Skip to content

SA parks are open for locals to visit

The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation in Australia is constantly changing. For those who are not required to self-isolate, our parks and open spaces provide opportunities to stay active and healthy, while social distancing. 

Stick to parks near you, stay up to date with government guidelines about social distancing and movement restrictions and use common sense about who you visit with. 

Check the SA Health website for the latest on COVID-19 in South Australia and the Australian Government Department of Health website for movement and travel updates.

You can also download the official government “Coronavirus Australia” app in the Apple App Store or Google Play, or join the WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android.

COVID-19 and parks FAQs 

What’s open?

Can I visit a park in South Australia?

Yes. You can visit a park in your neighbourhood. For those who are not required to self-isolate, our parks and open spaces provide opportunities to stay active and healthy, while social distancing.

Current Federal Government rules are to stay at home unless you are:

  • going to work or education (if you are unable to do so at home)
  • shopping for essential supplies such as groceries, return home without delay
  • going out for personal exercise in the neighbourhood, on your own or with one other
  • attending medical appointments or compassionate visits

Are any parks closed?

Most South Australian parks remain open to local park visitors.

The Adelaide Botanic and Wittunga Botanic Gardens and Mount Lofty Summit visitor centre remain open.

Cleland Wildlife Park, Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens, Seal Bay, Naracoorte and Tantanoola Caves, Adelaide Gaol and Fort Glanville Conservation Park are closed in the interests of public health and safety.

Are park visitor facilities open?

Most facilities are closed, including:

  • Campgrounds
  • Playgrounds including Belair Adventure Playground, Morialta Nature Playspace, Cobbler Creek and Para Wirra playgrounds. Please note that these parks remain open for day visitors. 
  • Group facilities such as barbecues, firepits, showers, indoor camp kitchens
  • Bookable accommodation such as shearers’ quarters and lightkeepers’ cottages

No further bookings will be taken for these closed facilities until further notice.

These facilities are open:

  • Outdoor tennis courts in Belair NP
  • Rock climbing in Morialta Conservation Park and Onkaparinga River National Park.

If you have a booking for park facilities you can email DEW.OnlineBookings@sa.gov.au with your booking number for a refund.

Can I visit Cleland Wildlife Park?

No. Cleland Wildlife Park has closed from 5pm Thursday, April 9 in the interest of public and animal health and safety.

This temporary closure will allow us to care for our visitors, staff and volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic and contribute to South Australia’s stand against the virus.

Our staff will continue their amazing work with our animals and the wide open spaces of our beautiful site as usual until we can reopen.

We look forward to welcoming back our visitors, members and volunteers as soon as we are able. We will be in touch with members very soon with information about what the closure means for your membership.

Cleland Wildlife Park is world-renowned for the up close experiences it offers with native Australian animals. We will continue to share this with you through regular park updates on our social media accounts.

Can I visit Seal Bay?

No. Seal Bay is temporarily closed in the interest of public health and safety.

Can I visit Adelaide Gaol?

No. Adelaide Gaol is temporarily closed in the interest of public health and safety.

Can I visit Naracoorte Caves?

No. Naracoorte Caves are temporarily closed in the interest of public health and safety.

Can I visit Tantanoola Caves?

No. Tantanoola Caves are temporarily closed in the interest of public health and safety.

Can I visit Mount Lofty Summit?

Yes. Mount Lofty Summit Visitor Centre in the Adelaide Hills is open.  Remember to keep up to date with Federal Government rules about movement restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic and stick to visiting parks in your neighbourhood.

Can I visit Fort Glanville Conservation Park?

No. Fort Glanville Conservation Park is temporarily closed in the interest of public health and safety. The monthly open days held by the Fort Glanville Historical Association have been cancelled. We look forward to opening again when restrictions are lifted. For further information please contact our North Lofty District Office on 8336 0901.

Can I walk the Heysen Trail?

In general South Australian parks and reserves are open to local day visitors, as long as all State and Federal Government advice is followed in relation to COVID-19.

All campgrounds and communal facilities in SA parks have been closed along with hut and homestead accommodation.

Camping and accommodation is also closed in ForestrySA reserves, but day visitors following government advice are welcome. 

Upon completion of the Fire Danger Season the Heysen Trail is open to day walkers only, (no camping or hut use until further notice). 

Are all the Botanic Gardens open in South Australia?

Adelaide Botanic Gardens and Wittunga Botanic Gardens remain open but Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens is closed.

For all areas that are open, additional cleaning regimes will be implemented to align with health guidelines, particularly at toilets and other points where multiple people may use a site over a short period.

Why is Mount Lofty Botanic closed when the others gardens are open?

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, the decision to close the Garden was made in an effort to protect visitors and staff during what is usually a peak time for Mount Lofty Botanic Garden.

We kept the garden open for as long as possible so we could offer respite to our visitors during this uncertain time. However, as a public institution, it is our responsibility to reduce social gatherings where possible in order to stem the spread of the virus.

You can rest assured our expert team of horticulturalists will continue to care for our magnificent collections during this time.

How long will the park facilities be closed?

The COVID-19 situation is changing rapidly. At this stage we estimate that park facilities may be closed for up to six months.

Camping and accommodation

Can I go camping?

