- Bird watching
- Walking trails
Swan Reach Conservation Park is a classic example of Australia’s semi-arid mallee environment. You will find tranquillity in the gently undulating limestone country with its thick local mallee canopy overhead.
There are also a few small patches of low woodland comprising false sandalwood and bullock bush with an understory of stipa grass. With around 2,017 hectares to explore, don’t be surprised if you stumble across signs of a southern hairy-nosed wombat, as these elusive creatures were the primary reason for the proclamation of this park in 1970.
The park is an astronomer’s paradise and forms the “core” zone of the River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve. The unpolluted skies and isolation from artificial light sources make the park one of the best places on Earth to gaze at the stars.
Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
This park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.
Listen to the local area radio station for the latest updates and information on fire safety.
- CFS website
- CFS Hotline: 1300 362 361
Visitor information, bookings and park management:
National Parks Wildlife Service South Australia Riverland and Murraylands Regional Office
28 Vaughan Tce, Berri
Phone: (+61 8) 8595 2111
Medical, fire (including bushfire) and police emergency situations
Phone: Triple Zero (000)
Phone: 131 444 for non-urgent police assistance
National Parks and Wildlife Service SA – After-hours duty officer
Phone: 0417 192 335
Within the park
Please contact the Riverland and Murraylands Regional Office on (08) 8595 2111 or the after-hours duty officer on 0417 192 335 (outside of business hours).
Outside of the park
Please contact a local wildlife rescue group
When to visit
Although this park Is great to visit at any time of your, we recommend visiting in autumn to see the mallee birds at their most active.
Located around 125 kilometres from Adelaide and approximately 15 kilometres west of the town of Swan Reach along the Sedan to Swan Reach Road (Stott Highway) you will find sign posts to the Northern Park boundary.
Dogs not allowed
Assistance dogs are permitted in most public places and are therefore welcome in South Australia’s parks and reserves. Assistance dogs must be appropriately restrained on a lead and remain under your effective control at all times while in a park or reserve.
As per the dogs in parks and reserves policy, if the dog is not an accredited assistance dog, they must be trained to assist a person with a disability to alleviate that disability and meet standards of hygiene and behaviour appropriate for a dog in a public place. However, refusal may be given if the person with the disability is unable to produce evidence the dog is an assistance dog with the appropriate training.
Before taking your assistance dog into a park that does not normally allow dogs, it is highly recommended that you contact us so we can provide you with the latest information on any potential hazards within specific parks that may affect your dog. Please contact the park via the contact details provided under the contact tab or contact the visitor service centre via email or on Facebook, or you can live chat with a customer service representative on the website Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.
There are no facilities in the park. Please ensure you carry sufficient water, food and supplies for your entire visit. It is also a good idea to let a responsible person know of your intended movements and when you expect to return.
Plants and animals
Flora and fauna species lists
To download flora (plants) and fauna (animals) species lists for this park, use the 'Create Simple Species List' tab under 'Flora Tools' or 'Fauna Tools' in NatureMaps.
At the time of European arrival, the Ngaiawang Aboriginal People occupied an area of approximately 388,000 hectares on the Western Murray Plains, in which the park is situated. Within this area, the river was the main focus of activity, providing a permanent water source and a continuous food supply. Fish were caught in nets and stone traps, one of which is still preserved in the northern end of McBeans Pound. The river was also a major communication and transport route. Bark canoes were obtained from large river red gums, and several of these canoe trees can still be seen near Blanchetown. The river became the nucleus of settlement as it provided for most needs.
Please refer to the South Australian Museum publication Ngaiawang Folk Province (1977) for further information on the Ngaiawang People.
Aboriginal peoples have occupied, enjoyed and managed the lands and waters of this State for thousands of generations. For Aboriginal first nations, creation ancestors laid down the laws of the Country and bestowed a range of customary rights and obligations to the many Aboriginal Nations across our state.
There are many places across the State that have great spiritual significance to Aboriginal first nations. At some of these places Aboriginal cultural protocols, such as restricted access, are promoted and visitors are asked to respect the wishes of Traditional Owners.
In places where protocols are not promoted visitors are asked to show respect by not touching or removing anything, and make sure you take all your rubbish with you when you leave.
Aboriginal peoples continue to play an active role in caring for their Country, including in parks across South Australia.
The Swan Reach district was occupied in the last decades of the nineteenth century. The township of Swan Reach was established in 1896, largely to cater for the small farms which were being developing in the surrounding district. This land was less than favourable, and required clearing and sinking of bores to provide additional water. Many of the small farmers, especially those growing crops, barely eked out a living and were destined to hardships and despair as the many ruined farmhouses testify. Successive droughts, rabbits and overgrazing created in places a desolate, unproductive landscape capable of supporting only a few sheep per hectare. The subdivision of land neighbouring the park, coupled with the altered nature of the landscape under pastoralism and agriculture, makes it imperative that an area of comparatively untouched mallee such as Swan Reach Conservation Park remains untouched.
