delivered in an entertaining and occasionally humorous way, but at all times delivered with respect for land, handed down from generation to generation.
So much to discover.
Our powered site in the caravan park was huge, not your traditional rack’m and stack’m type park, we were in the Flinders Ranges.
Emus, kangaroos and birds shared the park with us, but they were never a bother, remembering never to feed them.
One highlight was an oversized, inquisitive joey, hopping in and out of mum’s pouch for a rest and a feed. By the size of him (or her), I don’t think it will be long before that joey moves out, but I’m sure won’t be far from mum.
The park is a massive area with a massive amount of appeal and accommodation options.
The moon was massive as well, but as is the norm, it took longer to come up each night and on our second to last night, the extra darkness allowed us to be treated to (my favourite part of camping) a magnificent sky, full of stars.
We discovered more by both road and foot.
Peter and I went for an eight kilometre walk one day, from our camp up to the Wangarra Hill lookout. The walk was fantastic, the short climb to the lookout was OK, well laid out and easy steps, but it was a climb, and we had to stop couple of times to catch our breath and admire the scenery. Credit to the park for the signage and creating good walking tracks with rest areas all the way.
We also walked around Old Wilpena Station, a short distance from the Resort.
The station is one of South Australia’s oldest and best preserved pastoral settlements, easy to be drawn back in time, imagining the life and hardships of the folks living here. A guided tour is available, I reckon we would have learnt a heck of a lot and been drawn back even more, had we taken it.
By road, we did the obligatory pub crawl, via Brachina Gorge, grabbing a lemonade at Parachilna and then the Blinman pub, we never get sick of this landscape, discovering new (but very old) rock formations, new tracks, new signs and information … simply awesome!
Sacred Canyon, an aboriginal engraving site was also a discovery, at least it was another lesson not to drive past the sign. The road was a bit corrugated, but the destination was worth it.
Once again, a well signed and easy walk in, but as we got closer, again, we were drawn back in time, imagining the people or ancestral beings, as the Adnyamathanha people believe, creating the engravings and wandering this area, a time of dreaming.
I am always amazed at the different people we meet and the rigs they have, some way over the top and others as simple as can be.
Just across the road, also on a journey of discovery, we met Lisa, a mum taking her seven kids (aged from 6 to 15) from Victoria to Darwin, they were one week in and still smiling. Their trip will take them via Uluru, up to Darwin, then across and down to Perth, over the Nullabor, then home to Victoria. A quick trip (she’s allowed about ten weeks) with a VW people mover towing an older camper trailer, loaded kids, swags and supplies.
This is a whole new story … a journey of courage, maybe a bit crazy (Lisa’s words), and probably one of the best journeys of discovery a family can take. We hope to catch up with Lisa, to find out more as their journey continues. (Find them as Seven & Me on Facebook)
So … The Flinders Ranges, will we ever tire of it? … never!
Will we back? … absolutely!
This is a journey we highly recommend … discover!