Find a Park > Flinders Ranges & Outback

Wirrabara Forest (part of Wapma Thura – Southern Flinders Ranges National Park)

About

Established in 1877, Wirrabara Forest was one of the state’s first forest reserves, established to ensure a sustainable timber resource for South Australia.

The forest derives its name from an Aboriginal word for “a place of big trees” and is situated in the Southern Flinders Ranges, 210 km north of Adelaide and just west of the Wirrabara township.

Sites such as the rehabilitated Old Nursery offer a unique perspective into South Australia’s plantation forestry history, while the Ippinitchie Campground provides the perfect base for campers wanting to explore the local area, wildlife and scenery.

Take a forest bushwalk or cross-country ride on the park’s shared use trails, which are nestled within the native and pine plantation reserves.

Both Heysen and Mawson trails traverse sections of the park.

Learn about Wirrabara’s rich forestry origins by exploring the historic ruins dating back to 1877.

Opening hours

Open daily.

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:

Listen to your local area radio station for the latest updates and information on fire safety.

Contact details

Visitor information, bookings and park management:

National Parks and Wildlife Service, Yorke and Mid North Office
Phone: (+61 8) 8841 3400
Email: mrnp@sa.gov.au

Emergency contacts:

Medical, fire (including bushfire) and police emergency situations
Phone: Triple Zero - 000

Police Assistance
Phone: 131 444 for non-urgent police assistance

National Parks and Wildlife Service SA – After-hours duty officer (voice messages only, text messages are unavailable to be received)
Phone: 0417 883 678

Injured wildlife:

Within the park
Please contact National Parks and Wildlife Service, Yorke and Mid North Office on (08) 8841 3400 or the after-hours duty officer on 0417 883 678 (outside of business hours)

Outside of the park
Please contact a local wildlife rescue group

When to visit

The mild temperatures from April to October are the most comfortable for walking. Summers are warm to hot with little rainfall. During the summer months, temperatures range from 30 to 45 degrees, making walking more challenging. Make sure you take plenty of water on walks in this area.

Getting there

Wirrabara Forest is located 62 km east of Port Pirie. Access is via Horrocks Highway, left turn onto Charcoal Road followed by another left onto Forest Road.

Dogs allowed (in designated zones only) on lead

Dogs are allowed on a lead of no more than 2 m within the picnic area, old nursery and Ippinitchie Campground.

Accessibility

Parking

There are dedicated accessible parking spaces at Wirrabara Forest.

Toilets

There are flushing toilets which are accessible and the path to the toilets is compact gravel.

Picnic area

The picnic tables are accessible for wheelchairs.

Trails

There are unfortunately no trails that are accessible to those in wheelchairs or severe mobility impairments. However, Bluff Lookout is just up the road from Wirrabara Forest and has an accessible viewing platform that provides spectacular views over the gulf.

Facilities

Head to the picnic area for a quiet break amongst the trees. With shelters, picnic tables, BBQ facilities and toilet amenities, this this area is perfect for your next picnic.

Useful information

Outback Road Report

1300 361 033 (24-hour automated service)
Northern and Western South Australian Outback Roads Temporary Closures, Restrictions and Warnings Report

  • 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.

Pests and diseases

Phytophthora (fy-TOFF-thora), otherwise known as root-rot fungus, is killing our native plants and threatens the survival of animals depending on plants for food and shelter.

This introduced fungus can be found in plant roots, soil and water. Help stop the spread by using hygiene stations, staying on tracks and trails and by complying with all Phytophthora management signs.

Traditional owners

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.

See and do

Bushwalking

Moderate walks

Wirrabara Forest Trail (7.2 km, 2.5 hours return)

The Wirrabara Forest Trail provides the perfect opportunity to discover a variety of landscapes that make Wirrabara Forest a captivating destination to explore.

The trail begins at the picnic area and leads visitors through one of the few native forest
areas that survived the devastating Bangor fires of 2014.

