Gawler Ranges National Park

  • Picnic Areas
  • Campfires Permitted
  • Toilets
  • Camping
  • Disabled Toilets
  • 4WD
  • Walking Trails
  • Bird Watching
PDF Park Brochure
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Gawler Ranges National Park park locator map

Ancient ranges, deep gullies, seasonal waterfalls and rocky gorges, the Gawler Ranges National Park is a majestic, natural wilderness waiting for you to explore.

Tag your Instagram pics with #gawlerrangesnationalpark to see them displayed on this page.

Gawler Ranges National Park park locator map

Ancient ranges, deep gullies, seasonal waterfalls and rocky gorges, the Gawler Ranges National Park is a majestic, natural wilderness waiting for you to explore.

Tag your Instagram pics with #gawlerrangesnationalpark to see them displayed on this page.

About

The Gawler Ranges National Park is a special place where history, conservation and Aboriginal culture come together. Proclaimed as a national park in 2002, the landscape teems with wildlife and protects rare and threatened plants and animals, including crimson mallee and the yellow-footed rock-wallaby. 

The park is famous for the magnificent Organ Pipes, formed over 1500 million years ago as a result of volcanic eruptions. You can find equally stunning rocky outcrops at Yandinga Falls and Kolay Mirica Falls.

Opening hours

Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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 Centre - Port Lincoln

Phone: (+61 8) 8688 3111

When to visit

In late autumn and winter the park is green and cool, perfect for campfires and bushwalks. After rain, the creeks flow and most pools are alive with aquatic life. From late winter into spring, the park teems with wildflowers in incredible shapes, sizes and colours.

In spring, you can see the brilliant flowers of our local crimson mallee, and the plains are carpeted with native grasses and bluebush. Summer can be very hot, but if you’re prepared to work around the weather you’ll have calm days, extraordinary sunsets, and clear views of the starry nights.

Getting there

A 4WD is recommended to enjoy all of the highlights of the park, although in dry weather much of the park can be accessed by high clearance 2WD.

Gawler Ranges National Park is located in South Australia’s spectacular southern Gawler Ranges, approximately six hours drive northwest from Adelaide. The park is 40km north of the Eyre Highway and road access is from Iron Knob, Kimba, Wudinna or Minnipa. The Gawler Ranges are a great stopover for travellers crossing the Eyre Peninsula en route to Perth.

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

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.

Scrubby Peak Waganny Chillunie Yandinga Mattera Kokodo Kolay Hut
Description Spacious & set amongst the mallee Great views to the Blue Sturts At the base of Mt Fairview Nestled in a gully Open valley surrounded by hills Camping in the mallee scrub. Views of Mount Fairview
Campsites are designated N N N Y N N N
Access 2WD* 2WD 4WD 2WD 4WD 4WD 4WD
Caravan accessible Y** Y Y Y Y N Y
Toilets N Y N N N N Y
Bring own drinking water Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Generator (9am - 9pm) Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Campfires (in shared fire pits)^ - Y - Y - - Y
Campfires (general)^ Y - Y - Y Y -
Bring own firewood Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Remove own rubbish Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Pets allowed N N N N N N N

*Recommended for high clearance 2WD in good weather only.
**Caravan access 4WD only.
^Restrictions apply. See fire safety.

Useful information

  • Mobile phone coverage can be patchy and unreliable in this park, especially if you are in low-lying areas.

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

Traditional owners

The Gawler Ranges sustains the living culture and stories of the Gawler Ranges people who have over 30,000 years of strong and ongoing connection to the country.

The Gawler Ranges and the surrounding landscape is fundamental to Aboriginal law, culture and beliefs. Traditional ceremonies and practices are carried out in the park to this day.

The Gawler Ranges people and the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources work together to encourage people to visit this beautiful place.

They also manage and protect the:

  • strong and ongoing culture of the Gawler Ranges people
  • extensive and diverse vegetation, and animals of significance such as the Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby
  • 1,500 million years of weathered landscape
  • rich pastoral heritage.

Words from the Gawler Ranges National Park Advisory Committee

The Committee brings together three Aboriginal groups in partnership with government, all the people bring something to the table. It’s about looking after the landscape for the community.