There are some walking trails located in the park, however they are not officially marked or signposted.
River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve
The River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve covers more than 3200 square kilometres in the Mid-Murray district of South Australia. The ‘Core Site’ of the reserve is located within the Swan Reach Conservation Park – an area of 2000 hectares of untouched mallee bushland.
Access to the core site within the Swan Reach Conservation Park is by 4WD only.
If you’re heading to the core site you will need to be prepared as there are no facilities within the park.
What to bring
- camera equipment
- camping equipment
- food and water
- warm clothing.
What should I know before coming to visit?
- Ensure you check the weather, especially cloud cover.
- Ensure you know how to use your equipment and have mobile lighting to set it up in the park.
- Be prepared. Bring torches and warm clothes, wear covered shoes. Tell someone where you’re going.
- Ensure you know how to get where you’re going and have access to maps. Mobile phone service in the park is limited.
There are no designated mountain biking trails in this park.
Stay in the park
Free, self-sufficient bush camping is permitted in this park.
Online booking is not required for this park.
Want to help?
To find out how you can help in this park or nearby, please visit Natural Resources South Australian Murray-Darling Basin – Volunteering.
Want to join others and become a Park Friend?
To find out more about Friends of Parks groups please visit Friends of Parks South Australia.
You could join others to help look after a park. You can take part in working bees, training and other events.
Can I have a fire or barbecue?
- Wood fires and solid fuel fires are prohibited between 15 November 2020 to 15 April 2021.
- You must bring your own firewood, as the collection of firewood within national parks is prohibited.
- Gas fires and liquid fuel fires are permitted through the year, other than on days of total fire ban.
- Ensure you are familiar with the fire restrictions for this park.
Closures and safety
This park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may also be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.
You can determine the current fire danger rating by checking the Fire Ban District map on the CFS website.
Check the CFS website or call the CFS Bushfire Information Hotline 1800 362 361 for:
- Information on fire bans and current fire conditions
- Current CFS warnings and incidents
- Information on what to do in the event of a fire.
Listen to your local area radio station for the latest updates and information on fire safety.
When camping in a National Park, it's important to remember the following:
- Always let someone responsible know your travel plans, especially when travelling in remote areas. It's a good idea to let them know when you expect to return.
- Check the weather forecast before you leave, including overnight temperatures on the Bureau of Meteorology. Even during very mild weather, the nights can get very cold.
- The quality and quantity of water cannot be guaranteed within parks. Please bring plenty of water and food to be self-sufficient.
- Always camp in designated sites (where applicable) - do not camp beneath trees with overhanging branches, as they can drop without warning. It's also a good idea to check that there are no insect nests nearby.
- Check to make sure you're not camping in a natural waterway, flash floods can happen anytime.
- If camp fires are permitted, you must bring your own firewood, as the collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited. Extinguish your camp fire with water (not sand or dirt) until the hissing sound stops.
- Ensure that you are familiar with the fire restrictions for this park.
The international Trail Users Code of Conduct is to show respect and courtesy towards other trail users at all times.
Ensure that you:
- keep to defined walking trails and follow the trail markers
- wear sturdy shoes, a hat and sunscreen
- carry sufficient drinking water
- be aware of weather conditions and avoid walking during the hottest part of the day
- Walk, hike or trek - what's the difference?
Know before you go
Every national park is different, each has its own unique environment, it is important to be responsible while enjoying all the park has to offer.
Please ensure that you:
- leave your pets at home
- do not feed birds or other animals, it promotes aggressive behaviour and an unbalanced ecology
- do not bring generators (except where permitted), chainsaws or firearms into the park
- leave the park as you found it - there are no bins in national parks, please come prepared to take your rubbish with you.
- abide by the road rules (maintain the speed limit)
- respect geological and heritage sites
- do not remove native plants
- are considerate of other park users.
- Important: Collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited. Dead wood plays a vital role in providing shelter for animals and adding nutrients to the soil.
Maps on your mobile
If you have a smartphone or tablet you can download the free Avenza Map app and have interactive national park maps on hand when you need them.
The app uses your device's built-in GPS to plot your real-time location within the park onto a map. The app can be used without a network connection and without roaming charges. You can also measure area and distance, plot photos and drop placemark pins.
How to get it working on your device:
1. Download the Avenza Maps app from the app store (iOS/Android) whilst you are still in range (its free!).
2. Open up the app and click the shopping cart icon.
3. Click ‘Find’ and type the name of the national park or reserve you are looking for.
4. Click on the map you are after and install it (all our maps are free).
5. You will now find a list of your installed maps on the home page of the Avenza Maps app.
6. Use our maps through the Avenza Mapa app while in the park and never take a wrong turn again.
Come and enjoy this park for free.
Camping and accommodation
Camping is free in this park, online booking is not required.