Lake Gairdner National Park

Barbecue Campfire Kiosk/Restaurant Accommodation Camping area Four-wheel drive touring Fuel Lookout Picnic area Walking
Lake Gairdner National Park, Barry Ashenhurst / Auscape International

Introduction

The vast whiteness of Lake Gairdner rests in the foothills on the northern side of the Gawler Ranges. This is one of the largest salt lakes in Australia and, together with lakes Everard and Harris and surrounds, makes up the Lake Gairdner National Park. The three lakes are remnants of the huge inland sea that once stretched all the way north to the Gulf of Carpentaria. In the 1860s, European pastoral activity caused the dispossession of local Aboriginal populations. However, today the Kokatha, Wirangu and Barngarla continue to live in their traditional country and retain their culture. Their long connection with this land is evident in stone artefact scatters, middens, quarries and stone arrangements.

Proclaimed in 1991 because of its nationally significant wildlife habitat and natural features, the park is incredibly hot in summer and usually devoid of surface or underground water. However, the country is transformed in spring with much to offer birdwatchers and botanists. Red and western grey kangaroos, euros and emus feed on the plains and feral camels are a common sight.

Due to the often-muddy condition of the lake surface, the numerous islands on Lake Gairdner are normally inaccessible to vehicles, but keen walkers can reach them – at times the boggy surface can make walking difficult. There is no shelter so wind and sun exposure can be severe. The majority of park visitors access the lake bed through the family-owned Mount Ive sheep station on the southern side of the park. The station provides a camping area (sites with and without power), accommodation in the shearer’s quarters, a basic store and fuel. Campfires are allowed from May to October but gas or fuel stoves are preferred.

Fact file

Camping

Mt Ive station; fees apply

Location and access

213 km west of Port Augusta via Eyre Hwy to Iron Knob then west to Mt Ive; 50 km south-west of Glendambo on Stuart Hwy; a road runs 242 km through park between Kingoonya and Mt Ive

Park information

  • Parks SA (08) 8204 1910
  • Parks SA Port Augusta (08) 8648 5300

Size

550 000 ha

Visitor information

Glendambo (08) 8672 1030

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