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A number of parks and campsites now need to be booked online.  There also seems to have been an increase if=n camping fees for some areas.  I'll update the site in the near future, but in the meantime please visit the Parks SA website for further information.  

Just a reminder that as of 1st of December, 2016, some changes to size and bag limits are being introduced.  These changes effect 26 species.  For example the bag limit for King George Whiting has been reduced to 10 per person per day (down from 12).  Tommies (Australian Herring) now have a bag limit of 40 (still no size limit) and the bag limit for garfish is now 30 per person per day (down from 60).  Please visit http://www.pir.sa.gov.au/fishing for a full explanation of the changes.  

Thanks again to the Yorke Peninsula Visitor Centre, updates and information regarding bush camping sites on Yorke Peninsula can be found at http://www.visityorkepeninsula.com.au/camping 

A new site up and running.  Some good info here  http://www.exploreoutdoorshq.com/ultimate-camping-checklist/

Please be advised that camping is no longer allowed at Telowie Gorge.  I have removed this page from the site.  

It appears camping fees have gone up again.  Not surprising really.  It almost always happens at the beginning of a new financial year.  I will try and update all pages on this site, but I might miss a few so please, if visiting any of the National Parks (or any parks on the ParksSA website) then be aware the prices have probably gone up.  They haven't increased much..usually only a dollar a night.  The most annoying thing is the amount.  For example most campsites in the National Parks are now $11 a night.  Why not leave it at a nice rounded $10 a night.  Imagine staying for three nights ($33) and then $10 to enter the park.  That's $43.  What an awkward amount.  Ideally drop the price to $10 a night for all parks and then drop the entry fee.  (The entry fee doesn't apply to some of the smaller parks, but it does to the main parks like Innes, Lincoln, Ngarkat etc). 

Online booking for campsites looks as though it will be the way of the future.  As well as Innes National Park and Mount Remarkable National Park, the Limestone Coast Parks have now followed suit.  From the 2nd of February, 2015, the following Parks will go to online booking.  Bool Lagoon Game Reserve, Canunda National Park, Little Dip Conservation Park, Beachport Conservation Park, and the Coorong National Park.  There are a few problems with this.  I have heard of one incident where a family booked online and arrived at the site to find it occupied.  They were then told by the manager (it was a caravan park) that there had been mix up and they would have to find another site.  Not easy when it was peak holiday season and all other sites were booked.  I also received an email from a camper who booked a site at Stenhouse Bay and found it occupied when he arrived.  The other camper refused to budge.  No big deal on this occasion as they were the only two campers there, but imagine if it was busy and all other sites taken.  Another problem with this method is that you never really know what the site is like.  A photo is provided when you book online but it does not provide an accurate indication of size or location in relation to other campers.  I booked a site at Stenhouse Bay (I always stay at the same site if I can get it).  I didn't know what number site it was so I guessed and booked site 12.  I was miles out, but stayed at number 12.  It was a very small site and the online information said it would be suitable for 2 families.  I doubt if this would be the case and it was also very close to other sites.  So, if you are booking a site at Stenhouse Bay, don't pick number 12.  The only way to really know what the site is like is to make a note of site numbers once you are there.  You can then book your preferred site next time around.

Fire Danger Season starts earlier in some districts this year.  So if you are heading off camping, make sure you know in which district you are camping and when the Fire Danger Season starts - it will affect whether or not you can have a campfire.  (As an example, in the Flinders, the Fire Danger Season will start on the 15th of October, 2014.  A list of dates can be found here www.cfs.sa.gov.au

If you are planning to visit Innes National Park or Mount Remarkable National Park it is now necessary to book and pay online before your visit.  You can book a site up to 12 months in advance.  Payment includes park entry fees.  Please visit http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/Home/Media_Centre/News_Events_Listing/140718-online-bookings for further information.  It sounds as though this system will be introduced for other parks if it works.

Innes National Park is looking good at the moment.  Autumn and Winter are, in my opinion the best times to visit.  The landscape looks much more inviting, the fishing is great, the wildlife abundant and the sunrises and sunsets can be spectacular.  Camping is the best way to experience it all, particularly if you are well prepared.  Have a look at this short video displaying some of the reasons why I like Lower Yorke Peninsula.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zMDIsjOGL4

Just a note to be careful if rain is forecast.  In some locations, even a small amount of rain can make access roads or tracks very, very slippery (see photo above).  When like this, they are near impossible to negotiate.  If visiting such places, make sure no rain is forecast for your stay, otherwise you could be spending a couple of extra days until the roads dry out.  (A good reason to make sure you have plenty of water and food; just in case of such a scenario).


