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Outback South Australia National Parks

Vast areas of the South Australian outback have been set aside as national and conservation parks or regional reserves. Travel into these should only be undertaken with proper preparation, care and equipment.

For camping in the desert parks in the outback region, you may require a Desert Parks Pass. The Pass is valid for twelve months from the date of issue and comes with an information booklet and detailed outback maps.

Information and Desert Passes into the national parks can be obtained from:

Environment and Natural Resources
77 Grenfell Street, Adelaide
Telephone (08) 8204 1910
Northern Regional Office

SGIC Building,
Mackay Street,
Port Augusta
Telephone (08) 8642 3800

Far North Region Office,
Telephone (08) 8648 4244
or radio telephone (08) 8642 5555.

Witjira National Park

776 900 hectares
This huge desert park begins 120 kilometres north of Oodnadatta and takes in gibber plains, salt pans, sand dunes, flat-topped hills, numerous mound springs and breakaway country. The mound springs, part of the Great Artesian Basin, bring life to the desert and create eases in a hostile
environment. Pastoralists and Aboriginal communities rely on them for sustenance as well do many desert animals and birds.

Dalhousie Springs is one of the best-known of the mound springs and the largest in Australia. Its tepid waters are suitable for swimming, although the fragile environment requires sensible behaviour - no detergents or soaps are allowed. In Witjira, vegetation consists of red mulga and gidgee trees around the dry riverbeds, while around the springs, melaleucas and in some cases palms grow.

Access into Witjira is via Oodnadatta or from Birdsville.

Simpson Desert Regional Reserve

2,364,200 hectares
Much of those parts of the Simpson Desert are not covered by the national park have since been declared a regional reserve and is under the control of the NPWS.

Simpson Desert Conservation Park

632,680 hectares
This park is in the centre of the Simpson Desert. It consists of an endless series of red sand dunes, salt lakes, spinifex grass and gidgee woodland whilst after rare bouts of rain, wildflowers add a stunning range of colours.

A variety of birds and marsupials unique to this part of Australia - including eyerean grass wrens, zebra finches, Australian bustards, hopping mice and marsupial moles - inhabit the park.

Access should only be attempted by four-wheel drive vehicle.

Lake Eyre National Park

1,228,000 hectares
This vast park takes in all of Lake Eyre North and the Tirari Desert. It Protects an important desert wilderness. Lake Eyre has international significance, both for its large expanse of salt pan and its occasional floodings. The Tirari Desert is noted for its vast north-south dunes and salt lakes and in one, Lake Ngapakaldi, important fossil deposits have been discovered. Vegetation in the park tends to be low and stunted, consisting mainly of samphire, saltbush and bluebush, with some acacia and cassia. Lake Eyre has only been full of water four times in living memory (and those only in the last twenty years).

Innamincka Regional Reserve

1,382,765 hectares
A large part of the land around Innamincka including the Coongie Lakes, is now a regional reserve.


South Australian National Parks | Camping in South Australia

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