Ranging from rugged to remarkable, South Australia is home to some of the best national parks in Australia.
For unforgettable memories in nature, discover South Australia’s most awe-inspiring national parks – most of which are within easy travelling distance from Adelaide. Marvel at sparkling seas, sweeping vistas, inspiring wildlife and ancient history while discovering something new at every corner. Ready for an adventure? Add these natural wonders to your bucket list and explore some of the world’s best national parks, here in South Australia.
We are extremely fortunate in South Australia to have so many beautiful national parks. To help keep them beautiful for the next visitor, please help protect our national parks by leaving no trace behind. For the most up-to-date information on park fees, including park maps, how to travel in our parks, vehicle entry and campsites and accommodation, head to parks.sa.gov.au
1. Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, Flinders Ranges and Outback
Journey deeper into the Flinders Ranges and Outback to perhaps South Australia’s most iconic national park, Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park. Rugged mountain ranges, dramatic gorges and abundant wildlife are just the beginning of what awaits in the 95,000-hectare National Park. Quintessential road trip, hiking and camping country, the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park is a remote wilderness with towering clifftops, deep craters, jaw-dropping mountain ranges and dusty, red roads. The main attraction here is Wilpena Pound; a gigantic natural amphitheatre encompassing the Flinders Ranges’ highest point, St Mary Peak. Pitch your tent and fall asleep under a blanket of stars with a number of camping options available for your stay at Wilpena Pound. Other highlights include Rawnsley Bluff, Razorback Lookout in Bunyeroo Gorge and Stokes Hill Lookout.
2. Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park, Yorke Peninsula
Escape to a remote coastal wilderness on the southern tip of the Yorke Peninsula and discover nature’s playground, Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park. Brimming with beautiful beaches, outstanding surf and dramatic cliffs, this national park is a favourite for camping, fishing and surfing. It’s very easy to find your very own slice of eutopia in Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park; set up camp for the weekend and while away the days swimming, fishing, surfing, boating and bush walking through this remote slice of South Australia where pristine beaches meet bushland teeming with wildlife. Must-visit spots are Ethel Beach, Dolphin Bay and Cape Spencer Lighthouse. See our top 5 Yorke Peninsula beaches for more
3. Coffin Bay National Park, Eyre Peninsula
Known for its vast coastal wilderness, rugged limestone cliffs, large sand dunes, pristine sandy beaches and sheltered tranquil waters, Coffin Bay National Park is a nature lover’s paradise on the Eyre Peninsula. Perfect for coastal exploration, get ready for cobalt days, star-filled nights, fresh air and crystal-clear water. Paddle a canoe, enjoy a bush picnic or explore a coastal bushwalking trail on the southern end of the park at Yangie Bay, accessible by 2WD. Travel along a sealed road to Point Avoid and Golden Island where you’ll be rewarded with spectacular island views along the way. Journey further into the national park with and unearth the pristine and secluded northern beaches and campgrounds via 4WD access only. Due to the remoteness in this end of the park, you will need to be prepared and self-sufficient.
4. Murray River National Park, Riverland
One of the most jaw-dropping landscapes you can bear witness to in Australia is the mighty Murray River. Embark on a bucket list adventure to the Murray River National Park and be rewarded with the sight of a 130-million-year-old river that is steeped in rich Aboriginal history, culture and heritage. A mighty 2500km long, flowing through New South Wales, Victoria and onto South Australia, it also happens to be third largest navigable river in the world. Within the park, trek to the Big Bend lookout for a gun barrel view downriver or explore by night with a local guide on the Big Bend By Night tour. Spot nocturnal animals then gaze up at the milky way – the skies over the Murray River are officially among the best in the world for stargazing. Home to Australia's only Dark Sky Reserve, the Murray River is one of the best spots to stargaze in South Australia.
5. Deep Creek Conservation Park, Fleurieu Peninsula
Beyond the vineyards of McLaren Vale on the tip of the Fleurieu Peninsula, Deep Creek Conservation Park combines the best of the bush and the beach with epic coastal views and lush bushland alive with wildlife. In search of the best spot to bushwalk in South Australia? From meandering trails through bushland teeming with wildlife and winding through to secret waterfalls, to secluded seaside trails revealing dramatic coastline and remote, pristine beaches all just 90 minutes from Adelaide, Deep Creek Conservation Park is a bush walker’s dream. Spot kangaroos, bandicoots, cockatoos and bearded dragons as you stroll down one of 15 walking trails or channel your inner botanist and discover some of South Australia’s rarest flora with more than 400 plant species to be found in the park. Stay overnight and pitch a tent at one of the park’s five campgrounds or nestle down in nature with all the creature comforts at Southern Ocean Retreats.
