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Luxury homestead accommodation in South Australia

4th March 2010 Print

Travellers to South Australia seeking a traditional, yet luxurious Outback experience will be able to stay at two-bedroom Arkapena Homestead when it opens in April 2010.

Featured as an extension of Rawnsley Park Station’s existing accommodation options, Arkapena Homestead dates back to the 1950s. It will offer all the ambience of a traditional Australian Outback home, including wide verandas, thick walls and galvanized roof, combined with a spacious, contemporary interior renovated in the same style as Rawnsley Park Station’s eco-villas.

Highlights include:

• Spectacular views of the colourful Chace Range
• Completely self-contained property with living area, gourmand’s kitchen, dining room and two queen bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms
• Private outdoor shower
• Al fresco entertaining area with barbecue
• Ideal for one or two couples holidaying together or a family
• Full access to Rawnsley Park Station’s facilities including the Woolshed Restaurant, 4WD tours, scenic flights and bushwalking trips

The homestead is located on 9,000-hectare Arkapena Station – a sheep station neighbouring Rawnsley Park Station which was acquired by the owners in May 2009. Now, Rawnsley Park Station comprises 12,000-hectares of land in a prime environmental zone of the Flinders Ranges.

Arkapena Homestead will take bookings from 1st April 2010 – prices are as follows:

• AUS$490 per night (approx £269) for two adults including continental breakfast provisions
• $AUS590 per night (approx (£325) for four adults including continental breakfast provisions
• Full dining and tour packages are available on request

Rawnsley Park Station is located in the heart of the Flinders Ranges only 400 km from Adelaide overlooking Wilpena Pound, the 83 square km amphitheatre formed 640 million years ago.

As well as offering eight luxury eco-villas and Arkapena Homestead, Rawnsley Park Station has 28 holiday units (3.5-4 star), a caravan resort and bush camping sites. Highlights below:


LUXURY ECO VILLAS - whilst contemporary in design and décor, the eco villas boast the latest environmental features including rendered straw bale walls for insulation, polished timber floors over suspended concrete slabs, and overhanging eaves and wide verandahs, which provide shaded walls. Other unusual features include retractable fabric ceilings which provide a magical night viewing panel from the bedroom, allowing guests to lie back in bed and gaze up at the stars in the clear southern skies above.

Rawnsley Park’s eco-villas have achieved Advanced Ecotourism accreditation which recognises Australia's leading and most innovative eco-tourism products. They provide visitors with an opportunity to learn about the environment with an operator who is committed to using resources wisely, contributing to the conservation of the environment and helping local communities.

The first four eco-villas proved to be so popular since their introduction in 2006, that a further A$1 million was invested in four additional villas, which were completed in April 2009. Each one of the eight eco-villas (six one-bedroom and two, two-bedroom) offers the same stunning views, secluded location, stylish interiors and quality facilities.

APARTMENTS in the holiday village are ideal for both families and groups. The 25 units range from one to three-bedrooms and are equipped with full kitchens.

THE CARAVAN PARK, dotted with native pines and gum trees, offers cabins, powered sites and bush camping, all catered to by a licensed shop, covered camp kitchen and modern amenities block.


Visitors can enjoy 4WD tours, scenic flights, mountain bike treks (including a 200kms cycling track) and bush walking trails, whilst daily guided walks leave the Station early each morning. These three-hour “High Life Walks” showcase the region’s unique flora, wildlife and geology, taking participants through exposed spinifex, mallee ridges and sheltered woodland, providing stunning views across the Outback landscape.

Other tour options include the daily two-hour “Sunset on the Chace”, a 4WD tour followed by dinner under the stars, and the four-course, silver service “Starlight Dinner” set amongst gumbarked trees under a canopy of stars. Developed in conjunction with the Woolshed, the dinner showcases in-season produce with dishes like fresh asparagus wrapped in smoked salmon; herbed lamb cutlets seasoned with pepper leaf and fennel served on potato and pumpkin rosti with red wine jus; and layered two chocolate ganache served with pistachio biscotti. This dinner is offered on the second and fourth Saturday of each month, or on selected dates.

Wildlife spotting is another drawcard for the region as gorges have running water most of the year and it is possible to spot a yellow footed rock wallaby, one of the area’s endangered species. The plethora of birdlife ranges from the common ringneck parrot and the noisy galah to the elusive short-tailed grasswren and Australia’s largest bird of prey, the wedge-tailed eagle.

Additional touring can be undertaken in Flinders Ranges National Park, Wilpena Pound, the heritage town of Hawker and the Pichi Richi steam railway.


T Woolshed Restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, offers al fresco dining overlooking Rawnsley Bluff, with the added attraction of an authentic shearing shed attached and visible from inside the restaurant courtesy of glass doors. The constantly changing menu includes dishes like balsamic onion and feta tart with roast pumpkin, pine nut and roquette salad, marinated kangaroo, and stuffed Tommy Ruff (Australian herring) with lemon caper sauce.


Fourth generation Flinders Ranges residents, Tony and Julieanne Smith are passionate about the Flinders Ranges and represent one of the first tourism operators in South Australia to gain official eco-tourism accreditation, as well as being active in the development of the region’s ‘geo-tourism’ sector. The Smiths have also contributed significantly to the Flinders Ranges’ recent declaration as a ‘National Landscape’ by Tourism Australia.

The couple is committed to environmentally responsible and sustainable tourism and has a Heritage Agreement with the South Australian Department of Environment and Heritage in order to protect the diverse vegetation of Rawnsley Bluff. As part of this commitment they have ensured that there is a dedicated eco-tourism officer on site.

The Smiths have always been very aware of the fragile nature of the native vegetation on the eco-villa site where the principal plants are native pine and shiny-leaf hopbush. Both of these are arid zone plants that are very slow growing and Tony and Julieanne took great care to ensure that only the minimum vegetation clearance took place during construction of the eco-villas, since most of these plants are 50-100 years old and still only 1-3 metres high.

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