Flinders Ranges, St. Mary Peak Loop

St. Mary Peak Loop (Ngarri Mudlanha) 1180 m

St. Mary Peak is the highest peak in Flinders Ranges. In Aboriginal culture Ngarri Mudlanha means “dizzy thoughts”. The hike starts at Wilpena Pound visitor centre and follows the Wilpena Creek for 300m. At the information centre turn right and follow St. Mary peak Outside Trail for 4.5 km through native pine forest.

Track sign

Then you start climbing a rocky section, challenging at times, but with breathtaking sceneries until you reach Tanderra Saddle. Here you can take a break, before attempting St. Mary Peak climb for 1.8 km.

The track towards the peak

Climbing St. Mary is a rough section with a lot of rock climbing and hoping. However, it is all worth it and at the peak you are rewarded with stunning views. Retrace your steps to Tanderra Saddle, where you can choose to return via Scarpa Trail 7.6 km steep or the longer and safer option via the Pound trail 13.6 km. We choose the longer route as it was rainy and slippery. First 5 km took us through a rocky winding path and the last 8 km was easy flat through the forest.

450 m after meeting the Heysen trail we reached the Hills’ homestead built in 1888, now restored.  From here, there is only 3 km left before reaching the start of the trail again.

Restored Jessie Hill Homestead
Jessie Hill homestead

Rated hard, 21.7 km, 9 hours

Tips: You need 3L of water. Also don’t forget to log in and out in the register at the Wilpena Pound. Off the trail you might choose to drive and see Cazneaux Tree, Appealinna ruins, Great Wall of China on the way from Wilpena Pound to Blinman. The loop walk is also described in Walk SA published by Advertiser Enterprise in 2006.

Comment: This hike was one of my first hikes that I posted on every trail application.