Camping - Nature Play SA

9 family camping spots in South Australia’s National Parks

By Claire Lock

 

From windswept shores to ochre ranges, nothing beats immersing the family in South Australia’s wonderous National Parks. And whilst winter camping may not be everyone’s cuppa, it holds special charms for many: campfires, rugged-up wanderings, bushwalking, and wildflowers being a few of the rewards.

 

To inspire nature-filled adventures, we’re sharing nine of our favourite family-friendly camping sites to try these holidays and beyond.

 

For all sites, you’ll need to book ahead online. And if you really don’t think winter camping is your thing? There’s a range of accommodation offered in many National Parks too.

 

Go on, discover why #ItsBetterOutside this winter.

1. Deep Creek Conservation Park

 

A short trip from Adelaide, Deep Creek is a family camping mecca with its abundant wildlife, expansive coastal views, big night skies, and diversity of bushwalking trails teeming with winter wildflowers, orchids, and birdlife.

 

Distance from Adelaide: 100 km south

Campsites: Five campgrounds are available. All are accessible by 2WD, except Eagle Waterhole (hike-in access). Stringybark, Trig, and Cobbler Hill campgrounds can accommodate caravans

 

Things to do: Try one of the 15 bushwalking trails, some of which take you to the Deep Creek Waterfall. In winter, see if you can spot Southern Right Whales or Bottle-nosed Dolphins whilst taking in views of Kangaroo Island and Backstairs Passage. Find more seasonal nature play ideas here.

2. Innes National Park

 

A popular destination for coastal-loving families, Innes National Park delights with its rich wildlife, rugged coastlines, sandy beaches, and maritime history including weathered lighthouses and infamous shipwrecks.

 

Distance from Adelaide:  300 km west

Campsites: Choose from seven campgrounds. Caravan, camper trailer, and van sites are available at all grounds except Browns Beach and Pondalowie Bay Bush Campground. Self-contained heritage accommodation is also available within the Park

 

Things to do: Enjoy beachcombing, surfing, fishing, walking, star gazing, and flora and fauna watching (see if you can spot emus or the reintroduced Tammar Wallaby). Cape Spencer Lighthouse, Ethel Wreck, and Shell Beach are always a hit with families. Discover more seasonal tips here.

 

 

3. Lincoln National Park

 

Go West to be swept away by the beauty of Lincoln National Park’s coastal landscapes, capturing hearts with its granite headlands, sheltered bays, Sleaford-Wanna dune system, Boston Bay, and the raw Southern Ocean.

 

Distance from Adelaide: 680 km west (13 km southwest of Port Lincoln)

Campsites: 15 campgrounds are available, providing access to beaches, coastal bays, and walking trails. Options include camping sites for tents, caravans, campers, and undeveloped off-road sites requiring 4WD access.  Glamping and cottage accommodation can be booked

 

Things to do: Winter is perfect for bush and heritage walks, including visits to Wanna Lookout and Stamford Hill. Try spotting Southern Right Whales, White-bellied Sea Eagles, and Ospreys. Storm watching, beachcombing, fishing, and discovering local flora is also popular with families. Learn more here.

4. Mount Remarkable National Park

 

A few hours from Adelaide families can marvel at mountain ranges, ancient rock terraces and gorges, flowing creeks, and wildlife like Yellow-footed Rock Wallabies and Goannas in Mount Remarkable National Park.

 

Distance from Adelaide: 300 km north (45 km north of Port Pirie)

Campsites: Select from four campgrounds (options are available for caravans and trailers, large groups, and hike-in sites). Accommodation can also be booked for Mambray Cabin and Alligator Lodge

 

Things to do: Enjoy fauna-spotting in the cooler climate of winter when the Park comes alive. Select from easy to challenging bike trails and hikes (including multi-day hikes). Alligator Gorge, the Terraces, creek walks, and Mount Remarkable Summit are popular destinations. Find winter ideas here.

