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Stories from our backyard: Aboriginal experiences South Australia

Nov 26, 2021 | Australia, South Australia

Aboriginal experiences South Australia

Wilpena Pound Resort Photo Credit: Tourism Australia

Welcome to country. This ceremony celebrates respect for both the land as well as for the traditional owners of the land. It’s an Aboriginal ceremony that formally welcomes people to country and is an important cultural protocol that is 40,000+ years old. It is a ceremony that is a foundation of Australia’s Indigenous culture – the oldest living culture in the world. And it is a ceremony that is performed daily at Wilpena Pound Resort, in the heart of the Ikara Flinders Ranges, Adnyamathanha Country, South Australia. This is the place to come to for the very essence of Aboriginal experiences South Australia. It’s about a connection with the true Australia, the outback, and an adventure to get a sense of country, unwind, and reconnect with nature.

The Ikara Flinders Ranges National Park is an easily accessible 5-hour drive north of Adelaide. The drive is not a hardship really, especially considering you have the gorgeous Clare Valley winery region enroute (famous for Riesling). But once you pass through those rolling green hills with 40+ wineries, the land really opens up to ancient mountain ranges, spectacular gorges and sheltered creeks all begging to be explored. Together with a huge array of wildlife and flora, the Ikara Flinders Ranges epitomises the Australian outback. This is where your outback adventure begins, and the jewel in the crown is the famous Wilpena Pound, an ancient natural amphitheatre, and the centrepiece in this vast landscape. The region offers plenty of exploration opportunities from hiking, cycling trails, 4WD tours, to scenic flights over the iconic destination. Then make time to witness the unforgettable sight of kangaroos bounding over the red earth, unravel the mysteries of the night sky, ride the delightful Pichi Richi Railway for a journey through the region’s charming historical towns, follow the Brachina Gorge Geological Trail and discover 600 million years of history and evolution. It’s all about gaining a deeper understanding of the land and the ongoing connection of Aboriginal people with their country.

Aboriginal experiences South Australia

Wilpena Pound Photo Credit: Zayla Twine

Experience a local connection with people & place…

The traditional landowners of the region, the Adnyamathanha people, have lived in the Flinders Ranges for tens of thousands of years and the region remains a place of enormous significance today. The Adnyamathanha people translate the word Wilpena as Ikara meaning ‘meeting place’. In fact, a visit to Ikara is the top-rated Aboriginal experience in South Australia and Wilpena Pound Resort offer many tours from the heart of the park with Indigenous guides sharing their stories which makes a tour a must for any visitor. Their signature trips include walking tours, scenic flights, and 4WD excursions. The most popular 4WD tours are a half-day tour titled “Time Travel & gorgeous Gorges” and another is a 2-hour Sunset Spectacular complete with amazing vistas, beverages, and canapes. You get to explore 800 million years of geological history, learn how the extraordinary landscape was formed, explore gorges and search for local wallabies. Expect a meaningful experience, a small group, and Indigenous guides who provide an informative account of the local region and their folklore stories to go with it. It is a powerful experience not to be missed!

Alligator Gorge Photo Credit: Angus Mountjoy

A distinctive experience that supports the land & local community…

Wilpena Pound Resort is the only accommodation located within the Ikara Flinders Ranges National Park. It is a haven in the South Australian outback and a stay is the perfect way to soak up the incredible beauty of one of the earth’s oldest landscapes. But Wilpena Pound Resort is more than simply a place to rest your head. Indeed, the Resort is fully Indigenous owned, and employs more than 55% of the local Indigenous people. They also maintain a commitment to a minimum spend of 30% from Indigenous suppliers. The Resort encourages the local Indigenous guides to share their knowledge & culture with the guests by way of offering a higher rate of pay. There is also on offer an Indigenous leadership development programme. Thankfully Wilpena Pound Resort also places a high priority on their precious environment. They have also achieved advanced Ecotourism certification which is recognition that their operation leaves minimal impact on the environment. These are all impressive initiatives designed to support their people & place.

Wilpena Pound Resort Photo Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission

Wilpena Pound Resort is a distinctively Australian resort offering visitors to the Ikara Flinders Ranges National Park an opportunity to explore and truly appreciate this spectacular and ancient land with its rich cultural history, unique biodiversity, and stunning landscapes. The Resort is also proud of their support of the local community and the country in which they are based. So, with the combination of the Indigenous guided tours, stunning surrounds, and their choice of hotel rooms, ‘glamping’ style safari tents, and bush campsites, it is no wonder Wilpena Pound Resort is a perfect choice. Make sure to include a stay and tour with Wilpena Pound Resort on your next visit…. I know it will be the highlight of your Aussie adventure!

Brachina Gorge Photo Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission


The Flinders Ranges is in the northern part of the state and the region experiences very hot conditions during summer. Many of these areas are desert, so the days can be hot, while the nights are often cold. The daytime temperatures for summer (December-February) reach approximately 34 degrees Celsius and drop to 17 degrees at night. The shoulder seasons of March/April/October/November offer more temperate conditions.

Aboriginal experiences South Australia

Wilpena Pound Resort Photo Credit: Tourism Australia

Good to know:

Located 5 hours drive north of Adelaide, the Ikara Flinders Ranges National Park is home to a vast array of wildlife and the place is rich in Aboriginal history. Expect a remarkable adventure in this spectacular park boasting rugged weathered peaks and rocky gorges. Highlights include catching a sunset and admiring the iconic scenery at Razorback Lookout, listening to the stories and exploring the heritage Blinman Mine and admiring the extraordinary Wilpena Pound from above on a scenic flight. You could do a day trip with a short flight from Adelaide or stay a few nights to a week to really soak up this outback adventure. Apart from your stay and tours with Wilpena Pound Resort, other top highlights include experiencing Wilpena Pound on foot or in the air, admiring 6,000 year old Aboriginal rock art, enjoying the feral mixed grill at Parachilna’s Prairie Hotel, do a ridge-top tour at Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary, explore the ruins of Kanyaka Station, take in some of the best walks in the Flinders Ranges or escape the everyday with a trek on a rescue camel.

Prairie Hotel Photo Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission

And finally:

AET Travel (formerly Australia Expat Travel) specialises in exceptional holidays to Australia and New Zealand. We make it simple with our local knowledge, seamless logistics and trusted advice since 2004. Expect a bespoke itinerary curated with the big picture and the small details. Contact us 

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