Arkaba Station & Walk
- Style Sheep station chic
- Setting Outback galore
For an iconic Australian adventure, you can't beat Arkaba Station & Walk hotel in the Flinders Ranges, an elegant 1850s homestead and sheep station set in 60,000 acres of awe-inspiring private wilderness. Design details pay homage to the property's hard-working heritage, from wool sack-wrapped bedside tables to sheepskin hot-water bottles. All-inclusive dining, with world-beating wines, makes for convivial times indoors; outside kangaroo- and emu-watching awaits, or team a stay with Arkaba's fab swag-camp glamping trek.
Need to know
- Rooms Five at the exclusive-hire Arkaba homestead, which sleeps two to 10. You can also book Arkaba's three-night guided walk (for two to eight; or 10 for private groups), sleeping in cosy campsite swag beds for two nights with a last night at Arkaba Station.
- Rates Double rooms from $1307.37 (AU$1,436), excluding tax at 10 per cent.
- More details Homstead rates include all meals, select drinks and daily scheduled activities from guided walks to 4WD wildlife safaris and mountain biking; a two-night minimum stay applies. The Arkaba Walk includes guides, all meals, select drinks, snacks and swags.
- Facilities Dining room, terrace, library with books, magazines and board games, boutique, pool, mountain bikes with helmets, gardens. In rooms: pillow menu, Australian bird book and binoculars, sheepskin hot-water bottles, eco-friendly Serendipity toiletries, hairdryer on request. On walk: head-torches, thermos flasks, swag beds, bush showers and eco-loo, support vehicle for transporting luggage between camps. You're unlikely to get mobile phone reception out here, but there's a landline and computer at the Homestead for guests' use in emergencies, and guides on the walk carry radios.
- Poolside Cool off in Arkaba's outdoor pool, a compact, linear number with serene views out to Arkaba Creek, hills and bush. Pool towels and dressing gowns are available, and there are a few loungers beckoning on the deck for sunset cocktails. As it's unheated, it may get nippy in winter.
- Check–out 11am; check-in, from 2pm. To guarantee an earlier check-in, you'll need to prebook the room for the day before. Walks depart Thursdays from the Homestead after a briefing at 10am, and also on Saturdays in September and October.
Children Due to its intimate scale and wild bush setting, Arkaba only welcomes children aged eight or over (12 and above for the Walk). If you take over the property exclusively, it's possible to bring younger kids, so long as suitable supervision is arranged.
- Hotel closed The Homestead is open year-round, but the Arkaba Walk only operates from 14 March to 3 November to avoid the high-summer heat. Walks depart each Thursday, and also on Saturdays in peak walking months September and October.
- Eco‐friendly Arkaba is involved with conservation efforts across its 60,000-acre property, including protecting native species and plants, eliminating introduced feral animals such as foxes, cats and goats, reducing the impact of sheep farming on the bush, supporting a colony of rare Yellow-footed Rock Wallabies and spreading eco-awareness. Hot water is solar-generated at the Homestead, with no TVs, electric kettles, minibars or phones in rooms, and food and wine is mainly locally sourced, organic and home-grown. A decanter of rainwater is refilled on bedside tables each night, with no plastic bottles on-site. Extreme care is taken at swag camps and on walks to minimise impact on the environment, and although still a working sheep station, Arkaba has created a wildlife sanctuary on its grounds.
- Also Smoking is not permitted in the Homestead, Coach House or on the terrace, but is accectable by the firepit in the garden. Guests should beware of the risk of fire from any butts dropped, especially during the dry season.
In the know
- Our favourite rooms All five Homestead rooms are spacious and elegant, with a simple heritage feel teamed with modern comforts and evocative rural details such as ostrich-egg lamp stands, native animal prints and cow-hide rugs. If you're partial to a roll-top bath ask for the large Rashid Room or standalone Coachman's Cottage across the garden. The Bartholameus Room has the biggest shower and a skinny, day-bed-strewn sitting area. We also love the cosier yet chic Elder and Chace rooms. All give onto airy verandas dotted with lounge chairs, perfect for perusing Flinders views.
- Packing tips A hat and sunglasses are essential in this baking wilderness region (sunscreen and mosquito repellant are provided). Walkers should bring worn-in boots, a small, comfy day-pack, water bottle (or camel bladder for sipping as you stroll) and a trusty stick. A camera with a change of battery is vital for kangaroo- and emu-snapping. Take light clothing for summer and warm layers for winter, including a beanie, scarf and gloves, plus some smarter threads for hanging out in the Homestead.
- Also Arkaba will bring out your inner twitcher, with gorgeous native birds including pink-hued, noisy Galahs flocking the trees around the property. You'll also spy three kinds of kangaroo (Euros, Reds and Greys) and emu if you're lucky. We love the little wildlife booklet in each room listing local species for you to tick off as you go. Make time to visit the historic Woolshed nearby, too, still in use during shearing season.
Food and drink at Arkaba Station & Walk
- Hotel restaurant You can almost see the waistlines expanding at Arkaba, where New Zealand chef Richard Cocoran whips up fabulous all-inclusive meals, drawing on local South Australian food and wines, and starring seasonal, organic and home-grown produce (such as wild limes and quandongs). The good life kicks off at breakfast, when guests help themselves to house-made bircher muesli and yoghurt, home-baked breads and jams, fruit salad and Nespresso coffees, enjoyed around the convivial wooden table in the country-style dining room. Richard will knock you up eggs, any way, if you prefer. Delicious lunch and dinner dishes, such as salmon and polenta or saffron-infused spaghetti with vegetables, mix modern influences with native twists.
- Dress code Smart-casual, notching up the elegance come evening. Imagine you're visiting fortunate friends in the country.
- Top table In winter, the cosy table in the kitchenside breakfast room should get your vote. On sunny days, eat alfresco at the generous terrace table, which reflects the surrounding landscape in its sexy glass-topped surface.
- Last orders Meals are timed around you, but dinner is normally served between 7pm and 8.30pm.
- Room service There's no room service at this intimate retreat, but you're welcome to help yourself anytime to snacks, coffee, tea or fruit from the kitchen, including tasty cookies and cakes care of Richard.
- Hotel bar Help yourself from the well-stocked fridge by the outdoor terrace lounge, bulging with an enviable collection of champagne, South Australian wines (we're talking Barossa and Clare Valley tipples), beer and soft drinks. Quaffing from the select open-bar is all-inclusive here, with the team happy to advise you or match wines with food. Canapés, cocktails and wine are served each night before dinner to get the party started.