No. 794 | Updated: 27 February 2024
Safety in the Outback
Outback daytime temperatures can reach high 40s. If you are travelling in the Outback, you should bring appropriate clothing, ensure your vehicles are properly prepared and equipped for outback travel and any emergencies or delays. Take extra water, food and fuel supplies. Ensure good communications equipment, either HF Radio or Satellite Phone and an EPIRB or PLB. Ensure you notify a responsible person, such as a family member, of your plans prior to travelling into remote areas, and seek local advice.
If you attempt driving in sandy conditions and get bogged, do not attempt to get the vehicle out without ensuring 4WD and hubs are engaged, tyre pressures are decreased and sand is removed from the path of the tyres. If you become stuck, do not leave your vehicles to walk for assistance as this can have fatal consequences.
Check road and weather bulletins and local conditions before travelling into the Outback. Speed limits of 40km per hour apply within all parks. For up to date public road information outside of National Parks, please call the Transport SA Road Condition Hotline on 1300 361 033 or visit Transport SA.
Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park
Halligan Bay Point Public Access Route – Closed 1 December 2023 – 15 March 2024
Level Post Bay Public Access Route – Closed by order of the Pastoral Board South Australia
Tallaringa Conservation Park — Open to 4WD
Future closures of the Anne Beadell Highway by the Department of Defence are 13 November – 18 December 2023
Extreme caution at ponded water, washouts and corrugations, plus rutted sections. The tracks within Tallaringa Conservation Park are un-maintained 4WD tracks and conditions can change unpredictably.
Innamincka Regional Reserve and Malkumba-Coongie Lakes National Park
Closed due to rain and flooding
Witjira National Park
- Witjira National Park – Closed
- Dalhousie Campground – Closed
- Three O’Clock Creek Campground – Closed
- Dalhousie Campground to Purni Bore – Closed
- The Dalhousie airstrip: Closed
- Bloods Creek Ruin to Federal Waterhole Track: Closed
- Binns Track: Closed
- Pedirka Public Access Route – Open — 4WD Only, No Towing
Tracks in the park are graded in May/June every year.
Rubbish tips are located 3 kilometres east and west of the Dalhousie campground or at Birdsville for disposal of rubbish.
Check local conditions before travelling into this area. Visit National Parks for more information.
Wood fires are not permitted in Witjira, with the exception that wood fires are still permitted at Mt Dare. Wood can be carried through Witjira to be used in the Munga-Thirri – Simpson Desert reserves.
- Pink Roadhouse (Ph: (61 8) 8670 7822) – Agent for the Desert Parks Pass. Provides diesel and unleaded fuel, accommodation, food and groceries, meals, minor repairs, tyres, travel supplies, and alcohol.
- Mt Dare Hotel (Ph: (61 8) 8670 7835) – Agent for the Desert Parks Pass. Provides diesel and unleaded fuel, accommodation, meals, hot showers, minor repairs, camping, travel supplies, alcohol, and phone cards available for travellers. Satellite phones are available to hire from Mt Dare Hotel for trips across the Munga-Thirri – Simpson Desert.
Munga-Thirri – Simpson Desert National Park — Closed 1 December 2023 — 15 March 2024
Extreme caution at ponded water, washouts and corrugations, plus rutted sections.
The tracks within Munga-Thirri – Simpson Desert are un-maintained 4WD tracks and conditions can change unpredictably.
National Parks and Wildlife Service does not not recommend towing trailers or campers within the desert.
- Warburton Crossing Public Access Route –Closed For Public Safety, by order of the Pastoral Board of South Australia
- Colson Track –Closed
As conditions change a further update bulletin will be issued. For further information on SA Desert Parks and Far Northern South Australian road and track access, please call Desert Parks on (61 8) 8648 5328 or the Transport SA Outback Roads hotline on 1300 361 033.
The DIT outback Road Warnings website can be accessed here https://dit.sa.gov.au/OutbackRoads
Alternatively contact local Police where applicable for condition updates. For travel communications, contact the Australian National 4WD Radio Network Inc on (61 8) 7325 2600.
