Designs have been unveiled of the $3 million upgrade to Wilpena Pound Resort, with new glamping facilities, a new visitor precinct, and improved interpretive signage to be installed along hiking paths.
The works are set to commence immediately and roll out across the next 24 months through a joint funding agreement between the South Australian Government and Indigenous Business Australia (IBA).
Located in the beautiful Flinders Ranges on Adnyamathanha Country, the Wilpena Pound Resort is run by NRMA Parks and Resorts which oversees management of the First Nations-owned and operated accommodation, dining and experiences hub.
Upgrades include four new Stargazing Safari tents, which will deliver a premium glamping experience that bring to life the Flinders Ranges’ inky night skies where the southern skies become a star attraction as night falls.
Day and overnight visitors to Wilpena Pound will arrive to a new Welcome Entry precinct, where interpretive screening and pathways lead to a centralised hub including the Visitors Centre and IGA, providing information and supplies, as well as an extended deck area for lounging. A new amphitheatre in the precinct will also provide space for Welcome to Country ceremonies, cultural talks and events.
Known to the Traditional Owners as Ikara meaning ‘the meeting place’, Wilpena Pound Resort offers a one-of-a-kind experience of the destination, guided by the region’s Traditional Owners, the Adnyamathanha people.
Interpretive signage and wayfinding information along the many paths and hikes leading from Wilpena Pound Resort will also be upgraded and incorporate Adnyamathanha language to offer a more informative and genuine 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 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.
Existing hotel style accommodation will also receive a significant makeover, with some 50 rooms receiving 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 camping precinct sheltered by large gum trees.
Dining at the Wilpena Restaurant will have a whole new look, with new floor to ceiling glass windows being installed, to make the most of the bushland views and offer a chance to spot wildlife while enjoying a morning coffee.
Executive Director of National Parks and Wildlife Service Mike Williams said the Flinders Ranges and outback region is a truly unique part of South Australia and is home to a range of unique world-class experiences.
“This $3 million joint investment will further enhance the region as an internationally recognised iconic tourism destination, as well as improving visitor experiences, and creating local jobs," he said.
“NRMA is one of Australia’s most respected tourism operators and this investment to upgrade critical infrastructure will also create unique experiences that showcase the cultural and natural aspects of the national park and improve infrastructure for overnight and day visitors.”
Wilpena Pound Resort General Manager, Mitchell Gawthorn said that the plans have been a result of careful negotiation with the region’s Traditional Owners, the Adnyamathanha people, who own and work at the resort, as well as with the South Australian Government and IBA.
“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," he said.
“As we welcome more travellers who are interested in 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.”