 

 

5. Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park

 

An iconic South Australian destination, Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park will capture imaginations with its semi-arid landscapes, rich cultural heritage, ancient mountains and gorges, Wilpena Pound, and resident wildlife.

 

Distance from Adelaide: 450 km north

Campsites: 10 campgrounds can be accessed by either 2WD, 4WD, or foot. Options are available for tents, caravans, trailers, and buses. A range of facilities, powered, and unpowered sites are available at the privately-owned Wilpena Pound Campground

 

Things to do: Learn about the culture of the Park’s Traditional Owners, the Adnyamathanha people, at Arkaroo Rock, Perawurtina, or Sacred Canyon (Sacred Canyon is by tour only). Popular activities include bushwalking, mountain-biking, bird and wildlife watching (look for Yellow-footed Rock Wallabies in Brachina Gorge). Find more ideas here.

 

 

6. Coorong National Park

 

Soak up the landscapes of Storm Boy in Coorong National Park, an internationally significant wetland and wilderness area characterised by significant birdlife, coastal lagoons, dunes, and long white beaches.

 

Distance from Adelaide: 200km southeast

Campsites: 12 campgrounds are available and accessible by car (2WD and 4WD) or boat/canoe. Options are available for tents, caravans and camper trailers

 

Things to do: Enjoy fishing, kayaking, boating, and bird watching (visit Jack’s Point Observatory to see Australia’s largest breeding colony of Australian Pelican). Learn about the Coorong’s significance to its Traditional Owners, the Ngarrindjeri people. Drive along the beach from 42 Mile Crossing or explore the coastal walking trails. Find more ideas here.

7. Onkaparinga River National Park

 

Feel miles away whilst only venturing south of the city. Onkaparinga River’s proximity makes it ideal for a night or weekend getaway but will equally enthral families with its spectacular cliff tops, river valley, permanent rock pools, wildlife, and remnant vegetation.

 

Distance from Adelaide: 35km south

Campsites: Pink Gum is a brand-new, wheel-chair accessible, campground with 11 sites. Facilities include a toilet and fire pits for use outside the fire ban season. Find tips and tricks for camping in the Park here

 

Things to do: Bushwalk the River Hike or take in the scenery from Sundews Lookout. Warm up the legs with mountain-biking along the Punchbowl trails. Rock climbing, abseiling, kayaking and horse riding are other popular family activities enjoyed in the Park or nearby Onkaparinga River Recreation Reserve. Find more ideas here.

 

 

8. Para Wirra Conservation Park

 

Wake up in nature with-out the long drive. Para Wirra is an accessible spot to enjoy a campfire, learn about Aboriginal and European history, discover wildlife like Western Grey Kangaroos, and let the kids burn off energy on the trails.   

 

Distance from Adelaide: 41 km north

Campsites: Wirra Campground is a new Park feature with 19 sites and wheelchair accessibility. Options are available for tents, camper trailers, and small caravans. Discover insider tips with this Para Wirra camping guide

 

Things to do: Climb trees, build a cubby, and test the flying fox at the Nature Play Forest. Walk the Tree Creeper Loop, Hissey Hike, and Lake Discovery Trail or ride to Knob Lookout. Learn about the historic gold rush along the Barossa Goldfields interpretative walk. Discover more family ideas here.

 

 

9. Little Dip Conservation Park

 

A stones throw from the township of Robe, Little Dip takes families off the beaten track and exploring rugged coast, dunes and lakes by foot and 4WD (whilst still being close enough to grab a ‘real’ coffee from town).

 

Distance from Adelaide: 341 km southeast (2km south from Robe)

Campsites: Choose from four secluded campgrounds

 

Things to do: Popular with 4WD families, Little Dip’s off-road tracks take you through steep dunes and past lagoons and inland lakes. Enjoy fishing, exploring rocky and sandy beaches, and bushwalking along the two local trails. Keep an eye out and respect Aboriginal middens (culturally significant sites of shellfish remains).

 

 

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Discover why #ItsBetterOutside these school holidays with more handy tips and ideas for families.