Track and Access information

Image of vehicles encountering water on the Birdsville Track

Rain can make tracks impassable, stranding travellers.
Official closure of tracks and public routes occur throughout the year due to local rain.

How to Obtain Track Status

The areas covered by travelling members of the 4WDSA is vast, and 4WDSA does not attempt to duplicate what others are already performing in terms of advising road/track conditions. Rain is a major factor in causing track closure (and stranding) - be informed and be prepared for all weather conditions, and make yourself aware of safety precautions for remote travel.

Please always check for up-to-date information before travelling on 4WD tracks in the Flinders and outback. Regular up-dates are available from the following (links open a new window):

National Parks & Wildlife South Australia.
Internet: www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/Safety/desert-outback-wise for safety advice and the latest track advice via the Desert Parks Bulletin that Covers Lake Eyre, Simpson Desert, Innamincka etc.
Telephone: The Desert Parks toll-free hotline on 1800 816 078
Transport SA Northern Road conditions
Internet: www.dpti.sa.gov.au/OutbackRoads
Telephone: Their hotline on 1300 361 033.
Australian National Four Wheel Drive Radio Network
Internet: www.vks737.on.net
Road closures for South Australia are regularly broadcast through the VKS 737 network each afternoon (check their site for times/frequencies). Along with any other important road conditions. Their internet site also includes park and track closure information (especially for S.A., and Canning S.R.), and links to relevant internet sites which can provide local details or local telephone contacts. Take note of telephone contacts for the areas you intend to visit.
Also see our links page.

Woomera Prohibited Area

The WPA (127,000 square kilometres) is declared under the Defence Force Regulations as a Prohibited Area and with the exception of the easements created for the Tarcoola/Alice Springs Railway line and the Stuart Highway, a permit is required from the Department of Defence to enter the area. This includes travelling on the Anne Beadell Highway (Coober Pedy to Vokes Hill Corner via Emu). Permits are free and obtainable from the address shown in this document.

Access to the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA) is subject to exclusion periods during which the Department of Defence may undertake testing of war materiel. For safety and security reasons, designated zones within the WPA will be closed and you are required to evacuate the area during the notified exclusion periods.

In accordance with the Review of the Woomera Prohibited Area final report, Defence is required to advise non-Defence users in March of the WPA Amber Zone exclusion periods that apply for the coming financial year.

WOOMERA PROHIBITED AREA AMBER ZONE EXCLUSION PERIODS FOR FINANCIAL YEAR 2013-14   (this includes a map of the Amber Zone).

Permits

To divert from public roads, much of South Australia's outback requires either one or more of Pastoral leasee, Aboriginal council, National Parks, or Commonwealth approval to do so. A further complication are the interests of oil/gas/mining exploration companies who may control leases.

If you believe that you have been unreasonably denied access to a pastoral lease, please pursue this via the 4WDSA and/or your local member of parliament.

The Royal Automobile Association of South Australian (RAA) provides maps (that can be purchased at a reduced price by its members or can be purchased full price by non-members) - "Flinders Ranges & Outback" version is useful. These indicate general “permission required” areas. Additional town maps in the areas can be downloaded as PDFs from www.raa.com.au (seach for "map"). Sufficient time must be provided when planning trips to obtain these permissions (with no certainty they will be provided).

A number of publications aimed at the 4WD traveller list addresses for seeking permission. Also, if you are a member of a 4WDSA club, your Trips Coordinator will have contacts for leasees.

Please note that some National Parks charge $6 (or more) entrance fee for daily visits, which is being confused with a camping fee. Make sure you check carefully to cover yourself. The Desert Parks Pass is required for crossing the Simpson Desert and some other remote parks.

Heading Outback - Do I Need a Permit? - Can I drive that track?

Please read the comprehensive guide for SA and for the other states on our page Heading Outback - Do I Need a Permit? - Can I drive that track?

Minimum Impact Camping & Touring Guide

A 16 page booklet, prepared by the Natural Resources Advisory Unit, has been distributed to all members in 1998. If you would like a copy, please contact your club delegate, or the Association.

