With Winter approaching, now is the time to be planning a short getaway on a northerly bearing. This month, we’ve revisited some of our favourite winter getaways in SA.
The Murray River is mecca for winter camping with its sea of river gums providing ample fuel for a warming fire. With many travellers heading north to follow the sun, it’s easy to snaffle the best camping spots with a clear river vista to watch the house boats and river traffic float by. Murtho Forest Landing is one such spot, with many tributaries off the main river to explore by paddle craft. For escapes off the main thoroughfare, check out Katarapko (Murray River National Park), Morgan Conservation Park or the Loch Luna Game Reserve.
FLINDERS RANGES NATIONAL PARK
Five hours north of Adelaide is one of SA’s greatest tourism icons – the Flinders Ranges. Located on the fringe of the semi-arid region, the area is blessed with the natural beauty of its rugged ranges, wildlife and expansive walking tracks. The national park has a host of spectacular bush camp sites shared with the surrounding wildlife. Emu chicks, accompanied by an adult, frequently wander through the camp and roos languish around the landscape.
Otherwise head to the resort at Wilpena Pound for full camping facilities and foot entry into the pound itself, a crater-like form with high peaked mountain walls. Various Stations Stays provide an alternative accommodation option, many with scenic drives over station tracks.
A few hours further north draws you into the northern flinders region of the Vulkathunha – Gammon Ranges National Park and Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary. The latter is a former grazing property but now wilderness hideaway owned by the Sprigg family, with a number of nature-based activities including geology, bush walking, astronomy and four-wheel driving. The camp grounds are basic but there is at least flushing loos and hot showers, a restaurant, bar and shop.
You really need to get out and about to appreciate everything on offer here. The neighbouring national park also offers magnificent rocky escarpments, driving loops and bush camping if you don’t mind long drop toilets. Or you can rent Grindells Hutt, a rustic cottage in the middle of the ranges.
The Gawler Ranges are around 6.5 hours west of Adelaide just north of Wudinna. It is renowned for its volcanic rock, pastoral relics, sandy dune ridges and Lake Gairdner; a pristine white salt lake that stretches for as far as the eye can see. The lake is home to Speed Week each year as various classes of vehicles fight for top honours.
The soil has that beautiful orange hue which blends beautifully with the bright green tussocks of spinifex in the right season. Camping includes bush campsites, some with and without facilities. Nearby there’s also Mt Ive Station which offers fuel, hot showers, toilets and various activities.