EYRE PENINSULA TOURISM BLOG
Seven Things to Do in the Gawler Ranges this winter
Seven Things to do in the Gawler Ranges this Winter
Or autumn. Or spring. Basically any of the cooler months.
The Eyre Peninsula often evokes images of summer – sandy beaches, inviting rock pools and gorgeous sunny days on the water. And we do have all that, and more!
But we also have the beauty of the outback, and its best suited to the cooler months of the year.
The Gawler Ranges National Park is a stunning ancient playground with plenty to see and do for the whole family. Starry skies, epic salt lakes, bush hikes to waterfalls and natural granite amphitheatres – and we have all the wildlife you could ask for.
But I’ll be more specific. Here are seven things you can do in the Gawler Ranges this winter.
1. Explore the spectacular Organ Pipes
These are some of the most dramatic rock formations in the park, shaped by volcanic activity over 1500 million years ago (!!). Climb to the top and drink in the view – they really do look like, well, organ pipes. It’s a 500m walk from the parking area to reach the viewing area.
2. Dance on Lake Gairdner
You’ve probably heard of Lake Gairdner already, but it absolutely belongs on this list. It’s over 160km long and 48km wide, and the salt pan is over 1 metre thick in some places. It’s often dry, but if you visit in winter you’re more likely to catch some amazing reflections as the lake starts to shimmer.
3. Spot the wildlife
So. Much. Wildlife. You can spot all the iconic Australian animals in the park – kangaroos (check), wombats (check), emus (check), goannas (check)... if you’re lucky, you might even spot the rare Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby. It’s an animal-lovers heaven!
4. Walk through fields of wildflowers
In spring the wildflowers come out in force, with up to 976 species of flower. Imagine yourself wandering lazily through the flowers, like one of those Instagram stars. You may even be lucky enough to spot South Australia’s elusive floral emblem, the Sturt Desert Pea.
5. Visit Kolay Mirica Falls
With any luck the falls will be just that – a little waterfall with running water! If you visit at sunset the stones will be lit up beautifully by the light, . This walk, along with the Yandinga Falls and Organ Pipes walk, are must-dos.
6. Enjoy the sunset at Sturt's Lake
Another lake that’s mostly dry, but can be transformed by a sudden downpour! Only accessible in the cooler season when a fire ban is not in place, get out here while you can to check out this gorgeous spot. A sunset with some water on the lake is the perfect mirror – check out the photo at the top of the page if you don’t believe us!
7. And star-gazing? There's no light pollution to ruin your view here!
All you’ll have to contend with is the stuff you bring yourself! So light the campfire, enjoy a good meal and a glass of red, and then wander away from the fire and turn your gaze skywards. You won’t be disappointed, we promise.
So now you know what to do, where can you stay to do all of these things?
There are plenty of campsites within the park, which you can book online. But if you’d prefer to stay indoors overnight, you can check out Mt Ive Station and Pondanna Outstation – think a fully restored homestead, stone rooms and shearer’s quarters.
And if you’d like a guided tour around the place? Gawler Ranges Wilderness Safaris is exactly what you need, plus more! It’s glamping at its best. Check out their website for details.
Images from South Australian Tourism Commission.
Written by Tamsin Scholz.