Nullarbor National Park, Wilderness Protection Area and Regional Reserve

  • Campfires Permitted
  • Camping
PDF Park Brochure
Photo by Che Chorley
Photo by Che Chorley
Photo by Che Chorley
Photo by Che Chorley
nullarbor-plains-hero.jpg
Nullabor National Park park locator map

Where the vast desert landscape meets the dramatic sea cliffs. These turquoise waters of the Great Australian Bight are a natural breeding ground for the southern right whale - you might be lucky enough to spot one on your travels.

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

About

Come and explore the world's largest semi-arid karst (cave) landscapes at the Nullarbor National Park and Regional Reserve. Most of the park's landscape is flat except where the surface has collapsed into sinkholes revealing large underground caverns.

Where the vast landscape meets the sea at Bunda Cliffs you can enjoy views spanning the coastline, while in the adjoining Far West Coast Marine Park you may get a chance to spot a southern right whale that comes to the area to breed in winter. The Head of the Bight Visitors Centre at the Eastern edge of the park offers a viewing platform from which to view whales and their calves between mid-May and late October.

The park contains many diverse species of flora and fauna, including the southern hairy-nosed wombat, dingos, and many species of birds. Despite its flat and reputedly featureless landscape, the Nullarbor offers the intrepid and patient visitor unparalleled serenity and a sense of remote beauty and isolation which is rare.

Opening hours

Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Contact details

Natural Resource Office - Ceduna

Phone: (+61 8) 8625 3144

For online bookings enquiries please email:

DEWNREPOnlineBookings@sa.gov.au

When to visit

Visit from mid-May to late October for your chance to watch majestic southern right whales cruise below the cliffs. The high cliff line provides fantastic views for land-based whale watchers.  Boardwalks from the Head of Bight Visitors Centre take you to two main viewing areas. The boardwalk ramps are sloped for wheel chair access.

Whales with calves tend to stay 'in residence' at the site all season. At the height of the season (July/August), over 100 whales can be in the area at one time.

Getting there

Nullarbor National Park and Regional Reserve is located 300km west of Ceduna. Access is via Eyre Highway.

Dogs not allowed

Dogs are not permitted in this park.

Discover which parks you can walk your dog in on our find a park tool or read 12 dog-friendly walks in Adelaide Parks by Good Living for inspiration.

Assistance dogs

Assistance dogs are permitted in most public places and are therefore welcome in South Australia’s parks and reserves. Assistance dogs must be appropriately restrained and remain under your effective control at all times while in a park or reserve.

Before taking your assistance dog into a park or reserve, other than those listed above, it is highly recommended that you contact us so we can provide you with the latest information on any potential hazards within specific parks that may affect your dog. Please contact the park via the contact details provided under the contact tab or call the information line on (+61 8) 8204 1910.

Facilities

There are very limited facilities in the park. Please ensure you carry sufficient water, food and supplies for your entire visit. It is also a good idea to let a responsible person know of your intended movements and when you expect to return.

Facilities include visitor toilets, showers, two roadhouses and Head of Bight Visitors Centre.

Camping

Camping is permitted in signed locations throughout the Park

Useful information

There is no mobile phone coverage in the park except in the immediate vicinity of the Head of Bight Visitors Centre and adjacent to roadhouses.

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.

Pests and diseases

There are several pest species which survive the harsh conditions within the park. Camels periodically venture into the park, especially after rain. Similarly foxes and feral cats can be seen. Buffel grass is routinely controlled by the Aboriginal Rangers.

Traditional owners

The Nullarbor is the traditional home of the Mirning Aboriginal people who have strong cultural links with Ngalea, Kokotha, Wirangu, Pitjantjatjara, Nyananyatjara and Yankunytjatjara speaking people. The Mirning people were formally granted Native Title over the Nullarbor National Park in 2014, under the auspice of Far West Coast Aboriginal Corporation. The Nullarbor National Park is now managed by a Co-Management Advisory Board of Mirning community members and DEWNR staff.

Words from the Nullarbor Parks Advisory Committee

We are made up of Mirning people, as well as government and community representatives. We look after the Nullarbor and its coastline.

Aboriginal peoples have occupied, enjoyed and managed the lands and waters of this State for thousands of generations. For Aboriginal first nations, 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. 

There are many places across the State that have great spiritual significance to Aboriginal first nations.  At some of these places Aboriginal cultural protocols, such as restricted access, are promoted and visitors are asked to respect the wishes of Traditional Owners.

In places where protocols are not promoted visitors are asked to show respect by not touching or removing anything, and make sure you take all your rubbish with you when you leave.

Aboriginal peoples continue to play an active role in caring for their Country, including in parks across South Australia. 

History

Following European settlement, the Nullarbor was the site of a number of pastoral ventures and there are a number of remnant sites including the historic Gilgerrabie and Koonalda Huts, within the park boundaries. The Nullarbor National Park was declared in 1979.

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.

