Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsIkara-Flinders Ranges National Park
IUCN Category II (National Park)
Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park
|Nearest town or city||Hawker|
|Established||1 January 1945|
|Area||933.97 km2 (360.6 sq mi)|
|Managing authorities||Department for Environment and Water|
|Website||Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park|
|See also||Protected areas of South Australia|
The Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park is situated approximately 400 km north of Adelaide in the northern central part of South Australia's largest mountain range, the Flinders Ranges. The park covers an area of 912 km², northeast of the small town of Hawker. The Heysen Trail and Mawson Trails pass through the park.
The park's most characteristic landmark is Wilpena Pound, a large, sickle-shaped, natural amphitheatre covering nearly 80 km², containing the range's highest peak, St Mary Peak (1,170 metres). On 12 February 2016 the park was renamed to include the Adnyamathanha word, Ikara, "meeting place", referring to the traditional name for Wilpena Pound.
The park centre at Wilpena Pound is accessible by sealed road from Hawker. Other areas in the park can be reached by un-sealed roads, which are mostly accessible by two-wheel drive vehicles except in bad weather or after heavy rain. There are many lookouts, scenic vistas, small canyons and unusual rock formations located in the park. These include Wilpena Pound, Wilkawillina Gorge, Hucks Lookout, Brachina Gorge, Bunyeroo Gorge and Arkaroo Rock. The park has some stone ruins from early European settlement and Aboriginal rock art sites. A rock formation called the Great Wall of China is located just outside the park. Camping is permitted at many locations in the park.
The Flinders Ranges are largely composed of folded and faulted sediments of the Adelaide Geosyncline. This very thick sequence of sediments were deposited in a large basin during the Neoproterozoic on the passive margin of the ancient continent of Rodinia. During the Cambrian, approximately 540 million years ago, the area underwent the Delamerian orogeny where the geosynclinal sequence was folded and faulted into a large mountain range. Since this time the area has undergone erosion resulting in the relatively low ranges today.
Most of the high ground and ridgetops in the Flinders are sequences of quartzites that outcrop along strike. The high walls of Wilpena Pound are formed by the outcropping beds of the eponymous Pound Quartzite in a synclinal structure. The same formation forms many of the other high parts of the Flinders, including the high plateau of the Gammon Ranges and the Heysen Range. Cuesta forms are also very common in the Flinders.
Flora and fauna
The flora of the Flinders Ranges is composed largely of species adapted to a semi-arid environment such as cypress-pine, mallee, and black oak. Moister areas near Wilpena Pound support grevilleas, Guinea flowers, lilies and ferns. Reeds and sedges grow near permanent water sources such as springs and waterholes.
Since the eradication of dingos and the establishment of permanent waterholes for stock, the numbers of red kangaroos, western grey kangaroos and euros in the Flinders Ranges have increased. The yellow-footed rock-wallaby, which neared extinction after the arrival of Europeans due to hunting and predation by foxes, has now stabilized. Other endemic marsupials include dunnarts, planigales. Echidnas are the sole monotreme species in the park. Insectivorous bats make up significant proportion of mammals in the area. Reptiles include goannas, snakes, dragon lizards, skinks and geckos. The streambank froglet is an endemic amphibian.
There are a large number of bird species including various parrots, emus, the wedge-tailed eagles and small numbers of waterbirds. The land within the national park has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA) because it contains an apparently sustainable population of the range-restricted short-tailed grasswren.
There are a number of heritage-listed sites within the national park:
- Eddie Pumpa Outstation
- Hayward Homestead Ruins
- Impact Ejecta Horizon Late Precambrian Shales Geological Site
- Enorama Mail Station and Rubbish Dump
- Oraparinna Diapir
- Wilpena Homestead Complex
- Wilpena Pound (geological landform)
- Stromatolites in the Precambrian Trezona Formation, Enorama Creek
- Wills Homestead Complex Ruins
- Appealinna Mine Ruins and Miners Hut
- Wilkawillina Archaeocyathae Geological Site
- Dingley Dell Homestead Ruins
- Hill's Cottage, Wilpena Pound
- Enorama Diapir
- Oraparinna Station Blacksmith's Shop