Monday, October 19, 2009

Wilpena Pound

Panoramic View Wilpena Pound

This past May we visited the Central Flinders Ranges with my mother.  I wanted to share with her the Australian bush that we have grown to love, and give her an idea of how isolated parts of Australia are.  We thought of going a bit farther into the outback, but due to time limitations we settled on a destination of Wilpena Pound--429 kilometers north of Adelaide.
Wilpena Pound, a naturally made amphitheater, is the paramount feature of the Flinders Ranges.  The walls of the enormous 80 sq. km--17 km long and 8 km wide-- concavity reach up to 500 meters.  These towering walls form a jagged rocky rim that surrounds a flat basin floor. There is only one easy entrance into the rock basin, and it is via the Wilpena Creek.  However, you can also enter the pound by climbing the sheer cliffs near St. Mary's Peak or Bridle Gap.
As tempting as it was to visit Wilpena Pound via St. Mary's Peak--we decided to save that trek for a trip when we didn't have Mom in tow--we headed up the creek towards the Wangara Lookout.  The riparian environment was lush from the recent rains, however, the very scrawny kangaroos were a reminder that the green growth was a recent arrival to this desert area.  After about an hour trek we arrived at the basin floor.  We were surrounded by a sea of trees that were engulfed by rugged red walls.  We faced a 30 minute strenuous hike up the steep rock cliffs.  My mother was a trooper and upon arrival at the top we were rewarded with a panoramic view of Wilpena Pound.

Steep Climb to Wangara Lookout

As we looked across the basin floor it was not hard to imagine why early settlers chose this scenic location to build a homestead and station.  After all, the creek provided water and the steep walls protection.  From the mid 1850's until 1914, several families leased and attempted to make a living at homesteads and stations built in the basin.  Unfortunately, over time the drought and floods forced all of the homesteaders out.
As we returned to the car we had to agree with all the people who had told us that Wilpena Pound was a must see in South Australia, and we knew that a return visit was in the near future.

Scrawny Euro Kangaroo

1 comment:

  1. Hi Maya, I enjoyed reading about Wilpena and your adventure hike with your mom. It does look like the steep hike up that trail was so worth it with views like that! Sounds like you all had a great family adventure. Thanks for sharing this very interesting part of the Australian bush with us and posting your beautiful photos. It's so interesting comparing the wallaby with the Kangaroo....

    Have a good day today!