  • Visit the Head of Bight Visitor Centre for whale watching and information on things to see and do in the area.
  • The Head of Bight picnic area also doubles as an education facility with a number of display boards displaying the habits, behaviours and other scientific curiosities relating to the southern right whale.

Bushwalking

There are no maintained walking trails other than the Boardwalk at the Head of the Bight. Bush walkers should take great care due to concealed and collapsed caves in some areas, and undercut cliffs along the Bunda Cliffs.

Stay in the park

Camp out under the stars in Nullarbor Wilderness protection area, see the link below for more details and booking.

Whale watching

Visit the Head of Bight Visitors Centre from mid-May to late October for your chance to watch majestic southern right whales cruise below the cliffs. The high cliff line provides fantastic views for land-based whale watchers. Boardwalks take visitors to two main viewing areas, one to the east and one to the west of the main pathway. The boardwalk ramps are sloped for wheel chair access.

From the boardwalk, you can marvel at the loping, diving and slow motion somersaults of these majestic whales. See these magnificent endangered creatures mate and calve in the nursery waters or simply watch them arrive from Antarctic waters with humpback whales. If you listen carefully you may even hear the moaning of the southern right whales as they swim within the bay.

  • Whales with calves tend to stay 'in residence' at the site all season
  • You are almost guaranteed to see a whale from June to September
  • At the height of the season (July/August), over 100 whales can be in the area at one time.

Fauna

Whales

There has been 29 different types of whales recorded in South Australia. The most common are the southern right whale, humpback whale, sperm whale, blue whale and orca whale (killer whale).  Of these you are most likely to spot a southern right whale along the South Australian coast.

Southern right whale
Every year, between May to October, southern right whales gather along the southern coastline of Australia to mate and calve, before returning to sub-Antarctic waters to feed.

The southern right whale is a large whale which can grow up to 17.5 metres and weigh over 80 tons.  The vast majority of southern right whales are black in colour with distinctive white patterns on their heads that are calluses formed by small crustaceans known as 'whale lice'.  The patterns are visible at birth and are unique to each whale allowing researchers to identify individual whales. 

Volunteering

 

Want to help?

To find out how you can help in this park or nearby, please contact Natural Resources Alinytjara Wilurara.

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.

Know before you go

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.

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?

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.

Whale watching

Maintaining the legal distance from marine mammals such as whales, dolphins and seals is important, both for our safety and that of the animals.

The animals may be seriously injured if they are struck by a vessel or frightened young may become separated from their mothers. Even if there is no contact, coming too close can disrupt feeding, breeding and migratory behaviours.

Regular water users should make themselves familiar with all the rules for interacting with marine mammals by viewing the National Parks and Wildlife (Protected Animals – Marine Mammals) Regulations 2010.

In the Water

  • Prescribed vessels (high-powered craft such as jet-skis, hydrofoils and boats used for water skiing or paragliding): Never closer than 300m.
  • Other vessels (for example, cabin cruisers, yachts, ‘tinnies’, inflatables, kayaks, wind surfers and kite surfers): No closer than 100m.
  • Other vessels within 300m of a whale: No anchoring; maximum speed 4 knots; maximum time 60 minutes.
  • Swimmers (including surfers and boogie boarders): No closer than 30m.

On Land

  • No closer than 30m (or 50m if the whale is distressed, stranded or entangled)

In the air

  • Planes and remotely piloted aircrafts (drones) must be at least 300m from any whale or other marine mammal (additional Civil Aviation Safety Authority restrictions apply).
  • Helicopters and gyrocopters must be at least 500m from any whale or other marine mammal.

 Special rules exist for:

  • whale calves: all vessels and swimmers – no closer than 300m
  • distressed, stranded or entangled whales: all vessels and swimmers – no closer than 300m

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 October 2017 to 15 April 2018.
  • 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.

Water

The ground near the edge of the Bunda Cliffs may be undercut. Visitors should remain well back from the cliff edges.

Strong currents and rips can make swimming dangerous in this area.

Do not climb on, or fish from slippery rocks. 

4WD

When 4WDriving in the park, it is important to be aware of the following:

  • Standard road rules apply when driving anywhere in the park, including the laws for speed limits, drink driving, vehicle registration and seat belts.
  • Take extreme care when driving in the park – be aware of blind corners, crests and narrow two-way tracks.
  • Observe all track and safety signs, especially 'No public access' signs.
  • Do not take your vehicle off the designated tracks. Wildlife can be threatened and precious habitat and indigenous sites can be damaged by off track driving.
  • Make sure you know what to do in the event of getting bogged and always carry a shovel.
  • When driving on sand, deflate your tyres 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.

Maps

Park maps

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.

Camping and accommodation

Fees apply to camp in this park, you must book and pay for your camping before arrival.

Where can I book and pay in person?

If you are unable to book and pay online you can do so, in person, at these booking agents across the state.

For online bookings enquiries please email:

DEWNREPOnlineBookings@sa.gov.au

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!

Other fees and permits

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

PDF Park Brochure