4 parks in South Australia for overnight hiking trips

4 parks in South Australia for overnight hiking trips

Love bush­walk­ing and camp­ing? Why not com­bine the two and do an overnight hike. Here’s some of our top picks.

Walk­ing is the best way to see the unique wildlife and spec­tac­u­lar sights in South Australia’s nation­al parks – and in some cas­es it’s also the only way to get around when there are no roads.

Most of us have been on short walks, but for full immer­sion in nature, you can’t beat a full-day walk capped off with a night spent enjoy­ing the peace and tran­quil­li­ty of the bush and gaz­ing at the stars. 

Here are our top picks in South Australia.

1. Flinders Chase Nation­al Park

Where is it? Flinders Chase at the west­ern end of Kan­ga­roo Island

Walk: Kan­ga­roo Island Wilder­ness Trail

The Kan­ga­roo Island Wilder­ness Trail is one of South Australia’s pre­mier mul­ti-day walks and some­thing every seri­ous walk­er should have on their buck­et list. The full expe­ri­ence is 5 days and 4 nights, but you can also choose to do one or two sections.

For the first leg, start from the Flinders Chase Vis­i­tor Cen­tre and make your way through 12 kilo­me­tres of pris­tine bush to Snake Lagoon. On the way, you’ll enjoy spec­tac­u­lar views of Rocky Riv­er. You may even be lucky enough to spot a platy­pus at Platy­pus Water­holes. Stop for the night at the Cup Gum Camp­ground and enjoy the peace and qui­et among old-growth trees.

If you’re up for a sec­ond day, you can do the 14 km leg fin­ish­ing at Cape du Couedic, which fol­lows the stun­ning South­ern Ocean coast. Then spend the night at the Hakea Camp­ground, lis­ten­ing to the pound­ing surf. Cape du Couedic light­house, Admiral’s Arch and a colony of long-nosed fur seals are a 45-minute walk from the camp­site and a per­fect way to fin­ish your vis­it the next morning.

If you would like to do less than the com­plete wilder­ness trail, you can arrange for local tour oper­a­tors to col­lect you from camp­grounds along the way. Please con­tact the Flinders Chase Vis­i­tor Cen­tre on 8553 4410 to dis­cuss options.

Find out what you need to know before you go with these handy tips.

4 parks in South Australia for overnight hiking trips

2. Mount Remark­able Nation­al Park

Where is it? South­ern Flinders Ranges, half an hour from Port Pirie

Walk: Mam­bray Creek to Alli­ga­tor Gorge

Like the idea of walk­ing through bush to a gorge with tow­er­ing red stone walls, with the chance to see ani­mals like kan­ga­roos, wal­la­bies, lace mon­i­tors, echid­nas and dozens of species of birds on the way? Start this walk at Mam­bray Creek Camp­ground, which has hot show­ers, toi­lets and barbecues.

Fol­low the King­fish­er Track to Alli­ga­tor Gorge (15 km that will take between 4 and 6 hours), then take the Alli­ga­tor Gorge Walk and pitch your tent at either the Longhill or Eagle­hawk camp­grounds. The next morn­ing, com­plete the Gorge Walk around the gorge floor and fol­low the King­fish­er Track back to Mam­bray Creek.

Ranger tip: Unless you’re a strong, fast walk­er, don’t be tempt­ed to branch off into the Hid­den Gorge Hike on the way home. This is a steep walk over rocks and boul­ders and will add about 4 hours to your trip. The views are well worth the effort and you might even catch a glimpse of a yel­low-foot­ed rock wal­la­by on the way, but if you want to do this walk, make sure to leave a full day.

Read more about 10 things to see and do in Mount Remark­able Nation­al Park.

4 parks in South Australia for overnight hiking trips

3. Deep Creek Nation­al Park

Where is it? Fleurieu Penin­su­la, 1 hour south of Adelaide

Walk: Tapanap­pa to Trig

Deep Creek Nation­al Park is a peren­ni­al favourite with bush­walk­ers and campers for its prox­im­i­ty to Ade­laide, its love­ly bush and its amaz­ing sea views. Stay at Tapanap­pa Camp­ground to be close to the start of your walk, or alter­na­tive­ly you could stay at the pop­u­lar Stringy­bark Camp­ground the night before.

To get start­ed, head for Tapanap­pa Look­out, then make your way down to Deep Creek Cove. The sea views along this part of the trail are just glo­ri­ous. From Deep Creek Cove, cut west through the bush.

The trail should take about 4 ½ hours all up, and be aware there are some steep sec­tions at the cove.

Pitch your tent at Trig Camp­ground and the next morn­ing, return to Tapanap­pa along the Water­fall Hike, which fol­lows a sec­tion of the Hey­sen Trail. The trail cov­ers near­ly 10 km over beau­ti­ful forest­ed hills, but be aware that some sec­tions are quite steep and the water­fall is sea­son­al, so won’t be flow­ing in very dry weather.

Read more about 10 things to see and do in Deep Creek Nation­al Park.

4 parks in South Australia for overnight hiking trips

4. Lin­coln Nation­al Park

Where is it? Eyre Penin­su­la, half an hour from Port Lincoln

Walk: Stam­ford Hill Look­out to Sur­fleet Cove

This hike in Lin­coln Nation­al Park is a stun­ner if you love coastal views. If you want to stay overnight in the park before your walk, Sep­tem­ber Beach or Tay­lors Land­ing are great choic­es as both camp­grounds have toilets.

Your walk starts at the base of Stam­ford Hill, where there’s a carpark for day vis­i­tors. You can leave your camp­ing gear in the car for the first leg, as the loop will bring you back this way. It’s a steep climb, but Stam­ford Hill is one of our very favourite park look­outs, with a glo­ri­ous view over Prop­er Bay to Boston Island.

From the look­out, it’s a gen­tle down­hill walk to Wood­cut­ters Beach with great views all the way and oppor­tu­ni­ties for bird and wildlife spot­ting. The loop will bring you back to Stam­ford Hill in about 2 hours.

After a lazy lunch, col­lect your camp­ing gear and con­tin­ue on to Sur­fleet Cove, a gor­geous shel­tered bay and your camp­ground for the night. It’s only about an hour from Stam­ford Hill to Sur­fleet, so if you’re up for a longer walk, you could con­tin­ue on to Spald­ing Cove, which also has a camp­ground. The next morn­ing, make your way back to Stam­ford Hill.

Read more about 10 things to see and do in Lin­coln Nation­al Park.

4 parks in South Australia for overnight hiking trips

The esti­mat­ed times to com­plete these hikes are based on per­son with­out dis­abil­i­ty with an aver­age fit­ness lev­el. To find out about acces­si­bil­i­ty in some of South Australia’s nation­al parks check out 9 nation­al parks in Ade­laide with acces­si­ble facil­i­ties.

Psst… want to try some­thing real­ly hard core?

The Maw­son Trail is an epic South Aus­tralian trail for moun­tain bik­ing or walk­ing that begins north of Ade­laide. The catch? It’s a bit more than overnight – it’s 900 km long and will take bike rid­ers a bit over 2 weeks and walk­ers about 3 ½ weeks. Like South Australia’s oth­er famous long trail, the Hey­sen, many peo­ple choose to tack­le the Maw­son in bite-sized chunks.

Stay tuned for our next blog post, which will fea­turetips for a safe and fun overnight hik­ing experience.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living