Unfortunately, due to recent bush fire, the Wirrabara State Forest will be closed until further notice.  This info from Forestry SA - The Wirrabara Forest is closed to all visitors for safety reasons, following the recent Bangor Fire. For more information and maps, visit www.forestrysa.com.au. The forest will reopen in due course.

Loch Luna Game Reserve is now $10 a night (per vehicle) to camp...up from $8.  I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing Moorook Game Reserve and those spots in the Murray River National Park would be the same??

Thanks to Jack for the following link...some handy first aid info http://outdoorlife.answers.com/camping-tips/camping-first-aid-kit-essentials

For Yorke Peninsula Tourism Info please visit www.visityorkepeninsula.com.au  There's an email address too if you have any queries info@visityorkepeninsula.com.au  .  Thanks to the Yorke Peninsula Visitor Centre for this info. 

 I have been informed that information provided on this  site relating to camping at Burra Creek Gorge was not entirely correct.  Not wanting to upset anyone, I have removed the Burra Creek Gorge page from the site altogether.  It's a nice spot to camp and my intention was to provide some info. about the spot.  I did not intent to provide any misinformation.  If you require information regarding the rules and regulations of camping at Burra Creek Gorge, please contact the Burra Council.

A bit has changed at Innes National Park.  Firstly, the general store and tavern at Stenhouse Bay are both closed, so the nearest general store is at Marion Bay (only 5k's away).  Secondly, and I think I have mentioned this somewhere else on the site, Jollys Beach is a day visitors site only - there is no camping allowed.  Thirdly, the camp ground at Browns Beach is shrinking.  The sand dunes that fringe the southern edge of the campground are slowly taking over.  Nearly all the sites that once existed at the base of the sand dunes now are now covered.  It wasn't a very large camping area to start with, but now it is becoming cramped indeed.  

Now, I know this is completely off topic, but we could all do with a laugh from time to time.  If you are the owner of an ereader, eg Kindle (if you're not then you should be - they are great to store books on and take camping), then have a look at the ebook "It's All True - Real Police Stories".  The author describes 19 situations he has personally been onvolved in during his years as a Police Officer.  They are all quite humorous.  The book is listed as $6.99.  You can read the Intro and part of the first chapter here......http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BPVDN0W

Spent the night around Mark Point in the Coorong and it was a reminder just how special the place is.  During the middle of the day, camping spots in the Coorong National Park can be very unappealing.  They are desolate areas, usually barren of any significant trees or bushes.  It is essential to be prepared.  Take shade in the form of a annex or shelter and set it up where a breeze blows through.  it is usually a little cooler than Adelaide, but the openess of the place really seems to exaggerate the effects of the sun.  The trade off is, early morning or late afternoon, there are few places that can match the Coorong.  The quietness, quality of light, and bird life all mix for a magical experience.  Surviving the mid day hours is the key.  Summer is the best time to visit for sheer atmosphere and the bird life (waders from all over the world migrate dring the summer).  Autumn and Spring also produce some exceptionally calm, mild conditions and the weather is much cooler.  Winter is the stormy season and it is nearly always windy. 

Typical Coorong Sunrise (looking east over the farmland)

Have a look at this site for some great info.   http://www.usoutdoor.com/camping-resource-guide-a18.htm

No camping allowed at Jollys Beach.  It was allowed a few years ago, but, due to the lack of toilet facilities, it is now a day visitor area only.  From the Ranger at Innes NP, Browns Beach campground now has 4 toilets.  Some good info if your planning a trip to Innes NP can be found here http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/Find_a_Park/Browse_by_region/Yorke_Peninsula/Innes_National_Park

I spent a day creeping around a backwater in the Riverland recently.  I was after my (posssibly ficticious) 1 metre long carp.  This particular bit of water usually produces large carp up around the 70 cm mark.  This time though, I was plagued by 20 - 30 cm fish.  I saw several obviously larger fish on the surface  few times, but the little ones were in great numbers.  Given their size, I reckon they'd be about a year old - spawned right around the time the river flooded.  So i guess we'll have to make do with little carp amongst the big ones for a while; which is a pity.  The upside is they make great bait for shrimps and yabbies, both of which are still around in good numbers, especially the shrimp.

