Penambol Conservation Park

  • Walking Trails
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Penambol SA map

Learn about sinkholes, butterflies and wombats on the specially created walks and viewing platforms in Penambol Conservation Park.

About

Penambol Conservation Park conserves an important area of remnant vegetation and contains several interesting geological features, including the Caroline Sinkhole. Excavations in the sinkholes have revealed evidence of the original inhabitants, Boandik Peoples, who were likely to have used the area for shelter.

There are also several educational walking trails that provide an insight into the animals that live in the park. Follow the Wombat Walk which passes burrows that are home to the common wombat. The Butterfly Walk provides the opportunity to see and learn about some of the local butterflies such as the splendid ochre butterfly and orange species butterfly.

An evening walk offers the best chance of sighting wombats.

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 Resources Centre - Mount Gambier

Phone: (+61 8) 8735 1177

Getting there

Penambol Conservation Park is located 40km south of Mount Gambier or 480km south east of Adelaide. Access is via Glenelg River Road which may be referred to on some maps as Punt Road or Nelson Road.

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. 

Useful information

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

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

The park is located on an inland dune and contains several significant features including Caroline Sinkhole, situated in the north-eastern corner. View the sinkhole from a suspended platform near the main car park on Carba Road.

The large sinkhole has collapsed into the underlying marine limestone. Look closely and you will notice the varying layers of the limestone in the walls.

Where sinkholes reach the watertable and have vertical sides, like Caroline Sinkhole, they are often called cenotes.

The watertable is presently low and only exists as small pools around the edge. Changes in vegetation types, clearly visible from the elevated viewing platform, indicate former water levels.

There are also several dolines scattered throughout the park. Dolines are formed the same way as sinkholes, but do not reach the watertable and often have gentle sides. The largest doline is located near the southern boundary.

The area was occasionally used as a military training camp during World War Two.

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.

  • Make sure you don't miss the Caroline Sinkhole! You can view it from a suspended platform near the main car park on Carba Road.

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

  • Butterfly Walk (25 mins return, 1 km)

    This walk passes through stringybark and swamp gum woodlands, with each habitat marked by a numbered post.

  • Wombat Walk (2 hrs return, 4.5km)

    Starting at the Caroline Sinkhole car park, this trail meanders through the eastern side of the park. An elevated viewing platform provides spectacular views of Caroline Sinkhole.

Mountain biking

Mountain biking is currently not permitted in this park. 

Stay in the park

Camping is not permitted within this park.

Flora

The park is dominated by messmate stringybark, with an understorey of clover glycine, rough bush pea, tiger orchid, hop wattle and golden tip. Parts of the central area in the park, formerly used for grazing, are regenerating with blackwood.

Fauna

Locally significant animals include the eastern grey kangaroo, red-necked wallaby, ringtail possum, echidna, wombat and bush rat. Yellow-bellied gliders and the threatened gang gang cockatoo and red-tailed black cockatoo have also been seen in the park.

Volunteering

Want to help?

To find out how you can help in this park or nearby, please visit Natural Resources South East – 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.

 

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 and solid fuel fires are prohibited between 22 November 2016 to 30 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.
  • 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. 

Park pass

This park is not included in the park pass system. 

Camping and accommodation

There is no camping or accommodation available within this park. 

Other fees and permits

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

PDF Park Brochure