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Well off the beaten track, Arkaroola Wilderness Area is situated in the rugged and spectacular Northern Flinders Ranges,in South Australia.
The 61,000 hectare, privately owned Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary offers guests a unique outback experience, not the least of which is the Ridgetop tour. Climb aboard to enjoy the rough ride out across the ridges of this ancient land.
This is the oldest part of the Flinders Ranges, much of it is granite. But the Ridgetop also includes some even more ancient sedimentary rock that dates to almost a billion years older than the rest of the Flinders Ranges.
The ancient granite terrain starts just north of the Arkaroola Creek. This landscape is really wild and rugged, and like other parts of Arkaroola, it contains some plants unknown elsewhere. They are specially adapted to these rock and soil types. Other plants also survive as remnants from wetter periods in history thanks to the relatively cooler and wetter conditions up in the mountains compared to the surrounding semi-desert plains that ocassionally spring to life after rain.
We visited Arkaroola while we were staying at Rawnsley Park Station. We took a short flight over Wilpena Pound and went on the thrilling Arkaroola Ridge Top Tour – a four wheel drive trip into the remote country around Arkaroola.
The Ridge Top Tour lasts around 4 hours, the road is rough and the country is rugged and exciting. We had low cloud at the lookout, but that seemed to add to the mystery of the place.
Our pilot decided she would come with us on the 4WD trip as she had never been on the tour. It was interesting seeing her get ‘greener’ and ‘greener’ as the truck lurched over the rough track. Our guide finally took pity on her and transferred her to the front seat.
Email from Ben: “I plan to climb Cradle Mountain when we visit the area in a few weeks – better start training”. So I reduced my alcohol consumption to one glass of wine a night (well, most nights) and did a bit of walking (on the flat) at weekends, so when we started our trek on a fine February day I was completely unprepared for what lay ahead.