6 national parks for four-wheel driving in South Australia

6 national parks for four-wheel driving in South Australia



Four-wheel dri­ving can get you places you can’t reach in an ordi­nary car – like these nation­al park tracks.


We’re so lucky in South Aus­tralia to have some incred­i­ble spots for four-wheel driving.

Many of our nation­al parks have sec­tions that are only acces­si­ble by four-wheel dri­ve (4WD), which means you’ll have lots of fun get­ting there as you bump over rough or sandy tracks.

There are some amaz­ing off-road spots to get and out explore. These parks are all pop­u­lar with 4WD enthu­si­asts, and have clear­ly marked tracks to pre­vent dam­age to the environment:

1. Cof­fin Bay Nation­al Park

Much of the Eyre Peninsula’s Cof­fin Bay Nation­al Park can only be accessed by 4WD.

Expe­ri­enced 4WD enthu­si­asts will enjoy a wide range of con­di­tions from sand dunes to nar­row wind­ing tracks, and soft sandy beaches.

Dri­ving in Cof­fin Bay Nation­al Park can’t be hur­ried as it takes con­cen­tra­tion, but there is always an inter­est­ing view to make it worth your while.

The tracks in this park are nar­row so be on the alert for oncom­ing traffic.

2. Ngarkat Con­ser­va­tion Park

Ngarkat Con­ser­va­tion Park, 34 km south of Pin­na­roo and sit­ting along­side the Vic­to­ri­an bor­der, boasts more than 270,000ha of veg­e­tat­ed sand dunes and mallee bushland.

You can dri­ve the leg­endary Bor­der Track one-way, from north to south, along the South Aus­tralian and Vic­to­ri­an border.

At the junc­tion of the Bor­der Track and the Cen­tre Track (approx­i­mate­ly 29 km along the Bor­der Track), the track reverts to a two-way system.

The one-way sys­tem has been imple­ment­ed to pro­tect the sand dunes, track sur­face and vegetation.

There are many oth­er 4WD routes you can take in this park, from short day-trips around the park to extend­ed trips for those who are real­ly adventurous.

3. Gawler Ranges Nation­al Park

Although the best way to explore the Gawler Ranges Nation­al Park is in a 4WD, in good weath­er you can vis­it much of the park in a high clear­ance 2WD.

The park is locat­ed 6 hours north­west of Ade­laide. You’ll see lots of wildlife on the tracks so look out for emus and kan­ga­roos, espe­cial­ly at dusk and dawn.

Take the dri­ve out to Con­i­cal Hill – the views out over the ancient sand dunes are magnificent.

4. Lin­coln Nation­al Park

The Sleaford-Wan­na track in Lin­coln Nation­al Park offers some of the best sand dune dri­ving expe­ri­ences on the Eyre Peninsula.

Fol­low the red mark­er posts and be reward­ed with scenery of mas­sive wind-sculpt­ed sand dunes, pound­ing surf and rugged lime­stone cliffs along the South­ern Ocean.

The park rangers rec­om­mend stop­ping for a pic­nic lunch along the way to admire the vast expans­es of sand and the tur­bu­lent sea.

5. Vulkathun­ha-Gam­mon Ranges Nation­al Park

Much of Vulkathun­ha-Gam­mon Ranges Nation­al Park, locat­ed 660 km north of Ade­laide, is acces­si­ble by 4WD only.

To explore the park’s rich Abo­rig­i­nal and Euro­pean her­itage, take on the Wor­tu­pa Loop Track, which is an 80 km return jour­ney from Bal­canoona that’ll take about 5 hours.

Along the way you could see ani­mals such as red kan­ga­roos, emus and wedge-tailed eagles.

Views of Mount McKin­lay, The Wall, Mount John Roberts, and the chasms of Blue Range are a high­light along the one-way sec­tion of track between Gam­mon Yards and Lochness Well.

There is also a 4WD track out to Lake Frome.

6. Munga-Thirri-Simp­son Desert Nation­al Park

Are desert parks more your style? Then you’ll have to cross the Simp­son Desert and explore the par­al­lel red sand ridges of Munga-Thirri-Simp­son Desert Nation­al Park, which extend across an area of up to 500 km.

We’re just out­side of the ide­al time to cross the Simp­son, which is from mid-March to mid-August when the tem­per­a­ture is milder, but if you get organ­ised you’ll be able to head off just before Simp­son Desert parks in SA are closed in sum­mer (from 1 Decem­ber to 15 March 2021).

Make sure you vis­it the lone gum – the thriv­ing Coolabah that stands alone along­side Rig Road.

The soli­tary tree, far from the near­est water­course, gen­er­al­ly grows in heavy clay soils. There is no oth­er tree of its kind in the region – how it comes to be here still remains a mystery.

If you’re a keen pho­tog­ra­ph­er then check out the Approdin­na Atto­ra Knolls. The rare gyp­sum out­crops were once the high­est dune crests in the area.

Top tip: Be sure to check the Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice web­site to see if any of these parks are closed at this time of year and to find oth­er parks you can go four-wheel driving.

Like the idea of vis­it­ing some of SA’s desert parks? Read our sto­ry:Your guide to vis­it­ing mound springs in SA’s desert parks.


This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living