Murray River National Park

  • Picnic Areas
  • Campfires Permitted
  • BBQ Facilities
  • Toilets
  • Camping
  • Swimming
  • Dogs on Lead
  • Canoeing
  • Fishing
  • Walking Trails
  • Bird Watching
  • Boating
PDF Park Brochure
Alerts 2

Partial park closure

Part of the Katarapko section of Murray River National Park will be closed from 17 January 2014 until further notice.
Details >

Due to the rising water levels in the Murray River, areas in this park may have restricted access.
Details >

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Murray River SA map

This park contains some of the most visually spectacular and environmentally important areas in the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin.

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

Murray River SA map

This park contains some of the most visually spectacular and environmentally important areas in the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin.

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

About

Come and explore the three separate areas that make up the Murray River National Park: Katarapko (Berri/Glossop), Lyrup Flats (Lyrup) and Bulyong Island (Renmark), each of these sections have separate entrances so make sure you familiarise yourself with maps and where these entrances are. This park enables the conservation of more than 13,000 hectares and includes a vast network of Murray River wetlands and floodplains that provide unique natural experiences.

Katarapko

Katarapko features black box covered floodplains and wetlands alive with aquatic bird species. Katarapko Creek is a significant creek that flows through the park and provides great canoe adventuring and is a very important habitat for native fish. The walking trail Ngak Indau is great for viewing wetland birdlife.

Katfish Reach is a community environmental rehabilitation project that encompasses the Katarapko and Eckert Creek area. The area has been identified as a priority floodplain for environmental flows, and for broad-scale rehabilitation works for native fish.

Lyrup Flats

Includes 2,000 hectares along the floodplain on the northern side of the river and ferry at Lyrup. It provides wonderful opportunities for birdwatching, fishing and camping. You can take your dog for a walk in the Lyrup Flats area of the park providing it is on a lead.

Bulyong Island

North of Renmark, this area is only accessible by boat. The Goolwa street boat ramp is the closest launch point. The island is home to a number of wildlife species, such as western grey kangaroos, emus, pelicans, kingfishers and parrots. It is a fantastic area for canoeing and exploring the extensive waterways above Renmark by small boat.

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 Office - Berri

Phone: (+61 8) 8580 1800

When to visit

Climatically and scenically, autumn and spring are the best times to visit Riverland parks. However, the climate of the Riverland makes it suitable for visiting parks most of the year. The summer months of January and February can be hot.

Roads along the flood plain are generally unsuitable for driving on immediately after heavy rains. This, and other hazards such as bushfire, can force the temporary closure of some sections of the park. Keep your eye on this website for up to date information.

Getting there

Each area of Murray River National Park has different access points and drive times from Adelaide:

Katarapko (220 km, 2 hrs 50 min)

Access the Katarapko section via the Old Sturt Highway. Turn off between Glossop and Berri and follow the signs. Access the Lock 4 section via Berri, along Draper Road. Access the Eckert Creek section via Lower Winkie Road, off the Old Sturt Highway.

Lyrup Flats (250 km, 3 hrs 10 min)

Lyrup Flats is situated between the Sturt Highway and the river, between the towns of Renmark and Berri. 

Bulyong Island (300 km, 3 hrs 15 min)

Bulyong Island is north of Renmark and can only be accessed by boat.

Pets in parks

Dogs are permitted at Lyrup Flats.

You must keep your dog on a lead and under your control at all times. Don't forget to bring your disposable 'doggie-doo' bag to clean up after your dog.

Pets are not permitted in other areas of the park.

Facilities

There are picnic areas, campfire areas, toilets, camping sites and caravan sites available in this park.

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

This area is the traditional home to the Erwirung people, a relatively small Aboriginal group that lived on the fertile plains of the Murray. Cultural sites exist in the park in the form of graves, middens and canoe trees. Aboriginal people have strong affiliations to Country and these cultural values and sites must be respected and conserved.

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

Charles Sturt, in 1830, was the first European to explore the river, rowing with a party of seven in a whaleboat down to the river mouth below Lake Alexandrina.

Paddle steamers began plying the river in the 1850's, transporting stock and produce for the burgeoning pastoral industry.

The river trade reached a peak in the 1880's, to be replaced by rail and road transport. In 1887, after the founding of Renmark, vines and fruit trees were established with the help of irrigation schemes. Soldier settlement schemes after both world wars saw more irrigated farmland developed.

In the late 1960s conservation parks were proclaimed to protect some of the islands; in 1991 three areas of the river were incorporated in Murray River National Park.

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.

  • Fishing at Katarapko Creek for golden perch and yabbies.
  • Sitting quietly with your binoculars, watching for birdlife such as the threatened regent parrot.
  • Kayaking through the waterways, then stopping for a picnic lunch in a secluded spot.
  • Taking a dip in the river on a hot day and – if you’re feeling brave – standing still for long enough to let the shrimp nibble your toes.
  • Learning about the history and ecology of the area on one of the Katarapko trails.
  • Watching the sun set the water and the bush aglow as it goes down over your campsite.

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

  • Cragg’s Hut Walk (40 min loop, 2km)

    This interpretive trail takes walkers back to the time of European settlers. See the historic remains of the homes of the Craigies and the Blands, and visit the grave of Margaret Craigie, before resting at the lookout and gazing out over the land that sustained these families.

