Project Description


DATE: 02 – 11 September 2021
LAND ONLY TWIN SHARE: AUD $4,750 per person
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: AUD $655 per person

An Adnyamathanha cultural tour of the spectacular Ikara-Flinders Ranges of South Australia.

Bunyeroo Valley, Flinders Ranges & Outback - Ben Goode – South Australian Tourism Commission
Quandongs, Iga Warta Tours, Flinders Ranges & Outback - South Australian Tourism Commission
Sturt Desert Pea, The Frames, Riverland - South Australian Tourism Commission
Ikara Safari Camp, Flinders Ranges & Outback – South Australian Tourism Commission
Blinman Hotel, heidi who photos, Flinders Ranges and Outback – South Australian Tourism Commission
Bunyeroo Valley, Flinders Ranges & Outback - Ben Goode – South Australian Tourism Commission
Ancient Art at Akurra Adnya – Ann Clancy
Moralana Scenic Drive - David Sandison
Moralana Scenic Drive - David Sandison


This fully-guided, immersive tour for a maximum of ten people will take you through beautiful blue ranges, past jagged sawtooth ridges, into deep red gorges and along rocky creek beds lined with towering redgums. You will see some of the most breathtaking ancient art sites in Australia and sit around the campfire under star-lit skies to hear the ancient stories of the creation of Ikara by the giant serpents, the Akurra, as they carved their way from north to south.

As we follow the trail of the Akurra, we will be warmly hosted and guided by the Adnyamathanha – the ‘people of the rocks’ – at their own tourism facilities. The Adnyamathanha speak their own language and enjoy a rich cultural life, kept alive through an active strategy of sharing it with the

We will learn about the environment of the ranges – the geology, the Ediacaran fossils, the fauna and flora – from both Adnyamathanha and European perspectives. We will tour the beautiful Arid Lands Botanic Garden. Depending on the timing of rainfall, we might see Sturt Desert Peas and
carpets of wildflowers in the ranges.

This tour brings together the most spectacular landscapes in the Ikara-Flinders Ranges, 800 million years of geological history and the oldest culture on earth, in one dramatic narrative.

YOUR TOUR LEADER: The tour will be led by South Australian novelist Ann Clancy, whose forbears settled in the Ikara-Flinders. She has visited the area many, many times from childhood through her adult life, hiked extensively through the region in her younger years, deeply respects the Adnyamathanha and their culture and has written a highly successful popular fiction novel about the first contact history of the Flinders.

Adnyamathanha Guides:
Clifford Coulthard will be our Adnyamathanha guide over six days, from Ikara, up to Lyndhurst, across to Iga Warta and down to Chambers Gorge. He is a senior cultural custodian and law-man, is involved with ceremonial access to the most important ochre deposit in Australia; has been a cultural advisor for more than 40 years; recently discovered the Warratyi site, with art, human artefacts and megafauna (giant wombat) bones dated to 49,000 years; and has featured in films, docos and radio programs. His brothers Terry and Clarrie, and son Kristian, are also expert cultural leaders and guides, and will offer their own perspectives on art, culture, history, music and language. Vince Coulthard, also Cliff’s brother, a much-awarded leader, will join us for dinner in Port Augusta. Pauline McKenzie is a highly respected Adnyamathanha elder, educator and cultural leader, a Director on the Ikara-Wilpena Co-management Board and member of the community committee for the World Heritage bid for Ediacara. She will join us for long lunch at Hawker and answer your questions, including those about Adnyamathanha women, family and the kinship system.


Alumni Travel acknowledges and respects the Adnyamathanha people, the traditional owners of the Ikara-Flinders and Vulkathunha-Gammon regions. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present. All Adnyamathanha cultural references, including references to Ikara, Yurlu and the Akurra, are the property of the Adnyamathanha.


Meet Ann Clancy, your tour leader, at Tarndanyangga – Adelaide. Look at life in its most ancient form, found in the Ikara-Flinders Ranges, at the Ediacara Gallery in the SA Museum with Prof Jim Gehling AO. Visit the largest Aboriginal cultures collection in the world and see Adnyamathanha items, including an Akurra, with Dr Jared Thomas. Welcome dinner featuring South Australian produce. Optional accommodation and breakfast for interstate guests. (D)

Travel north to Port Augusta. Picnic lunch and a walk at verdant Mambray Creek. Dinner with Adnyamathanha elder, Vince Coulthard, who has led many initiatives in native title, social justice and economic enterprise. Talk with Vince about the determination of the Adnyamathanha community to survive, thrive and share their culture. (D)

Guided tour of the Arid Lands Botanic Garden. Stroll along the estuary, watch from the bird hide, enjoy a coffee at the Café or shop for top quality gifts. Scenic drive through Pichi Richi Pass into the Ikara-Flinders Ranges. Enjoy lunch and a conversation about Adnyamathanha women, family and kinship with elder Pauline McKenzie at the stylish Flinders Food Company at Hawker. Experience the winding road and the southern walls of the Pound along the Moralana Scenic Drive. Adnyamathanha welcome to Ikara, the ‘gathering place’, where indigenous people have come since time immemorial for the very best ceremonial ochre. Dinner at the Woolshed Restaurant, Rawnsley Park Station. Glamp in luxury at Ikara Safari Camp and enjoy the views from your private deck. (B,D)

