Desert Parks Update Bulletin

Desert Parks Bulletin

No. 639 - 17th July 2020

ALERT: COVID-19 travel & border restrictions easing

Travel within South Australia is now largely unrestricted. People are free to visit most regional areas, and travel within South Australia is a great way to support our regional communities and economies.

A pre-approval process is now in place for travellers wishing to enter South Australia. The Cross Border Travel Registration should speed up the border crossing process and provide certainty for people who want to enter SA. Check SA COVID-19 restrictions at https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/restrictions-and-responsibilities/travel-restrictions before you travel. If you are travelling from interstate, check the COVID-19 travel restrictions at https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/covid19-restriction-checker/domestic-travel

Campsites and accommodation within South Australia’s national parks have reopened. Bookings are now available online and through our booking agents.

Visitors are reminded that social distancing rules still apply in SA, and park visitors must consider these restrictions when making bookings.

  • Do not visit if you are unwell

  • Maintain social distance of 1.5 metres from each other where possible

  • Do not exceed 1 person per 2 square metres (indoors and outdoors)

It is important that campers and other park visitors are self-sufficient, and carry their own cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene products with them.

Visitors must continue to follow SA Health directives on social distancing and comply with relevant limits on gatherings.

Please respect other campers and park visitors by keeping a safe distance and practicing good hygiene.

For more about visiting parks during COVID-19 go to www.parks.sa.gov.au/know-before-you-go/covid-19-faqs

More information about COVID-19: www.sa.gov.au/COVID-19

South Australian COVID-19 Information line: 1800 253 787

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.

Safety in the Outback

Outback daytime temperatures are hovering around the low to high 20°Cs and night time can be sub-zero. If you still have essential travel 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. 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.

Speed Limits

Check road and weather bulletins and local conditions before travelling into the Outback. Speed limits of 40km per hour apply within all parksFor up to date public road information outside of National Parks, please call the Transport SA Road Condition Hotline on 1300 361 033 or visit the Transport SA web site on http://www.dpti.sa.gov.au/OutbackRoads

Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park

ALERT: It is important that campers and other park visitors are self-sufficient, and carry their own cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene products with them.

Halligan Bay Track Open to 4WD. It is a bush track, not a road. Drive with caution along the entire track as the landscape is fragile and the track will deteriorate with the number of vehicles using it. Please drive to track conditions. Driving on the Lake surface is an offence and dangerous. Trailers and caravans are not recommended.

Level Post Bay Track –  Closed - For public safety. Muloorina Station is closed to the public until further notice.

Tallaringa Conservation Park

Online park bookings or a Desert Parks Pass is required, as well as a tourist access permit to access this area from the Department of Defence. Details can be found at http://www.defence.gov.au/woomera/permit-tourist.htm

Innamincka Regional Reserve and Malkumba-Coongie Lakes National Park

ALERT: It is important that campers and other park visitors are self-sufficient, and carry their own cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene products with them.

ALERTA pre-approval process is now in place for travellers wishing to enter South Australia. The Cross Border Travel Registration should speed up the border crossing process and provide certainty for people who want to enter SA. Check SA COVID-19 restrictions at https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/restrictions-and-responsibilities/travel-restrictions before you travel..  If you are travelling from interstate, check the COVID-19 travel restrictions at https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/covid19-restriction-checker/domestic-travel.

ALERT: Innamincka Regional Reserve has had two large flood events so far this year resulting in significant damage to tracks and campgrounds. Where tracks are open please observe caution at washouts, creek crossings and where water is ponded on the track. Please remain on tracks at all times.

Please note that chainsaws and fire wood collection is prohibited in Innamincka Regional Reserve and Malkumba-Coongie Lakes National Park, with no wood fires permitted at Malkumba-Coongie Lakes National Park. Bring firewood with you and take your waste material home or deposit it at the Innamincka township refuse site.

Coongie Track - Open to 4WD to Kudremitchie outstation. 

Coongie Track Kudremitchie to Malkumba-Coongie Lakes National Park – Closed

Malkumba-Coongie Lakes National Park - Closed due to flooding

Walkers Crossing PAR Open to 4WD

15 Mile Track and Access to Cooper CreekOpen to 4WD

Cullyamurra Waterhole –  Closed due to flood damage

Burke’s GraveOpen to 4WD.

Queerbidie - Open to 4WD

Policemans Closed due to flood damage

Kings Marker – Closed due to flood damage

Ski Beach Campground - Open to 4WD

Wills Grave - Closed due to flood damage.

Minke Waterhole Campground - Closed due to flood damage.

Old Strzelecki Track (on Innamincka Regional Reserve only)Open to 4WD

Bore Track NorthOpen to 4WD

Bore Track SouthClosed. No visitor access across Bollards Lagoon station.

Walker Crossing PAR Open to 4WD. Caution - Numerous washouts and sections with corrugations. Slow down, drive to the conditions. Do not drive through water or boggy areas. Give way to heavy vehicles.


The Innamincka Trading Post (Ph: (61 8) 8675 9900)Agent for the Desert Parks Pass and camping permits.  Provide a comprehensive range of supplies and services for visitors in the Innamincka area, including accommodation.

