Wilpena Pound

It was a very cold night last night. The temperature was forecast to get down to -1C and I don’t think it had any trouble doing so. I was awake at 3.30 am feeling cold so I turned on the heater in our cabin and turned up my electric blanket. In the morning, I discovered that the window next to my bed was wide open. I didn’t notice it because the curtain was closed, so of course it was very cold in my bedroom. Tonight is forecast to be a little warmer, but I won’t be taking any chances. I’ve made sure that the window is shut tight.

This morning, we backtracked down the road for a few kilometres to a lookout that we had seen yesterday. When we were first there, we were looking directly into the low afternoon sun and it was impossible to appreciate anything of the scenery.  This morning, the sun was behind us and the view across the Akaba Hills were stunning. This is one of the areas painted by Hans Heyson, the famous South Australian bush artist.

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A little way up the road, we stopped at the Rawnsley Peak lookout. Today was the first fine day of our trip and without any wind. I was able to get my drone up for a bit of aerial photography. I captured some good views of the hills surrounding Wilpena Pound.

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Before reaching Wilpena Pound, we decided to explore the Arakroo Rock Hike tan led to some aboriginal cave paintings. The directions on the signboard were a bit confusing. One said to allow 1 hour and another said that the walk would take 2 1/2 hours. We followed the track uphill for about half an hour and came across a rock that looked as though it had faded aboriginal art with a lot of graffiti embellishments We were not sure that we were in the correct place but we decided that we had walked far enough anyway. Even if we were in the wrong place, we still had some good views of the bluffs along Wilpena Pound.

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At Wilpena we had a quick lunch in the cafe at the visitors centre and then walked 3 kilometres to the old Hills Homestead inside the Pound. 

Wilpena Pound is a natural amphitheatre of mountains. The name of the pound, Wilpena, is reported to be Aboriginal, meaning “place of bent fingers”. This might either be a reference to the mountains resembling the shape of a gently cupped hand, or the freezing cold of the ranges in winter (like last night). The traditional owners, were the Adnyamathanha aboriginal people.

A family named Hill settled at Wilpena after some unsuccessful attempts by others and established a small base just inside the pound. After an immense amount of work, they built a road through the tortuous Wilpena Gap and erected a small homestead. It was along the route of this road that we walked. It was a pleasant walk with large gum trees and rocky outcrops that made the time quite interesting. We saw quite a bit of wildlife along the way including a herd of feral goats.

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For several years, the Hill family had moderate success growing crops inside the Pound, but in 1914 there was a major flood and the road through the gorge was destroyed. They could not bear to start all over and sold their homestead to the government. The Pound then became a forest reserve leased for grazing. In 1945 the tourist potential of the area was recognised when a “National Pleasure Resort” was proclaimed. A hotel called the Wilpena Chalet was opened on the southern side of the creek by the gorge. Now the entire area is a National Park. The homestead was renovated from ruin in 1995 by a local craftsman. 

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I’ve walked over ten kilometres today, which is a good amount for this old bloke. I’m ready for an early night and I’m sure that I will sleep really well, even  though it may be cold overnight.

2 comments

  1. Donald Swain · ·

    Your photo’s are just wonderful Bruice …keep ’em comin, plus the travelogue.!!

  2. Trina Bruce · ·

    Finally caught up with the journey, Looks amazing. Hope the ” small one” is behaving