The day was glorious- after a cool night we woke to blue skies and a warm sun.
The visitors centre is at the main building as you drive into the Wilpena Resort. It also houses an IGA which would be so helpful for the many campers.
The area is very sheltered with lots of beautiful trees providing shade during the hot summer months.
The Aboriginal guides at the centre have lots of helpful advice on the many walks and the drives we could take to discover the sights of the area.
With a plan in mind we set off. The resident emus were there to say goodbye as we headed back out to the explorers way.
Our first turn off was to Bunyeroo Gorge. The road was dirt but not too bumpy. Before long the grandeur of the mountain ranges started to appear.
The gorge here is so different to the gorges on the Gibb River. Spectacular, yes, Rocky, yes, but accessible by 4 wheel drive. We drive into Bunyeroo and are immediately surrounded by the ranges. Bunyeroo Gorge is one of the main gorges which runs through the Heysen Range towards Lake Torrens.
As we drive through the gorge the trees are magnificent. The gums are huge. The pine trees line up along the creek and the road.
As we drive through the Gorge the size of the limestone cliffs either side look awesome.
The creeks we cross have large stones and it’s easy to see how high the water level got to the last time the creek flowed.
Continuing on we came to Brachina Gorge which was just as inspiring as the Bunyeroo Gorge. It’s wonderful to see it close up. Not to be scrambling over rocks and boulders!
We passed as few cars and came upon a group of young cyclists from St. Peter’s School in Adelaide. They were doing over 300 km over their 10 days in the area. They were young , enthusiastic and will sleep well at night!
After we left the Gorge area we spotted a vine growing along the road. It’s a Paddy melon which is a poisonous fruit for humans and most animals.
We stopped for a picnic at the curiously named Dingly Dell. It sounds so Irish. There are little picnic tables set up through the Gorge and in the turnoffs to lookouts. So thoughtful!
Nearby we spotted a camper with their washing strung out capturing the lovely sun and breeze. Perfect.
We drove, we pottered, we left the car for little walks and we returned to Wilpena Pound for a walking tour of the historic homestead.
All the tours at Wilpena are conducted by local Adnyamathanha people. Local guide John McKenzie says Adnyamathanya’s made up of two indigenous words: Adnya, meaning rock, and mathanya, meaning people.
Wilpena Pound itself is an immense horseshoe-shaped feature known locally as Ikara. It was once used by pastoralists as a natural stock pen. Today, it’s the jewel in the crown of this rugged landscape.
Six years ago, the traditional owners of this land acquired Wilpena Pound Resort.
It allows locals, who’re fiercely proud of their heritage, to share their knowledge of culture and country directly with tourists.
John is good at sharing his heritage with us. Helping us understand what it was like for the local mob when the white pastoralists arrived at the Pound.
They worked for the pastoralists on what had been their land. We toured the remains of the building that made up the farm.
John told us the story of the creation of Wilpena Pound. it differed somewhat from the geological description offer by scientists but is a Dreamtime story passed down by the local mob.
Long before the coming of white settlers to Wilpena, there was an old Kingfisher Man called Yurlu who lived in the west near Kuyani territory. He journeyed south from his home at Kakarlpunha (Termination Hill) to attend an important Malkada (corroboree) at Ikara (Wilpena Pound). Passing through Brachina Gorge on his way to the ceremony, Yurlu saw two giant serpents (Akurra) travelling in the same direction. The snakes scared him and he hid behind low hills until they passed.
Yurlu stopped to light a big signal fire to inform his people that he was coming. The charcoal of that fire remains today in the form of the massive coal deposits that have been mined for decades at Leigh Creek.
Passing through Brachina Gorge on his way to the ceremony, Yurlu saw two giant serpents travelling in the same direction. The snakes scared him and he hid behind low hills until they passed. The two Akurra (male and female) were so bloated by the feast that they coiled up, and died. They now form the ring of hill surrounding the Pound.
It’s a great story and it’s important these stories are passed down.
After the tour we walked back to the resort or Chalet as it was originally called stopping to admire the trees.
Another sunset beckoned so we climbed the hill behind the camp ground and were rewarded with a sun streaked sky.
Returning through the camp sites I was rather pleased I wasn’t the camper in the blue one man tent.