20240416 120526
20240416 120526

Ranger tips: Murray River National Park

30 Apr. 2024 5 min read

Discover the hidden gems and top activities of Murray River National Park with insights from park ranger Michael Boon.

Situated roughly a 3-hours east of Adelaide, the park offers a bounty of recreational activities, including walking, kayaking, birdwatching, and camping.

Ranger Michael Boon is your go-to for expert advice on making the most of your visit.

Let's check out his top recommendations:

What is your favourite campsite and why?

It’s a very hard choice so I’ll have to go with a few of my favourites in the Katarapko section of the park.

Campsite 17-18 and the Booky Cliffs campsites (7-9) are top choices for me. They offer stunning views, easy water access, and are conveniently close to a toilet. These sites are popular among family groups because they can book adjacent sites and camp together. Additionally, the campsites are easily accessible and only a short drive from the town of Berri.

Campsite 17-18 puts you just above the head of Katarapko creek and an awesome area to flick a lure.

Top tip: Campsites in Murray River National Park must be booked prior to arrival. Book online or visit one of our booking agents to reserve your campsite.

Do I need a four-wheel-drive to visit the park?

It’s preferred but not essential. There’s plenty of campsites accessible to two-wheel-drive vehicles in dry conditions, however it’s important to keep an eye on the weather forecast as the park roads can become boggy and very slippery when wet.

Keep in mind that there are some campsites in the Katarapko Creek section (campsites 47 – 54) that are only accessible by four-wheel-drive.

Where is the best place to canoe or kayak?

Katarapko is an excellent choice, offering a wide array of creeks, backwaters, and the main Murray River for paddling enthusiasts. I recommend starting at Jarret’s Creek Bridge. Follow the creek's flow down to the log crossing. Here, you’ll need to briefly exit the creek for a short walk around the new structure, then continue your journey on Eckert’s Creek. Go with the flow down to the splash, where you'll re-enter Katarapko Creek. Paddle upstream all the way to the stone weir. At this point, you can choose to conclude your trip or navigate over or around the weir to head out into the Murray. Some trips may require arranging pick-up and drop-off logistics, or you could plan a loop for a seamless start and finish.

Best place to go fishing?

You will find good fishing at every site in Murray River National Park. The most common fish caught is the invasive European carp. These fish may be a pest, but they provide heaps of fun and excitement to young anglers especially on light tackle. If you are after some of the native species such as callop or Murray cod then I suggest lures or some live bait (Yabby’s, Shrimp or worms) around some of the many fallen tree’s (snags) in the river and creek system.

Top tip: Before you cast in a line or throw in a yabby net, make sure you know what the rules are by downloading the SA Recreation Fishing Guide App on to your smartphone. The app has all the information you need on bag and size limits and fishing rules, and includes full-colour illustrations so you can ID your catch.

What is your favourite walking trail in the park?

The Craig’s hut walk is a fairly easy short walk with an awesome view of the flood plain situated about three quarters around the walking trail.

Kai Kai walking trail is an easy short walk with some very good and newly updated interpretive signage to help with identifying the flood plain fauna and flora as you walk through flood runners and along Katarapko creek.

The Ngak Indau wetlands trail has a variety of wildlife to see while walking, including many different birds - from spoon bills and pelicans to eagles and kites and many more water birds. You may also get to see a regent parrot flying over.

This walk takes you from a back water lagoon all the way to the edge of the Murray for heaps of variety in animals and landscape. Don’t forget about the many reptiles that live in this area so keep your eyes looking in trees and along the ground to see them, from lace monitors to the small skinks along the water’s edge.

If you are an avid mountain bike rider the park also has three choices (lengths) to choose from with the start of the bike trail starting from the Berri town side of the park near the rowing club. You will have a choice in riding a trail from 5 to 20 kilometres.

Best time to visit the park?

The park is stunning year-round, but autumn and spring are the standout seasons. In spring, the native vegetation blooms beautifully, and animals are more visible, enjoying the warmer weather.

Park of the Month:

Throughout May, National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia are celebrating Murray River National Park as their Park of the Month. A range of activities are on offer, visit parks.sa.gov.au/get-inspired/park-of-the-month for full details.


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