Wilpena opens up to visitors

Tourists will be able to sleep under the stars and experience the outback in five-star comfort, following the opening of the $1.4 million luxury Ikara Safari Camp in the Flinders Ranges from this week.

The camp, which is part of the Wilpena Pound Resort, includes 15 safari tents with en-suites, king-size beds, a dining area, bar and fire pit and is based on a secluded part of the Wilpena Campground.

Tourism minister Leon Bignell said the safari camp offered a new style of accommodation and experience which would entice tourists to the Flinders Ranges.

“Visitors to South Australia will be able to enjoy an African savannah-style experience at this new luxury safari camp in the magnificent Flinders Ranges,” Mr Bignell said. “The combination of outdoor experiences and luxury accommodation means the Ikara Safari Camp will have the potential to attract interstate and international visitors.

“The Flinders Ranges is the second most visited region by interstate visitors and this new accommodation will raise its profile as a unique holiday destination.

“There is so much to do in the Flinders Ranges and Outback, including flying over the iconic Wilpena Pound, opal mining in Coober Pedy, taking a trip on the historic Pichi Richi Railway, going on a cycling adventure and hiking along the Heysen Trail.”

The sate government contributed $200,000 to the project along with the federal government’s commitment of $250,000.

Federal government figures released this week show 478,000 overnight trips were made to the Flinders Ranges and Outback in the year to September 2013, with a further 1.8 million nights and 557,000 day trips spent in the region.

Wilpena Pound is a joint venture between Indigenous Business Australia and the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association, which represents the traditional custodians of the area. It is operated by Anthology, a company specialising in nature-based tourism.

Anthology CEO Grant Hunt said the safari tents were expected to attract interstate and international visitors and ‘glampers’ – holidaymakers seeking active, nature-based getaways with style.

“The safari camp will allow guests to experience outback camping with a few of life’s luxuries included,” Mr Hunt said.

“It will offer a glamping experience in an exclusive area away from the main campground and resort, but still among the river red gums, native pines and wildlife.”

In line with the opening of the safari camp, Wilpena Pound will tonight host a gala outback ball – Wilpena Under the Stars 2014 – featuring some of the State’s best food and wine, and entertainment by Aussie singer Deni Hines.

Proceeds from the event will support the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

The colour and character of the Flinders Ranges recently came to life in a new commercial encouraging South Australians to holiday in their own backyard.

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