6. Coorong National Park, Limestone Coast
Explore towering sand dunes, meander down quiet waterways and roam along snow-white sandy beaches. Nature lovers will be richly rewarded at Coorong National Park. Stretching some 130km down the coast from the Limestone Coast to the Fleurieu Peninsula, the ecological diversity of this important wetland system is staggering. Encompassing a string of saltwater lagoons and wetlands brimming with fish, you could easily spend a week kayaking the tranquil waters, spotting abundant birdlife, lounging on picturesque beaches and discovering the important Aboriginal culture of the Ngarrindjeri people. Make sure you stick around for dusk – sunsets over the Coorong are a sight to behold. Australian film buffs will also recognise it as the site where Storm Boy was filmed.
7. Gawler Ranges National Park, Eyre Peninsula
Seeking solitude in nature? Next stop, Gawler Ranges National Park, where spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife and star-filled skies await. Pack up your tent, billy and hiking boots and jump in your 4wd; this remote country was made for explorers. Formed by a series of volcanic eruptions more than 1,600 years ago, the Gawler Ranges is famous for its unique rock formations including the Organ Pipes. Navigate rocky escarpments, granite domes and red pillars as you spot kangaroos, emus, wombats and black cockatoos. At the end of the day, set up camp under the stars and admire distant galaxies. With next to no light pollution, Gawler Ranges National Park offers perfect conditions to explore the cosmos. The park is home to seven campgrounds, or you can cosy up in a little more style under the stars at Kangaluna Camp’s Swagon: a renovated, covered wagon with a swag bed and see-through roof.
8. Nullarbor National Park, Eyre Peninsula
An unmissable stop off when journeying the Nullarbor from Adelaide to Western Australia, vast, desert landscapes give way to plunging sea cliffs in Nullarbor National Park. Stretching along the Eyre Peninsula coastline, this national park is home to the longest sea cliffs in the world, the 100km-long Bunda Cliffs. Offering dramatic coastal views, it’s also one of the best spots in Australia to catch a glimpse of Southern Right Whales on their annual migration between May and October every year. One of the best spots to see these gentle 90-tonne giants of the sea is at Head of Bight in Nullarbor National Park, the most significant nursery ground for Southern Right Whales in the world. At the height of whale season, up to 100 whales can be spotted in the waters of Head of Bight at any one time. For more epic encounters, check out our guide for the best spots for whale watching in South Australia.
9. Flinders Chase National Park, Kangaroo Island
With raw coastal beauty, intriguing wildlife and remarkable rock formations that look more like sculptures, Flinders Chase National Park in Kangaroo Island deserves a spot on your bucket list. Keep your eyes peeled for some of an abundance of Australia’s most recognised flora and fauna including the short-beaked echidna and platypus. The turquoise shores of this magical national park off mainland Australia is also home to long-nosed fur seals, Australian sea lions and even the southern right whales from May through to October. After a day of hiking, biking and exploring, rest your head where the wild things are, at the unique heritage-listed May's Homestead.
10. Naracoorte Caves National Park, Limestone Coast
Journey back in time and step inside the Naracoorte Caves National Park - South Australia’s only World Heritage listed site and one of the world's most important fossil sites. Located in the Mount Gambier region on the Limestone coast, this national park is a popular family-friendly attraction or pit stop for those driving from Melbourne to Adelaide. Maintaining a cool 17 degrees centigrade, Naracoorte Caves is a destination for all seasons. Dating back to half a million years ago, discover the fossils of giant marsupials that roamed the Limestone Coast such as the wombat-like Diprotodon, Thylacoleo the marsupial lion and giant kangaroos. Explore the numerous subterranean wonders this national park has to offer with self-guided, guided and adventure caving tours year-round.
Natural Wonders in South Australia
From the outback to the sea, South Australia is home to some of the most unbelievable natural wonders in the world. Start ticking off your South Australian bucket list with our guide to the best natural wonders in the state.