The best known National Park in South Australia is the Flinders Ranges National Park. While the park only contains a small portion of the actual Flinders Ranges, it does contain the large bowl shaped feature known as Wilpena Pound. This is actually a broad valley which gently slopes upward in all directions and is raised above the surrounding country. A band of steep cliffs rims the valley so that from the outside it appears very rugged.
While most enter the pound on day walks, there are some good overnight walks in the area. The most popular and easiest is a circuit on tracks with a side-trip to Edeowie Gorge. Another popular destination on tracks is to follow the Heysen Trail to Black Gap. Popular off-track destinations are to Pompey Pillar and Rawnsley Bluff -while navigation is easy in the arid climate, experience at finding or carrying all your water needs is essential.
Wilpena Pound has a semi-arid climate and rainfall is fairly rare. Water for the main campsite is from a rock hole which has water sometimes - be prepared to carry all your water needs. The best time to walk here is the cooler months from May to October.
Wilpena Pound is located in the centre of the Flinders Ranges being about 350 km north of the state capital, Adelaide.
Sealed roads lead north from Adelaide to Hawker then to Wilpena, which is the park headquarters and entry point to Wilpena Pound. Access is good with a regular bus service from Adelaide four times a week.
The SA Department of Environment and Natural Resources produce the 1:50,000 Wilpena contour map which covers most of the walking routes. The rangers hand out basic information when you pay for your permit. Detailed track notes are available from many sources. Notes are in the booklet 'Flinders Ranges Walks' by Peter Beer, '50 Walks in South Australia' by Tyrone Thomas, 'Car Touring and Bushwalking in the Southern Flinders Ranges' by Grant Da Costa and also in 'Bushwalking in Australia'.
|Ranger station via St Marys Peak to Cooinda Camp
|Morning sidetrip to Edeowie Gorge, return to end via Wilpena Spring
Permits are required for camping in the pound and are available form the ranger at Wilpena. Inside the pound, camping is allowed at only one place, Cooinda Camp. Outside the pound, dispersed camping is allowed provided that water is available. During periods of high fire danger all camping is banned and I suggest not to come here during summer (December to March).