Ferries McDonald Conservation Park

  • Walking Trails
  • Bird Watching
PDF Park Brochure
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Ferries McDonald SA park location map

A haven for numerous bird species including superb fairy-wrens, golden whistlers, rufous whistlers, yellow-rumped thornbills, mallee ringneck parrots, white-browed babblers, malleefowl and several robins. Western grey kangaroos and the impressive displays of wild orchids in the spring make this park the perfect all-round destination for nature enthusiasts.

About

At around 880 hectares, Ferries McDonald Conservation Park is one of the larger Conservation Parks in the area.

The dense, predominantly mallee habitat provides a refuge for over 300 species of plants, and more than 80 species of birds.  If you are lucky you may spy western grey kangaroos grazing in a neighbouring pasture, or catch a glimpse of several species of raptors floating in the sky above as they search for prey.

In spring, you can see the park alive with native orchids, flowering blossoms and all of the beautiful birds this season attracts. Encounter superb fairy-wrens, golden whistlers, rufous whistlers, yellow-rumped thornbills, mallee ringneck parrots, as well as several kinds of robin and white-browed babblers. This park is also home for the elusive and nationally endangered species, the malleefowl, which has been the subject of long-term research and monitoring in the park.

Another interesting natural feature of the park is the many sandy ridges forming part of the Murray Plains and providing evidence of its geological past, as this area was once part of the ocean bed.

Opening hours

Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Contact details

Natural Resources Centre - Murray Bridge

Phone: (+61 8) 8532 9100
Email: SAMDBEnquiries@sa.gov.au

When to visit

Visit in spring to see the park abundant with native orchids, flowering blossom and all of the beautiful birds this season attracts.

Getting there

Ferries-McDonald Conservation Park is located approximately 15 min from Murray Bridge and 45 min from Adelaide.

Ferris McDonald Road bisects the park from north to south.

The car park and walking trail are accessible from Chauncey's Line Road, approximately 100m east of the intersection of Chauncey’s Line Rd and Ferries MacDonald Rd.

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

Please come to the park prepared to be self reliant as there is no facilities located in the park.

Useful information

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

History

Ferries McDonald Conservation Park was part of what was once a vast area of mallee bushland during pre-industrial times, however, much of the land surrounding the current park was cleared years ago for agriculture. Fortunately, a few rocky outcrops, which were not suitable for farming, preserved fragments of the original vegetation.

The park was dedicated in two stages. The first took place on 28 July 1938 when the area was gazetted as a closed area for birds and animals, creating the first reserve specifically for mallee fauna. The area was named after Robert McDonald, the donor of much of the land. An addition to the park was made in 1953 from a bequest from James Ferries, thus creating the Ferries-McDonald Reserve. The area was previously known as Chauncey’s Line Scrub.

See and do

Bushwalking

Easy walks

  • Ferries McDonald Loop Trail (45 min, 2km loop)

This easy walk meanders through remnant, mature mallee habitat and in spring provides the opportunity to see the park abundant with native orchids, flowering blossom and all of the beautiful birds this season attracts.

Mountain biking

Mountain biking is currently not permitted in this park. 

Stay in the park

There is no camping or accommodation available within this park. 

Volunteering

Want to help?

To find out how you can help in this park or nearby, please visit Natural Resources South Australian Murray-Darling Basin – Volunteering.

Want to join others and become a Park Friend?

To find out more about Friends of Parks groups please visit Friends of Parks South Australia.

You could join others to help look after a park. You can take part in working bees, training and other events.

Fauna

Flora

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?

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, gas fires and solid fuel fires are prohibited throughout the year.
  • Ensure you are familiar with the fire restrictions for this park.

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

Fees

Entry fees

Come and enjoy this park for free

Camping and accommodation

There is no camping or accommodation available within this park. 

Park pass

This park is not included in the park pass system. 

PDF Park Brochure