Duration: 4 Days/3 Nights
Type: Groups, Private Charter, Shared.
Departs: Every Thursday and additional departures on Fridays for April, May, August and October.
Interests: Birds, Land Mammals & Marsupials, Reptiles & Amphibians.
This four day walk traverses the ancient Flinders Ranges where 600 million years of geological history provide spectacular backdrops to the rich array of birds, reptiles and marsupials that call this region home. From dry creek beds, isolated waterholes, lined with 1,000 year old river gums to craggy ridge lines and rolling hills covered in cypress pines to the ancient ramparts of Wilpena Pound, this is some of the most stunning walking country in Australia and provides abundant opportunities to spot Red and Western Grey Kangaroos, Wallaroos, Emus, Wedge-tailed Eagles along with numerous parrots, songbirds, bushbirds and raptors.
Accompanied by expert guides, walkers are provided with a fascinating insight into the ecosystems located across the 60,000 acre private wildlife conservancy, along with the stories of the indigenous inhabitants, early explorers and pioneer settlers.
After meeting your guide at the Arkaba Homestead over a delicious breakfast, guests will depart by road for a 35 minute drive to the picturesque starting point at Wilpena Pound in the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park. This path links up with the Heysen Trail, which traverses the basin of the Pound to its western edge from where there are views across Arkaba's private wildlife conservancy.
The walk descends to Black's Gap camp (where a staff member is waiting with cold towels and drinks) and the first night's accommodation. Accommodation is a deluxe swag set-up with raised platforms, where guests can opt to sleep out under the stars and tuck into chef prepared 3 course dinners, with premium South Australian wines. The day has 5 distinct habitat types, harbouring a variety of wildlife;
1) Scree slopes in north-east of Wilpena Pound provide opportunities to see Yellow-footed Rock Wallabies, Wedge-tailed Eagles, Weebills and Yellow-throated Miners.
2) Areas around Wilpena Creek and the majestic River Red Gums provide refuge for Fat-tailed Dunnarts, Brush-tailed Possums, Western Quolls, Emus, Grey Butcherbirds, Laughing Kookaburras, Yellow-throated Miners, Galahs and Little Corellas.
3) At the beginning of the Heysen Trail amonst Cypress Pines and open fields, Western Grey Kangaroos, Common Wallaroos and smaller bird species such as Red-capped Robins, Inland Thornbills, Yellow-rumped Thornbills, Chest-rumped Thornbills, White-browed babblers, Spotted Pardalotes and Apostle birds are commonly sighted,
4) Mallee thicket on outer edge of Pound Wall is habitat for the Brush-tailed possum, Western Quoll, Dingo, Black-shouldered Kite, Mistletoebird, Mulga Parrot, Elegant Parrot, Spiny cheeked Honeyeater, White-eared Honeyeater and White-plumed Honeyeater.
5) The Bridle Gap track out of Wilpena Pound into the Arkaba conservancy is home to spinifex grass and rocky out-crops, with sightings of Yellow-footed Rock wallabies, Common Wallaroos, Echidnas, Shy Heathwren and Short-tailed Grasswren possible.
From the first signature swag camp, walkers will make their way down dry creek beds, lined with beautiful River Red Gums. The hollowed out Red Gums really are the ‘riparian apartment blocks’ for wildlife, with kangaroos resting beneath, and reptiles, marsupials and birds all living and nesting inside these gargantuan trees.
The second night's camp is very similar in regards to accommodation and dining with gourmet food and wines, however it is nestled at the foot of the majestic Elder Range. The day is split up into 4 main habitat types, each with the potential for different wildlife sightings;
1) Morning tea hill features grassland with scattered acacias with opportunities to spot Red Kangaroo, Western Grey Kangaroo, Common Wallaroo, Wedge-tailed Eagles, Nankeen Kestrels, Emus, Red-capped Robins, Little Corellas, Galahs, Inland Thornbills, Australian Pipits, Shingleback Lizards, Bearded Dragon and Masked Rock Skinks.
2) Madge’s Gully is a dry creek line running through a large gorge with permanent water springs. Common Wallaroo, Dingos, Wedge-tailed Eagles, Black Kites, Whistling Kites, Apostle Birds, White-Browed Babblers, Elegant Parrots, Ring-necked Parrots, Inland Thornbills, Yellow-Rumped thornbills, Shingle-back Lizards, Gidgee Skinks, Tawny Dragons, Western Brown and Yellow-faced Whip Snakes are possible sightings.