I don't want to harp on about this too much, but it's gotta be said.  There have been two recent fatalities on Yorke Peninsula roads in an area just north of Port Wakefield.  Local communities have expressed outrage at the state of the roads.  This may be a contributing factor, but irresponsible driving is rife out there.  As an example, the speed limit along the eastern side of the Peninsula is now 100 km/hr (the highway is the B86).  I travelled up and down this stretch very recently (on the same day as the second accident).  I sat on 100 km/hr.  I was overtaken 8 times on the way down and 7 times on the way back up.  On 3 occasions, cars overtook me on a double continuous line.  Some vehicles were travelling well in excess of 110 km/hr.   If people continue to drive like this (and they will) the fatalities will never stop.  The Government can increase the fines all they like, but when people think they are not going to get caught, they will drive like this.  Human nature I'm afraid.  I can only appeal to the very few who may read this - please take it easy on our roads.

After all these years packing and putting together my camping gear, my last trip proved that it pays to double check you have everything before you leave.  It was a hastily planned trip, but a short one.  I planned to head to Stenhouse Bay for one night, fish a couple of likely spots in the Innes National Park late evening and again in the morning and then head home.  It was a solo trip, so all I needed was my swag and couple of other bits and pieces and I was off.  Mentally checking off my gear, I left confident I had everything.  Well I arrived without incident, and spent a couple of hours at a nice little spot catching enormous tommies.  I then headed to the nearest campground and decided I needed a coffee.  (Coffee is essential for me, especially for those cold nights and mornings).  I boiled the water and then realised I had forgot the tub with all the cutlery, cups and plates in it.  Bugger.  I gave up on the coffee and cooked my sausages and a couple of fresh fish fillets (tommies taste very nice if eaten fresh).  Then I had a lovely time trying to eat without cutlery.  Later that night, I rolled the swag out and that's when I remembered I had left my sleeping bag at home.  It was windy and cold, so it looked like an uncomfortable night.  It became worse when I couldn't peg the swag down 'cos I had left the pegs next to my sleeping bag.  I like to leave the canvas on the swag unzipped with just the insect mesh zipped up.  This lets in fresh air and, curled up in a sleeping bag, the cold has little effect.  This time though, I was cocooned in canvas with a travel rug from the back of the car wrapped around my legs.  I had also forgotten my camp chair, so alternated between the car seat and the ground, trying to get comfortable and enjoy the surroundings.  Not a disasterous trip by any means, but a lot less comfortable that it had to be.  It's the little things that make the difference.  Must be my age.

If you are interested in a quality DSLR with a reasinable price tag have a look at this brief overview of the Pentax KX.  http://www.infobarrel.com/Overview_of_Pentax_KX_DSLR  It is an ideal camera if starting out in the DSLR world or if you are upgrading from a compact or superzoom camera.  You can even use it for bird photography with surprising results (even with the 300mm kit lens).  http://www.infobarrel.com/Basics_of_bird_photography

I paid a quick visit to one of my favourite spots in the RIverland today.  The campsite I am about to mention is inside a Reserve managed by National Parks.  There is a rubbish cage near the entrance.  I arrived to find rubbish all over the place.  There was an old blue tarp, full of holes, left bundled up on an old wall (part of a ruined old farmhouse).  A camp chair had been burnt and the charred framed left standing.  There is place for a campfire, but this had been filled with ash, so another (larger) fire had been started about 3 metres away and a big pile of ash left there too.  Another smaller fire had been lit near the waters edge.  Tin cans and foil had been left in all three fires.  There were other bits of rubbish lying around and I found numerous empty drink cans and bottles well away from the site.  All this was bad enough, but the thing that made me quite angry was the fact that they had cut down three young Eucalypt trees for firewood.  They had hacked them with an axe and also had a go at a larger tree.  There is not much shade here as it is and these three trees, when larger, would have provided significant shelter.  That is two sites in this park that have been damaged in the last year, both quite extensively.  The authorities will close it if this continues and it's a lovely spot.

One of the small trees.........

And the larger tree they had a go at.