We have worked together to revise the park management plan which has been a great way to work through issues.

Four main themes identified in the plan are:

  • Protecting natural values
  • Respecting, recognising and protecting the culture of the Gawler Ranges Aboriginal People
  • Providing high quality visitor experiences
  • Connecting histories.

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

Many local farming families have strong connections to this park as their descendants first arrived in this region in the 1850s and eked out a living. Even while this land was used for farming, the Gawler Ranges People always maintained their cultural responsibilities, often employed on Paney Station as shearers, trappers and stockmen.

Paney Homestead, Old Paney Homestead and Pondanna Outstation are reminders of early station life and the enormous struggles met in this remote and variable country. These sites and relics are stark reminders of human hardship, conflict and survival. Pondanna Outstation has been restored by the Friends of Gawler Ranges and is available for short term stays. For more information and bookings please call (+61 8) 8680 2090.

See and do

Rangers recommend

We have picked the brains of our park rangers to find out what they would recommend you see and do whilst visiting this park.

  • Sitting around the campfire and sharing a meal or a drink and enjoying the remote tranquillity.
  • Rolling out your swag or sleeping bag under the million stars that feel so close you could touch them.
  • Walking in to the Organ Pipes to admire the most dramatic rock formations in the park, these are some of the largest volcanic rhyolite formations in the world.
  • Counting the many different types of animals you encounter as you travel around the park. It’s not all kangaroos and emus here – keep an eye out for wombats, goannas and lizards too.

Bushwalking

The open landscape of the Gawler Ranges lends itself to informal walking through the true wilderness of this grandiose landscape. There are only a few marked walking trails in the Park. 

There is limited signage in the park, including some basic map signs at the self-registration station. 

Please wear clothing appropriate for the weather conditions. Sturdy shoes, long pants, a long sleeved shirt and a hat are the recommended minimum.

Moderate hikes

  • Organ Pipes Walk (1 hour)

    Requires a reasonable level of fitness as there are some loose rocks and slippery sections. The walk takes you through open eucalypt woodland to a magnificent natural amphitheatre surrounded by ancient rock formations

  • Waganny Campground Trail (1 hr 30 mins)

    Takes you on an easy to moderate walk through woodlands and grasslands to a spectacular rocky outcrop with magnificent 180 degree views.

Mountain biking

You can ride your bike on public roads and any specific cycling trails and tracks on offer in this park. 

Please obey signs and use the trail classifications and descriptions, where available, to select trails suitable to your ability. Many trails are shared, so always keep an eye out for others. Generally, cyclists give way to pedestrians. Please be considerate of all trail users at all times.

Learn more about cycling in SA's parks, including other parks offering cycle tracks, trail classification and read the trail user code of practice for important points to remember when planning your bike ride.

Stay in the park

Pitch a tent amid rocky gorges and valleys, at the foot of a granite hill, or on a grassy plain at one of our seven campgrounds. Relax under the stars at night and wake to the sound of birdsong, and the fragrant scent of the Australian bush.

Three of our campgrounds are accessible by high clearance 2WD in good weather, and Scrubby Peak and Waganny are also suitable for caravans and camper trailers in dry weather.

Pondanna Outstation

Pondanna Outstation has been restored by the Friends of Gawler Ranges and is available for short term stays. Call now for more information and to book your stay.
Phone: (+61 8) 8680 2090

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.

Scrubby Peak Waganny Chillunie Yandinga Mattera Kokodo Kolay Hut
Description Spacious & set amongst the mallee Great views to the Blue Sturts At the base of Mt Fairview Nestled in a gully Open valley surrounded by hills Camping in the mallee scrub. Views of Mount Fairview
Campsites are designated N N N Y N N N
Access 2WD* 2WD 4WD 2WD 4WD 4WD 4WD
Caravan accessible Y** Y Y Y Y N Y
Toilets N Y N N N N Y
Bring own drinking water Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Generator (9am - 9pm) Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Campfires (in shared fire pits)^ - Y - Y - - Y
Campfires (general)^ Y - Y - Y Y -
Bring own firewood Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Remove own rubbish Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Pets allowed N N N N N N N

*Recommended for high clearance 2WD in good weather only.
**Caravan access 4WD only.
^Restrictions apply. See fire safety.

