Arkaba Conservancy is a 60,000-acre station bordering the natural amphitheatre of Wilpena Pound in the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park. Over the past decade it’s been transformed from a working sheep station into a wildlife conservancy, and with no wi-fi or phone signal, guests are encouraged to focus all their attention on the surrounding landscape.
Guests stay in the rambling 1851 homestead, which has been designed so each of the four rooms enjoys a private section of the deep wraparound verandah. Evidence of the station’s former use is everywhere inside: bedheads of sheepskin stretched between old fenceposts, cowhides spread out on the floor as rugs and wool bales repurposed as side tables.
Arkaba’s “contributive tourism” model means that a portion of all fees are used to rewild the property, a long-term project that includes feral animal management, weed removal and wildlife surveys. The varying daily programs offer plenty of chances to see this work. Options might include a safari in an open-top Land Cruiser, a walk along dry creek beds and lightly forested slopes, and cultural tours led by an Adnyamathanha elder.
On returning from each excursion, expect a warm face towel and a cold drink. The open bar draws from wine producers throughout the state, with a particular focus on the Clare Valley
An all-inclusive stay also covers meals that straddle the line between traditional station fare and modern Australian cuisine. Think lamb roast with river mint and wattleseed rub, poached quandong tarte tatin or yoghurt with bush lime, plus a sprinkling of seafood from the Eyre Peninsula. When the weather permits, lunch and dinner takes place around an old wool sorting table on the back verandah, which overlooks the nearby creek bed and the hills beyond.