Having just returned from a 2 night trip to the River Murray near Renmark, I was vividly reminded how cold it can get out there in winter.  Just before dawn on the first morning it was -3C.  About the same time the next morning it was -5C.  There was ice all over the car and the top of the camper.  The water in one of the plastic containers had frozen solid and there was ice in the others.  Rarely do we need the fire in the mornings, but we had to get it going again this time.  Luckily I had just bought a -10C rated sleeping bag and took it thinking that I might be too warm.  Just as well.  It just reiterated how important it is to keep warm.  It would have been a miserable trip with two sleepless nights to cope with.  We have a comfortable mattress on top of the "bed" in the camper trailer which is fine by itself in kinder weather.  But when it is this cold, it's necessary to put an insulated self inflating mattress underneath it.  Otherwise the cold seeps through and, even with the -10C sleeping bag, you will feel the cold on parts of your body like the hips and shoulders.  On the plus side, the days in winter can be sunny and very calm, as was the case on this trip.  The River looks lovely at this time of year and there is plenty of bird and other wildlife around.  Less people too.

Thought it was a bit colder than usual - River Murray in winter.

Bit misty too

There are times when it's not possible to find the time to take a night or two camping.  Thankfully, in South Australia we are lucky to have access to a few parks that are a coformfortable drive away and provide some interesting flora and fauna.  I recently visited Spring Gully Conservation Park near Clare.  It's a beautiful park with a rugged landscape, the last haven for the Red Stringybark in this State.  Other parks like Para Wirra National Park, Belair National Park, Cox Scrub Conservation Park, Cleland Conservation Park and numerous others, all provide the ideal opportunity for a day trip. 

 

You can't camp at Cox Scrub, but it's a great spot for walking and birdwatching.

Browns Beach is still suffering from some unsightly rubbish being left on the beach.  Recently I walked along the beach and found an amount of broken glass along the water's edge.  The jagged edges were facing up and the pieces were in a line.  It looked as if they were deliberately placed there.  I hope not.  Along with the glass were the usual empty beer cans and bait packets.  I picked up a heap of stuff, but there was plenty left.  As I've mentioned before, the authorities will close the beach if it gets too bad.

Recent visitiors to Innes National Park on Yorke Peninsula may have noticed that there are no longer any rubbish collection points within the park.  Visitors will now have to bring out all their rubbish and deposit it at Stenhouse Bay, near the general store.  There were fears that the rubbish points were attracting bees, ticks and flies and may have detracted a little from the whole camping experience.

Having recently returned from what was meant to be a two night trip to the RIverland, I can tell you that the mosquitoes are in fine form.  We stopped at a spot near Morgan in the middle of the day and they were numerous, but not too bad.  We decided not to camp here, but moved to Moorook Game Reserve.  A beuatiful spot, and numerous excellent camping areas, but, at three in the afternoon, there were clouds of mossies.  A move to Loch Luna Game Reserve brought relief from the annoying swarms - but not for long.  At around dusk they hit us.  It is the first time I have actually stopped what I am doing and run off as a cloud of them attacked from all angles.  Repellant and coils made no difference.  We opened the screen to the camper trailer tent and dived in, leaving millions of the little b......s buzzing outside.  We woke early in the morning to be confronted by similar hordes.  They dispersed significantly during the day, but if you were in sheltered spot out of the wind, they attacked again.  Despite the lovely weather and surroundings, my son asked to go home before night descended and we were eaten again.  An unusual request from him - he normally does not want to go home.  I don't know why there are so many, maybe the recent rainfall up that way has helped the population explosion, but be prepared.

Keeping Cool

Camping in summer in South Australia can be a tad uncomfortable.  A few days in a row of temperatures in the high thirties, or worse, can really knock you about.  Quite a few people have their favourite spots to head to during the summer, and have learnt to cope with the heat.  The River Murray isn't too bad if you can find a safe spot to swim and cool off.  Remember though, that Riverland temperatures are usually two or three degrees warmer than Adelaide's forecast, sometimes more.  Anywhere near the ocean is usually a bit cooler and there is nearly always a sea breeze in the afternoons.  The south-east area is great in the summer.  Wherever you are, make sure you have plenty of shade and drink lots of water. 

Camping anywhere in the northern parts of the State during summer is extremely uncomfortable and can be dangerous due to the heat.  If heading north, it's probably best to stay in a caravan park or similar, where you are guaranteed water and shade.

