Introduction to South Australia: 5 National Parks

Rock Formations, Wilkawillina Gorge, Flinders Ranges
West Cape Lighthouse, Innes National Park, South Australia

West Cape Lighthouse, Innes National Park, South Australia

South Australia’s wonderful National Parks have superb natural attractions as well as wildlife, wildflowers, hiking trails, unusual features – and a lot less people!

Remarkable Rocks, Flinders Chase National Park, South Australia

Remarkable Rocks, Flinders Chase National Park, South Australia

Lots of travellers don’t leave time for South Australia on their travel itinerary because a lot of Australia’s more well-known sights are further north.

So what are you missing out on if you DON’T head south?

5 superb National Parks of South Australia that show off a good cross-section of this state’s natural attractions!

Flinders Chase, Kangaroo Island

Third-largest island in the Australia group, Kangaroo Island (or KI, as the locals call it) is a natural haven for wildlife, has an interesting colonial history, and its spectacular coastal scenery and unspoiled beaches make it a nature-lovers paradise.

Kangaroo Island Coastline, South Australia

Kangaroo Island Coastline, South Australia

Flinders Chase National Park at the western end of KI is full of these the natural attractions including the well known Admirals Arch and Remarkable Rocks; and a range of walking trails show off natural bushland, dunes, beaches and the spectacular Southern Ocean.

MORE about Flinders Chase National Park

Coorong, Fleurieu Peninsula

Murray River Mouth and Coorong, South Australia

Murray River Mouth and Coorong, South Australia

Coorong National Park starts just east of Goolwa where the Murray River enters the ocean at the end of Australia’s longest river system, runs south-east along the coast for 145 km – but is only 4 km at its widest point!

Evening in the Coorong National Park, South Australia

Evening in the Coorong National Park, South Australia

The park protects the network lagoons and beaches lying between the Southern Ocean and the continuous permanent dune network separating it from the mainland.

It’s an important bird breeding ground and wildlife haven, especially for migrating shorebirds.

Drive south-east from Magrath Flat along the Coorong, with campgrounds, walking tracks, lookouts and beaches along the way for fishing, birding, four-wheel driving and canoeing. Alternatively, take a Coorong cruise from Goolwa.

MORE about Coorong National Park

Naracoorte Caves, Naracoorte

South Australia’s only World Heritage-listed site, the Naracoorte Cave system – once an ancient sea bed – is a significant area for Pleistocene era fossils, including megafauna such as a giant kangaroo; the diprotodon; and Thylacoleo carnifex, a marsupial lion.

Thylacoleo Carnifex - Australia's Marsupial Lion, Naracoorte Caves

Thylacoleo Carnifex – Australia’s Marsupial Lion, Naracoorte Caves (pic by Pilchard)

Cave tours, ranging from an easy self-guided stroll through the Wet Cave, guided tours of the Bat Cave Observation Centre and through Victoria Cave, to more strenuous adventure caving in Fox and Cathedral Caves, are available from the National Park’s Wonambi Fossil centre which also houses interpretive displays and life-size megafauna replicas.

MORE about Naracoorte Caves

Innes National Park, Yorke Peninsula

The wild, rugged coastal scenery of Innes National Park is amazingly spectacular with soaring, rocky cliffs and remote on- and off-shore lighthouses highlighting why this region is also known as the shipwreck coast. The area once housed a gypsum mine, supported by nearby Inneston, now nearly a ghost town.

Sea Cliffs at Cape Spencer, Innes National Park

Sea Cliffs at Cape Spencer, Innes National Park

The road through the park passes historic Inneston, salt lakes and access tracks to beaches, lookouts and lighthouses – and a shipwreck!

Take one – or all – of the 7 walks and historic trails, ranging from a few hundred metres to Cape Spencer Lighthouse to an 11 km return track linking Gym and Browns Beaches.

Seasonal wildflowers and wildlife are common – you’d have to be REALLY unlucky not to see a kangaroo or emu!

MORE about Innes National Park

Flinders Ranges, Outback

The sight of the rugged Flinders Ranges, an ancient mountain range full of amazing landscapes and unusual landforms, as it rises from the surrounding plain is awe-inspiring. There’s a lot to see and do in this 90,000 hectare park – hiking the magnificent Wilpena Pound, gorges and mountains; rock climbing; scenic lookouts, exploring historic sites; and four-wheel driving for a start. Or take a trip back in time and drive the Brachina Gorge Geological Trail with its ancient rock formations and classic outback scenery.

Flinders Ranges, South Australia

Flinders Ranges, South Australia

There are lots of accommodation options in the park, and in nearby towns – and you’ll want to make the most of them to explore the wonderful natural attractions of this Outback park thoroughly

MORE about Flinders Ranges National Park

These 5 National Parks of South Australia are just an introduction to the attractions to see and experiences of this lesser known Australian state.

Want MORE?

Rock Formations, Wilkawillina Gorge, Flinders Ranges

Rock Formations, Wilkawillina Gorge, Flinders Ranges

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4 thoughts on “Introduction to South Australia: 5 National Parks

  1. There certainly are plenty of National Parks to visit in South Australia as we discovered on our trip there a couple of years ago. We will be back to see what we missed. Thanks for a great post from Redz.

    • Red Nomad OZ / 11/08/2015 at 22:12

      Thank you Jill – South Australia often gets forgotten on Aussie travel itineraries! Stay tuned – I’ve got a LOT more to show you!

  2. I have only been to a couple of these National Parks but I certainly think they are equal to any other NPs in Australia. I loved every part of South Australia and I truly only scratched the surface.

    • Red Nomad OZ / 11/08/2015 at 22:14

      I’m giving South Australia’s National Parks some well-deserved exposure, Kathy! I hope more people discover these South Aussie Hot Spots for themselves!

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