Loch Luna Game Reserve

 

Backwater and Winter morning - Loch Luna Game Reserve

Recently visited Loch Luna.  It really is a nice spot, but a couple of things if visiting in the warmer months.  Be prepared for the heat.  We camped here when temperatures were forecast at 32C.  It felt much warmer than that.  Shade is essential.  There are numerous trees that provide shade at the campsites here, but you might need to consider your own in the form of an awning or similar.  Keep cool and remember the best parts of the day are evenings and early mornings.  If there is no breeze at all, then also be prepared for the flies during the day and the mozzies as soon as the sun sets. 

Access to the backwaters here has been restricted at some of the sites through bankside vegetation.  A couple of spots where we caught large carp over a number of years can no longer be fished - just can't get to the water.  Please don't go creating your own access.  It's still a Conservation Park and authorities will stop people camping in the Park altogether if we are not careful.  There are still some good spots if you take the time to have a look at some other sites.

Please take your rubbish out with you.  We camped at our favourite site to find beer bottles, cans and cardboard boxes thrown in a fire pit.  Not a good look.  Once again, the Rangers will stop access if this continues. 

Loch Luna Game Reserve is one of my favourite places.  It is in South Australia's Riverland, not far from the township of Barmera.  It is surrounded by a maze of wetlands and sits between the River Murray itself and Lake Bonney.  Chambers Creek flows from the Murray into these wetlands before finding it's way into the lake.

It is an ideal camping spot and consists of numerous sites set well part.  There is ample shade from the gum trees and it is a very peaceful spot.  There are no facilities at all, although Barmera is only a few minutes away if you need anything.

The entrance to the reserve is near Nappers Bridge on the western side of Lake Bonney, about 10 kilometres from Barmera.  (Barmera is about 210 kilometres from Adelaide).  There is no entrance fee, but at the time of writing, it costs $12 a night to camp.  Campsites now need to be booked online prior to attending which, if you have never been here before, makes it difficult to choose a site to suit - but there you go.  Upon following the entrance road, you will come to a fork in the road; going right will take you to campsites 1-5 and going left will take you to numbers 6-10.  The road is rough in places due to corrugations, but a 2WD will get you there. 

A word of warning here.  After rain, the roads that lead to the sites (you'll recognise them - they are that grey clay type stuff) become very slippery and boggy.  It is almost impossible to keep the car on the road, so avoid it if there has been rain (even in a 4WD). 

Excellent fishing for big carp is available at number 5.  Fish can also be caught at sites 8, 9 and 10.  However, access to the water can change due to the water levels and riverside vegetation.  Sites 8 and 9 are probably the best.  There is plenty of room at both and they are well shaded. All sites do provide some form of shade though.

There is plenty of room for caravans and camper trailers at all of the sites.

Camp fires are allowed except during Fire Danger Season - 1st of November until 30th of April.  You must bring your own firewood.

If you are into canoeing or kayaking, then Loch Luna would have to be paradise.  It is a large area of calm, quiet backwaters with numerous creeks and islands.  It is well known for it's canoeing and a "canoe trail" can be followed to take advantage of the area.

It is a game reserve, but hunting is only rarely allowed.  A phone call to the Department of Environment and Heritage (see River Murray home page) will reveal any hunting days scheduled for the year, so you can avoid going on that day (unless you want to shoot ducks of course).

Bird lovers and photographers will find plenty to keep themselves amused.  As well as the usual species like pelicans, cormorants, darters and ducks, less common birds such as kites, wood swallows, spoonbills and wrens can be seen.  Photographers have the opportunity to take some memorable shots, especially at sunrise and sunset.  The numerous dead trees make great subjects.

Kangaroos are numerous within this reserve, along with snakes and lizards. 

Swimming is not recommended here due to the shallow water.  The bottom of the lagoons are strewn with dead branches and it is impossible to see even a couple of inches below the surface.

Spring and Autumn are the best months due to the moderate temperatures,  Winter is also quite pleasant, although cold at night.  During the day during Summer, the flies will drive you mad.  At night, just when the flies have knocked off for the day, the mosquitoes make an appearance.  Some of these are 6 inches between the eyes, so be warned.

A brilliant spot.  Ideal if you need to unwind.