Ngarkat Conservation Park

  • Picnic Areas
  • Campfires Permitted
  • Caravan Sites
  • Toilets
  • Camping
  • 4WD
  • Walking Trails
  • Bird Watching
PDF Park Brochure
Alerts 1

Partial park closure

Part of Ngarkat Conservation Park will be closed from 6pm on Monday, 20 March 2017 until 6am on Friday, 24 March 2017.
Details >

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Ngarkat SA map

Home to the legendary Border Track between the South Australian and Victorian border, Ngarkat’s immense landscapes are a spectacular sight to behold.

Ngarkat SA map

Home to the legendary Border Track between the South Australian and Victorian border, Ngarkat’s immense landscapes are a spectacular sight to behold.

About

Enjoy the peaceful surroundings of the Ngarkat Conservation Park and take in the views over the park's 270,000 hectares of vegetated sand dunes, mallee and heath.The park abounds in wildlife. Look out for western grey kangaroo and emus and more than 120 species of birds. You may spot a rare malleefowl walking slowly among the trees.

A number of walking trails give you the opportunity to see the wildlife and get a better appreciation of the vast mallee landscape. Enjoy the magnificent views from Tyms Lookout along a 2-3 hour hike. Early attempts to farm this country failed as seen by the ruins of early European pioneering settlements at Box Flat.

Opening hours

The one way section of the Border Track is open from 1 April to 31 October and is closed during the Fire Danger Season.

This park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.

Listen to the local area radio station for the latest updates and information on fire safety. 

Contact details

Natural Resource Office - Berri

Phone: (+61 8) 8580 1800

Fire Duty Officer: 0408 802 874 (urgent calls only)

Getting there

Ngarkat Conservation Park is located 34km south of Pinaroo. Access is via Princes Highway. Alternatively take the Mallee Highway from Tailem Bend via Peake and Lameroo or Snozwells Road near Tintinara off the Dukes Highway.

There are numerous unmarked tracks around Ngarkat that are used for servicing beehives. They are not for public access due to the risk of getting lost or disturbing the bees and the potential damage to vegetation.

The 29km Border Track is restricted one-way from north to south and open only from 1 April to 31 October each year. Contact the the Murray Bridge office before attempting this journey.

Natural Resource Office - Murray Bridge

Phone: (+61 8) 8532 9100

Pets in parks

Pets are not permitted within this park. There are however, a number of South Australian National Parks where you can take your dog on a lead. 

Facilities

There are picnic areas, caravan sites, toilets and campgrounds with campfires located in this park.

Campground facilities

There are a variety of facilities available at the campgrounds within the park. Look at the facilities table below and pick the site which suits you best.

Campground Access Caravan access Toilets Picnic tables Washing water BBQ Nearby walking trail
Pertendi 2WD Y Y Y Y Y Y
Pine Hut Soak 2WD
(Dry weather only)
N Y Y Y Y Y
Comet Bore 4WD N N N N N N
Box Flat 4WD N N Y N N Y
Bucks Camp 4WD N N Y N N Y
Rabbit Island Soak 4WD N N N N N N
Nanam Well 2WD  N  Y Y Y  N  Y
The Pines 4WD N N N N N N
The Gums 4WD N N N N N N
Doggers Hut 4WD N N N N N N

 

Useful information

Outback Road Report

1300 361 033 (24-hour automated service)
Northern and Western South Australian Outback Roads Temporary Closures, Restrictions and Warnings Report

Traditional owners

Aboriginal South Australians are the first peoples of our State and have occupied, enjoyed and managed these lands and waters since the creation. For SA's First Peoples, creation ancestors laid down the laws of the Country and bestowed a range of customary rights and obligations to the many Aboriginal Nations across our state. 

Aboriginal peoples' oral histories and creation stories traverse the length and breadth of Australia’s lands and waters, including South Australian Parks. These stories interconnect land and waters with complex meaning and values and hold great cultural significance. We recognise and respect Aboriginal people's ownership of their stories and that they hold rights and obligations to care for Country. It is through these rights and cultural obligations and a shared goal to protect the environment for generations to come that DEWNR is committed to meaningful collaboration and involvement with Aboriginal peoples in the management of our shared parks.

History

Box Flat in the north-eastern corner of Ngarkat Conservation Park is a shady wetland area that attracted Aboriginal people long before European settlement. It is a very special location, which today enchants visitors with a feeling of peaceful isolation. Box Flat is an ephemeral wetland, which means it is seasonally inundated with water during winter and dries out in summer. This area was a favoured camping site for the local Aboriginal people due to the presence of water and abundant wildlife.

