Witjira National Park is a 780,000 ha park on the western edge of the Simpson Desert, in one of the driest regions in Australia. Visitors to the region are treated to the sight of countless thermal springs, often surrounded by lush greenery, including the popular Dalhousie Springs. The seemingly lush and thriving habitats, appear like an oasis in the desert, amidst endless sand dunes and gibber plains.
Witjira National Park is part of the traditional country of the Lower Southern Arrernte and Wangkangurru people, holding special cultural significance. The park contains a wide range of important cultural features and evidence of past occupation.
Established in 1985 on land comprising the former Mount Dare pastoral lease, Witjira National Park is spectacular country of gibber plains, sand dunes, stony tablelands, flat-topped mesa hills, salt pans and floodplain country. This vast landscape include many areas of considerable archaeological, biological and geological value. The Witjira Dalhousie Springs were National Heritage Listed in 2009.
Among the many attractions and features include Mount Dare Homestead complex and the Dalhousie Thermal Mound Springs, the largest and most active artesian springs in Australia. The park itself features more than 120 mound springs, with the main Dalhousie Springs being the approved place where you can swim and relax in the ancient warm thermal waters.
The turn off to the park is 17 km north of Oodnadatta and 4WD recommended. Trailers, caravans and motorhomes are not recommended east of Dalhousie Springs.
Always check ahead for weather and road conditions from either Oodnadatta or Mount Dare. Information may also be posted on the official Witjira National Park site.
A Desert Parks Pass is required and the best time to visit is during the winter.
You can access the park from Oodnadatta. Travellers can get to Oodnadatta from Coober Pedy, Marla or William Creek. It is located 887 km north west of Port Augusta.
Information available from the National Parks and Wildlife Service, South Australia (check out their website www.parks.sa.gov.au).
Footnote & References
- Australia’s desert springs. Retrieved July 27, 2012, from http://www.desertfishes.org/australia/habitats/springs/springen.shtml
- Australian Government: Australia’s National Heritage – Witjira-Dalhousie Springs, South Australia. Dalhousie Mound Springs Area (105819_05.PDF 114 Kb). Retrieved July 28, 2012
- Great Artesian Basin Springs: Witjira-Dalhousie. AHC final assessment report: Witjira-Dalhousie Springs (PDF 104 Kb). Retrieved July 28, 2012
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