Public Access Routes
Public Access Routes (PARs) provide public access over pastoral leasehold land, from public roads or tracks to points of public interest, which in some cases include parks and reserves, without the need for travellers to seek permission to travel along these routes. PARs are not part of the formal road network, they are unsealed and unformed dirt tracks intended to provide four wheel drive access in dry conditions only.
The Minister for the Pastoral Act manages 14 PARs in the desert parks area:
- Strangways Springs
- Lake Cadibarrawirricanna
- Lake Eyre/Kati Thanda — Halligan Bay Point
- Lake Eyre/Kati Thanda – Level Post Bay
- Old Peake
- Arckaringa Hills
- K1 Warburton Crossing Track
- Walkers Crossing
- Algebuckina Bridge
- Beresford Bore
- Mungerannie Bore
Camping on PARs
Camping is permitted (temporarily) on PARs. Camping is not allowed on pastoral leasehold land without the permission of the lessee. If the lessee grants permission to camp on the lease, you must not camp within one kilometre of homesteads or other buildings and not within 500 metres of stock watering points.
Travelling on PARs
PARs are unsealed, unformed, dirt tracks designed for 4WD use in good weather only and should therefore be treated with caution. The following tips will help you to travel safely:
- Use a high clearance 4WD
- Caravans and trailers are not recommended
- Beware of washouts, corrugations and other road hazards
- Beware of wandering stock – these routes are not fenced and are usually part of the network of tracks used by lessees to manage their pastoral properties
- Drive to road conditions
- Leave gates as you find them
- In case of emergency ensure you have adequate food and water, and appropriate communication devices, and in the event of a breakdown stay with your vehicle.
- Tracks may temporarily close as required (i.e. due to rain), so ensure you check prior to leaving at www.dit.sa.gov.au/OutbackRoads.
Please avoid travel during or immediately after rain – this can cause significant damage to the track and put others that follow at risk. It can also cost many thousands of dollars to make basic road/track repairs.
Travelling through pastoral land
In the South Australian outback, most land not in the Department for Environment and Water’s parks and reserve system is pastoral leasehold land. If you wish to travel through pastoral property on tracks that are not PARs or main public roads or tracks, then prior approval from the pastoral lessee of the respective pastoral lease must be obtained.
Fight the Bite – a health warning from SA Health
Mosquitoes can be active around waterbodies in northern South Australia.
Mosquitoes are not only a nuisance but some can spread serious disease such as Ross River virus (RRv) and Barmah Forest virus (BFv) when they bite (symptoms of RRv and BFv can include joint pains, rash, fever, fatigue or muscle pain).
There is NOCURE and NOVACCINE to protect against these mosquito borne diseases. The only known and effective way to reduce risk of mosquito borne disease is to prevent mosquito bites.
If you are a visitor, or if you live in northern South Australia, it is important that you protect yourself, your family and friends against mosquito borne disease by Fighting the Bite. Key strategies include:
- Covering up – wear long, light coloured, loose fitting clothing (mosquitoes can bite through tight clothes like jeans)
- Apply personal insect repellent containing DEET or Picaridin (avoid using on babies and toddlers and ALWAYS read and follow instructions on the label first).
- Ensure insect screens cover openings in holiday houses, boats, caravans or tents.
- Cover sleeping areas or beds with mosquito nets if necessary.
For additional strategies and information about how to Fight the Bite and protect against mosquito borne disease visit SA Health.
District Ranger Outback
Flinders & Outback
While every attempt has been made to provide up to date information in this bulletin, all travellers are responsible for ensuring that they obtain accurate and detailed information and are properly equipped and prepared for all emergencies prior to travelling into remote outback areas.
Parks in the Flinders and Outback region:
- Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park
- Innamincka Regional Reserve
- Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park
- Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park
- Lake Torrens National Park
- Malkumba-Coongie Lakes National Park
- Mount Brown Conservation Park
- Mount Remarkable National Park
- Munga-Thirri – Simpson Desert National Park
- Tallaringa Conservation Park
- Telowie Gorge Conservation Park
- The Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park
- Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park
- Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park
- Witjira National Park