3) Dry rocky out-crops with dense Cypress forests is found at Red Range, providing habitat for Fat tailed Dunnarts, Short-beaked Echidnas, Red-capped robins, Grey-shrike thrush, Crested Pigeon, Common Bronzewings, Peaceful doves, Red-rumped parrot, cuckoos, Painted and Nobbi Dragon.
4) The captivating Elder Range has rocky out-crops with small shrubbery, popular with Common Wallaroos, Short-beaked Echidnas, Wedge-tailed Eagles, Southern Boobook Owls, Brown Goshawks, Grey Butcher-bird, Australian Raven, Emu along with a host of reptiles including Shingle back lizard, Red-barred dragon, Painted-dragon, Gidgee skink, Masked Rock Skink, Central Bearded Dragon.
Upon waking up to the dawn light kissing the Elder Range, guests will witness the colours change as the sunrise lights up different sedimentary layers, providing a magical start to the day. From the camp, walkers will make their way between two mountain ranges – the Elder Range and Red Range, meandering in and out of dry creek beds and drainage gullies.
The destination is the Arkaba Homestead for the third and final night of Wild Bush Luxury comfort in the historic re-vamped homestead. Chefs prepare canapes’ and a full three course meal with premium South Australian wines. Day three has four predominant habitat types, each again with different potential wildlife viewings.
1) Cypress Hills are rolling hills with cypress pines popular with Western Grey Kangaroos, Common Wallaroos, Echidnas, Red-capped robins, Rufous Whistlers, White-Browed Babblers, Dusky wood-swallows, Masked Wood-swallows, Spotted Pardalotes, White-eared Honeyeaters, Grey-fronted Honeyeaters and Gidgee Skinks.
2) Slaty Creek is a dry creek beds lined with River Red Gums and an understorey of Old Man Saltbush. Tree martins, Welcome Swallows, White-backed Swallows, Sacred Kingfishers, Little Eagles, Laughing Kookaburras, Red-rumped parrots, Budgerigars, Rufous songlarks, along with Brown Snakes, Tawny Dragons and Spotted Dragon are possible sightings.
3) Ridge top is a very open rocky area, primarily spinifex vegetation, where it is possible to see the Common Wallaroo, Western Grey Kangaroo, Fat-tailed Dunnart, Nankeen Kestrel, Little Eagle, Whistling Kite, Australian Raven, Magpie, Spotted Dragon, Tawny Dragon and Spinifex Snake Lizard.
4) Arkaba Hill is dominated by Melaleuca and Mallee thicket, being a habitat for the Elegant parrot, Mulga parrot, Crested Pigeon, Spiny-cheeked honeyeater, White-eared honeyeater, Grey-fronted honeyeater, Yellow-plumed honeyeater, Pied Honeyeater, Brown-headed honeyeater, Magpie, Central Bearded Dragon, Shingleback, Masked Rock Skink and Eastern Robust Slider.
After enjoying a leisurely breakfast at the Arkaba Homestead, guests will enjoy their scenic transfer to Adelaide via the Clare Valley wine country. Highlights including driving through the historic outback towns of Quorn, Wilmington, Mount Remarkable and Melrose, all famous for their nature filled valleys and riverbeds. Lined with massive River Red Gum trees, the land around these towns is home to a multitude of native Australian animals and birds. Heading from Melrose into the beautiful Clare Valley, guests will have the opportunity to visit a couple of the local wineries and taste some of the produce before enjoying lunch.
The Arkaba Walk includes two night's camping in deluxe swags on our signature star beds and one night in the 1850s Arkaba Homestead, in a Homestead Guestroom with ensuite. Located in some of the most scenic spots on Arkaba, our camp sites have been built to blend as seamlessly as possible with the surrounding vegetation, while providing guests with stunning views from every corner of the camp.
The final night is spent in the comfort of the Arkaba homestead, a member of Luxury Lodges of Australia. Arkaba's rustically chic 150 year old homestead is an exclusive outback experience. With décor by wildlife artist, Rosie Woodford-Ganf - think bedheads fashioned from recycled fence posts and fleeces, curtains tied back by gumnut tassles, lights perched on explorers' tripod theodolites - the guestrooms retain a sense of history and place.
Proudly without wifi, telephones, televisions, minibars or any of the typical features of a hotel to distract, the focus is on the experience and one of the most beautiful properties in Australia. All chef prepared gourmet meals, beverages (including premium South Australian wines and spirits) are included.