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“Stark beauty, could benefit from Governmant support” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary

Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary
Arkaroola Village, Arkaroola, South Australia 2004, Australia
08 0648 4848
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Ranked #1 of 1 things to do in Arkaroola
Attraction details
Melbourne, Australia
Top Contributor
78 reviews 78 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Stark beauty, could benefit from Governmant support”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013

Arkaroola is stunning, but the family can't do it all alone. The task of dragging a degraded sheep-run back to a wilderness sanctuary has been a hard one, but effective. The caravan and camping areas, however, need upgrading. The former has little or no shade, and the latter has very basic facilities. When we camped, over 6 days, we frequently shared the camp with no more that 2 other campers, mostly Germans in Britz camper vans. ( one of whom told me he was intending to get to Coober Peedy in one day - Maybe on an auto-bahn chum, but not via the Oodnadatta track !)
The restaurant and bar are fun, with a goiod selection of beer and wines,but the menu is a little bland . ( This may be a personal issue, as the 40 seniors from Inverell there one night seemed to find it very acceptable in their quest for food that had "no garlic", and "no spicy stuff" - I like both)
The staff are great. Engaged, interesting, from a variety of backgrounds, and very helpful. The store had very little of anything, but we did visit at the start of the season, so the new stock had not arrived. Jann would have liked to buy one the emu t-shirts, but none of what was left fitted her.
Arkaroola is a great experience, and one that many visitors to Australia would enjoy very much. It would be even more great if the State and Federal Governments provided some support to upgrade the camping facilities to provide some shade ( and a few less ants)

Visited March 2013
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66 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“A very fascinating place, beautiful and unusual!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2013

I don't see how people can complain about this place, it is a very fascinating place, plenty of wildlife, beautiful gorges, waterholes and 4x4 tracks!! The tour to Sillers lookout was just amazing.. We ate in the restaurant every night and enjoyed the meals, as for the price I think it was all reasonable... Amanda and Phil where very friendly and helpful with everything, Phil's knowledge of this place is remarkable. We have been to Arkaroola twice and intend to go again!!! Love this place!!!!!

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
15 attraction reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
“A sanctuary for wildlife and wilderness above all else”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2013

Travelling as a couple in a 2WD vehicle, we really enjoyed our guided 4WD half day Sillars Lookout Ridgetop Tour; the Acacia Ridge Walk; our 2WD drive out to Stubbs Waterhole and walk up Barraranna Gorge, and our 4WD drive out to Nooldoonooldoona Waterhole via Bollabollana Spring and the Bollabollana copper smelter (1870).

We arrived at the hottest time of year, with baking temperatures (45 degrees C plus) so had to fit in any walking before 12 noon, and resort to driving in the afternoons or seek refuge in the sizeable pool or our aircon-ed room. We were used to such temperatures from north west NSW last year, so no surprises there.

One of the real advantages of the heat was the fact that the wildlife were both visible, close at hand and had little or no energy to skedaddle when we slowly drove by or met them in a gorge. We saw a range of species including the stocky Euro kangaroos, families of emus, tiny bats (by night), heat-distressed flocks of corellas and crows.

Pleasingly, what we didn't get to see (and a big shout here to the Sprigg family for eradication programs) were goats, though the latter were sadly commonplace in Brachina Gorge further south in the Flinders Ranges.

And best of all we had a number of sightings of the yellow-footed rock wallaby, including on the Acacia Ridge walking track (around midday), on Griselda Hill (around 7 am), on the approach road to the village around 8.30 pm, and in Barraranna Gorge (around 10.30-11 am) during these heat wave conditions.

Walking up the latter gorge we came across a YFRW drinking in one of the remaining waterholes in the gorge and being upwind of it, enjoyed watching it alternate between drinking and checking out its escape routes before it hopped across the rocks, its huge tail draping across the rocks, before pausing to watch us, and eventually disappearing towards some shady hang out. Got heaps of shots but just wish I'd had a larger lens!

Prospective visitors shouldn't rush to judge this remote sanctuary on some recent reviews, especially during the hotter times of year when numbers are down and the village is quiet. Above all, it's more sanctuary than resort as its name indicates, and shouldn't be confused with what the Flinders Ranges Resort offers.

It's different strokes for different folks, with lovers of semi-arid scenery and botany, iconic wildlife, geology/geomorphology, plein air painting, bushwalking, challenging 4WD-ing and star gazing sure to enjoy their visit.

While budget accommodation is available, including the Greenwood facility, cabins and the camping ground for those in self-contained Brit Vans, etc, the more upmarket accommodation, though very pleasant in our case, was definitely pricey for what you get if you compare it to city-based nightly fees. We dined in the restaurant and while the meals were basic, they were hearty and we enjoyed the opportunity to converse with other guests, most of whom were European travellers seeking a hot 'uncivilised' experience (in their words wilderness, wildlife, etc). Re food/meals, the shop carries limited basic supplies and if you're looking to BBQ, the only meat on offer, is understandably frozen.

My last word on Arkaroola is that the ongoing dedication of the Sprigg family, namely to purchase the land, eradicate feral animals, convert it into a tourist venue and fund its upkeep and renovation over the years is truly inspiring.

Visited January 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Top Contributor
116 reviews 116 reviews
65 attraction reviews
Reviews in 54 cities Reviews in 54 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
“A beautiful experience.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2012

This is a private conservation park that the Sprigg family have put a lot of effort into erradicating induced pests such as goats, foxes, camels and cats. The Ridgetop Tour follows old mineral exploration tracks through the rugged countryside with its magnificent views. Our guide Lutz had an excellent knowledge of the local history, geology, fauna and flora, plus the development of this reserve from its pastoral lease origins. They offer 4WD tours, tag along tours and self drive 4WD tracks. Staff are very helpful and informative and register your trips to ensure that you safely return.

Visited November 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Unique and interesting”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2012

If you want to see and experience something very different then Arkaroola is your thing. By contrast if you want 5 star luxury and comfort then this is not for you.

Very much an interesting and unique part of Australia, with the pros being some great walks, fantastic scenery and wildlife, the famous ridge top tour and generally a remoteness / isolation which adds to the feeling of escape that Arkaroola provides.

The cons are the camping ground, dated amendities and expensive shop, but to some extent these are to be expected given the the Sanctuary's isolation.

All up well worth the effort and our family enjoyed the 4 nights of camping.

Visited October 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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