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Wilpena Pound Scenic Flight

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by Paula McManus (subscribe)
Photography obsessed writer and urban explorer. Lover of nature, art and long weekends. Adelaide, South Australia. https://www.facebook.com/paula.mcmanus1
Published September 21st 2020
A jaw dropper
On a recent trip to the Flinders, I realised a dream to fly over Wilpena Pound.

COVID almost got in the way of booking our flight - a couple of airlines previously operating in the area are unable to get planes into South Australia at the moment and it looked like we would have to wait for another time to fly. But with a few phone calls and a process of elimination, we got there! We got ourselves booked onto a 30 minute scenic from Rawnsley Park Station and it was everything I thought it would be.

Wilpena Pound Range Flinders Ranges
Wilpena Pound Range, Flinders Ranges (©paula mcmanus)


Our flight was the last of the day at 5pm (non-daylight savings time) and we started in grand style by flying parallel to the Chace Range - just east of Wilpena Pound. Because the runway was on Station property, we were seeing the magnificence of the Flinders within a minute of taking off. Below us were outback stations, undulating hills, roads and a seemingly never-ending line of mountain ridges.

Chace Range, Flinders Ranges
Chace Range, Flinders Ranges (©paula mcmanus)


We then looped back and flew straight over Rawnsley Bluff and through the centre of Wilpena Pound. My view through the window was of St Mary Peak, it was amazing to see the highest peak in the area so close that I could have touched it.

We flew further west and out over Edeowie Gorge with all the beautiful shapes and patterns of the western side of the range. Our pilot pointed out Lake Torrens to the west. It was a breathtaking sight with willy-willies blowing in across Australia's second-largest salt lake.

Lake Torrens
Lake Torrens (©paula mcmanus)


We flew north past Bunyeroo and Brachina Gorges and could see the road snaking through the landscape below. Back the other way, the late afternoon light was hitting the western side of the Wilpena Pound range. It was breathtaking to see. We captured the Pound in its completeness - a massive natural amphitheatre 17kilometres long by 7kilometres wide. An escarpment of sheer rock up to 1500ft high surrounds a huge circular basin – home to a whole host of animals, birds and vegetation and once a natural corral that graziers used for cattle needing higher ground in times of floods.

Wilpena Pound, Flinders Ranges
Wilpena Pound, Flinders Ranges (©paula mcmanus)


We started on the way back and flew over Rawnsley Park Station with the Elder Range in silhouette behind it. We had a running commentary from our pilot and he gave us a lot of information on what we were seeing. Seeing the area from above gave an appreciation of the scale and grandeur of Wilpena Pound. The views were extraordinary!

Dry river beds, Flinders Ranges
Dry river beds, Flinders Ranges (©paula mcmanus)



Seeing and experiencing the Flinders from the ground is special enough - but flying over it is something that I am so glad to have done and would do again in a heartbeat. If you've ever thought of doing it, I'd say just go and do it. It's certainly a bucket list tick event!

When booking your flight, try to get one that's early morning or late afternoon. The Ranges are oh so more spectacular with the sun close to the horizon.

Bunyeroo Valley Brachina Gorge Flinders Ranges
Bunyeroo Valley and Brachina Gorge, Flinders Ranges (©paula mcmanus)




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Why? On a recent trip to the Flinders, I realised a dream to fly over Wilpena Pound. We got ourselves booked onto a 30 minute scenic from Rawnsley Park Station and it was everything I thought it would be.
Your Comment
What stunning views. I would truly love to holiday in the area and a flight is slways a great way to really appreciate the terrain.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|8042) 36 days ago
What an unforgettable experience Paula. Thank you for sharing your adventure with us.
by Gillian Ching (score: 3|1459) 35 days ago
Fantastic article and photos Paula. You are correct in saying early morning or late afternoon is the best time for landscape photography as longer shadows gives depth to any images. And light aircraft is the way to go.
by Neil Follett (score: 2|939) 36 days ago
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