Need to know
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.
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.
Double rooms from $1208.55 (AU$1,618), excluding tax at 10 per cent.
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.
Arkaba is a private wildlife sanctuary; a stay here 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.
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.
At the hotel
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.
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.
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.
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.
Smoking is not permitted in the Homestead, Coach House or on the terrace, but is acceptable by the firepit in the garden. Guests should beware of the risk of fire from any butts dropped, especially during the dry season.
No pets are permitted to protect sheep and native animals. See more pet-friendly hotels in Flinders Ranges.
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.
Children aged 12 or older are welcome on the Arkaba Walk, and kids aged eight or above for Homestead stays, although younger children can be accommodated at the Homestead when it's hired exclusively.
Adventurous, active children aged 12 or over who will enjoy the Arkaba Walk. Younger kids will love the wildlife sightings on shorter safari drives from the Hometstead, but most activities would suit those aged five or above best.
For extra privacy and peace, opt for the separate Coachman's Cottage at Arkaba Homestead, which sits just across the garden from the main lodge. There's room for a kids' swag bed on the floor in the bedroom or adjoining dressing room.
At the Homestead, kids can play out on the lawn, swim in the pool, check out the horses and sheep around the grounds, or chill out indoors with board games (it's a delightfully TV-free zone though). Wildlife safaris by car or local walks are also a must to spy three types of kangaroo, emus, sheep and birds, and children will love the binoculars, bird compendium and notebook for jotting down the species they've seen. Older kids will also enjoy a visit to the old Arkaba Woolshed, a five-minute drive away, which is still used for sheep shearing in season (usually August). Treks in and around Wilpena Pound, a short drive away, are also jaw-dropping, with striking trees and rock formations, and look-outs for taking in the scene. Kids aged 12 or over are welcome on the Arkaba Walk, where nights are spent in swag beds on open-air platforms (covered by tents if it rains), with alfresco showers and toilet huts. The walk is moderate to challanging, so should suit most fit children, with only a few uphill slogs. En route, guides will keep kids entertained with fascinating information about the local flora, fauna, geology and indigenous history, as well as hilarious insights into animal droppings.
Children are welcome in the small, unheated pool, which has a safety fence, but there are no lifeguards on duty, so parents will need to keep a close eye on the kids.
Dining is very flexible at Arkaba Homestead, with Richard, the chef, happy to adapt dishes to suit junior palates. Kids will love the home-made bread, jams, yoghurt, cakes and muesli bar snacks on offer, and will enjoy the casual, campfire cooking if they're on the Arkaba Walk. Meal times are also flexible, and can be organised around family body clocks.
Babysitting isn't available at Arkaba.
No need to pack
You'll need to bring your own baby cot, high chair and child car-seat, as kids' kit isn't supplied by the hotel.
Of the main Homestead Guest Rooms, Rasheed and Bartolameus are the largest, so would also work well if you need to accommodate an extra child's swag bed. Note, there's no mobile phone reception at Arkaba, but there is a landline number which can be shared with family as an emergency contact.
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.