Witjira National Park and the Munga-Thirri-Simpson Desert Reserves

ALERT: It is important that campers and other park visitors are self-sufficient, and carry their own cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene products with them.

Pedirka Public Access Route – Open to 4WD.

Witjira National ParkOpen to 4WD. Caution at sections that visitors have chopped up graded tracks when wet. .

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. See the National Parks website at www.parks.sa.gov.au for more information. 

Wood fires are not permitted in Witjira, with the exception that wood fires are still permitted at Mt Dare. This does not apply to the Munga-Thirri-Simpson Desert reserves in South Australia and wood can be carried through Witjira to be used in the Munga-Thirri-Simpson Desert reserves.

The Dalhousie airstrip is currently closed to public use.

**Binns track is closed indefinitely between Mt Dare and Old Andado. The track has deteriorated due to extreme dry weather and high volume of traffic over the past two years leading to deep and dangerous rutting. Travellers wishing to access the Binns track from Mt Dare to Old Andado will need to detour via New Crown station.**

Pink Roadhouse (Ph: (61 8) 8670 7822) – Agent for the Desert Parks Pass. Provide 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. Provide diesel and unleaded fuel, accommodation, meals, hot showers, fuel, minor repairs, camping, travel supplies and phone cards available for travellers. Satellite phones are available to hire from Mt Dare Hotel for trips across the Simpson Desert

Munga-Thirri – Simpson Desert OPEN to 4WD.

ALERTA pre-approval process is now in place for travellers wishing to enter South Australia. The Cross Border Travel Registration should speed up the border crossing process and provide certainty for people who want to enter SA. Check SA COVID-19 restrictions at https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/restrictions-and-responsibilities/travel-restrictions before you travel..  If you are travelling from interstate, check the COVID-19 travel restrictions at https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/covid19-restriction-checker/domestic-travel.

ALERT: The Central Land Council has advised that the Colson, Madigan and Hay River Tracks are closed in the Northern Territory for the remainder of 2020.

Please ensure 4WD is engaged and that you reduce tyre pressures while in the desert to minimise cutting up the tracks. Carry extra fuel reserves as up to 50% more fuel may be used currently than a normal desert crossing.

The use of trailers in the Simpson Desert is strongly discouraged.  Caravans and motorhomes should not be used.  Serious damage can be caused to vehicles and the environment, and difficulties are likely to result.

K1 - Warburton Crossing Public Access Route –  Open to 4WD. Drive to track conditions. Caution at water crossings, bulldust holes and areas subject to ponding and sandy areas.

Colson Track Northern Territory section Closed until further notice

Condition updates

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.

Alternatively contact local Police where applicable for condition updates. For travel communications, contact the Australian National 4WD Radio Network Inc on (61 8) 8287 6222. 

Fight the Bite - a health warning from SA Health

Even though conditions are dry, mosquitoes can still 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 NO CURE and NO VACCINE 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 www.health.sa.gov.au.

On-line park entry and camping bookings 

ALERT: It is important that campers and other park visitors are self-sufficient, and carry their own cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene products with them.

From 1 June 2017, entry and camping for Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park, Innamincka Regional Reserve, Malkumba-Coongie Lakes National Park, Witjira National Park and Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park will need to be booked through a booking system. Grindell’s Hut, Nudlamutana Hut and the Balcanoona Shearers Quarters in Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park will also be available to be booked online before you go.

The new booking system recognises that there is often high demand for some camping areas during peak periods, and will allow visitors to book their favourite campsites 12 months in advance of a planned visit.  For many people it will be a more convenient experience; they can plan and book ahead from the comfort of their home, and they won’t have to carry the correct amount of cash.  

The Desert Parks Pass that covers entry and camping to the Munga-Thirri-Simpson Desert Regional Reserve and Munga-Thirri-Simpson Desert Conservation Park will still be purchased via normal arrangements.  After purchasing your Desert Parks Pass, you will be required to go on-line to book campsites in other parks that are covered by the Desert Parks Pass such as Witjira National Park, Innamincka Regional Reserve, Malkumba-Coongie Lakes National Park and Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park. When booking a campsite, the booking system will ask if you have a Desert Parks Pass, so you will not have to pay twice.  

Park visitors need to visit www.parks.sa.gov.au to make their bookings. Preferably visitors will book before they leave home, however some visitors prefer not to plan ahead.  As mobile reception is limited or non-existent in the Region, or if visitors do not have access to the Internet while travelling, a number of businesses in strategic, remote locations have become agents. These agents can be found at www.parks.sa.gov.au  

For further information on this matter please contact the Desert Parks Pass Administration Officer on 08 8648 5328 or DEWNRDesertParks@sa.gov.au.

 

Travis Gotch
District Ranger Outback
Flinders & Outback

desertparks@sa.gov.au

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. Privacy, Disclaimer, Copyright © 2018

OPEN to 4WD PLEASE NOTE:  The Simpson Desert National Park in Queensland is closed from Poeppel’s Corner to Birdsville due to flooding in Eyre Creek.  If you are travelling into Munga-Thirri–Simpson Desert you need to ensure you have sufficient Fuel and Water to be able to return to Mt Dare you will not be able to get through to Birdsville or the Birdsville Track

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