Ikara-Flinders Range is the largest mountain range in South Australia, starting roughly 200 km from Adelaide. The ranges stretch 430 km from Port Pirie to Lake Callabonna. I begin today by acknowledging the Adnyamathanha people, Traditional Custodians of the land and pay my respects to their Elders past and present.
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How to Get there
The Ikara-Flinders Range is located roughly 500 km from Adelaide or a 5hr drive. You can fly from Adelaide to Port Augusta, which will take about 55mins and reduce your driving time to roughly 2hrs or 176km.
There are several accommodation options located in and around the Ikara-Flinders Range. Each offering a range of different accommodation options from; camping, cabins, luxury tents and motel-style rooms.
- Wilpena Pound Resort
This is the only accommodation besides National Park camping, located inside the National Park. Wilpena Pound offers 60 hotel style rooms ($193-$244aud PN), 15 glamping safari tents ($310aud PN), unpowered ($14aud PP/PN) and powered campsites ($25aud PP/PN). The resort includes a pool, bar and bistro, restaurant, scenic flights, IGA and small fuel station. The camping facilities include showers, camp kitchen and laundry facilities.
- Rawnsley Park Station
Rawnsley Park Station overlooks the southern side of Wilpena Pound and is only a short drive into the national park. Accommodation includes Eco Villas (from $470aud PN), homestead accommodation (from $610aud PN), holiday units (from $190aud PN) and camping accommodation (from $29aud PN). The station offers scenic flights and several tours.
- National Park camping
This is the cheapest option available. There are 8 campgrounds available to be booked online each ranging from 4-15 campsites. Some of the campgrounds are only accessible via 4WD, so I recommend checking online prior to booking. Bookings are essential in peak times. Sites will cost $17aud per night/per person. The only facilities available at the campgrounds are drop loo toilets. I stayed at Acraman Campgrounds for one night, this is close to the lookouts and offers great views of the ranges.
There are heaps of other accommodation options outside the National Park. If you don’t mind driving in, these may be worthwhile checking out.
What to do
There are several hiking tracks located around the National Park. The majority of the hikes are close to the accommodation.
- St Mary’s Peak: The highest peak in the park, 1171 metres above sea level. This peak offers impressive 360 degree views of the ranges and is classified as a ‘strenuous’ hike. There are two trails you can complete. The outside trail is 16.4km return and is the direct route to the top. It is relatively easy at the start but raises In difficulty when you reach the Tanderra Saddle. The Inside trail is 21.5kms return. It is advised not to complete this hike in wet weather. The Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners ask that you do not climb to the peak of St Mary Peak. This hike is most accessible via Wilpena Pound.
- Hills Homestead: A easy 6.6km return walk from Wilpena Pound. This trail will give an insight into local history and signage at the homestead tells the story of the daughter of the first pioneer family to live there. Give yourself roughly 2 hours to complete this hike. The St Mary’s Peak is part of this hike.
- Wangarra Lookout: This is an extension on the Hills Homestead trail and offers great views inside Wilpena Pound. It is 7.2km return to the lower lookout and 7.8km to the upper lookout. This hike can be completed in conjunction with the St Mary’s Peak trail.
- Mount Ohlseen Bagge: Rated as a difficult walk which will take you roughly 5 hrs and 6.4km return. This hike offers great views over the Wilpena Pound as it raises 941 metres above sea level. It has some steep rock scrambles. Best accessible via Wilpena Pound.
- Rawnsley Bluff: Rated as a difficult 12.6km return hike. This hike follows a creek bed before being a steep climb. Once you reach Lone Pine Lookout, you have done the worst part of this hike as the trail becomes less steep the more you ascend. This is best accessible via Rawnsley Park Station.
There are heaps of lookouts in the National Park, each offering unique views over the ranges. These are what I recommend you definitely stop at.
There are several companies that offer scenic flights over the ranges, and it’s definitely worth spending the extra cash!
- Air Wilpena: Departs from Wilpena Pound. Flights will cost $186-$330 per person, depending on which flight duration you choose. They also offer flights to Lake Ayre, William Creek and Anna Creek Painted Hills. Prices for these scenic flights are between $1085-$1433 per person.
- Chinta Air: Departs from Rawnsley Park Station. Flights will cost $170-$375 per person, depending on flight duration.
If you don’t want to do the 4WD tracks by yourself you can book a tour, these tours will cost you anywhere between $80 and $150. These can be booked through Wilpena Pound or Rawnsley Park Station.
If you are looking to learn more about the cultural significance of the Ikara-Flinders Range and its sites, you can book a cultural tour through one of the accommodation options. These tours will cost anywhere between $45-$90 per person.
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