Dramatic scenery, significant geological features and rich cultural heritage are just three of a long list of reasons to spend a weekend (or more) at Mambray Creek. Add to those the luxurious bush camping with hot showers and emus strolling past to say g’day, and you will never want to leave!
This feature was originally published in 4x4 Australia’s July 2011 issue
Mambray Creek is located in Mt Remarkable National Park, in the southern Flinders Ranges. Even though it is only a hop and a step away from the big smoke of Port Pirie, you have the feeling you are in the middle of nowhere, with nature right at your doorstep.
From the campground, you have the choice of six bushwalks, ranging from easy strolls to challenging treks. The 2.4km walk through Daveys Gully offers great views across Spencer Gulf to Whyalla. You will most likely encounter kangaroos, and the laughing kookaburra is never far away. The park is a birdwatcher’s delight, with 117 native species, including the brightly coloured variegated wren, Australian ringneck parrot and wedge-tailed eagle.
Explore: Flinders Ranges' self-drive tracks
For the kids there is so much bush to explore, they will not tire of the place in a hurry. If you feel like jumping in the car, you can drive to Baroota Ruins, just a short distance from the entrance of Mambray Creek campground.
The ruins tell the story of the Baroota Run, established in 1851. After flourishing for 12 years, the area was hit by the big drought of the 1860s and thousands of sheep died. In those days, it was believed that the place could support 50,000 sheep, but, in reality, Baroota was only suitable for 2200 animals. Lessees struggled as overgrazing depleted ground cover, causing soil erosion.
The more adventurous should head out to Alligator Gorge, which is reached via a picturesque drive, commencing just south of Wilmington, on Main North Road. This steep road is unsuitable for caravans and large buses. There are two lookouts along the way, which are easily accessible and provide spectacular views across Alligator Gorge.
You can also traverse the full length of the gorge (allow two hours), but wear sturdy shoes as the gorge floor can become uneven and slippery after rain.
If you don’t feel like venturing out at all, there’s plenty to keep you entertained at Mambray Creek itself. It is a place of rest and relaxation, where you can experience nature up close – without even leaving your tent.
Like most people, you are bound to become addicted to this beautiful place, and you will find yourself back there one way or another; it’s remarkable.
The great outdoors await on Explore
Mambray Creek is 45km north of Port Pirie, off National Highway 1.
Set among majestic River Red Gums alongside Mambray Creek, this large campground offers 55 unpowered level sites. There is an amenities block with hot showers, flushing toilets and a baby change room. Wood fires are allowed in designated fireplaces. Take your rubbish home with you.
SUPPLIES AND FACILITIES
Port Pirie and Port Augusta have all the big shops and supermarkets.
All the roads at Mambray Creek are sealed.
CONTACTS AND INFORMATION
DENR Southern Flinders District Office, phone 08 8634 7068.
RESTRICTIONS AND PERMITS
You need a National Park Pass to visit Mambray Creek. These can be obtained online at parks.sa.gov.au or at the entry to the park. You will need to have the correct cash.
MAPS AND GUIDES
Mount Remarkable National Park (Dept of Environment and Natural Resources).