It’s a wide open road for Adnyamathanha Tour Guide Jimmy Neville. Most days you’ll find him at the wheel of his beloved troopie, heading bush into the country he loves – The Ikara Flinders Ranges National Park.
The first stop on his ‘Gorgeous Gorges Tour’ is an old yakka tree his grandfather pointed out years ago. It’s a symbol of resilience in a tough environment, cracking its way through hard rock to offer essentials for those who know what they’re looking for – like a fire stick. The seed pods are important, too. When boiled in the water, they provide a nice black tea and the tips of individual green shoots offer a little sweetness.
For Jimmy, every tour is a trip back in time — through memory to his days as a child learning the ways of the Adnyamathanha, and through eons, as we drive through Bunyeroo and Brachina Gorges, with their ancient layers of sedimentary rock on show for all to see.
At ground level, it’s a magnificent country, but from the air, you can really appreciate the epic story of Ikara and the serpent dreaming. On this trip, we’re cruising at ground level through the Flinders, and all the while others are watching us. They’re perfectly at home here. Partway into Brachina, we stop to watch and wait for the real stars of the Gorgeous Gorges Tour to appear. For Jimmy, it’s a special moment when we finally spot them.
They were near extinction until the Bounceback project got underway in the early 2000s. Thankfully, the Yellow Foot Rock Wallabies are now bouncing back in numbers, a turn-around that gladdens the heart of Jimmy Neville.
“It always makes me happy when I’m out here and see at least one. Then I know my totem is still alive and kicking.”
The Gorgeous Gorges Tour is just one of many runs by the Adnyamathanha Guides at Ikara Wilpena Pound Resort. It’s about a five-hour drive north of Adelaide. For details regarding accommodation and tours head to their website.