  • Kai Kai Natural Trail (40 min loop, 2km)

    Popular with school groups, this walk takes you on a journey of discovery, revealing native plants and animals along the way.

  • Ngak Indau Wetland Trail (2.6km)

    This walk begins on the banks of the River Murray and winds its way through the Ngak Indau wetlands. The trail includes a bird hide where you can check out the wetland bird life.
    Murray River National Park - Ngak Indau Walking Trail map

Mountain biking

Mountain biking is currently not permitted in this park. 

Stay in the park

Camping is only permitted in designated campgrounds, available on a first-in basis and fees apply. Bookings are not available at this stage, but do check back here before you travel to check.

You will be able to access some campsites by boat, but beware of submerged obstacles.

Katarapko

There are three main campgrounds on the banks of the river in Katarapko - Booky Cliffs, Lock 4 and Causeway. Suited to larger groups, these campgrounds can accommodate smaller caravans and camper trailers and are (usually) 2WD accessible. These campgrounds have pit toilets.

For a more secluded camping experience, there are also smaller tent sites dotted along the river and Katarapko Creek. The sites are different shapes and sizes. They have differing river access and views. They are well sign-posted and easy to find, but the camping area is generally not visible from the road, so you will have to drive (or walk) in to see if the site is empty and if it suits you.

Lyrup Flats

This is the most accessible section of the park and has three main river campgrounds – Colligans, Tea Tree and Blackbox. Easily accessed by 2WD, these sites are well suited to caravans and larger groups. One public toilet services Colligans and Tea Tree. There is no toilet at Blackbox.

There are also secluded campsites spaced along the river in Lyrup Flats. Again, you will generally have to drive (or walk) in to check that these sites suit you and are not already occupied. See the park map to find the nearest public toilet.

Fishing

Katarapko Creek is a popular fishing spot - species include golden perch and yabbies. The European carp - the scourge of the Murray, is the fish most commonly caught. If you catch one, it is illegal to return it to the river alive. Some fish in the Murray are protected species, make sure you know which fish must be released if caught.

Canoeing and kayaking

This is a great way of exploring the park. Try the quiet backwaters of Katarapko or Eckert creeks. Canoes can be launched from some campsites. Pack a picnic lunch and don’t forget your fishing rod. Read more about Kayaking the mystical Murray on the Good Living Blog.

For information on how to purchase detailed, independently produced canoe trail maps please contact the Berri Barmera Visitor and Information Centre or the Renmark Paringa Visitor Information Centre.

Flora

The Murray River National Park is home to native plants such as Black Box, River Red Gums and understorey like Lignum, the Spiny Daisy, Swamp Daisy and Prickly Bottlebrush.

The Murray-Darling Basin region is home to an extraordinarily diverse range of native vegetation (flora), with over 2,000 species recorded. Native vegetation refers to any naturally occurring local plant species which are indigenous to Australia, from small ground covers and native grasses to large trees and water plants.

About 50% of the region is covered by native vegetation, with around 45% of this contained within national parks, reserves and heritage agreements. However, a quarter of all the plants recorded in South Australia are considered to be threatened, and less than 30% of native vegetation remains in the agricultural areas, with some areas lower than 10%.

Fauna

The three separate areas that make up Murray River National Park - Katarapko, Lyrup Flats and Bulyong Island cover more than 13,000 hectares and conserve the verdant Murray wetlands that flow through the park.

The overall area is home to 53 species of native frogs such as southern bell frog, 40 species of native fish including yabbies, murray cod, purple spotted gudgeon, 12 species of snakes including the western brown snake, and murray hardy head, many species of birds, mammals and reptiles - mallee fowl, regent parrots, emus, koalas, kangaroos, bearded dragon lizards, black swans, ducks, pelicans and striated grass wren just to name a few!

The Katarapko area features floodplains and several wetlands. The area is an important breeding area for native wildlife, including waterbirds, and is an ideal place for birdwatching.

Lyrup Flats encompasses 2,000 hectares along the floodplain on the northern side of the river and provides wonderful opportunities for birdwatching and fishing.

Bulyong Island is only accessible by boat. The island is home to a number of wildlife species, such as the western grey kangaroos, emus, pelicans, kingfishers and parrots.

Volunteering

Friends of Riverland Parks

A community-based group who work to protect and develop the natural 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.

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. 

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 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.

Water

Strong currents and snags in the river and backwaters can make swimming dangerous.

4WD

Roads along the flood plain are generally unsuitable for driving on immediately after heavy rains. Expect varying road conditions along tracks with sandy, boggy and rocky patches.

Take extreme care when driving in the park – be aware of blind corners, crests and narrow two-way tracks.

When driving on sand, deflate your tyres to 105kPa (15psi) – or 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:

  • keep your dog on a lead at all times and check if there are areas of the park where dogs are not allowed
  • 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

Canoeing trails

For information on how to purchase detailed, independently produced canoe trail maps please contact the Berri Barmera Visitor and Information Centre or the Renmark Paringa Visitor Information Centre.

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

Vehicle entry to this park is free, however fees apply for camping.

Park pass

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!

Camping and accommodation

A self-registration station is available in this park. Please bring correct money as change is not available. 

Please note the self-registration stations at Disher’s Creek and near the Lyrup ferry in the Lyrup Flats section of the park are temporarily out of order. Please contact the Berri office to pay your camping fees.

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.