Everything you need to know about the latest investment in SA’s national parks

Everything you need to know about the latest investment in SA’s national parks

Upgrades and new vis­i­tor expe­ri­ences will be hap­pen­ing in South Australia’s parks. Find out what’s in store.

South Aus­tralia has more than 350 nation­al parks that cov­er 21.1 mil­lion hectares – an area about the size of the Unit­ed Kingdom.

Our parks are the cor­ner­stone of con­ser­va­tion, they bol­ster region­al economies, and help to make SA one of the most live­able places in the world.

South Aus­tralia real­ly has nature like nowhere else and as part of a new $22 mil­lion invest­ment, it will mean more oppor­tu­ni­ties for you to get up close and per­son­al with it, with new expe­ri­ences and infra­struc­ture on the cards for many of our icon­ic parks.

Here’s every­thing you need to know.

What is the new investment?

A total of $22 mil­lion will be spent on six projects across the state. It’s all part of the Parks 2025 strat­e­gy, which is a once-in-a-gen­er­a­tion invest­ment in con­serv­ing SA’s unique nat­ur­al envi­ron­ment, improv­ing nature-based tourism expe­ri­ences and stim­u­lat­ing region­al economies.

What will be created?

The $22 mil­lion invest­ment will go towards these six new projects:

1. South­ern Flinders Ranges Nation­al Park project – $5 million

There’s plen­ty in store for the South­ern Flinders Ranges area, including: 

  • devel­op­ing an inter­na­tion­al moun­tain bike des­ti­na­tion at Mt Remark­able Nation­al Park in the state’s mid-north
  • upgrad­ing park trails for hik­ing, cycling and horse-rid­ing, includ­ing a new icon­ic mul­ti-day hike
  • upgrad­ing and expand­ing camp­grounds, par­tic­u­lar­ly to cater for caravans
  • upgrad­ing facil­i­ties, includ­ing cre­at­ing a new vis­i­tor centre.

2. Edi­acara Fos­sil Expe­ri­ence project – $3 million

A major vis­i­tor expe­ri­ence is in store for Nilpe­na Sta­tion in Edi­acara Con­ser­va­tion Park (540km north of Ade­laide) to show­case the state’s unique Edi­acaran fos­sils, which are 550 mil­lion years old.

3. Ikara-Flinders Ranges Nation­al Park project – $1 million

Ikara-Flinders Ranges Nation­al Park will get renewed and expand­ed vis­i­tor infra­struc­ture and expe­ri­ences. This project will be under­tak­en in part­ner­ship with the Tra­di­tion­al Own­ers, the Adnya­math­anha people.

4. Cle­land Wildlife Park project – $1 million

One of SA’s icon­ic tourist des­ti­na­tions, Cle­land Wildlife Park in the Ade­laide Hills, will get a boost to its excep­tion­al nature-based expe­ri­ence with a new pur­pose built koala hold facility.

5. Nature-Based Tourism Co-invest­ment Fund project – $5 million

Busi­ness­es and organ­i­sa­tions will be sup­port­ed to run sus­tain­able and eco­log­i­cal­ly-sen­si­tive tourism expe­ri­ences and prod­ucts in SA’s parks and nat­ur­al places.

As part of the co-invest­ment fund and to sup­port the envi­ron­ment, tourism oper­a­tors will also be expect­ed to con­tribute to con­ser­va­tion pro­grams in their local area, such as restor­ing habi­tats, reveg­e­ta­tion and rewil­d­ing projects.

6. Kan­ga­roo Island Bush­fire Eco-tourism Sup­port project – $7 million

This project will acti­vate nature-based tourism and sup­port the KI tourism indus­try which has been hard hit by nation­al and inter­na­tion­al events from bush­fires to coronavirus.

Kan­ga­roo Island’s bush­fire-unaf­fect­ed parks will receive a bunch of vis­i­tor facil­i­ty upgrades. This includes:

What is already underway?

An addi­tion­al $50 mil­lion is already being invest­ed in parks and reserves on top of oper­a­tional costs to not only enhance the envi­ron­ment and nature-based tourism expe­ri­ences, but to improve social well­be­ing by encour­ag­ing more peo­ple to get out­side and enjoy what SA has to offer. This includes:

Open­ing up our reser­voirs project – $29.55 million

A num­ber of SA’s reser­voirs – includ­ing Mypon­ga, South Para, Bun­daleer and War­ren – have been opened up for vis­i­tor access and select­ed recre­ation­al activ­i­ties such as walk­ing, cycling, pic­nick­ing, fish­ing and kayak­ing, while ensur­ing the ongo­ing safe­ty and secu­ri­ty of drink­ing water supply.

The project is now mov­ing into its sec­ond phase which will look to deliv­er and expand recre­ation­al access at oth­er reser­voirs – includ­ing access to Lit­tle Para, Hope Val­ley, Barossa and Hap­py Val­ley, as well as expand­ed access to South Para, War­ren and Myponga.

Statewide park renew­al project – $3.3 mil­lion + ongo­ing costs

Upgrades and con­tin­ued improve­ments are being made to SA’s exist­ing park facil­i­ties and infra­struc­ture – based on what vis­i­tors real­ly want from our parks. This work is focused on day vis­i­tor sites, sig­nage, camp­grounds, toi­lets, trails, roads and carparks, as well as improved acces­si­bil­i­ty for park visitors.

Cre­at­ing the Great South­ern Ocean Walk project – $6 million

This mul­ti-day walk on the Fleurieu Peninsula’s Hey­sen Trail will con­nect Deep Creek and New­land Head con­ser­va­tion parks, and Gran­ite Island Recre­ation Park. Upgrades will also be car­ried out at Deep Creek Nation­al Park, includ­ing a new day vis­i­tor facil­i­ty, and the estab­lish­ment of an acces­si­ble trail and upgrad­ing of exist­ing camp­grounds and amenities.

Glen­thorne Nation­al Park project – $12.5 million

Glen­thorne Nation­al Park will be Adelaide’s newest major met­ro­pol­i­tan nation­al park to pre­serve and revi­talise more than 1,500 hectares of open space. The fund­ing is being spent on infra­struc­ture to sup­port con­tin­ued devel­op­ment of the park turn­ing it into a thriv­ing com­mu­ni­ty precinct.

Work is under­way with Kau­r­na Tra­di­tion­al Own­ers and the broad­er com­mu­ni­ty to pri­ori­tise and imple­ment ele­ments detailed in the mas­ter plan, which includes a hub with an events space and vis­i­tor cen­tre, her­itage precincts, nature play and pic­nic areas, camp­ing, and much more.

Parks 2025is an oppor­tu­ni­ty to shape the future of SA’s parks and the state. The strat­e­gy will be fur­ther refined through work­ing with key con­ser­va­tion­ists, tourism advo­cates and local, region­al com­mu­ni­ties. Vis­it theParks 2025 web­siteto find out more.

(Main image cour­tesy of SATC)

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living