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Arkaroo Rock

Home > Flinders Ranges > Art | Escape the City | Nature | Photography | Walks
by Paula McManus (subscribe)
Photography obsessed writer and urban explorer. Lover of nature, art and long weekends. Adelaide, South Australia.
Published November 11th 2015
a site of significance
Arkaroo Rock in the Flinders Ranges is a significant cultural site for the Adnyamathana (pronounced Ad-na-mut-ta) people.

Aboriginal rock art Arkaroo
Arkaroo Rock, Flinders Ranges (©paula mcmanus)

The art at Arkaroo Rock (Akurra Adnya) tells the story of the creation of Wilpena Pound. It's a story from the Adnyamathana Dreamtime and is believed to be 5,000 years old.

The ceiling of the cave is named after mythological serpents, called Akurra (or Arkaroo).

It is believed that two Akurras entered into a long and vicious battle with a group of hunters. The hunters killed both of the snakes and it is their petrified bodies that form the outer walls of Wilpena Pound (Ikara).

Aboriginal rock art Arkaroo Flinders Ranges
Arkaroo Rock, Flinders Ranges (©paula mcmanus)

The head of the male snake forms St Mary Peak (Ngarri Mudlanha), the highest peak in the Flinders Ranges at 1170 metres. The head of the female snake is Beatrice Hill (Wilkalanha) which is 1148 metres high. The word 'Wilpena' means 'place of bent fingers' in Aboriginal language. The Pound is 14 kilometres long and 7 kilometres wide.

Ctenophorus decresii (Tawny Dragon)
Tawny Dragon (Ctenophorus decresii) ©paula mcmanus

Akurra is an important name in the Flinders and many places are named after this Dreamtime story: Arkaroola Village, Arkaroola Creek, Arkaroola Springs and the Arkaroo Rock in Wilpena Pound.

In the cave you will see many charcoal and red yellow and white ochre paintings of birds, people, snakes and waterholes. The paintings were made by mixing the colours with blood, water or animal fats and then brushed on with fingers and hands.

Aboriginal rock art Arkaroo Flinders Ranges
Arkaroo Rock walking trail, Flinders Ranges (©paula mcmanus)

Arkaroo Rock is at the base of Wilpena Pound in the southern part of the Flinders Ranges National Park. The rock art is protected by a cage. Camera lenses can easily fit through the cage wire.

The scenic walking track is a loop and is a total of 3 kilometres in length. Allow 1-2 hours to complete the walk and always check with the park rangers before heading in. Sometimes, due to weather and other events, sections of the park can be closed. Always carry water with you and be properly prepared for the elements.

Aboriginal rock art Arkaroo
Arkaroo Rock, Flinders Ranges (©paula mcmanus)

The views of the Ranges from the return track are stunning. Allow plenty of time to absorb the magnificence of the area. There are seats at intervals along the track for you to rest and enjoy.

There are 3 Aboriginal rock art sites in the Flinders that are open for visitor viewing. If you're travelling to the area, be sure to also check out Sacred Canyon and Yourambulla Caves.

43kms north of Hawker on the Wilpena Road

Walk Time:
2 hours (plus more for photo time)

3 kilometres

Difficulty level:

Walk trail type:

Suitable for:
Ambulant people only. The trail is uneven and rocky and steep in parts.

Seats, carpark, signage. NO toilets, water or shade

Further Info:
Dept of Environment, Water & Natural Resources Flinders Ranges National Park. Phone (08) 8648 0049

Flinders Ranges
Flinders Ranges (©paula mcmanus)
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Why? visit a cultural site of significance
Phone: 8648 0048
Where: Arkaroo Rock, Flinders Ranges
Your Comment
So many great memories of the Flinders and its people. I missed my annual trip there this year, but intend to be back with a vengeance during 2016.
by Steve Hudson (score: 3|1249) 1725 days ago
It's more than 40 years since I visited the Flinders Ranges but I would love to spend more time there. Your photos are amazing, you do our lovely country justice.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|7970) 1727 days ago
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