Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary is a mecca for bushwalkers, 4 WD enthusiasts, nature and wildlife lovers.
Located in the northernmost part of the Flinders Ranges, this rugged mountain area offers steep hills, gorges, waterholes and ruins from a bygone copper mining area.
Whether you come for a self-drive adventure, to join one of the numerous tours, or to go on a walking trail, take your time, and enjoy one of the most stunning mountainous regions in the Australian Outback.
Interested in star gazing? The sanctuary has 3 fully equipped observatories, available for professional and amateur astronomers. Views of the night sky in this non-polluted spot are amazing.
The Wilderness Sanctuary is privately owned and operated by the Sprigg family. Reg (well-known Australian geologist) & Griselda Sprigg bought this 610 sq km area, which formerly was a sheep station, in 1967.
Their intention was to preserve the unique environment, remove feral animals and re-introduce native fauna and plants. Arkaroola village and roads were established in this remote area to develop an eco-tourism venture (although this word was probably not known at that time).
Today, more than 40 years later, the sanctuary and resort has received many awards. It is owned by Reg & Griselda's children Douglas and Margaret Sprigg.
Geological resources have been of interest since the first explorers and surveyors set foot into this northern region of the Flinders Ranges. Copper, gold, gemstones and uranium were discovered, a copper mine was established at Yudnamutana. However, due to the remoteness none of the ventures lasted for long.
For 6+ years Arkaroola's unique environment was threatened to be destroyed by uranium mining. Years of campaigns and debates followed, many letters to politicians were written by friends of that unique place. The uproar by South Australians and Arkaroola friends from all around the world succeeded, thankfully.
Finally, the South Australian Government announced that Arkaroola would be protected from mining through the establisment of the protection area. The Arkaroola Protection Act was developed and came into operation in April 2012.
The biggest attraction is the breath-taking landscape, no doubt. Even if you only drive to Arkaroola resort and stay there, you are rewarded by beautiful nature and scenery.
The village/resort is located in the south-west of the Wilderness Sanctuary. It is surrounded by steep mountains that change their colour during the day. Sit and watch the birds, relax at the pool, have a chat with other travellers. But there is much more you can do.
Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary is approx. 600 km north of Adelaide. The quickest route is via Hawker and Leigh Creek. Leave the main road in Copley for the scenic route through Italowie Gorge in the Gammon Ranges National Park.
If you travel through the Flinders Ranges, there is access from Blinman via the Wirrealpa to Balcanoona road. On this road you drive along the edge of the Flinders Ranges with stunning views over the wide open spaces east of the mountains.
Both roads mentioned are unsealed and easy to drive when they are dry.
Although Arkaroola is very remote, the village offers all facilities to make your stay pleasant and enjoyable.
The main building has the receptions area with booking desk, and a small shop where you can get basic food, drinks and souvenirs. An internet booth is available as well.
Next to the reception area is the Pick & Shovel Bar and the licensed Native Pine Restaurant.
Find accommodation suits all tastes and budgets.
Dune is a Four Letter Word: Desert Crossings and Dusty Memories
Griselda Sprigg talks in an entertaining voice about her adventures in the deserts of the Australian Outback. Together with her husband, a well-known geologist, she bought a sheep property and turned it into the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary we know today. Read about their hard work, setbacks caused by droughts and floods, and the always positive mindset of two extraordinary people.
A must read.
Below is a link to enjoy more photos of Arkaroola.
Don't miss them!