Read more...

SA Track Updates

The following tracks have not been open for public access for sometime now:

  • Chambers Gorge, Flinders Ranges - there is a track open from Wirrealpa/Balcanoona Road to the Western end f the gorge, about 8 km, but vehicular access is not permitted past this point.
  • Along the East/West or Trans Australia Railway corridor, between Lyons and the WA/SA border. The track from Glendambo West to Lyons can be legally used.
  • Along the (new) Ghan or Central Australia Railway corridor, apart from the Stuart Hwy itself where it runs close to the rail corridor.

If in any doubt about outback tracks in SA consult the RAA Outback Map. If the track is not on this map its not open for public access.

Please check with local bodies, road authorities, or national parks prior to travelling and stay aware of weather forecasts. This site does not repeat the information available from those authorities noted above.

Lake Eyre National Park

Information status (pdf file) on the lake (eg birdlife, water coverage or not) can be dowloaded from NPWS site (www.environment.sa.gov.au).

There are two access tracks to the lake. One, a Public Access Route (PAR) goes North from Marree, through Muloorina station (94km) to Level Post Bay; the other turns off the Oodnadatta track 7km south of William Creek (64lm) to Halligan Bay. Good views can also be obtained of Lake Eyre South from the Oodnadatta track where the lake joins the road 90km west of Marree.

Permits A permit is required if you are actually entering the National Park. Day (24hr. incl camping) visit permits to Lake Eyre are $20.00 per vehicle, can be obtained from the Marree store. (Ph: (08) 8675 8360)  A Desert Parks Pass is also available, priced at $90 (or $95 if posted) and is valid for 12 months, and applies to all S.A.’s desert parks. The pass can be purchased from Marree store, Copley Tourist shop, DEHAA in Port Augusta and Adelaide and the RAA, all branches. State Wide Passes (all inclusive) are $170. (Fees may have changed since this section was written).

Witjira National Park, Simpson Desert

This park is closed in Summer due to extreme heat that may occur.

Please check for latest conditions before you go to these areas. These areas require a Desert Parks pass or a day pass, and can be obtained from the same sources.  Local rain or flooding of river and creek sytems can result in closue.

Sand Flags from 2014

Mandatory  vehicle flags will commence with the opening of the Simpson Desert on 16th March 2014.   Read details here... 4WDSA KIT Number 15.doc

Innamincka Region Reserve

Day and/or camping passes are required.

Please check with NPWS for latest conditions.

Further detailed information see the Desert Parks Bulletin or contact the Rangers Office at Innamincka on (08) 8675 9909.

Kudriemitchie Outstation (about 20km from Coongie Lakes) is available for members of affiliated Clubs to use (for a nominal $1 per night!). The building has been maintained by the Toyota Landcruiser Club, South Australia. Being right next to the NW Branch of the Cooper Creek, it provides a location for canoeing, fishing and relaxing. It contains several rooms, a kitchen, a flyproof verandah, short drop toilet. For more information checkout http://www.tlccsa.asn.au/kudriemitchie.php.


REMEMBER ALL SAFETY PRECAUTIONS WHEN TRAVELLING IN REMOTE AREAS.

Pay for use 4WDing in the Flinders Ranges

Note: fees and details may change at anytime - please check with the contacts noted.

A panorama of a section of the Flinder Ranges, taken from a peak on a pay for use track not far from Wilpena Pound.

The Flinders Ranges have long been a drawcard for campers and bushwalkers. But now there is a third major focus, four wheel drive treks. Several station owners have placed increase emphasis on the 4WD tourists and opened up vast tracts of new land for exploration. The range of four wheel drive treks in the Flinders Ranges covers areas from near Wilmington in the Southern Flinders, to Arkaroola, in the rugged Northern Flinders. Camping is also available (of varying facilities) on some stations.

A brochure ‘4WD Tracks & Trails’ with details and a map of 19 PARs and 18 4WD pay for use areas, is available by contacting Flinders Ranges & Outback South Australia Tourism.

Read more...