Murray River National Park

Murray River National Park, Ian Beattie / Auscape International
Campfire Caravan Fishing Park entry fee Pets Swimming Toilets Watersports Wildflowers Wildlife Camping area Information Lookout Picnic area Ranger Walking

Introduction

Located alongside the peaceful waters of the Murray River, this national park is three separate areas of braided creeks, shady riverbanks and riverine flood plains and includes some of the most beautiful of Australia’s river environments.

Fact file

Access

From Adelaide via Sturt Hwy to Waikerie then Berri or Renmark

Best season

Autumn to spring

Location

180 km north-east of Adelaide

Park information

  • Parks SA (08) 8204 1910
  • Parks SA Berri (08) 8595 2111

Permits

Camping permit required; some fishing restrictions apply (08) 8204 1380 (www.pir.sa.gov.au/fisheries)

Size

13 100 ha

Visitor information

Renmark (08) 8586 6704

Featured Activities in the National Park

  • Paddle a canoe along Katarapko Creek

    Hire a houseboat and experience life on the river

    Go birdwatching around the peaceful lagoons of the Katarapko wetlands

See Also

A look at the past

Charles Sturt, in 1830, was the first European to explore the river, rowing with a party of seven in a whaleboat down to the river mouth below Lake Alexandrina. Paddlesteamers began plying the river in the 1850s, transporting stock and produce for the burgeoning pastoral industry. The river trade reached a peak in the 1880s, to be replaced by rail and road transport. In 1887, after the founding of Renmark, vines and fruit trees were established with the help of irrigation schemes. Soldier settlement schemes after both world wars saw more irrigated farmland developed. In the late 1960s conservation parks were proclaimed to protect some of the islands; in 1991 three areas of the river were incorporated in Murray River National Park.

Aboriginal culture

The river region in South Australia was home to the Ngawaik, Erawirung, Ngintait, Maruara and Danggali people for thousands of years. The plentiful water and food resources enabled populations to flourish and the river also formed a natural highway along which groups could travel by canoe – numerous canoe trees along the Murray are part of the legacy of these times. Along with edible plants and roots, eggs and animal meat, the people lived off mussels, waterbirds and tortoises, catching them with nets and spears. There are countless cultural and historic sites along the river, including shell middens, burial grounds, campsites and scarred trees.

Natural features

The park has three separate sections: Katarapko, adjacent to Loxton, is the largest area, with a mosaic of permanent and semipermanent wetlands; Lyrup Flats flood plain, upriver and bordering Lyrup, lies on the northern side of the river; Bulyong Island and Ral Ral Creek, north of Renmark, form a third part of the park. Ral Ral Creek, an anabranch of the Murray, separates the island from the mainland.

In the large Katarapko section, the low-lying Katarapko Island is surrounded by the Murray River and Katarapko Creek, while the flood plain to the north is a network of channels and billabongs including The Splash, a stretch of Eckert Creek. The quiet backwaters and horseshoe lagoons in the central and eastern parts of the island and the riverine woodland are of particular importance to the conservation of over 140 bird species.

Native plants

The rivers and lagoons are lined with magnificent river red gums, while on the flood plains there are stands of black box. At Katarapko, irrigation levees have caused the river red gums to decline, but new trees are growing in other places. Grasslands are interspersed with tussocks of sedge, and lignum and reed swamps. At Lyrup, river red gums and black box have been affected by water-level changes.

Wildlife

The river’s fringing forests and quiet backwaters attract spoonbills, white-faced herons, sacred kingfishers, yellow rosellas, regent parrots, striped and blue-faced honeyeaters, pelicans, ibis and darters. Katarapko Island’s undergrowth is home to brush-tailed bettongs, the result of a release program begun in 1999. At Bulyong Island there are western grey kangaroos, brushtail possums, shingleback lizards, lace monitors, brown snakes and tiger snakes. In Ral Ral Creek look for eastern snake-necked turtles, eastern water dragons and water rats. The broad-shelled river turtle is also common throughout the Murray–Darling system.

Introduction

Visitors to the park can bush camp or stay in a houseboat, relax under shady river red gums, swim in Australia’s largest river, canoe along the backwaters, watch out for birds or enjoy some good fishing. Riverbank walks include Craggs Hut and Grave walking trail at Katarapko, which provides information about early European history.

Canoeing and kayaking

The waters around Katarapko Island are excellent for canoeing and the Bulyong Island waters are also popular.

Fishing and boating

Anglers can fish for the prized Murray cod or silver perch and catfish, from a boat or riverside. A hand line near some overhanging trees is all you will need to catch golden perch (also known as callop). There are also yabbies. River Murray crayfish are rare and must be returned to the water. Rules apply to bag limits and protected species (see Fact File).

Campsites

Bulyong Island camping area (boat-based camping)

Separated from the mainland by Ral Ral Creek, this island north-east of Renmark is only accessible by boat. Approach from Renmark and the nearby landings signposted off Ral Ral Ave.... Find out more


Colligans camping area

Signposted off the Sturt Hwy, 12 km south-west of Renmark, numerous campsites for self-sufficient campers are scattered along the Murray River.... Find out more


Eckerts Creek Section camping area

Sites for self-sufficient campers are scattered along Eckerts Creek, 12 km south-west of Berri off Lower Winkie Rd, reached from the Sturt Hwy. A permit is required from the self-registration station at the park... Find out more


Katarapko Extension Section camping area

There are 9 riverside campsites found here, 5 km south-west of Berri off Draper Rd. Pick up a permit from the self-registration station at the park entrance. This is self-sufficient camping, so bring wood and water.... Find out more


Katarapko Section camping area

There is an array of sites set along Katarapko Creek, 16 km south-west of Berri off Katarapko Rd. Pick up a permit for self-sufficient camping from the park entrance at the self-registration station.... Find out more


Murray River camping area (bush camping)

Self-sufficient bush camping is permitted beside the river in the Lyrup Flats section, off the Sturt Hwy, 12 km south-west of Renmark (a permit is required). The bush campsites here are dispersed along the river bank and... Find out more


Tea Tree camping area

At Lyrup, near the ferry, off the Sturt Hwy 12 km south-west of Renmark, are a number of campsites for self-sufficient campers along the Murray River. This site is good for boating. A permit is required.... Find out more


See Also

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