Optional 30 minute scenic flight over Ikara to see the extraordinary formation of Ikara-Wilpena Pound. View the path taken by the Akurra as they carved the spectacular landscape. Meet our expert guide, Adnyamathanha elder and senior law-man, Cliff Coulthard, and his son Kristian, leading
artist and guide, who will guide us along the trail of the Akurra. See the breathtaking ancient art site at Akurra Adnya with Kristian. Walk deep into the Pound with Cliff and be taken back to the beginning of time, when the people met here and waited for Yurlu, the Kingfisher Man, to start the initiation ceremony, only to discover that the giant serpents, the Akurra, had surrounded them. Enjoy an evening campfire and the star-studded night sky. (B,D)

Tour Bunyeroo Valley and Varatyinha – Brachina Gorge – stopping at the magnificent lookouts. Hear how the Akurra travelled through Varatyinha and were seen here by Yurlu, the Kingfisher Man, on his way south. Learn about the geology of the area in the Corridors through Time geological trail.

Understand how the Cambrian explosion, the formation of Ikara, the creation of the Adnyamathanha and their culture, the initiations, the sacred ochre, the moieties, the flora and fauna and the Milky Way all come together here in one glorious majesty. Visit Stokes Hill lookout to see the changing moods and colours of the ranges and hear the stories of creation. (B,L,D)

Visit the old mining town at Warru Awi – Blinman. Enjoy a coffee and cake at the wonderful bakery. Visit Kristian and Gabby at the Wadna Yura craft shop. Kristian will talk to us about his art, their new venture and the carving tradition of the Adnyamathanha. We will have seen Kristian’s Akurra carving at the SA Museum, and an Adnyamathanha shield, possibly by the late master-carver Davy Ryan, at the Art Gallery of SA. Drive through the spectacular Parachilna Gorge, where we will stop for a picnic lunch. Hear from Cliff about the important Pukartu mine and the ancient ochre trade routes still used today. Stretch your legs at Arrunha Awi – the present day Aroona Dam – where the Akurra first emerged. Arrive at Leigh Creek. (B,L,D)

Travel along the Marree road to Lyndhurst, to see Kakarlpunha – Mt Termination – where Yurlu started his journey. Explore Leigh Creek, where Yurlu lit the fires in the forest that not only created the coal, but alerted the Akurra to his journey to Ikara. Hear about the muku mai (ceremonial
dampers) of this ancient story which were rediscovered mid last century and unearthed from deep underground, along with some petrified logs, when the Leigh Creek Mine was excavated. Take the road east for a short distance from Copley to see the Akurra at the beginning of their journey. They
take the form of the Jurassic sandstone mesa-like hills named Ngamangarrinha (female serpent) and Wartawinnha (male serpent) – the Cutaway Hills. Dinner at the Leigh Creek Outback Resort, where Ann will give a talk about the power of narrative in settler and Adnyamathanha culture, history,
politics and government policy. (B, L, D)

Walk for an hour along gum-studded creek beds into the magnificent Red Gorge to see the extensive ancient petroglyphs on two galleries along the high deep-red rock-walls.

Listen as Cliff explains the dating of ancient art and archaeological sites. Understand the significance of the Warratyi site discovered by Cliff and Giles Hamm in 2016. The first stage one metre dig, alone, completely rewrote human history in Australia. Cliff can also place these sites in a global context, having travelled to France to see the ancient art at Lascaux. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the gorge before we walk back to the bus.

Arrive at Iga Warta, the place of the Native Orange, a tourism facility and cultural centre built by hand more than 20 years ago by the Coulthard family to achieve the dream of sharing their culture. Welcome to Country with elder, musician and linguistics expert, Terry Coulthard. If we are lucky, Terry might also sing us the song of Yurlu’s Coal. Take a stroll to see the nearby ancient Iga tree, view the ethnographic museum, or climb the hills around Iga Warta if time. We will enjoy a Cultural Cookout Dinner with our hosts Cliff, Terry, Clarrie and Josie. This will include kangaroo if available. Rug up for a night around the campfire and under the stars as we sing Adnyamathanha songs and
talk with the family about modern and traditional Adnyamathanha life and culture. (B,L,D)

Travel back through the spectacular Parachilna Gorge to Blinman and out to Chambers Gorge to see the petroglyphs in the upper gorge. View Mount Chambers, a place steeped in important Muda stories and Adnyamathanha culture.

View the last landscapes that feature in the story of Yurlu and the Akurra. Vardnapa Adnya and Wilyaru Adnya are important markers in this landscape. Vardnapa Adnya represents the first stage of
initiation and Wilyaru Adnya represents the second stage initiation. Enjoy a farewell dinner with Cliff, Kristian and Gabby at the ‘pub in the scrub’. (B,L,D)

Relax as we head south to Adelaide. View the spectacular Ikara region one last time. Reflect on the trail of Yurlu and the Akurra as we now travel in the direction they took, past Pukartu, Varatyinha and Ikara. Enjoy the lovely winding RM Williams Way through the beautiful landscapes of the
Southern Flinders Ranges.

