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Plans for a significant upgrade to Flinders Ranges centrally located Wilpena Pound Resort have been confirmed this week following a $3million grant agreement for capital works to commence immediately and continue for the coming 24 months.
NRMA Parks and Resorts which oversees management of the First Nations-owned and operated accommodation, dining and experiences hub has worked on plans for a swag of park improvements in consultation with South Australia’s Department of Environment and Water (DEW) and Indigenous Business Australia (IBA), who have together provided funding for the works.
Included is a new accommodation offering: four new Stargazing Safari tents delivering a premium glamping experience complete with ensuite and sleeping nook for kids plus outdoor bathing and generous daybed. The new tents feature heating and cooling and are designed to make the most of the Flinders Ranges inky night skies where the southern skies are a star attraction as the night falls.
Day and overnight visitors to Wilpena Pound will arrive via a new Welcome Entry precinct, where interpretive screening and pathways will lead to a centralised hub including the Visitors Centre and IGA for information and supplies and an extended deck area for lounging. A new amphitheatre will provide space for Welcome to Country ceremonies, cultural talks and events. Interpretive signage and wayfinding information along the many paths and hikes leading from Wilpena Pound will be upgraded to offer a more informative and rewarding experience of the Flinders Ranges.
The existing Ikara Safari tents will also receive upgrades including new entrances, furniture and soft furnishings, and the Ikara communal dining area will receive a makeover with extensions to the outdoor deck, new indoor and outdoor furniture and a state-of-the art camp kitchen. A dedicated platform will be ideal for stargazing, featuring firepits and an Ikara-inspired cast iron globe designed by a local Indigenous artist.
Existing hotel style accommodation will also receive significant makeover, with some 50 rooms will receive contemporary new ensuite bathrooms and the interiors refreshed with new furnishings and styling. The three shared amenities blocks will also be refurbished, offering updated features for campers and caravanners in the protected camping precinct.
Dining at the Wilpena Restaurant will have a whole new look, with new floor to ceiling glass windows making the most of the bushland views and offer a chance to spot wildlife while enjoying a morning coffee.
Wilpena Pound Resort Manager Mitchell Gawthorn said the plans had been a result of careful negotiation with the region’s Adnyamathanha people who owned and worked at the resort.
“We’re all very excited to see some real investment in the historic property’s accommodation and dining options, and for the opportunities to enrich the guest experience – whether day or overnight visitors – of the incredible Flinders Ranges,” Mr Gawthorn said.
“As we welcome more travellers who are interested in the First Nations heritage and stories of this ancient land, we are pleased to put in place contemporary features that will offer a more rewarding cultural and experiential getaway.”