There are 33 parks and reserves managed by the Department for Environment and Heritage in the Far West District. Before entering any Parks and Reserves in the west region it is recommended that you contact the local park offices to obtain accurate access information and conditions. There are no entry fees for day visits to parks or reserves in the Far West, however camping fees apply to all area, ($4 per vehicle per night).
The variety of parks offers a range of opportunities from remote and adventurous 4WD journeys to day touring with spectacular scenery and small, secluded camping areas and beaches.
If you are travelling into the more remote areas such as Googs Track, Nullarbor or the Unnamed Conservation Parks you need to be totally self sufficient (ie carrying additional fuel, water, air compressors and recovery gear), however these places are well worth the extra effort in getting there.
Please remember that pets are not permitted in any parks and 1080 poison baits are laid in many parks and reserves for the protection of native wildlife. Seasonal fire restrictions apply from the 1 November to 15 April. During this time no wood fires may be lit within parks, gas BBQs and appliances are permitted but are these are also banned on days of Total Fire Ban.
Please remember to keep parks tidy and unspoilt, take home your rubbish, guard against fire, conserve native timber and keep to defined tracks. All animals in the parks are protected. Firearms are not permitted. The coastline has many exposed and submerged rocks and reefs. Care must be taken when boating or rock fishing as conditions may change rapidly. Permission must be obtained to visit Island parks.
This park is situated 10 kms south east of Ceduna. Take the unsealed Decres Bay Road, south east from Ceduna for 10 kms, and the park is on the southern side of the road.
This small coastal park has a series of dunes behind the beach grading into some remnant areas of mallee, open scrub and samphire flats.
The rocky headland supports a heathland of Red Templetonia (Templetonia retusa,) Coastal Velvet Bush (Lassiopetalem discolor), Dryland Ti-tree, and Jointed Native Cherry. Coastal wattle, coastal daisy bush and hairy Spinifex bind the sand dunes.
During spring the heathlands on Point Wittelbee are a carpet of flowers, which support a variety of birds such as the Pt Lincoln parrots and honeyeaters.
The Point provides excellent views out to St Peters Island and visitors may be fortunate enough to watch dolphins and sea lions in the protected waters. With its long wide sandy beaches broken by the low granite headland of Point Wittelbee, the attractive coastal vegetation and many species of bird life this small coastal park is a delight to visit.
Laura Bay is situated 20 kms south east of Ceduna. Take the Flinders Highway towards Streaky Bay, southeast from Ceduna, for 15kms, turn west at the Laura Bay intersection and travel for two kms along the unsealed road to the park entrance. Laura Bay, with its sandy white coves, mangroves, sand dunes and rocky headlands, encourage the tourist to enjoy the untouched beauty of the area. A walking trail in the park allows you to share the tranquility with birds and animals. Bird watching is popular. There is an allocated camping area at Laura Bay, $4 per vehicle per night.
Fox Creek, small tidal creek lined with mangroves and saltmarsh, flows from the park into the sheltered waters of Laura Bay.
The majority of the park protects remnant coastal mallee dominated by Yorrell and Red Mallee and Bladder saltbush (Atriplex vesicaria), woodland birds such as honeyeaters can be seen along with waders and coastal seabirds such as terns in this compact park. Access tracks are provided for visitors to reach features such as the Headland - popular for rock fishing and squidding in winter and the beautiful protected beach at Sandy Cove.
Mangroves grow in tidal mud where, twice a day, the sea floods their roots. To survive, mangroves have upright root extensions that act as snorkels. Decaying leaves help provide rich food for a host of small marine creatures that, in turn, become meals for fish and sea birds.
Some Historic Information
In 1858, Naval Officer Bloomfield Douglas, in charge of the schooner Yatala, named Laura Bay.
In 1911 a timber platform was constructed on the headland to load bagged grain onto ketches after being hauled in from nearby farms on horse-drawn drays. Although the platform has been removed you can still find the site from the cutting in the limestone.
Did you notice the large stone water storage tank and gutters beside the road to the carpark? It was built in 1914 to collect run-off water for local farmers in times of drought.
Nuyts Archipelago includes the offshore islands between Rocky Point and Point Brown, such as St Peter Island and Evans Island.
They include a wide variety of limestone capped islands on massive granite bases.
The islands support breeding colonies of the Short tailed Shearwater (Mutton birds) and colonies of Australian Sea Lions. Goat and Franklin Islands have dense populations of very large Black Tiger Snakes. Franklin Island has the last known population of Greater Stick-nest Rats, Leporillus conditor, and due to its importance as a conservation refuge, is a prohibited area.