Pick up a bakery lunch to eat by the Pekina Creek Waterhole at Orroroo. Hear about Ann’s family who purchased land at Pekina, the site of the first station in the Flinders Ranges. Understand the importance of the Goyder Line and their struggle to survive without the knowledge of the Ngadjuri
and the Adnyamathanha and their connection to the land. Hear about the importance of the Goyder Line in the survival of the Adnyamathanha.

Arrive into Adelaide in the late afternoon/early evening – end of tour. You may wish to book further accommodation through Alumni Travel. (B)

The region is experiencing its best tourist volumes in decades, combined with acute labour shortages and the loss of the casual labour previously offered by international backpackers. Accommodation is scarce and we will stay in remote locations where Infrastructure, construction and maintenance can be challenging. It is often basic and expensive as a result. We will enjoy luxury glamping with proper beds and standard hotel accommodation in both modern and heritage facilities, all with en-suites. Your choice of single or twin accommodation is available at all locations. Camping is not included.

Moderate fitness is required. Hiking poles are highly recommended for steadiness over rocky paths. The maximum length of the guided walks will be 8 kms return through rocky creek beds at a slow-medium pace. Maximum uphill walking will be 45 minutes on a loosely-formed path, including uneven rock-steps, on a moderate incline, at a slow-medium pace. You will need to manage your own luggage over unsealed surfaces. More strenuous walks can be taken independently.

The itinerary is subject to confirmation at the time of the tour in response to local conditions and the cultural obligations and health of elders. The region is remote. Emergency medical services are available at hospitals at Port Augusta, Hawker and Orroroo. The Royal Flying Doctor Service can land at Angepena Station near Iga Warta.



Land Only per person, twin-share A$4,750
Single Supplement A$655
Scenic flight over Ikara-Wilpena pp A$188.10


  • Your choice of single or twin share accommodation at all hotels and resorts
  • Use of Adnyamathanha-owned accommodation at Ikara-Wilpena
  • Visits to Adnyamathanha-owned facilities at Wadna Yura and Iga Warta
  • Transport in a comfortable 18 seater air-conditioned coach
  • All touring and entry fees (not including the scenic flight over Ikara-Wilpena) as indicated in the itinerary
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Services of a Tour Leader throughout the itinerary
  • Adnyamathanha cultural interpreters as indicated in the itinerary on 8 days
  • Tour booklet


  • Air travel to Adelaide
  • Meals not listed in itinerary
  • Airport to hotel transfers
  • Travel Insurance
  • Items of personal nature (phone, laundry)
  • Optional scenic flight
  • Optional Adelaide accommodation

Please contact Tony for the best airfares available at the time of booking. (

Complete, sign and return the attached Alumni Travel Booking Form along with your deposit of $450.00 per person to Alumni Travel. Upon receipt of your Booking Form and deposit, you will receive a confirmation of your place in writing. Any cancellation from the tour needs to be in writing. The cancellation date will be taken from the day your written cancellation is received by Alumni Travel. Because of the tour cancellation charges imposed by our various suppliers, the following cancellation charges apply, per person:

Over 60 days $100.00 – Administration Fee
59 – 40 days 25% of tour cost
39 – 10 days 50% of tour cost
Within 10 days 100% of tour cost

If a difference occurs between these cancellation conditions and those imposed by our suppliers, then the conditions of the supplier shall apply. There is no refund before or after travel has commenced or for any unused portion of the tour, either in regard to the standard group arrangements or separate independent arrangements.

Any payments by credit card will be subject to a 2% non-refundable Merchant Administration Fee.

A comprehensive QBE Insurance brochure is available from Alumni Travel. The insurance brochure contains the terms and conditions under which insurance cover will be offered to you.

If you would like Alumni Travel to assist you with any additional arrangements pre or post tour, please contact our office for assistance at time of booking. All arrangements need to be finalised at least 30 days prior to your departure.

An administration fee of $30.00 per amendment will be charged for any changes made to any reservation within 30 days prior to your departure. Any additional charges imposed by our suppliers will also be payable.

The deposit is accepted as a first instalment of the tour cost and will be fully refunded if the arrangements can not be confirmed or the tour is cancelled by Alumni Travel. Final payment for the tour needs to be received at least 60 days prior to tour departure. An invoice will be sent to you about a fortnight before the final payment becomes due.

In the event that passenger numbers do not reach the minimum number of tour participants required for the tour, it may be necessary to either surcharge or cancel the tour. If such an event does occur, you will be notified at least 60 days prior to the tour departure.

This tour price has been calculated on the basis of tariffs at time of print and is subject to change up until final payment has been received. At the time of final invoicing (approximately two months prior to the tour departure date), Alumni Travel reserves the right to re-cost the tour based on changes to tariffs by tourism service providers. This could mean an increase or decrease to the above listed prices. Should you decide to cancel your arrangements on the basis of a change in the tour price, normal cancellation charges will apply.