After a couple of days in the Wilpena Pound area, we headed to the northern end of the Ikara – Flinders Ranges National Park camping at the head of the scenic Aroona valley. In the mid 1800’s an English pastoralist named John Hayward set up a sheep run here after arriving in the colony with 40 pounds in his pocket. After 11 very successful years, he sold up and returned to England in 1862 having made a fortune of 40,000 pounds. His timing was perfect, because soon after he left the great drought of 1865 set in which sent most of the early pastoralists to bankruptcy and by the 1880’s the once luxurious homestead which featured running water from a nearby spring had been reduced to ruins.
About half a century after Hayward’s run was abandoned a smaller pug and pine hut was erected in the valley as an outstation which can still be seen on the left in the view above. The famous landscape painter Hans Heysen used to base himself there to paint and get inspiration for his works. The photo of the information board below shows one of his paintings called the three sisters. Underneath is a photo taken from roughly the same location.
That night a southerly change came through, so although we planned a 4 hour walk the next day, it was not necessary to get up with the galahs – although I did briefly go out to get a shot of the sun rising on the Hayward Range.
After leisurely start, we set off on the Yuluna circuit walk – a pleasant varied track through a gorge, native pine forests and ultimately to a lookout where Hans Heysen is said to have spent many evenings with his favourite brew.