At the top of the low ridge to the north, visitors will experience scenic views over the surrounding forest areas. The trail then joins an old logging trail along Ippinitchie Creek, which enabled the transport of logs to the now defunct sawmill (adjacent the Park Operations Office).

This trail then reaches the Old Nursery. Here, visitors will be able to explore the remnant ruins from Wirrabara’s forestry operations dating back to the 1800s. The arboretum here was devoted to experimental commercial forest specimen plantings.

The last section of the trail heads south, meandering through the pine forest plantation of Marner’s Block, featuring the historic Marner’s Sawmill site.

The trail gently traverses the natural woodland landscape, before winding back a gentle, but fun descent to the picnic ground.

This is a shared use trail. Walkers need to be alert to bikes when on this trail and bikers remember that walkers have right of way.

Mountain biking

Take a forest bushwalk or cross-country ride on the park’s shared use trails, which are nestled within the native and pine plantation reserves.

Both Heysen and Mawson trails traverse sections of the park. Learn about Wirrabara’s rich forestry origins by exploring the historic ruins dating back to 1877.

Easy

Wirrabara Forest Trail (7.2 km)

Wide trail with gentle gradient and smooth surface. Some obstacles such as roots, logs, and rocks. Suitable for beginner cyclists with basic mountain bike skills, and off road bikes.

Suitable for most ages and fitness levels. Some bushwalking experience recommended.

Tracks may have short steep hill sections, a rough surface and many steps.

This is a shared use trail. Walkers need to be alert to bikes when on this trail and bikers remember that walkers have right of way.

Camping

Ippinitchie Campground

The Ippinitchie Campground is located along Ippinitchie Creek, 4 km to the north-east of the Wirrabara Forest Office, with access from Forest Road.

This campground offers basic bush camping, a pit toilet and untreated water.

Please note this campground is closed until April 2022.

Flora

Wirrabara Forest Reserve contains 4,150 hectares of native vegetation protected for conservation.

This includes three gazetted Native Forest Reserves (Wirrabara Range, Spaniards Gully and King Tree), covering approximately 3,250 hectares.

These Native Forest Reserves and conservation zones are of high conservation value, containing a rich variety of trees, shrubs and ground cover species that provide significant habitat for native birds, reptiles and mammals.

Volunteering

Want to help?

To find out how you can help in this park or nearby, please visit National Parks and Wildlife Service – Volunteering.

Safety

Bushwalking

International Trail Users Code of Conduct

The International Trail Users Code of Conduct is to show respect and courtesy towards other trail users at all times.

Ensure that you:

  • when hiking, wear sturdy shoes, a hat and sunscreen
  • be aware of weather conditions and avoid walking during the hottest part of the day
  • make sure you have appropriate weather proof clothing
  • carry enough water to be self-sufficient
  • please be respectful of other users at all times
  • stay on the designated trails and connector tracks for your own safety, and prevent the spread of declared weeds to other areas in the park
  • ensure someone knows your approximate location and expected time of return
  • take appropriate maps.
  • Walk, hike or trek - what's the difference?

Mountain biking

Trail Users Code of Practice

To protect the surrounding environment and to ensure the safety of all riders and shared trail users, please be aware of the international Trail Users Code of Practice when using shared trails. Important points to remember include:

  • plan your ride
  • comply with all signs
  • ride only on formed tracks/trails
  • share the trail - obey give way rules
  • avoid riding in wet, muddy conditions
  • ride lightly and leave no trace or rubbish
  • control your bike within your limits
  • clean your bike to avoid the spread of weeds or plant diseases
  • carry sufficient food and drinking water
  • respect the rights of others
  • tell others about the code.

Camping

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.

Fire

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:

Listen to your local area radio station for the latest updates and information on fire safety.

Water

Drinking water is not available in this park.

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

Fees

Entry fees

Come and enjoy this park for free.