Ranger Tips – Ngarkat Conservation Park

Ranger Tips – Ngarkat Conservation Park

Get insid­er tips on the best places to vis­it and must-do activ­i­ties from park ranger Ryan Hamood.

Ngarkat Con­ser­va­tion Park is locat­ed 34 km south of Pina­roo in the east of South Aus­tralia, and fea­tures a mag­nif­i­cent mosa­ic of mallee and heath land, extend­ing across 270,000 hectares of rem­nant coastal dunes.

If you’re a four wheel dri­ve (4WD) fanat­ic then this is the park for you – it’s known for its remote 4WD tracks.

One of the most enjoy­able is the icon­ic Bor­der Track, which fol­lows the bor­der that sep­a­rates South Aus­tralia and Victoria.

This nar­row, sandy track pass­es through a frag­ile envi­ron­ment and requires dri­vers to have a high lev­el of 4WD experience.

Don’t wor­ry, if two-wheel dri­ve (2WD) is more your thing, part of Ngarkat Con­ser­va­tion Park is 2WD acces­si­ble and it’s easy to get around.

Want some point­ers about what to do on your next vis­it? We’ve asked park ranger Ryan Hamood for some insid­er tips. Here’s what he had to say:

What is Ngarkat Con­ser­va­tion Park’s best kept secret?

I love the vast vari­ety of sea­son­al wild­flow­ers that put on a show in the park in August and Sep­tem­ber each year.

Wher­ev­er you go in the park you’ll find a dif­fer­ent flower emerg­ing from the sandy soil beneath, dis­play­ing mul­ti­ple colours off into the distance.

Ranger Tips – Ngarkat Conservation Park

The same time of year, Mallee birds are active­ly bound­ing from one flower to the next or doing acro­bat­ics to chase down the agile inver­te­brate for their next meal.

What are some sea­son­al high­lights in Ngarkat Con­ser­va­tion Park?

Each year from 1 April to 31 Octo­ber vis­i­tors have access to one of the parks most sought after tracks – the Bor­der Track: one way section.

The track is a sought after des­ti­na­tion by recre­ation­al 4WD vehi­cles from all over Aus­tralia and we’re lucky enough to have it in our own backyard.

It’s an extreme­ly sandy track that presents dif­fi­cult dri­ving con­di­tions, so trav­ellers need to be well pre­pared and sup­port­ed by oth­er vehicles. 

It’s impor­tant that all our vis­i­tors are safe and respon­si­ble while 4WDing on this track. We advise vis­i­tors to make a phone call to the park office before head­ing out to the track to check on the con­di­tions of the area.

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.

Ranger Tips – Ngarkat Conservation Park

What is your favourite activ­i­ty to enjoy in the park?

I real­ly enjoy search­ing for the lit­tle native orchids in the under­growth – so frag­ile, yet so strong to be able to sur­vive in the mallee environment.

Top tip: If you’re vis­it­ing the park in win­ter, orchids can be found across the park after win­ter rains.

What is the best view in the park?

The park offers so much vari­ety from dunal look­outs to clay swales.

As you dri­ve around the park the veg­e­ta­tion changes so much that you find your­self always look­ing and watch­ing out the win­dow ador­ing this unique place.

I real­ly enjoy the Mt Res­cue area of the park for its banksia cov­ered flats and tracks that trav­el east-west, pro­vid­ing a real sense of the dune pat­tern in the park.

How much time do I need to vis­it Ngarkat Con­ser­va­tion Park?

Ngarkat is not just a des­ti­na­tion, it’s a jour­ney. You will need more than a day to explore this park. 

With more than 6 spec­tac­u­lar look­outs and 10 walk­ing trails, the park has so much to see that you may need to stay a night and camp in one of the many camp­sites.

This way you’ll be ful­ly immersed in your sur­round­ings and will have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to explore so much that this mag­nif­i­cent park has to offer.

Ranger Tips – Ngarkat Conservation Park

Park of the Month

Through­out August, Mur­ray­lands parks are being cel­e­brat­ed as Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice South Australia’s Park of the Month. Check the web­site for all the details. 

Look­ing for oth­er parks to try four-wheel dri­ving? Here are6 nation­al parks for four-wheel dri­ving in South Aus­tralia.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living