South Australia’s wonderful National Parks have superb natural attractions as well as wildlife, wildflowers, hiking trails, unusual features – and a lot less people!
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.
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.
Coorong, Fleurieu Peninsula
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
These 5 National Parks of South Australia are just an introduction to the attractions to see and experiences of this lesser known Australian state.
- My 10 BEST Travel Experiences in South Australia
- More Photos of South Australia on Flickr
- More about Australian travel destinations and natural attractions