No. All campgrounds in SA parks have been closed from Friday 27 March. Refunds will be automatically processed for existing bookings as soon as possible. For further enquiries email DEW.OnlineBookings@sa.gov.au

Camping is also not permitted on Crown Land to protect community health and wellbeing. The State Government is actively discouraging all unnecessary travel across South Australia in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 and is asking people to cancel or reschedule any trips or holidays to regional communities. It is not appropriate for people to be camping, or congregating in groups and possibly sharing facilities on unalienated, or vacant Crown Land. Authorised officers will be directing anyone doing this to leave.

When the time is right, allowing camping on Crown land and in National Parks will recommence, but for the foreseeable future the prohibition will remain. 

Can I stay in a parks cottage or shearer’s quarters?

No. All bookable accommodation in parks has been closed from Friday 27 March. Refunds will be automatically processed for existing bookings as soon as possible. For further enquiries email DEW.OnlineBookings@sa.gov.au

Refunds

Can I get a refund on accommodation, camping and entry?

Yes. Refunds will be processed automatically for bookings made until Saturday 30 May 2020. You can email us at DEW.OnlineBookings@sa.gov.au with any questions.

If you have a booking for after Saturday 30 May 2020 and would like to request a refund you can by emailing DEW.OnlineBookings@sa.gov.au with your booking number.

What bookings/products are being automatically refunded?

All camping, accommodation and facilities hire, except tennis court hire at Belair National Park, is being automatically refunded for bookings made until Saturday 30 May 2020.

When will my refund be processed?

As soon as possible. Please note there is a high volume of refunds to be processed.

How will my refund be processed?

Money will be returned to the account which you used to pay.

What do I have to do?

If your booking is for before Saturday 30 May 2020 you don’t have to do anything, your refund will be processed automatically.

If you have a booking for after Saturday 30 May 2020 and would like to request a refund you can by emailing DEW.OnlineBookings@sa.gov.au with your booking number.

What time period will refunds be issued within?

All bookings made until Saturday 30 May 2020 will be automatically refunded.

If you have a booking for after Saturday 30 May 2020 and would like to request a refund you can by emailing DEW.OnlineBookings@sa.gov.au with your booking number.

I have a booking for after Saturday 30 May 2020, what should I do?

Campsites, accommodation and facilities are temporarily closed. The COVID-19 situation is changing constantly.

We will review booking arrangements regularly in light of further advice from health authorities to determine whether existing bookings beyond Saturday 30 May 2020 are to be cancelled. If this happens you won’t have to do anything, we will contact you and the money will be returned to the account which you used to pay.

If you have a booking for after Saturday 30 May 2020 and would like to request a refund you can by emailing DEW.OnlineBookings@sa.gov.au with your booking number.

When will bookings be reopened?

Campsites, accommodation and facilities are temporarily closed and bookings will not be taken until further notice. The COVID-19 situation is changing constantly. Keep an eye on our website and social media and sign up to our e-news for updates about when bookings reopen.

Can I get a refund on a parks pass or desert parks pass?

Yes. If you would like to cancel your parks pass or desert park pass, just email DEW.OnlineBookings@sa.gov.au with your booking reference and reason for the refund.

Who can I contact for help about bookings and refunds?

Email us at DEW.OnlineBookings@sa.gov.au

Can I get a refund on a tour I have booked with a tour company?

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia is not the booking agent for commercially-operated tours. Please refer to your tour company for more information. 

General information 

What will change in parks as a result of COVID-19?

Where necessary cleaning regimes will be reviewed and increased to align with health guidelines. Any toilet facilities that are not necessary in the short term as a result of the changing community use of parks may be closed.

Why is National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia saying that people can visit parks when the Federal Government says we should stay home?

The health, safety and wellbeing of South Australians, park visitors and National Parks and Wildlife Service SA staff is our top priority.

You can go for a walk or run in your local national park to stay active and healthy during the pandemic. Research shows that spending time in nature is good for our mental health.

We call on all South Australians to support the national effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. Stay 1.5m from others, follow rules on social gatherings, wash hands and stay home if you are sick.

Remember, stick to parks in your neighbourhood, stay up to date with government COVID-19 guidelines and movement restrictions, and practice social distancing while in parks.

Other states and other countries are closing their parks - why isn’t South Australia?

Spending time in nature during stressful events is beneficial for mental health. The decision to close South Australia’s parks will be based on advice from SA Health.

You can only visit parks in your neighbourhood. Current Federal Government rules are to stay at home unless you are:

  • going to work or education (if you are unable to do so at home)
  • shopping for essential supplies such as groceries, return home without delay
  • going out for personal exercise in the neighbourhood, on your own or with one other
  • attending medical appointments or compassionate visits

How can I stay safe if I visit a park alone during the pandemic?

Your safety is our concern but ultimately your responsibility. For specific safety information for each park visit parks.sa.gov.au.

When going for a stroll, walk or run in your local park plan your journey, bring water, be aware of the weather, stay on track and tell your family or friends where you're going and when you expect to return. 

Will Park of the Month events continue to be held?

Park of the Month events have been cancelled. We are working to bring some parks experiences online. Keep an eye on our website and social media and sign up to our e-news for updates about new online experiences and to know when events reopen.

Are park volunteer programs still happening?

They will be limited. All campground host volunteer placements are suspended until further notice, as is our Volunteer Ranger Program. All Friends of Parks activities in reserves have also been temporarily suspended.

Where can I get more information about COVID-19?

The situation is changing continually.

Check the SA Health website for the latest on COVID-19 in South Australia and the Australian Government Department of Health website for movement and travel updates.

You can also download the official government “Coronavirus Australia” app in the Apple App Store or Google Play, or join the WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android.