Often it is necessary to take your own shade, as trees at campsites are not always big enough to provide any.  If there is any sort of breeze, you can easily cope by sitting in the shade with a cool drink.  Don't do anything else during the hot hours of the day.  On a recent trip to the RIver, we spent most of the day sitting up to our necks in the water.  If you feel the need to do something, don't spend too long in the sun. 

Take as much water with you as you can and drink it often.  Also make sure you have enough to wash with; nothing will rejuvenate you faster than a nice shower after a hot day.

Putting up with the heat is sometimes necessary, but the early mornings and evenings at just about any location during the summer are great.  It's cooler, the light is perfect and there is usually no breeze, so water is flat calm.  The perfect atmosphere. 

Early morning and the kids are already in. 

A few years back, my son and I stumbled upon a lovely little spot on the banks of a backwater in the Riverland.  It is a small finger of land surrounded by water on three sides.  At the end, there is a grassy hill that slopes down to open water on one side.  It is quite secluded and the entrance to it is obscured by bush.  We have just returned after camping nearby for the last couple of days.  Whilst it is still a great spot, the last lot of visitors have left their mark.  For some reason, they thought it necessary to dig a hole right in the middle of the grassy area.  The hole is about a metre in diameter and about 40 cm deep.  The entire embankmant is only about 2 metres wide, so it is a significant hole.  They didn't fill it in and who knows what they did with the dirt from the hole (into the river I assume).  They left bits of rubbish all over the place and drew on every tree surrounding the place with such thought provoking statements such as "I was 'ere" and "Joany loves Potsy" (not their real names).  To top it all off, it appears that, to get to the spot, instead of following the narrow footpath that leads through the bush to it, they have driven a vehicle through the scrub, alongside the reed beds. and up onto the embankment.  It's got me beat how they even thought to take a car through there.  This would have saved them a walk of about 30 metres.  Oh well, it takes all kinds I suppose.  Please see my completely obvious but mildly amusing etiquette page to avoid turning into such like wallies.  Etiquette

I have written a bit about Kangaroo Island, but my waffling does not really do it justice.  There is heaps of information out there about the Island and it's attractions, accomodation and how to get there,  This link will get you started http://www.tourkangarooisland.com.au/

A couple of people have emailed stating their intentions to head for the river for a few days camping.  Lucky buggers.  Now it's Spring at last, the carp will be spawning soon.  Once again, I'll be sneaking around the backwaters trying to catch a carp over 1 metre long.  The closest I've come is 75 cm (and there's been a few that length - can't catch any bigger).  Good fun trying though.

Bag limit for Razorfish is 25 per person per day (75 boat limit if three or more people on board).

Tourille Gorge is in Caroona Creek Conservation Park.  The photos don't do it justice, but it has to be seen.  These were taken a few days ago, so it's still very dry.  It would be truly spectacular with water running.

 

 The swimming area at Point Turton has been improved.  The area has been roped off and marked with buoys and three diving/jumping platforms have been added.  A favourite with the kids.  All platforms are set above sandy areas, the two furthest out are in quite deep water.

Feral bees within the Innes Natioal Park have been a pain in the proverbial for the last few years, and the problem continues.  On a recent trip to Gym Beach, any moisture anywhere was pounced upon, particularly in the morning and late afternoon.  I left a tub of water uncovered and when I returned to the campsite, it was covered with hundreds of the little buggers.  So many, that the entire water surface was covered.  Photo below shows the roof of my car.  About half an hour later, there were double the amount of bees.  They were after the dew.  Bees are only a problem in the warmer months, particularly Summer.

If travelling to National Parks and Conservation Parks with self registration stations, correct money will be needed.  Current prices for camping and entry into such parks can be found at the Department of Environment and Heritage website, listed as a link below.

A few of our beloved fish have been given new common names.  The common name for Tommies is now "Australian Herring".  Salmon and Salmon Trout will now be known as "Australian Salmon".  Callop are to be called "Golden Perch" and Goolwa Cockles are now "Pipi's".

 

 Department of Primary Industries and Resources SA (PIRSA) - http://www.pir.sa.gov.au/

Department of Environment and Heritage (National Parks) - http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/

Yorke Peninsula District Council (for info. regarding camping in areas outside of parks) - http://www.yorke.sa.gov.au/

Travel Australia site - www.totaltravel.com

Weather information - http://www.bom.gov.au/weather/

 Tide information (Australia wide) - http://www.bom.gov.au/oceanography/tides/

 

 

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