4WD

Although the best way to explore this magnificent park is in a 4WD, in good weather you can visit much of the park in a high clearance 2WD. You’ll see lots of wildlife on the tracks so look out for emus and kangaroos, especially at sunrise and sunset.

Take the drive out to Conical Hill, the views out over ancient sand dunes are stunning.

Flora

The Gawler Ranges is the middle ground between southern mallee country and the arid zone to the north of South Australia. There are over 400 different plant species in the park and many are at the extreme of their geographical distribution. Others are found nowhere else, such as the Gawler Ranges Hop Bush and the Gawler Ranges Grevillea.

Fauna

The Gawler Ranges is a haven for brightly-coloured wildlife such as the Australian ringneck parrot and superb fairy-wren. There are many rare and threatened animals in the park, including Australia’s only protected population of the short-tailed grass wren. This shy creature lives on hilltops, ridges and slopes, relying on spiny shrubs and bushes for protection from predators.

If you move about the park quietly and keep your binoculars handy, you may be rewarded with a glimpse of a yellow-footed rock-wallaby, a southern hairy-nosed wombat, a central long-eared bat, or a major mitchell cockatoo. In the afternoons it is common to see sand goannas crossing the tracks as they head about their business.

Volunteering

Become a Campground Host

Combine your love of camping with doing a good deed by becoming a volunteer campground host in this park.

A campground host is a volunteer who stays at the park either for a specific peak period, like the Easter break or a long weekend, or an extended period of time (up to a few months) to support park rangers. 

If you are passionate about the environment, a keen camper, like to meet people from all around the world, and are a happy to help, then hosting could be right up your alley. 

Become a Caretaker Host

Combine your love of camping with doing a good deed by becoming a volunteer caretaker host in this park.

A caretaker host is a volunteer who stays at the park for a specific period, usually between 2 to 6 months, to support park rangers with maintenance and other activities such as flora and fauna surveys. 

If you are passionate about the environment, a keen camper, like to meet people from all around the world, and are a happy to help, then hosting could be right up your alley. 

Friends of Gawler Ranges National Park

The Friends of Gawler Ranges National Park is a community-based group of volunteers who work to protect, preserve and maintain the natural, historical and cultural heritage in the park.

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
  • 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 permitted outside the annual Fire Danger Season.
  • 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.
  • Ensure you are familiar with the fire restrictions for this park.

Please note:

  • The use of generators is permitted throughout the year, except on days of Total Fire Ban.

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.

Maps

Park maps

Maps on your mobile

If you have a smartphone or tablet you can download the free Avenza PDF Map app and have interactive national park maps on hand when you need them.

The app uses your device's built-in GPS to plot your real-time location within the park onto a map. The app can be used without a network connection and without roaming charges. You can also measure area and distance, plot photos and drop placemark pins. 

How to get it working on your device:

1. Download the Avenza PDF maps app from the app store whilst you are still in range (its free!).
2. Open up the app and click the shopping cart icon.
3. Click ‘Find’ and type the name of the national park or reserve you are looking for.
4. Click on the map you are after and install it (all our maps are free).
5. You will now find a list of your installed maps on the home page of the Avenza app.
6. Use our maps through the Avenza PDF map app while in the park and never take a wrong turn again.

Fees

Entry fees

Fees can be paid at the self-registration stations in the park. Please bring the correct money as change is not available.

Vehicle entry fees

Vehicle entry: $10.00
Vehicle entry (concession): $8.00

Fees collected are used for conservation and to maintain and improve park facilities.

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 (and optional camping) for this park for 12 months. 

There are 13 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 and optional camping not just for this park, but up to an additional 58 parks as well!

Camping and accommodation

Fees can be paid at the self-registration stations in the park. Please bring the correct money as change is not available.

Campsite fees (per night)

Vehicle (max 8 people) - $12
Hikers/cyclists/additional vehicle occupant (per person) - $6.50
Group camping (20+ people - per person) - $6

If you are planning a trip for a school group or other large group, please ensure you let the park know of your intentions.

Fees collected are used for conservation and to maintain and improve park facilities.

Other fees and permits

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