Topics > Landscape SA > Pastoral leases in South Australia

Public Access Routes to pastoral land in South Australia

What is a Public Access Route (PAR)?

A Public Access Route (PAR) is a designated route that allows you to traverse specific areas of pastoral leases without needing permission from the lessee (pastoral lease holder). These routes are established under the Pastoral Land Management and Conservation Act 1989.

Currently, there are 24 PARs gazetted in South Australia, covering approximately 730 kilometres. These routes are not formal roads but rather unimproved dirt tracks designed for four-wheel drive travel under dry conditions. Their purpose is to grant access to sites of interest like Conservation Parks, National Parks, and Historic Sites, which can only be reached by crossing a pastoral lease.

For a complete list of PARs, you can refer to the Public Access Routes and Sites of Interest information.

Do I need a 4WD?

PARs are specifically intended for 4WD vehicles with 4WD engaged. The condition of these routes can undergo rapid and seasonal changes, influenced by factors like rain, flooding, or the build-up of sand drifts due to strong winds. In some instances, these changes render the routes impassable. Conditions can also deteriorate swiftly during periods of high traffic.

The surfaces of PARs can shift rapidly, influenced by variations in soil types, topography, and creek crossings. These routes often exhibit heavy corrugation and holes filled with bulldust.

To stay informed on road conditions, check the Outback Roads Report on the Transport SA website, call 1300 361 033 or email desertparks@​

Responsible driving

Many PARs are situated in remote areas without services and can be exposed to extreme weather conditions, posing elevated risks. Prior to embarking on your journey, make sure to pack ample food and water for emergencies, carry appropriate communication devices, and stay with your vehicle if it breaks down.

Given that PARs are within operational pastoral properties, remain alert for any livestock on or near the routes.

Drive responsibly while on the PAR network, taking note of potential oncoming traffic, especially around dune crests and bends. Respect gate positions, leaving them as you found them.

When tracks are wet, avoid traveling on PARs as this could lead to loss of control, getting stuck, or accidents. Wet tracks may create deep wheel ruts that persist and are costly to repair. Please refrain from disturbing livestock, as these are working pastoral properties you're traversing.

How can I access a PAR?

You can use designated PARs to travel through pastoral leases without needing permission from the lessee. However, avoid driving or camping on non-PAR areas without lessee consent. Be mindful of wandering livestock and leave gates as you find them – open gates stay open, closed gates stay closed.

What do I need to know about visiting sites of interest?

When you visit a site of interest along a PAR, it's important to be aware that many of these spots feature historic ruins, abandoned mines, and natural landscapes. Due to their age and nature, these sites can be delicate and unstable. As you explore, exercise caution and avoid climbing on ruins and tank ladders at these points. While your safety is paramount, it's also essential to take responsibility for your well-being.

When exploring a point of interest, please respect the boundaries in place. Avoid venturing beyond the designated point and onto pastoral lease land. Just as you wouldn't want someone on your property without permission, staying within 20 metres of the point of interest is respectful.

Points of interest are generally found at the end of the PAR you're traveling on. They often tie back to early pastoralism infrastructure, like telegraph lines, railways, ruins, mine sites, and even natural features. Many of these points hold historical significance, so it's important to show them respect.

Given the age and potential instability of these sites, it's crucial to take care. Stick to established trails, tracks, and designated areas. Avoid going beyond the point of interest and onto lessee land without proper authorisation.

Can I camp along a PAR?

Camping along a PAR is allowed, but with specific guidelines in place. You can camp within 50 metres on either side of a PAR, for a maximum of two weeks. However, there are certain restrictions to be aware of:

  • Camping is not permitted within a 500 metre radius of a dam or any constructed stock watering point on the land.
  • Camping is not allowed within a 1km radius of any house, shed, or outbuilding on the land.
  • Ensure that you do not disturb grazing stock.

When camping, it's important to follow responsible practices:

  • Bury human waste and carry out all rubbish.
  • Stick to formed tracks with your vehicles and avoid stock and waterpoints.
  • Use a gas stove for cooking whenever possible.
  • Check the CFS website for fire restrictions or bans before lighting a wood fire.

For Aboriginal persons, there are specific provisions:

  • Aboriginal persons may enter, travel across, or stay on a pastoral lease for traditional pursuits.
  • Certain restrictions apply to where Aboriginal persons can camp on a pastoral lease.
  • Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) might impact access rights. ILUAs are agreements between native title groups and landholders regarding land and water use.

By adhering to these guidelines, you can enjoy camping along PARs while respecting the environment and local regulations.

Can I travel and camp across pastoral land (other than on a PAR)?

Traveling across station tracks or camping on pastoral land outside of the PAR network requires consent from the lessee. Such actions are prohibited and constitute an offense under the Act.

Accessing any portion of a pastoral lease not included in a PAR necessitates lessee consent. You can find lessee details on the South Australian Integrated Land Information Service or White Pages.

Why are PAR’s sometimes temporarily closed?

A PAR may be temporarily closed under the management of the Pastoral Board. Temporary closures serve various purposes, including:

• ensuring public safety

• facilitating stock management activities

• conducting rehabilitation work on adjacent land.

During a closure, warning signage or barriers might be in place. It's important to adhere to these closures and not travel on closed PARs (except for lessees or their employees conducting business or accessing the lease). Unauthorised access could result in fines imposed by the Pastoral Board.

Before heading out to a PAR, please check the Desert Parks Bulletin website for closures or alerts associate with the PAR and the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure's special notices page.

What do I need to consider before travelling the PAR network?

Before embarking on a journey through the PAR network, remember these essential points:

  • Many PARs are in remote areas with no services available.
  • Share your travel plans and establish check-in times with a contact person reachable via townships, satellite phone, or radio.
  • Carry ample drinking water, including three extra days' worth, plus water for your vehicle and camping.
  • Bring extra non-perishable foods like tinned goods, rice, and pasta for unexpected situations.
  • Have enough fuel, especially for unsealed roads and four-wheel drive travel.
  • Pack suitable clothing for varying weather conditions.
  • Travel with at least one other person, with one qualified in first aid. Consider convoying with another vehicle.
  • Stay with your vehicle if it breaks down – a crucial safety measure.
  • Always check outback road warnings and closures before your trip on the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure's special notices page.

How do I know where a PAR begins and ends?

As you enter a PAR, you'll encounter a distinct sign displaying essential information about the route:

  • PAR name and approximate length in kilometers
  • type of point of interest
  • notable safety hazards
  • vehicle access specifications
  • station name.

At the end of each PAR, another sign will notify you that you've reached the point of interest. If you wish to explore on foot, it advises you to stick to existing trails for your safety. It's important to appreciate the significance of the historic points of interest and respect their value. Some sites might contain abandoned mine shafts, historical ruins, water towers, old infrastructure, or unstable buildings. Be cautious; climbing on structures is discouraged. Exercise care and responsibility for your own safety.

Please remember, you must not venture beyond the designated point of interest onto leasehold land without the authorised consent of the lessee. This ensures you explore within legal boundaries and adhere to the rules set in place.


Pastoral Unit
Phone: 8429 0333
GPO Box 1047