During the years of pastoral occupation from 1871 to 1894, Box Flat was an outstation of Garra Station that was managed by Alan Baker. The main enterprise was sheep grazing, however many difficulties were encountered due to the impacts of wild dogs and competition by rabbits. The main walls and chimney of the three-roomed, local stone hut are all that remain in the park today. Access to these ruins is via a short walk from the day visitor car park.

See and do

Bushwalking

Bushwalking is a fantastic way to connect with nature, keep fit and spend time with family and friends. 

South Australia's national parks feature a range of trails that let you experience a diversity of landscapes. Our trails cater for all levels of fitness and adventure and our classification system makes it easy to select an experience suitable for you.

Easy walks

  • Box Flat Walk (20 mins return, 1km)

    A glimpse of the hard life experienced by early settlers. Highlight include the historic ruins of Garra outstation.

Moderate hikes

  • Gosse Hill Hike (20 mins return, 1km)

    Located in south-west corner of the park. Remember to take your binoculars for sensational views of the surrounding native pine covered hills.

  • Mount Rescue Hike (20 mins return, 1km)

    Take your camera to capture panoramic views of the park.

  • Orchid Hike (40 mins return, 2km)

    Located 13 km south of Pine Hut Soak along the Centre Track. Walk through native pine woodland that shelters delicate native orchids.

  • Pertendi Hike (45 mins return, 2km)

    Take time to read the signs along the way. This is a fascinating insight into mallee vegetation.

  • Pine Hut Soak Lookout Hike (45 mins return, 2km)

    Excellent views over the surrounding native pine covered hills.

Hard hikes

  • Mount Shaugh Hike (1 hour 15 mins return, 3km)

    A challenging walk to the top of Mount Shaugh and views to Victoria.

  • Pine Hut Soak to Fishponds Hike (4 hrs return, 11km)

    An extended bushwalk. Be well prepared with water, a hat and sturdy shoes. Cool weather only.The highlight is an area of claypans locked between sand dunes that fills with water throughout winter.

  • Pine Hut Soak to Nanam Well Hike (2 hrs return, 5km)

    See the historic well restored with native pine.

  • Pine Hut Soak to Scorpion Springs Hike

    An extended bushwalk. Be well prepared with water, a hat and sturdy shoes. Cool weather only. It is a peaceful trek through stringybark mallee and native pines.

  • Tyms Lookout Hike (2 hrs 30 mins return, 5km)

    Be well prepared with water, food and sturdy shoes. Great for birdwatching, views and wildflowers, especially in spring.

Day trip attractions

Check out the below table for some suggestions of spots to visit on your day trip to Ngarkat Conservation Park.

Attraction Access Toilets Picnic tables Washing water BBQ Nearby
walking trail
Box Flat 4WD N N N N Y
Bucks Camp 4WD N N N N N
Pine Hut Soak 4WD N N N N N
Perendi 2WD Y Y Y N Y
The Banksia 4WD N N N N N
Rabbit Island Soak 4WD N N N N N
Comet Bore 4WD N N N N N

 

Stay in the park

Explore the vast expanse of mallee from the nine campgrounds located around Ngarkat Conservation Park. Each campground offers its own unique experience of the park, with some sites only accessible by 4WD vehicles.

Pertendi Hut (3 sites)

Accessible to 2WD vehicles, caravans and camper trailers, this campground provides a peaceful shady area amongst the mallee. There is a picnic area near the restored historic hut and access to walking trails nearby. Toilet facilities are available.

Pine Hut Soak (unallocated camping)

Featuring picnic tables and a toilet, this 4WD-accessible site is also suitable for camper trailers. Several hikes start from the campground, including those to the restored Nanam Well and Cox’s Windmill. Experienced hikers can embark on an extended hike to the Fishponds or Scorpion Springs.

Comet Bore (unallocated camping)

Situated just off the Ngarkat Highway, this campground is accessible to 2WD vehicles in dry conditions. Ideal for larger groups and families with kids, there is plenty of room to kick the footy or play a game of cricket. Camp sites are located amongst whipstick mallee trees, providing ample shade.

Box Flat (4 sites)

Box Flat Campground is situated near an old outstation of the Garra Pastoral lease and Box Flat soakage. The ruins of the old stone building are a short walk from the camping area. During winter the soakages hold water, attracting wildlife.

