Pildappa Rock (Georgia Schipp)


If you’re looking for an authentic outback Australia experience, and you don’t want to be too far from the beach, Wudinna is the perfect location. Located in the centre of the peninsula, Wudinna is also the central gateway to the Gawler Ranges National Park. It’s also the place to try ‘rock hopping’ – explore the stunning (and large) rock outcrops that litter the countryside in the heart of granite country. You’ll be greeted on arrival by the Australian Farmer sculpture on the Eyre Highway, an eight-metre granite sculpture standing as a testament to the area’s rich agricultural heritage (the visitor information outlet is just next door).

In town, let the kids roam free at Apex Park with its popular playground, jumping pillow, splash pad and pump track. For those with more energy, you can walk or ride the trail to Polda Rock Recreation Reserve, keeping an eye out for statues in the scrub and Maurice the Musical Emu (see if you can play a tune on his feathers). Wudinna has all the amenities you need to stock up before you venture in the National Park, and friendly locals to welcome you. You’ll meet them if you check out the great bakery, café and local pub. There’s even a camping store if you’ve forgotten something!

Minnipa is a 25-minute drive from Wudinna and while it doesn’t have as many services, it does have the famous Pildappa Rock – Eyre Peninsula’s version of Wave Rock in WA. The stunning curved formation of this large rock looks like a wave (surprise surprise), and the highest points are near the picnic areas.

Discover 'rock-hopping'

Spend a day or two exploring the incredible rock formations around the Wudinna area – including Mount Wudinna, rising over the surrounding farmland, and the popular Pildappa Rock. Mount Wudinna is one of the largest monoliths in the southern hemisphere, and while the climb is steep it’s not very long. Follow the Interpretive Trail and hike to the top to see views that change with the seasons – green and yellow canola in winter or golden crops ready for reaping at harvest time.

Unconditchie Hill, Pygery Rocks and Polda are others to check out, all within 30kms of Wudinna and all offering great places to have a BBQ or picnic while enjoying the peace and quiet of the bush. Pildappa Rock also offers beautiful views of the surrounding farmland right out to the Gawler Ranges and Blue Sturts to the north, and the gnamma holes (the holes and dips on the top of the rock) catch water and can be home to tadpoles when it’s been raining. Nearby Tcharkulda Rock has some of the most spectacular ‘tafoni’ in the whole district – and if you’re not up with the geology lingo, that means small cave-like features in rocks like granite. It’s been conserved as a picnic space and is just lovely on a nice day.

Explore the Gawler Ranges National Park

The Gawler Ranges National Park is home to extraordinary volcanic rock formations that date back 1500 million years. It’s also home to an abundance of wildlife – kangaroos, the southern hairy-nosed wombat, yellow-footed rock wallabies (you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled to spot those!), emus, goannas, and a variety of birds, including the endangered short-tailed grass wren. Discover some of the area’s pioneering history at Paney Station, Old Paney Homestead and Pondanna Outstation (available for short-term stays), take one of the many bushwalks (visit the National Parks website for suggestions) and explore the shimmering salt lakes dotted throughout the park. The crown jewel are the Organ Pipes, a dramatic rock formation made up of columns of basalt. The sun highlights the stunning orange-red colours in the stone, and it’s only a short walk from the carpark. You can easily spend a few days out here!

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