Your guide to what’s new and coming soon in South Australia’s national parks

Your guide to what’s new and coming soon in South Australia’s national parks

Over the past 12 months, vis­i­tor facil­i­ties and expe­ri­ences have been upgrad­ed in a num­ber of nation­al parks across South Aus­tralia. And there’s more to come.

Here’s your guide to what’s new and com­ing soon.

Your guide to what’s new and coming soon in South Australia’s national parks

Ade­laide Hills – pic­nic at Mark Oliphant Con­ser­va­tion Park

Have you ever vis­it­ed Mark Oliphant Con­ser­va­tion Park? The park was named in hon­our of for­mer state Gov­er­nor Sir Mark Oliphan­t’s con­tri­bu­tion to con­ser­va­tion and we think it’s one of the hid­den gems locat­ed in the Ade­laide Hills.

The park is tucked away just 5 km from the town­ship of Stir­ling. You can’t miss the park entrance any­more, with recent upgrades includ­ing new entry sig­nage and an upgrad­ed entrance off Scott Creek Road to help vis­i­tors access this spe­cial patch of nature.

A big­ger and bet­ter car park has been cre­at­ed and the near­by pic­nic shel­ter has been refur­bished, with new tables installed so you can kick back and enjoy a leisure­ly pic­nic in nature. 

When you arrive, there’s a short acces­si­ble path that takes you from the car park to the pic­nic area – make sure you take note of the trail­head and wayfind­ing sig­nage to help you dis­cov­er the unique for­est expe­ri­ence this park has to offer.

Your guide to what’s new and coming soon in South Australia’s national parks

Fleurieu Penin­su­la – walk the Wild South Coast Way on the Hey­sen Trail

Not far from Ade­laide, on the Fleurieu Penin­su­la, there’s been a huge range of vis­i­tor improve­ments in one of the state’s most pop­u­lar parks – Deep Creek Nation­al Park.

It’s all part of the Wild South Coast Way on the Hey­sen Trail – South Australia’s newest mul­ti-day walk­ing expe­ri­ence.

The upgrades include the cre­ation of the new Goon­dooloo Ridge precinct – a new pic­nic area that fea­tures a 4.2 km Class 2 loop trail that takes you to a new look­out that has spec­tac­u­lar views over Back­stairs Pas­sage to Kan­ga­roo Island.

From the pic­nic area, the trail is suit­able for wheel­chairs and prams, and is a fan­tas­tic immer­sive expe­ri­ence that you can do as an add-on to the main Hey­sen Trail hike. It leads through an open euca­lypt wood­land and a mag­nif­i­cent yak­ka for­est before it reach­es the look­out, so have your cam­era ready.

Four pur­pose-built camp­grounds have also been cre­at­ed along the Wild South Coast Way, giv­ing vis­i­tors who set out on the long dis­tance, mul­ti-day walk­ing expe­ri­ence a great place to rest and refresh overnight.

They’re only acces­si­ble by foot only mean­ing you’re guar­an­teed a seclud­ed stay in some rarely seen land­scapes along the south­ern coastline.

Your guide to what’s new and coming soon in South Australia’s national parks

Eyre Penin­su­la – the best of the west has been upgraded

The Gold­en Island Day Vis­i­tor Area in Cof­fin Bay Nation­al Park and the Fish­er­man Point Camp­ground in the pop­u­lar Lin­coln Nation­al Park have both seen vis­i­tor facil­i­ty upgrades.

These upgrades have includ­ed recon­fig­ur­ing and increas­ing camp­ground capac­i­ty, expand­ing car parks, installing new sig­nage, replac­ing toi­let blocks, installing pic­nic shel­ters, improv­ing vehi­cle access, improv­ing pedes­tri­an beach access, and upgrad­ing sig­nage, land­scap­ing and fenc­ing.

If you’re mak­ing the trek to the west coast, be sure to vis­it either of these parks and make the most of the new facilities. 

Your guide to what’s new and coming soon in South Australia’s national parks

North­ern Flinders Ranges – cul­tur­al attrac­tions in Ikara-Flinders Ranges Nation­al Park

Have you ever heard of Akur­ra Adnya? Or per­haps you might know it as Arka­roo Rock? It’s a cul­tur­al rock art site of the Adnya­math­anha peo­ple that can be vis­it­ed in the Ikara-Flinders Ranges Nation­al Park, about 5 hours from Adelaide.

