Lake Gairdner National Park

  • Campfires Permitted
  • Camping
  • Bird Watching
PDF Park Brochure
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Lake Gairdner National Park SA location map

This remote and arid country is a unique environment and a photographers dream. Visit in early spring to see water on the lake, wild flowers in bloom and the red Gawler Ranges framing the scene from the lake boundary.

About

Situated north of the Gawler Ranges, the park protects a large saline lake system surrounded by red sand hills. The park includes Australia’s third largest salt lake, Lake Gairdner (plus Lake Everard and Lake Harris), which contains over 200 islands, in some parts of the lake the salt layer can be up to one meter thick!

The glistening, white, salt, surface is surrounded by the red foothills of the Gawler Ranges.

Opening hours

Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Contact details

Gawler Ranges National Park Office

Phone: (+61 8) 8648 1883

Getting there

The southern edge of the lake is approximately 150 km north west of Port Augusta. The northern end of the lake is a few kilometres south of Kingoonya, the Trans Australian Railway and the Stuart Highway. The main route to the lake is via Mount Ive station on a 34 km station track. Mt Ive must be contacted prior to entry and a key to the gate is required (a fee for this service applies).

Access to the Waltumba Tank campground is via the Stringer Highway towards Glendambo.

Please be aware that this park is surrounded by private properties and private roads, please stay on the public and signposted tracks and roads.

Road conditions

All roads and tracks in the area are unsealed gravel or sand roads. Conditions can change quickly depending on the weather.

Please check the Northern and Western South Australian Outback Roads Temporary Closures, Restrictions and Warnings Report before you depart.
Phone: 1300 361 033

Facilities

There are no facilities in the park. Visitors should ensure they carry sufficient water and food. You should advise a responsible person of the intended duration of your trip.

Please take your rubbish with you.

Useful information

Outback Road Report

1300 361 033 (24-hour automated service)
Northern and Western South Australian Outback Roads Temporary Closures, Restrictions and Warnings Report

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

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. 

Traditional Owners

The Gawler Ranges People are recognised as the traditional owners of this Country, attaining native title in 2011. The Gawler Ranges people are a distinct group of foundation families made up of, but not all, the Barngarla, Kokatha and Wirangu People. This Country was and continues to be important to the laws, customs and cultural identity of the Gawler Ranges People. The Traditional Owners ask that you respect their culture and request that you do not move any of the rocks around the Lake or walk onto the surface of the Lake

Words from the Lake Gairdner National Park Co-management Board

We see co-management as a new way to work together; a new way to care for country.

We are building relationships amongst our Board members and with wider partners and stakeholders including pastoralists, tourist operators, park visitors, scientists and a range of Commonwealth and state government agencies: partners are the keys to success -we need to listen and learn from each other.

We are connecting with our communities and talking with senior Elders. It is important to find out: What do they want to protect? For the future, our focus is on revising the management plan for the park. We are continuing to undertake on country planning and initiatives that involve getting our people back on country for tasks such as: controlling weeds and feral animals, flora and fauna surveys and mapping cultural heritage sites.

We are working together to improve natural and cultural landscapes for all stakeholders.

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 vast expans of stars that feel so close you could touch them.
  • 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

There are no specific bushwalking trails within this park.

Stay in the park

Free self-sufficient bush camping is permitted in the campground located on the eastern side of the lake.

4WDriving

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.

Please observe all track and safety signs. Standard road rules apply when driving anywhere in the park, including the laws for speed limits, drink driving, vehicle registration and seat belts. Do not take your vehicle off the designated tracks. Precious habitat and indigenous sites can be damaged, and wildlife threatened, by off track driving.

Please note, driving on the Lakes' surface is prohibited without an appropriate permit.

Volunteering

  

Want to help?

To find out how you can help in this park or nearby, please visit Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula – 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

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 may be closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and 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 1 November 2016 to 31 March 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.

4WDriving

• Please keep to defined vehicle tracks to avoid damaging the surrounding area, which includes damage to habitat, wildlife or culturaly signifigant areas.
• Take extreme care when driving in parks – be aware of blind corners, crests and narrow tracks.
• Know what to do if you get bogged and always carry suitable recovery equipment.
• Make sure you have the right tyre pressure for the terrain, as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
• Observe ‘No Public Access’ signs.
• Only experienced and well-equipped travellers should attempt to cross the more remote parks.

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

Camping is free in this park.

Parks pass

This park is not included in the park pass system. 

Other fees and permits

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

PDF Park Brochure