Ngarkat Conservation Park

Update

I recently spent a day and a night in this Park.  It's still a remote and quiet place.  I did not see another vehicle.  Remember, all tracks within the park are 4wd.  Bucks Camp, Rabbit Island Soak and Box Flat are still good spots, although on the main track at Bucks Camp and Rabbit Soak, some 4w driver's have got a bit carried away and gouged some bog holes in the track, obviously done when it was wet.  They have spoiled it a bit; you can drive around the affected area easily enough, but it doesn't look good.  The hole at Rabbit Island soak is almost half the depth of a 4wd!  I would hate to try and drive through that when it was full of water.  The tracks are not difficult 4wd tracks, although they are not as easy to negotiate as they were last time I visited.  Well worth a visit and you would be hard pressed to find a more secluded or quiet spot to camp. 

See http://youtu.be/mEn1y4iRj0w for an idea of what the majority of the tracks are like through Ngarkat (excluding the Border Track of course) and Messent Conservation Parks.

This Conservation Park covers a massive area and the name commonly refers to the whole of this area, although there are actually 3 conservation parks.  They are Mount Rescue Conservation Park, Scorpion Springs Conservation Park and Ngarkat Conservation Park. 

This complex of parks is so big that it can be classified as being in the upper-south east of the State, or just the east.  It can be accessed from the Pinaroo to Bordertown Road (Ngarkat), near Tintinara (4WD only - Mount Rescue), near Lameroo (4WD only - Ngarkat and 2WD Scorpion Springs).  To give you some idea Pinnaroo is about 240 kilometres from Adelaide, Lameroo is 200 k's and Tintinara 188 k's. 

At this time of writing it costs $11 a night to camp at any of the sites within the park complex as well as $10 a vehicle entry.  (Costs updated July, 2015).

A side of this park is situated on the Victiorian Border and is a well known 4WD track known as the "Border Track".  It is a notorious drive, expecially after rain, and a section of it is one way only.  Care needs to be taken and travel with at least one other vehicle.

If you have a 2WD vehicle, or are towing a caravan, then your only options are Pertendi Hut and Comet Bore camping areas, both situated on the Pinnaroo to Bordertown Road.  Pertendi Hut is well set up, with clearly defined sites, toilets and shelter.  Comet Bore is less so, but there is still room for caravans.  There is rainwater at both of these sites, but don't rely upon it.  Both are good for birdwatching, especially when the low lying area at Comet Bore has water.  Pine Hut soak, south of Pinaroo off of Rosy Pine Road, also has access for 2WD vehicles, toilets and well defined sites.  The road leading into this area is unsealed and can be a bit boggy after rain.

The other areas mentioned all require a 4WD, although the Baan Hill Track that travels through Ngarkat and Mount Rescue Conservation Parks, is not particularly challenging but it is a great drive.

The track through Mount Rescue and Ngarkat Conservation Parks.

Rabbit Island Soak and Bucks Camp Soakage are two of my favourite camping areas.  In the cooler months, nautral water can be found at both locations and this attracts wildlife.  Kangaroos and emus and numerous other bird species are present.  Both are very quiet and isolated camp sites so you are not likely to be crowded.  Vegetation is mallee with low heath but it differs from the other mallee areas.  The vegetation is more dense and the soil is white sand.  Both areas are small with the camping grounds marked by permapine posts.  Camp inside this area.  Ground is generally firm.  There is plenty of shade and the large trees provide some shelter.

 

Rabbit Island Soak.  Taken in the cooler months.  (at times there is much more water).

I haven't camped at any of the other sites not mentioned, but the attraction of the area is its isolation and vastness.  The view from atop Mount Rescue is amazing and adds to the feeling of being the only person alive.

The cooler months is the best time to visit.  In Summer it can be very hot and the whole park complex is particularly prone to bushfires.  Almost every year a fire sweeps through a section of the park and burns for ages due to it' being largely inaccessible.

A magnificent area though and well worth visiting, especially if you have a 4WD.