Danggali Conservation Park

Danggali Conservation Park is situated about 90 kilometres north of Renmark.

90 kilometres doesn't sound far, but that's just to the entrance of the Park.  Danggali is a vast area.  

Head north from Renmark onto the old Renmark to Wentworth Road.  It is unsealed and you will have to travel about 50 kilometres of it before reaching the Dangalli turn off.  I have travelled this road several times before and it had always been a bit rough, with corrugations and pot holes.  This last occasion though was terrible, even for this road.  If you were contemplating driving this road in a 2WD vehicle, take it very easy.  If towing a caravan or camper trailer it will be a long, slow, rough ride.  In fact, if you are planning a trip to Danggali, then I recommend a 4WD vehicle.  The Renmark-Wentworth Road and a few early sections of the track to Dangalli are very rough.  There are no particularly challenging parts of the tracks that I came across, but a 4WD will make things much more comfortable.  An AWD SUV would probably be OK too, as long as it's capable on the rough stuff.

As mentioned above, the Renmark-Wentworth Road is awful in places.  When you reach the turn off to Dangalli, which is well sign posted, you will see a single lane track heading off into the scrub.  That's the road.  You then have 31 kilometres before you reach the entrance to the Park.  The good news is, that after the first 10 or 15 kilometres, the track smooths out somewhat, due to the covering of sand on the track.  There are a few tracks heading off the main one, but it's generally well sign posted.  

At the entrance to the Park you will have to open and close a gate.  There is an information board.  This used to be where you would pay your camping fees, but now you must book your campsite online before attending.  There are 5 campsites, all of which are in relative proximity to the Canopus Homestead.  All sites are $12 a night, per vehicle.  The good thing about the online booking is that you can choose your dates and it is possible to see if the site is booked.  Once booked, a confirmation email can be sent to your phone and you can use this to verify you have paid, just in case anyone asks.  When booking the site, you will see a photo of the campsite and some information as to how many people it can accommodate etc.

Follow the track from the entrance and you will soon pass the Hypurna Homestead.  This is now abandoned.  There is no public access.  Keep following the track, and you will eventually come to the Canopus Homestead.  It's about 25 kilometres from the entrance to the Canopus Homestead.  I think they use this Homestead on occasions for research teams, but there is generally no one in attendance.

The photo above shows a section of the Homestead Track. between the entrance to the Park and the Canopus Homestead.

It's fairly simple to find the campsites from here as it's well sign posted.  Campsites 1 and 2 are along the Tipperary Hut Track, with Campsite 1 being a few hundred metres up the track, but Campsite 2 is a few kilometres away.  Head along the Nanya's Pad Track for Campsite's 3,4 and 5.  The track branches again with the track to campsite 3 veering off to the right.  Continue left for Campsite 4 and 5.  Campsite 5 is about a kilometre and a half further along the track from Campsite 4.  All sites are flat with varying degrees of shade.  The ground is hard packed sand, so quite comfortable for camping.  

All sites have room for caravans or camper trailers, but you would want to be confident in yourself and vehicle if dragging a caravan through this Park.  Most of the sites have low hanging branches and some tight turns, but plenty of room.

The turn off to Campsite 5.

I was camped here for two days and did not see or here another vehicle or person.  It is very remote.  There is an abundance of wildlife, with kangaroos and emus common.  Birdlife is well represented here.  There is complete silence (except for natural sounds of course) with the occasional jet flying overhead the only interruption.  If you enjoy remote camping then you'll love it out here.

There are a few tracks throughout the Park which offer points of interest.  The Nanya's Pad Drive has 14 different points, all marked with a permapine post with a number on it.  It's a fascinating drive and the old dams (all dug by hand) and huts reflect the areas pastoral history.

Please be careful; the tracks are all two way, single lane, so there is always the possibility of oncoming vehicles.

This is a section of the Birthday Hut Track, just east of Campsite number 5.

At point number 11, you will find Birthday Hut.  You can see inside the hut, and it still has the old rusty bunks and other bits and pieces.  There is a dam nearby (no water in it when I was there) and the remains of old yards and the outhouse.  

Danggali Conservation Park and the Danggali Wilderness Protection Area are important parts of out State.  The are was Australia's first Biosphere Reserve. declared in 1977, in a bid to preserve the dense mallee habitat.  

Although it is only 90 kilometres from Renmark, it is very isolated.  Do not take a trip here unprepared.  There is no phone coverage.  You will need to be self sufficient, with plenty of food and water, and your vehicle will need to be in top condition.  Travelling in a party of two or more vehicles is recommended.  A satellite phone would be advantageous.  A 4WD vehicle is recommended and AVOID THIS PARK DURING WET WEATHER OR IF RAIN IS FORECAST.  Some sections will become impassable.

Spring and Autumn would be the pick of the seasons.  Spring will see the plants in full bloom, and the weather during both spring and autumn is usually favourable with warm days and cool/cold nights.  Winter is not a bad time of year either, but keep in mind the probability of very cold nights and wet weather.  Summer is too hot with the threat of bush fires never far away. (The flies will drive you mad in summer anyway).  The flies can be annoying on any warm day, so consider insect repellent or one of those funny looking nets that go over your head.  

If you enjoy remote camping, driving remote bush tracks, bird watching, wildlife, isolation or you have an interest in our State's Pastoral History, then Danggali is a must.