Desert Parks Update Bulletin

Desert Parks Bulletin

No. 570 – 1st June 2017

On-line park bookings commence 1 June.  See end of Bulletin for details.

Note - all reserves have a 40km/h speed limit unless sign posted otherwise. 

Outback day time temperatures are in the mid 20Cs, but night time temperatures will be approaching 0C and below. If you decide to 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. 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 the Transport SA web site on http://www.dpti.sa.gov.au/OutbackRoads

General conditions

For further information regarding South Australia’s national parks visit our website www.parks.sa.gov.au.  For information regarding air tours phone the Wadlata Outback Centre on 1800 633 060.  Check local conditions before travelling into the Outback area. 

Be aware that entry to Desert Parks requires a permit or a Desert Parks Pass that must be displayed on the vehicle windscreen.

Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park

Halligan Bay Track Open to 4WD. This track is a declared Public Access Route. 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 – Open to 4WD. This track is a declared Public Access Route. 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. No camping at Level Post Bay – camping at Muloorina campground.

William Creek Hotel Ph (61 8) 8670 7880 –  Provide accommodation, meals, alcohol, tyre repairs, fuel, provisions and water. 

Tallaringa Conservation Park

The Department of Defence has announced future closures of the Anne Beadell Highway on 11 – 30 June 2017, 2 – 15 July 2017, 12 November – 9 December 2017, and 3 – 30 June 2018. .

When the park is open, in addition to a DEWNR entry/camping permit or a Desert Parks Pass, a tourist access permit is also required 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

General Vehicle Access 

Note: Be aware that entry to Innamincka Regional Reserve requires a day/camping permit or a Desert Parks Pass that must be displayed on the vehicle windscreen.

Coongie Track –  Open to 4WD.

Walkers Crossing PAR Open to 4WD.

15 Mile Track and Access to Cooper CreekWills closed due to rain. Policeman’s, Ski Beach, Kings and Minkie open to 4WD.

Cullyamurra Waterhole –  Open to 4WD.

Burke’s Grave – Open to 4WD.

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.

 

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 Simpson Desert Reserves

Pedirka Public Access Route Open to 4WD. Caution at erosion areas.

Witjira National ParkOpen to 4WD. Extreme caution at erosion areas between Dalhousie and Purni Bore.

Rubbish tips are located 3 kilometres east and west of the Dalhousie campground or at Birdsville for disposal of rubbish.

Important note – Desert Parks Passes should be purchased prior to Dalhousie either before leaving on your trip, at other agencies or at Mt Dare.  Do not rely on park staff being at Dalhousie to sell a Desert Parks Pass as they may be at other parks including the Simpson Desert, or in the field at Witjira.

Entry/camping permits can be purchased from the Self Registration Station on the eastern side of the Dalhousie office.

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 Simpson Desert reserves in South Australia and wood can be carried through Witjira to be used in the Simpson Desert reserves.

The Dalhousie airstrip is currently closed to public use.

 

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

Simpson Desert – Open to 4WD.

 

Prescribed burning will occur in Queensland’s Munga-Thirri National Park form 12-24 June, so visitors may see smoke.

 

Please ensure 4WD is engaged and that you reduce tyre pressures while in the desert to minimise cutting up the tracks. Use extra caution as sand dunes will be soft after the summer closure, and may have blow outs from summer winds. 

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. 

Please check with local authorities or call the Desert Parks on (61 8) 8648 5328.  For information about access to the Queensland Simpson Desert, please contact the Wirrarri Visitor Centre on (61 7) 4656 3300.

Warburton CrossingOpen to 4WD.

Additional information

Hire of Communications Equipment

Satellite phones can be hired from Birdsville and Mt Dare.  For further information call:

  •           Wirrarri Centre - Birdsville (61 7) 4656 3300        
  •           Mt Dare Hotel - (61 8) 8670 7835

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 

From 1 June, 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 system has been rolled out across South Australia, and many other states and countries have online booking system for their parks.  

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.  

Over time, self-registration stations (a.k.a. iron rangers) have continually been subjected to acts of vandalism and theft. With the online booking system self-registration stations will no longer be required and cash payments will no longer be accepted.  

The Desert Parks Pass that covers entry and camping to the Simpson Desert Regional Reserve and 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. They will have signage that on-line payment is available before visitors drive out to the park and can assist you.  These agents can be found at www.parks.sa.gov.au  

It is acknowledged that in the first year, there will be confusion for some visitors but as other States have had similar systems already in place and as word gets around, this will reduce in time.  

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

 

Tony Magor
Manager Public Lands and Co-management
SA ARID LANDS
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 © 2015

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