Photography obsessed writer and urban explorer. Lover of nature, art and long weekends. Adelaide, South Australia.
Published October 3rd 2013
Wilpena Pound (Ikara) is a natural amphitheatre of mountains located in the heart of the Flinders Ranges National Park. The Pound, including the ranges, is approximately 17km long by 8km wide and covers an area of approximately 100km. The floor of Wilpena Pound is level and is approximately 8km long by 4km wide.
Within the National Park are some of the most spectacular landscapes that you're likely to see anywhere on earth.
Wilpena Pound is only a few minutes from Hawker - just 7kms, but allow some time to stop in at all the lookouts - they are worth stopping for and getting some photos.
The roads all through the National Park from Hawker to Blinman are sealed and are easy travelling for any vehicle. Roads through the gorges are all unsealed and, depending on the time of year, could be a little harsh on the average family car. Any vehicle with a reasonable clearance should be fine.
The best place to start with your visit to Wilpena Pound is the Visitor Information Centre. You'll find all the information that you'll need in order to thoroughly enjoy the Park and it's natural attractions. Apart from maps and traveller info, there are picnic tables, good clean toilets, an extensive souvenir shop, petrol pumps and a cafe.
Stay for a day or 4 There is so much to see that staying a few days really is the best option. Within in the National Park you could stay in the Wilpena Pound Resort or do some bush camping. There are many local stations that offer a unique accommodation experience. Some offer backpacking and motel accommodation, others offer the full outback Eco experience. But, in my opinion, you'll want to spend several days to fully explore the Park's stunning landscapes, the ancient Aboriginal rock art sites, the incredible wildlife and the fossil heritage.
From the air Wilpena Pound is best viewed from the air and seeing it from a plane is recommended. Scenic flights leave from the nearby airstrip
From the ground There are many bushwalking trails to enjoy. The Heysen Trail goes through the National Park, but is closed each year from 1st December to 31 March and on days of Total Fire Bans. The long and very challenging walk to St Mary peak (Ngarri Mudlanha) will offer the most amazing views of the Pound. However, the traditional owners, the Adnyamathanha, have requested that visitors climb to the nearby Tanderra Saddle as St Mary Peak is a sacred site and should not be accessed. Information on the Tanderra Saddle/St Mary Peak walk can be obtained from the Wilpena Pound Visitor Centre.
It's vitally important to always carry water and first aid equipment with you at all times - at any time of year. There is more information on your visitor safety at the Visitor Centre.
How to get there Wilpena Pound is located 430kms from Adelaide in South Australia.
The most scenic route to Wilpena Pound from Adelaide is via the Clare Valley where you turn onto RM Williams Way and head through Jamestown and Orroroo. The more direct and possibly quicker route is on Highway 1 to Port Augusta, Quorn and then to Hawker. Either way, it's roughly 4 and a half hours to 5 hours to Wilpena from Adelaide.