Under the direc­tion of Adnya­math­anha rep­re­sen­ta­tives, the park’s entry area has been upgrad­ed for those wish­ing to con­gre­gate and appre­ci­ate this spe­cial area. 

When arriv­ing, you’ll notice a refur­bished car park with good traf­fic flow and brand new toi­let facil­i­ties. And to help you enjoy the sur­round­ing views, there’s new pic­nic facil­i­ties that make the most of all the avail­able shade.

Learn about the cul­tur­al sig­nif­i­cance of the area from the new­ly devel­oped inter­pre­ta­tion locat­ed at the begin­ning of the 3 km trail before embark­ing to see Adnya­math­anha ochre and char­coal rock art.

If time per­mits, be sure to tour the near­by Brachi­na Gorge Geo­log­i­cal Trail. Ele­ments of this pop­u­lar 20 km self-dri­ve expe­ri­ence are being enhanced, which will see improved vis­i­tor ameni­ties like seat­ing and trail upgrades, and inter­pre­ta­tion sig­nage at both entry points and at nodes along the trail. 

There’s also a new acces­si­ble trail access and a view­ing plat­form to see the Gold­en Spike mark­er in the adjoin­ing creek bed. Until now, it has been one of those sought-after attrac­tions that wasn’t eas­i­ly acces­si­ble to the gen­er­al public. 

Now, peo­ple with all acces­si­bil­i­ty needs can now see evi­dence of the end of the Elati­na glacia­tion and Cryo­gen­ian Peri­od and the start of the Edi­acaran Period. 

The impor­tance of the trail also sup­ports Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Service’s bid for a World Her­itage List­ing for the Flinders Ranges in the com­ing years.

Your guide to what’s new and coming soon in South Australia’s national parks

South­ern Flinders – moun­tain bike at Mount Remark­able Nation­al Park

For adren­a­lin seek­ers, there’s 20 km of new moun­tain bike trails that have been cre­at­ed at Mount Remark­able Nation­al Park.

Con­struct­ed at Wil­lowie in the South­ern Flinders Ranges, about 300 km north of Ade­laide, the works also include a range of vis­i­tor facil­i­ties – a pic­nic area, acces­si­ble toi­lets, a refur­bished carpark and essen­tial facil­i­ties for moun­tain bik­ers such as tyre pumps.

These new trails are for those who have already expe­ri­enced the pop­u­lar moun­tain bike trail net­work in near­by Melrose.

Your guide to what’s new and coming soon in South Australia’s national parks

Lime­stone Coast – new pro­jec­tion at Nara­coorte Caves

If you’ve nev­er been before, be sure to vis­it Nara­coorte Caves Nation­al Park in the state’s south east. It’s cur­rent­ly our state’s only World Her­itage List­ed site and you can now see the caves in a whole new light as part of the Vic­to­ria Fos­sil Cave Megafau­na Experience.

The expe­ri­ence fea­tures a new state-of-the-art audio-visu­al light show, where images of extinct ani­mals that once inhab­it­ed the Lime­stone Coast region more than 60,000 years ago are pro­ject­ed on the cave wall.

Your guide to what’s new and coming soon in South Australia’s national parks

Yorke Penin­su­la – ins­ta-wor­thy views at Dhil­ba Guu­ran­da-Innes Nation­al Park

For that insta­wor­thy pic, be sure to vis­it the impres­sive new Gulawul­gawi Ngun­da Nhagu – Cape Spencer Look­out.

Locat­ed in Dhil­ba Guu­ran­da-Innes Nation­al Park, just a 20-minute dri­ve in from the park entry, the spec­tac­u­lar look­out gives vis­i­tors a 360-degree views of the expan­sive coastal land­scape cap­tur­ing the Inves­ti­ga­tor Strait and the Althor­pe Island group. On a clear day, you’ll even see Kan­ga­roo Island in the distance.

