The turn-off the A1 Highway from Adelaide into the designated Arkaroo Rock car park is shadowed by the naturally stunning mass of Rawnsley Bluff, part of the wider Rawnsley Park Station. This dramatic rock formation also shadows the Arkaroo Rock site which features ancient Aboriginal rock art depicting the creation of Wilpena Pound in the Aboriginal Dreamtime.
The path up to the site is mostly thru young scrubland & native bush. The flora doesn’t seem too old compared to the ancient land.
The site itself is under a rock shelter which could easily provide protection from wind & rain for generations of indigenous. The images are reportedly by the local & ancient Adnyamathanha tribe. Some estimates believe the rock art is approx 5000 years old according to an archaeological dig at the main cave but this is not really apparent, rather the casual observer might notice the ochre & charcoal images of bird tracks, trees, people & snake lines. It is an interesting compilation of images using colours of the desert in a natural setting. The canvas is an ancient rock with an unusual surface which includes smoothed crevices & layered sediment. Without the traces of the colour blue & green the images seem quite surreal & ancient, even abstract to our eyes.
The unsealed dirt road from the highway into the car park is quite dramatic with the beauty of Rawnsley Bluff staring down high ahead. From the car park to the actual Arkaroo Rock site is just over 1kms with a slight ascent on a dirt path strewn with small rocks of many sizes. The information board states that it is an approximate 3 hour round trip but we managed it in 25mins each way at a quick pace. The path is not accessible by wheel chairs but fine for kids & the elderly as we encountered a couple in their late 60’s complete it without trouble. The Arkaroo car park is approx 16 kms south of Wilpena at the heart of the Flinders Ranges National Park & approx 50kms north of the Yourambulla Caves near Hawker. There are no facilities at this site.
Typical of such Aboriginal rock art sites it is completely free to the public as a legacy of the original inhabitants of Australia.
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