Yumbarra is a large area of rolling sandunes, covered with mallee and spinifex.
This park is 55 kms north of Ceduna and is accessible to well equipped high clearance 4WD vehicles.
Further information relating to accessing this area should be sort from the Department for Environment and Heritage Office in Ceduna. Googs Track is the main access into this park and provided experienced 4WD with an opportunity to access some of the largest tracts of mallee in the world.
The area north of Ceduna holds many surprises. Granite outcrops and dry salt lakes intrigue the visitor and locals alike. Googs Track is Four Wheel Drive Only.
Bush camping areas are located at places such as Googs Lake, which is a large salt lake amongst the sea of sand dunes, and at the base of Mount Finke which is a large granite intrusion into the dune field. Hikers can scramble to the top of Mount Finke for endless 360-degree views of untouched wilderness.
This 200 km track traverses over more than 300 sand dunes before joining the Transcontinental Railway Line at Malbooma. Visitors can then turn east to Tarcoola or west towards Cook. The park has no facilities and travellers need to be experienced and well equipped - seek local information from the DEH Office or Visitor Information Centre, which sells a comprehensive map of Goog's Track as well as Goog's Track souvenirs.
Things to know before travelling Goog's Track
This is a remote area and people travelling this track will need sufficient food, water and fuel for the time they intend being there.
NPWSA advise vehicles to travel north, preferably not southwards, along the track, due to safety concerns. NPWSA also advise no trailers on Goog's Track.The nearest fuel stop is at Ceduna prior to the trip or Kingoonya Fuel prior to the Stuart Highway. Recommended campsites are at Googs Lakes and Mount Finke.
Firewood can be collected at intervals along the track and should only be used sparingly.Vehicles are prohibited from driving off track and on the lake. Vehicles should engage 4WD and lower tyre pressures as this helps by making travel easier and protecting the track from becoming severely corrugated. Vehicles should also carry the appropriate recovery gear, including shovel and air compressor.
Mount Finke is the highest landform at 369 metres. Begin the climb from car park and sign the visitor's book located beneath the trig point. The view from the summit of the surrounding sea of mallee, is spectacular. East of this area is the privately leased Lake Everard Station, the boundary of which is the State Dog Fence. All private roads on Lake Everard station are not accessible to the travelling public. Any further information may be obtained from the station management on (08) 8648 1884.
Respect Aboriginal Cultural sites and please do not remove any artifacts. Please contact NPWSA in Ceduna prior to travel for update on road conditions and visitor numbers to the track.If you choose to explore Googs Track we hope you enjoy your journey, however we ask that you keep the following in mind: -If you have a UHF radio, please use Channel 18 - this will enable you to know of others along the road, coming towards you or behind you. This is for your safety.
Be considerate! Think of people coming the other way over the sandhills. Please stay on the defined roads. Two wheel tracks through the scrub go nowhere, so please don't follow them. Please take all your rubbish with you. Do not bury it, as the wild animals will dig it up.
Googs Track forms part of the National Parks group, travelling through Yumbarra Conservation Park and Yellabinna Regional Reserve, please read the National Parks Code before embarking on your journey.
Please enjoy the scenery and leave it as you would like to find it!
History of Googs Track
For many years, Goog and Jenny Denton had stood on the back verandah of their Lone Oak farmhouse, looking north and wondering what was out there in the scrub. They decided to find out for themselves and in 1973, they set out to build Googs Road - from Lone Oak farm to Tarcoola. The following is a brief account of the building of that road.
Goog and Jennv Denton their children (Martin, Debbie and Jeffery) together with Denis Beattie (Jennv's brother and Goog's mate) began the memorable task of building the road in June 1973.Clearing the track began with a Fordson tractor fitted with a front end loader blade, and a Toyota two wheel drive ute. Then the going got tougher and the sandhills bigger and steeper. At this point it was decided that a bulldozer and four wheel drives were needed, so the Allis Chalmers HD14 was employed. Work on the road proceeded for another two years, on weekends only.
Roughly fifty five kilometres up the road, and eighteen months later, a shack was built, which served as a base camp for the rest of the road through to Mount Finke. At this site the road branches north to Mount Finke. The shack was removed in 1977 at the request of the National Parks & Wildlife Service. Opposite this site, are memorials to Goog Denton and his eldest son, Martin "Dinger" Denton.
