Ranger tips: Murray River National Park

Ranger tips: Murray River National Park

Sit­u­at­ed rough­ly a 3‑hours east of Ade­laide, the park offers a boun­ty of recre­ation­al activ­i­ties, includ­ing walk­ing, kayak­ing, bird­watch­ing, and camping.

Ranger Michael Boon is your go-to for expert advice on mak­ing the most of your visit.

Let’s check out his top recommendations:

What is your favourite camp­site and why?

It’s a very hard choice so I’ll have to go with a few of my favourites in the Katara­p­ko sec­tion of the park. 

Camp­site 17 – 18 and the Booky Cliffs camp­sites (7−9) are top choic­es for me. They offer stun­ning views, easy water access, and are con­ve­nient­ly close to a toi­let. These sites are pop­u­lar among fam­i­ly groups because they can book adja­cent sites and camp togeth­er. Addi­tion­al­ly, the camp­sites are eas­i­ly acces­si­ble and only a short dri­ve from the town of Berri.

Camp­site 17 – 18 puts you just above the head of Katara­p­ko creek and an awe­some area to flick a lure.

Top tip: Camp­sites in Mur­ray Riv­er Nation­al Park must be booked pri­or to arrival. Book online or vis­it one of our book­ing agents to reserve your campsite.

Do I need a four-wheel-dri­ve to vis­it the park?

It’s pre­ferred but not essen­tial. There’s plen­ty of camp­sites acces­si­ble to two-wheel-dri­ve vehi­cles in dry con­di­tions, how­ev­er it’s impor­tant to keep an eye on the weath­er fore­cast as the park roads can become bog­gy and very slip­pery when wet.

Keep in mind that there are some camp­sites in the Katara­p­ko Creek sec­tion (camp­sites 47 – 54) that are only acces­si­ble by four-wheel-drive. 

Where is the best place to canoe or kayak?

Katara­p­ko is an excel­lent choice, offer­ing a wide array of creeks, back­wa­ters, and the main Mur­ray Riv­er for pad­dling enthu­si­asts. I rec­om­mend start­ing at Jarret’s Creek Bridge. Fol­low the creek’s flow down to the log cross­ing. Here, you’ll need to briefly exit the creek for a short walk around the new struc­ture, then con­tin­ue your jour­ney on Eckert’s Creek. Go with the flow down to the splash, where you’ll re-enter Katara­p­ko Creek. Pad­dle upstream all the way to the stone weir. At this point, you can choose to con­clude your trip or nav­i­gate over or around the weir to head out into the Mur­ray. Some trips may require arrang­ing pick-up and drop-off logis­tics, or you could plan a loop for a seam­less start and finish.

Best place to go fishing?

You will find good fish­ing at every site in Mur­ray Riv­er Nation­al Park. The most com­mon fish caught is the inva­sive Euro­pean carp. These fish may be a pest, but they pro­vide heaps of fun and excite­ment to young anglers espe­cial­ly on light tack­le. If you are after some of the native species such as cal­lop or Mur­ray cod then I sug­gest lures or some live bait (Yabby’s, Shrimp or worms) around some of the many fall­en tree’s (snags) in the riv­er and creek system.

Top tip: Before you cast in a line or throw in a yab­by net, make sure you know what the rules are by down­load­ing the SA Recre­ation Fish­ing Guide App on to your smart­phone. The app has all the infor­ma­tion you need on bag and size lim­its and fish­ing rules, and includes full-colour illus­tra­tions so you can ID your catch.

What is your favourite walk­ing trail in the park?

The Craig’s hut walk is a fair­ly easy short walk with an awe­some view of the flood plain sit­u­at­ed about three quar­ters around the walk­ing trail. 

Kai Kai walk­ing trail is an easy short walk with some very good and new­ly updat­ed inter­pre­tive sig­nage to help with iden­ti­fy­ing the flood plain fau­na and flo­ra as you walk through flood run­ners and along Katara­p­ko creek.

The Ngak Indau wet­lands trail has a vari­ety of wildlife to see while walk­ing, includ­ing many dif­fer­ent birds — from spoon bills and pel­i­cans to eagles and kites and many more water birds. You may also get to see a regent par­rot fly­ing over. 

This walk takes you from a back water lagoon all the way to the edge of the Mur­ray for heaps of vari­ety in ani­mals and land­scape. Don’t for­get about the many rep­tiles that live in this area so keep your eyes look­ing in trees and along the ground to see them, from lace mon­i­tors to the small skinks along the water’s edge. 

If you are an avid moun­tain bike rid­er the park also has three choic­es (lengths) to choose from with the start of the bike trail start­ing from the Berri town side of the park near the row­ing club. You will have a choice in rid­ing a trail from 5 to 20 kilometres.

Best time to vis­it the park?

The park is stun­ning year-round, but autumn and spring are the stand­out sea­sons. In spring, the native veg­e­ta­tion blooms beau­ti­ful­ly, and ani­mals are more vis­i­ble, enjoy­ing the warmer weather.

Park of the Month:

Through­out May, Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice South Aus­tralia are cel­e­brat­ing Mur­ray Riv­er Nation­al Park as their Park of the Month. A range of activ­i­ties are on offer, vis­it parks​.sa​.gov​.au/​g​e​t​-​i​n​s​p​i​r​e​d​/​p​a​r​k​-​o​f​-​t​h​e​-​month for full details.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living