The Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park is one of those unique beautiful outback destinations, accessible from along the Oodnadatta Track.

The park is home to a number of mound springs, most notable are The Bubbler, Blanche Cup and the now extinct Hamilton Hill spring.

Blanche Cup & Hamilton Hill, Wabma Kadarbu Conservation Park
Blanche Cup & Hamilton Hill, Wabma Kadarbu Conservation Park

Part of the Lake Eyre supergroup of springs, the ‘mound springs’ in this conservation park provide a excellent example of these types of springs and the associated flora and fauna.

Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Attractions

Aboriginal Dreamtime
The Oodnadatta Track follows an old Aboriginal trading route, who passed through this semi arid desert country by following the ‘springs’. The springs in the area were extremely important to the Aboriginal groups of this region for both water and as places of spiritual significance. All through this area, there are dreamings and one of the stories for these springs goes something like this:

The Kuyani ancestor Kakakutanha followed the trail of the rainbow serpent Kanmari to Bidalinha (or the Bubbler) where he killed it. He then threw away the snake’s head, which is represented by Hamilton Hill, and cooked the body in an over-Dirga, which is now Blanche Cup. Kakakutanha’s wife, angry at missing out on the best meat from the snake, cursed her husband and he went on to meet a gruesome death at Kudna-ngampa (Curdimurka). The bubbling water represents the convulsions of the dying serpent.1

The Oodnadatta Track crosses the traditional lands of three Aboriginal groups. The track follows the path of ancient Aboriginal trade routes, where traders travelled from one spring to another, carrying materials from the Flinders Ranges deep into central Australia and back. It is a path that was well travelled, with the knowledge of these springs passed down through many generations of Aboriginal people, since ancient times. The knowledge of these springs are deeply engrained in Aboriginal culture, remembered through ceremonies and dreamtime stories, that ensured their survival down through the ages.

Mound Springs
Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park encompasses a number of mound springs including: Blanche Cup, The Bubbler, Little Bubbler, Jersey Spring, Elizabeth Spring, Horse Spring, Buttercup Spring, Mount Hamilton Spring.

Flora and Fauna
Each mound spring is a mini eco system, whose aquatic life is usually isolated from other springs, resulting in some aquatic creatures evolving differently to those in other mound springs. Some of the wildlife to be discovered include the desert goby fish, a number of species of pinhead size aquatic snails, some slater-like isopod and shrimp-like isopods.

Gould's Goanna, Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park
Gould’s Goanna (Varanus gouldii – V g flavirufus) near Blanche Cup

Larger wildlife including birds and reptiles can also be seen in the region, the largest being the Gould’s Goanna (also know as the Sand Goanna, check out our Fauna information on the Gould’s Goanna).

There are a variety of plant life, that also survive in the region, many relying on the water from the spring. Where the mound water has a run-off, a mini wetland is created.

Hummock forming Frankenia muscosa at Blanche Cup
Hummock forming Frankenia muscosa at Blanche Cup
Frankenia muscosa
Frankenia muscosa

Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs CP Images

Wabma Kkadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park is one of the unique and interesting locations along the Oodnadatta Track. More information and images can be seen on our Snapshots of Australia – The Oodnadatta Track

Footnote & References

  1. The South Australian Tourism Commission, South Australia. The Oodnadatta Track – String of Springs (PDF). Retrieved August 1, 2012
  2. A Checklist of Plants of Dalhousie Springs and Their Immediate Environs (PDF), D. E. Symon, J. Adelaide Bot. Gard. 7(1) (1984), Agronomy Department, Waite Agricultural Research Institute, Glen Osmond, South Australia 5064. Retrieved October 25, 2020

South AustraliaAdelaide Hills Alberrie Creek Algebuckina Bridge Belair National Park Kangaroo Island Kanku–Breakaways Conservation Park Mount Gambier Oodnadatta Oodnadatta Track Orroroo Port Augusta Port Germein Wabma Kadarbu Conservation Park William Creek Wilpena Pound Witjira National Park Woomera