Bucks Camp (1 sites + unallocated camping)

Visitors can camp within 500m of a historic ruin, a remnant of early European settlement in the area. A perfect rest stop for those driving the Dukes Highway.

Rabbit Island (2 site)

Accessible only to 4WD vehicles, Rabbit Island Soak is ideal for small groups. Located amongst tall eucalypts, the site provides a shady area to enjoy the birds of the mallee.

Nanam Well (1 site)

A great spot to camp under shady trees with a picnic table, toilets and BBQ rings located nearby. You can also take a short walk to the restored Nanam Well.

The Pines (2 site)

A quick 'pull-over' picnic or camping site located along the one-way section of The Border Track.

The Gums (1 site)

A quick ‘pull-over’ camping site located along the one-way section of the Border Track.

Doggers Hut (4 sites)

Open all year-round on the two-way section of The Border Track, Doggers Hut is the last camp site heading south along the track before exiting the park. Only accessible by 4WD, this shady campsite can accommodate a medium-sized group.

There are picnic areas, caravan sites, toilets and campgrounds with campfires located in this park.

Campground facilities

There are a variety of facilities available at the campgrounds within the park. Look at the facilities table below and pick the site which suits you best.

Campground Access Caravan access Toilets Picnic tables Washing water BBQ Nearby walking trail
Pertendi 2WD Y Y Y Y Y Y
Pine Hut Soak 2WD
(Dry weather only)
N Y Y Y Y Y
Comet Bore 4WD N N N N N N
Box Flat 4WD N N Y N N Y
Bucks Camp 4WD N N Y N N Y
Rabbit Island Soak 4WD N N N N N N
Nanam Well 2WD  N  Y Y Y  N  Y
The Pines 4WD N N N N N N
The Gums 4WD N N N N N N
Doggers Hut 4WD N N N N N N

 

4WDriving

This park boasts more than 270,000ha of vegetated sand dunes and mallee bushland. You can drive the legendary Border Track one-way, from north to south along the South Australian and Victorian border. At the junction of the Border Track and the Centre Track (approximately 29 km down the Border Track), the track reverts to a two-way system. The one-way system has been implemented to protect the sand dunes, track surface and vegetation.

The Border Track presents extremely difficult driving conditions, you must be fully prepared, and supported by other vehicles. See the Safety tab for more information.

Before departure contact the park office for up to date information on road conditions and weather.

Natural Resource Office - Berri

Phone: (+61 8) 8580 1800

 

Mountain biking

Mountain biking is currently not permitted in this park. 

Flora

An oasis in the wilderness, Box Flat fulfils an important role in the ecology of the sensitive mallee environment. With the opening rains falling between April and June, this area is transformed into a lush haven for wildlife. The flush of new growth provides an important food source for grazing animals, and a breeding area for waterbirds.

The term 'mallee' has several meanings. 'The mallee' can either be used to define a plant community or an area in south-eastern South Australia. Mallee is also used to describe a tree. This is a multi-stemmed eucalypt tree that grows from a bulbous root called a lignotuber. There are approximately twelve different species of mallee in Ngarkat.

The banksias that grow throughout much of Ngarkat Conservation Park produce large amounts of nectar. For many years the area has been the winter home of honeybees. A number of apiarists place hives among the banksias for a few months each year. 

Fauna

Opportunities to observe Western Grey Kangaroos and Emus coming in to water, as well as a huge diversity of birdlife will delight nature lovers and expose a new facet of the mallee for first time visitors. Frogs are an important group of animals which rely on this wetland and its seasonal wetting and drying cycles. These fascinating amphibians burrow into the mud seeking refuge from the scorching summer heat. They emerge to lay their eggs in the mud after rain.

Tadpoles live in the flooded pools in winter and develop into frogs, thereby completing their lifecycle. The presence of frogs reflects the pristine nature of this ephemeral wetland ecosystem. Frogs are commonly used as an indicator species by ecologists worldwide to assess the health of an environment. Studies have shown that frogs are lacking from many ecosystems as a result of chemical use and modifications to flow regimes of wetland areas.

Volunteering

There are 'Friends of Groups' throughout South Australia. Most national parks have a volunteer group passionate about environmental conservation. If you think you might be interested in volunteering opportunities within this park please contact our Volunteer Support Unit.

