Explore desert parks

Explore desert parks

From camping under vast starry skies in the remote outback to 4WDing challenging wild landscapes, birdwatching in desert wetlands, fishing along the shady banks of the Cooper Creek and discovering the dramatic history of both Aboriginal and European occupation of this challenging land, South Australia’s desert parks offer so much to explore. They’re located in the north of South Australia and offer one of the largest desert reserve systems in the world showcasing unique scenic and cultural environments on an immense scale.

Ready to go? Buy your desert parks pass now

Frequently asked questions

When can I vis­it desert parks?

The most enjoy­able times to vis­it the desert parks are autumn, win­ter and spring. Trav­el is not rec­om­mend­ed through­out sum­mer, when tem­per­a­tures are often in the high 40ºCs

Do I need to buy a Desert Parks Pass?

A Desert Parks Pass is required to enter and camp in the Munga-Thirri – Simp­son Desert Nation­al Park or trav­el­ling east of Dal­houise Springs in Witji­ra Nation­al Park. 

What does a Desert Parks Pass include?

The Desert Parks Pass includes unlim­it­ed vehi­cle entry and camp­ing into:

When you buy a Desert Parks Pass you receive a book that includes all the maps nec­es­sary to vis­it the area, infor­ma­tion on the parks and require­ments for safe trav­el through this out­back region of South Australia.

How long is a Desert Parks Pass valid for?

The pass is valid for 12 months. 

How can I stay safe in desert parks?

The out­back of South Aus­tralia is a vast, won­der­ful and reward­ing place to vis­it. To ensure that you get the best out of your expe­ri­ence it is impor­tant to obtain good advice and thor­ough­ly pre­pare for your jour­ney. When you buy a Desert Parks Pass you receive a book with exten­sive safe­ty infor­ma­tion and com­pre­hen­sive maps. Read­ing this infor­ma­tion will help you plan a safe and mem­o­rable out­back trip.

Before vis­it­ing parks in the Flinders and Out­back region check the lat­est Desert Parks Bul­letin and road con­di­tion report for infor­ma­tion about access, clo­sures, camp­grounds and roads.

How can I expe­ri­ence Abo­rig­i­nal cul­ture in desert parks?

At least 10 dis­tinct groups of Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple lived on the land now des­ig­nat­ed as desert parks. As a result of this long asso­ci­a­tion with the land, vis­i­tors may see the remains of Abo­rig­i­nal occu­pa­tion through­out the parks. Scat­ters of stone mate­r­i­al indi­cate places of tool man­u­fac­ture. Vis­i­tors may encounter rock engrav­ings and bur­ial sites. All Abo­rig­i­nal sites are pro­tect­ed under law and must not be disturbed.

What plants can I see in desert parks?

The desert parks cov­er an array of veg­e­ta­tion types, rang­ing from dense coolibah wood­lands and shady Riv­er Red Gums to sparse Mitchell Grass com­mu­ni­ties and herbs that cling to mobile sand dunes. Mul­ga and Gidgee trees fill drainage lines, while spinifex, grass­es and herbs cov­er the val­ley floors between dunes. The veg­e­ta­tion of the desert has adapt­ed to the dry con­di­tions – seeds lie dor­mant until thun­der­storms trig­ger them to life. Mass­es of wild­flow­ers blan­ket the desert after soak­ing rains.

What ani­mals can I see in desert parks?

The ani­mals of the desert parks are many and var­ied and include some very rare species, such as the Eyre­an Grass­wren, once thought to be extinct, and the Lake Eyre Drag­on, which lives on the mar­gins of the great salt lake. The region is pro­lif­ic in birdlife, with hun­dreds of dif­fer­ent species observed in the area. Lake Eyre (when flood­ed) and the Coongie Lakes sys­tem draw vast num­bers of water­birds, while the mound springs and even the water­cours­es of the Simp­son Desert attract birds accus­tomed to the harsh con­di­tions of the out­back. There are few large native mam­mals to be seen in the desert envi­ron­ment, but vis­i­tors can often spot Din­goes and occa­sion­al­ly Red Kan­ga­roos. Rep­tiles are also dif­fi­cult to observe; how­ev­er the desert is home to a range of drag­on lizards, goan­nas, skinks, geck­oes and snakes, includ­ing the world’s most ven­omous snake, the Fierce Snake or Inland Taipan.