From the car park area, the cir­cu­lar look­out can be reached via a short trail. The trail is anoth­er new pram-friend­ly and wheel­chair-acces­si­ble path­way in SA’s nation­al parks.

Com­ing soon

Kan­ga­roo Island – reimag­in­ing our icon­ic island

Since the bush­fires in the sum­mer of 2019 – 2020, Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice has been work­ing with com­mu­ni­ty to cre­ate new vis­i­tor expe­ri­ences in nation­al parks. Much of the land­scape has regen­er­at­ed, return­ing the island to its renowned beau­ty.

Last Decem­ber, new vis­i­tor facil­i­ties opened at the icon­ic Remark­able Rocks in Flinders Chase Nation­al Park and new camp­sites are being cre­at­ed along the Kan­ga­roo Island Wilder­ness Trail, which had been destroyed by fire.

Your guide to what’s new and coming soon in South Australia’s national parks

Con­cept images were unveiled of a new $14.6 mil­lion Flinders Chase Vis­i­tor Cen­tre, with con­struc­tion start­ing soon.

The vis­i­tor cen­tre will be most­ly con­crete-free, and pri­mar­i­ly framed from sus­tain­ably sourced bush­fire-resis­tant Aus­tralian tim­bers and will utilise mate­r­i­al on, and adja­cent to, the site for rammed earth walls.

Learn more about all the pro­posed upgrades that are planned for Kan­ga­roo Island and put this vis­i­tor expe­ri­ence on the top of your buck­et list when it’s all ready. 

Met­ro­pol­i­tan Ade­laide – nature play fun for the south

SA’s newest met­ro­pol­i­tan nation­al park is start­ing to take shape with plen­ty of com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers get­ting their hands dirty dur­ing plant­i­ng days to reveg­e­tate the land­scape at Glen­thorne Nation­al Park — Itya­mai­it­pin­na Yarta in the south­ern sub­urbs of Ade­laide.

In part­ner­ship with the City of Mar­i­on and with input from local schools, a new Nature Play is under­way for peo­ple of all ages and abil­i­ties to enjoy.

Your guide to what’s new and coming soon in South Australia’s national parks

The park will also have new pic­nic and bar­beque facil­i­ties, shared trails for walk­ing and cycling, new look­outs and inter­ac­tive cul­tur­al and her­itage experiences.

Ear­marked for com­ple­tion lat­er this year, you can stay up-to-date with the progress of the park’s trans­for­ma­tion by sub­scrib­ing to the eNews via the Glen­thorne Nation­al Park web­site.

Flinders Ranges – new fos­sil expe­ri­ence at Nilpe­na Edi­acara Nation­al Park

Nilpe­na Edi­acara Nation­al Park is a new nation­al park that was recent­ly cre­at­ed in the Flinders Ranges. It is not open for vis­i­tors yet and the park will be an escort­ed expe­ri­ence when it opens in 2023.

On the tra­di­tion­al lands of the Adnya­math­anha peo­ple, Nilpe­na Edi­acara Nation­al Park is where impor­tant cer­e­monies and camp­ing occurred along­side the local springs, and ochre was trad­ed between the Flinders Ranges and the Lake Eyre region.

It’s also where you’ll be able to see fos­sil evi­dence of the ear­li­est life on earth. Nilpe­na holds the world’s best exam­ple of the Edi­acaran explo­sion of life from about 560 – 542 mil­lion years ago.

For the pro­tec­tion of the fos­sils, access into the park will be by guid­ed tour only.

Your guide to what’s new and coming soon in South Australia’s national parks

At the site of the for­mer Nilpe­na pas­toral sta­tion, works have includ­ed refur­bish­ing the old Black­smith’s Shop into an excit­ing and immer­sive fos­sil expe­ri­ence. Inside you’ll see Alice’s Restau­rant Bed – Nilpena’s most superbly pre­served fos­sil bed that dis­plays earth­’s ear­li­est form of com­plex mul­ti­cel­lu­lar ani­mal life.

This is one expe­ri­ence not to be missed and rea­son enough to plan a vis­it to the Flinders Ranges next year. 

Want to know more about what’s on offer in South Australia’s nation­al parks? Vis­it the NPWS web­site or have a scroll through our See and Do library.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living