Five kilometres east of the shack site is a salt lake, which is approx fifteen kilometres in length and over a kilometre wide in places. As the edges around the lake are very soft in places, we advise you not to drive around it. In the past many vehicles have had to be pulled out, having been bogged to the axles in the clay.
The black oaks, at the foot of the lake, make a very good spot for bbqs, camping and relaxing with a cold drink or two. Sit back and admire the view. Contemplate just how long it took to get the road this far and the hard work and effort that went into what you are now enjoying.Further east along this track you come to Lois Rock, Nalara Rockhole and Childara Rockhole, ending at the SA State Dog Fence. East of this area is the privately leased Lake Everard Station. All private roads on Lake Everard station are not accessible to the travelling public.
Seven kilometres north from the shack, progress on the road came to a halt for about six months due to problems with the dozer and other commitments. All fuel, water and supplies were carted up on the back of three Landrovers. Considerable fuel and supplies were donated by various local people, to assist in the process of making the road to Tarcoola. Without their support, it would not have been possible to complete the road.
A grader was purchased in about March 1976, to make the road easier and safer to travel. Some weekends the road progressed three to five kilometres and on others, eight to ten kilometres. Some weekends no progress was made at all. The going got tougher; the nights got colder. On many occasions rain prevented work from continuing, and it was on these occasions, over drinks around the campfire, that discussions turned to progress and how to continue with the road, consumed many hours.
After three long, memorable years, the road to Mount Finke was completed in August 1976. The site where the road ended is known as Drum Camp.Station owners, who had hoped to get their wool through to Thevenard more quickly, cut through the road from Mount Finke to Malbooma with axes in the 1950s. The going got tough and they abandoned the project. Two drums of water were left at this point (Drum Camp). This was the point at which Googs Road ended.
This was as far as the grader went - the road to Tarcoola was cleared.
Acraman Creek is a large tidal creek system sheltered by the sandy Point Lindsay. The park protects remnant mallee, Mangraoves, samphire flats and coastal scrub.
The park can be accessed by unsealed road from the highway between Smoky Bay and Streaky Bay (signposted) or via unsealed tracks from Smoky Bay. There are 2WD accessible camping areas, however the main access point to the creek is off the Point Lindsay track and is recommended for 4WD. Small boats can be launched from the main beach area or at the shelter shed into the creek by 4WD vehicles. Fishing is good, but may be seasonal.
There are no facilities within the park, camping is permitted in the designated areas. The closest facilities such as fuel and supplies are located at Smoky Bay and Streaky Bay.
The Great Australian Bight is generally considered to be the curve extending from Cape Pasley in the west to Cape Carnot near Pt. Lincoln (a distance of 1160 km) but according to the definition laid down by the International Hydrographic Bureau in 1953 the Bight actually begins in the west at West Cape Howe and stretches right around to South West Cape in Tasmania. Interestingly, Australia is the only nation to recognise the Southern Ocean, to most of the world it is part of the Indian Ocean.
The Nullarbor (Bunda) Cliffs stretch unbroken for 209 kms from the Head of the Bight to Wilson's Bluff at the Western Australian border and plummet 90 mts into the Southern Ocean and the Great Australian Bight Marine Park. Viewing areas, accessed from the Eyre Highway, provide spectacular vistas along this majestic coastline. Please take extreme care when approaching the cliff edge as areas may be unstable or undercut.
The Great Australian Bight Marine Park creates a sanctuary for marine mammals and a large number of Southern Right Whales can be seen at the Head of the Bight over the winter months. Australian Sea Lions, dolphins and the occasional Great White Shark can be spotted from the cliff top viewing areas.
The Park includes sanctuary waters which are set aside for wildlife, prohibiting boating and commercial fishing, and conservation areas which impose seasonal restrictions on commercial fishing, in order to give greater protection to the Whales over the winter months. A section of the park extends out to the edge of the Continental shelf.
The Nullarbor National Park adjoins the Great Australian Bight and extends inland to the northern edge of the great Nullarbor Plain. This huge park encompasses some 2,867, 000 ha and stretches from Nullarbor Roadhouse in the east to the WA border and north beyond the Transcontinental Railway Line.
The Eyre Highway, as the main East/West road link, passes through the coastal areas of the park and only traverses a short section of the true Nullarbor Plain.
The park consists of the coastal scrub along the Highway and the vast treeless tracts of saltbush and bluebush of the true plain further inland.
Hidden beneath the surface of the plain is a vast hidden world of caves, caverns, underground lakes and dolines. The Plain is of international significance due to this semi arid cave/karst system.
For further information please visit the National Parks website.