Sherwood Diary: Day 21 – A hike to Wilpena Pound

So, we did it. Yesterday morning it was all about going to see the interior of the Pound. It’s a huge natural ampitheatre that superficially resembles a meteorite impact crater. The interior of The Pound is 11kms long by 8kms wide, hemmed in by a series of peaks. However, it is actually thought to be the remnants of sedimentary layers of an ancient seabed that were laid down as far back as a thousand million years ago.

There are many amazing photos taken of this landscape and it’s hard to do it justice in the middle of the day. I’ve made a small movie of some of the photos and one video showing the panorama. Unfortunately it is not yet showing up when you view this blog. Maybe later.

We laid our plans carefully, preparing a packed lunch and timing our arrival at the Visitor Centre to give us time to get tickets for the shuttle bus that takes you about 2kms into the walk to The Pound. We found the actuall process a bit messy as the shuttle just leaves when full, making as many trips as necessary to pick up all the registered passengers. So, we had a bit of a wait.

On the way the driver showed us the ‘bottomless spring’ which supplies water for the Resort. It looks dark and mysterious, especially since he said that in the search for a missing child back in the last century Navy divers went down to 75 feet without finding the bottom of the spring, hence ‘bottomless’. It was a sad story as the child’s body was later found on one of the peaks in the area.

From the shuttle drop off point we took the path through to an historic homestead where the climb to Wangarra Lookouts would give us views over The Pound. There were many signs telling the history of the area and of the difficulties faced by the family who settled there. Basically, they had to overstock and went bankrupt due to government policies of the time. There is only one entrance to The Pound and they had great difficulty building a sort of road for transporting goods. The Homestead is kept in good condition, but you can’t enter the building. There were also some rustic style drop toilets and rain water tanks.

The climb up to the first viewpoint was quite easy and people who had brought kids took them up to that one. The climb to the second viewpoint was actually a really good, safe trail, but very, very steep. I had to keep stopping to catch my breath and as Stephen had left before me and got lost it took a little while for us to connect to have our sandwiches together on the shady steps.

There is a strong indigenous connection as well. The springs and shady trees of this section of the Flinders Ranges make it an ideal place for them to live. They also worked for the settlers.

After our climb we sat for awhile and talked with another couple about life, etc. before heading off to catch the last shuttle bus back to the Resort. Actually, we still haven’t seen the ‘resort’ part of this development, just the Visitor Centre and the camping grounds.

Wangarra Lookouts

Today we are having a rest day. We had already decided to stay an extra night and I’m glad we booked it as Stephen is feeling a bit under the weather after his exertions yesterday. I had a few aches in the evening, but am feeling quite good today. Another load of washing has been done, as you would expect!

We asked someone to take this photo with Stephen’s iphone. We are at the lower lookout.

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