Starting at Wilpena Visitors Centre at 8.45am, well equipped with boots, water, sunscreen, walking poles, lunch and snacks, we registered our details in the trail book and headed out on the direct route to St Mary Peak (1171m). This walk is 14.6km in length and walkers are advised to allow six hours return and leave prior to 9am. Well. All started deceptively simply, just a walk in the park, watched by a ring neck parrot. Until we started our ascent, which proved to be up a steep rock face. By the time we got to Tanderra Saddle, about 1.8km from the top we were all in and the thought of making the steep descent, never mind continuing to the top, was totally daunting, given the state of our wobbly leg muscles.
After an early lunch admiring the view, we decided that it would be safer to return by the longer inner loop route. We knew we were supposed to allow
nine hours for the return version of this walk, but getting in late was preferable to the risk of falling off the cliff face. In actual fact, the return by this longer route proved quite doable and we completed it in good time.