Traversing Wilpena Pound, in the Flinders Ranges, ticks off a leg of the Heysen Trail, a bushwalking South Australia classic running 1200km south from outback mountains to the sea. You can do a 14km return traverse from Wilpena Pound Resort and camping area but a car shuffle facilitates a more interesting 13km through-walk from Moralana Scenic Drive.
The latter takes you up a usually dry creek lined with slabs of old sea bed. Then you climb through geological history to the pound rim, where you swap a view of the Red Range (behind) for an 8km sweep across the pound to Mt Ohlssen-Bagge. From here it’s down onto the pound floor, through acacias whose golden baubles contrast the purple carpet of Salvation Jane/Patterson’s Curse, a pretty introduced weed. The pound walls backdrop gum trees rooted among the flowers.
The restored stone cottage towards the eastern end of the traverse was the centre of the Hills family’s 19th century sheep grazing endeavours. From here you’ve got an easier, more shaded 3km walk along Wilpena Creek to finish; watch for mallee ring-neck parrots in the river gums.