Safety

Bushwalking

The international Trail Users Code of Conduct is to show respect and courtesy towards other trail users at all times.

Ensure that you:

  • when hiking, wear sturdy shoes, a hat and sunscreen
  • be aware of weather conditions and avoid walking during the hottest part of the day
  • make sure you have appropriate weather proof clothing
  • carry enough water to be self-sufficient
  • please be respectful of other users at all times
  • stay on the designated trails and connector tracks for your own safety, and prevent the spread of declared weeds to other areas in the park
  • ensure someone knows your approximate location and expected time of return
  • take appropriate maps.
  • Walk, hike or trek - what's the difference?

Camping

When camping in a National Park, it's important to remember the following:

  • Always let someone responsible know your travel plans, especially when travelling in remote areas. It's a good idea to let them know when you expect to return.
  • Check the weather forecast before you leave, including overnight temperatures on the Bureau of Meteorology. Even during very mild weather, the nights can get very cold. 
  • The quality and quantity of water cannot be guaranteed within parks. Please bring plenty of water and food to be self-sufficient.
  • Always camp in designated sites (where applicable) - do not camp beneath trees with overhanging branches, as they can drop without warning. It's also a good idea to check that there no insect nests nearby.
  • Check to make sure you're not camping in a natural waterway, flash floods can happen anytime.
  • If camp fires are permitted, you must bring your own firewood, as the collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited. Extinguish your camp fire with water (not sand or dirt) until the hissing sound stops.
  • Ensure that you are familiar with the fire restrictions for this park.

Fire

This park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.

Listen to the local area radio station for the latest updates and information on fire safety. 

Fire restrictions

  • Wood fires and solid fuel fires are prohibited between 15 November 2016 to 15 April 2017.
  • You must bring your own firewood, as the collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited.
  • Gas fires are permitted through the year, other than on days of Total Fire Ban.

Please note: Generators are permitted at campsites, but please respect the peace and privacy of others.

4WD

When 4WDriving in the park, it is important to be aware of the following:

  • Standard road rules apply when driving anywhere in the park, including the laws for speed limits, drink driving, vehicle registration and seat belts.
  • Take extreme care when driving in the park – be aware of blind corners, crests and narrow two-way tracks.
  • Observe all track and safety signs, especially 'No public access' signs.
  • Do not take your vehicle off the designated tracks. Wildlife can be threatened and precious habitat and indigenous sites can be damaged by off track driving.
  • Make sure you know what to do in the event of getting bogged and always carry a shovel.
  • When driving on sand, deflate your tyres as appropriate for your vehicle. Don’t forget to reinflate your tyres to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure before leaving the park. Take care when lowering tyre pressure as there is risk you could roll the tyre off its rim. Also, remember that lower tyre pressure can mean a change in how the vehicle handles.

Know before you go

Every national park is different, each has its own unique environment, it is important to be responsible while enjoying all the park has to offer.

Please ensure that you:

  • leave your pets at home
  • do not feed birds or other animals, it promotes aggressive behaviour and an unbalanced ecology
  • do not bring generators (except where permitted), chainsaws or firearms into the park
  • leave the park as you found it - place rubbish in the bins provided or take it with you
  • abide by the road rules (maintain the speed limit)
  • respect geological and heritage sites
  • do not remove native plants
  • are considerate of other park users.

  • Important: Collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited.

Fees

Entry fees

Fees apply to enter and camp in this park.

Please note that there is no mobile phone reception in or near the park, you must pay for your vehicle entry and camping permits online prior to arrival.

Alternative booking and payment options

Cash payments can be made at the following agents:

Camping and accommodation

Fees apply to enter and camp in this park.

Please note that there is no mobile phone reception in or near the park, you must pay for your vehicle entry and camping permits online prior to arrival.

Alternative booking and payment options

Cash payments can be made at the following agents:

Park pass

If you intend to visit often, you may like to purchase one of the below park passes.

Single Park Pass

Is this your favourite park? If you visit this park a lot, it's more economical to purchase a Single Park Pass giving you vehicle entry for this park for 12 months. 

There are 12 parks that are part of the Single Park Pass system.  

Holiday Park Pass and Multi Park Pass

Want to explore SA’s parks all year round? Purchase a Multi Park Pass (12 months), or a Holiday Park Pass (for 2 months) which entitles you to vehicle entry not just for this park, but up to an additional 10 parks as well!

Other fees and permits

There are no other fees or permits associated with this park.