Mutawintji National Park

Overview

The ancient landscape of Mutawintji National Park, north east of Broken Hill, is rich in Aboriginal history. Explore bushwalks and camp under the outback night sky.

Read more about Mutawintji National Park

Visiting Mutawintji National Park in the NSW outback is a uniquely Australian experience. You’ll find a ruggedly beautiful desert region showing evidence of continuous use by Aboriginal people for thousands of years.

Dominated by the Bynguano Ranges, whose vibrant red colour dramatically captures changes in the light, this outback park is home to the famous hand stencil art of local Aboriginal communities as well as many other important cultural and historic sites.

Don't forget to drop in on Mutawintji Historic Site within the park on your visit. It boasts one of the best collections of Aboriginal art in New South Wales.

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/mutawintji-national-park/local-alerts

Contact

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Mutawintji National Park.

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    From Broken Hill

    • Take the Silver City Highway towards Tibooburra and look for the Mutawintji National Park turnoff

    or

    • Take the Barrier Highway 75km from Broken Hill

    Consult maps, GPS and local visitor centre information for travel distances, times and road conditions.

    Park entry points

    Parking

    Road quality

    • Unsealed roads

    Vehicle access

    • 2WD vehicles

    Weather restrictions

    • Dry weather only

    Best times to visit

    Mutawintji National Park is best visited during spring - daytime weather is pleasant and the nights are not yet too cold.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    30°C and 35°C

    Highest recorded

    48.6°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    17°C and 31°C

    Lowest recorded

    -3.3°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    January

    Driest month

    September

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    140.2mm

    Facilities

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    However you discover NSW national parks and reserves, we want you to have a safe and enjoyable experience. Our park and reserve systems contrast greatly so you need to be aware of the risks and take responsibility for your own safety and the safety of those in your care.

    Mobile safety

    Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency + app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

    Outback safety

    Safety is of high priority in outback areas. In summer, temperatures can reach up to 50°C in some places. Food, water and fuel supplies can be scarce. Before you head off, check for road closures and use our contacts to stay safe in the outback.

    No fuel or food is available at Mutawintji National Park, so bring sufficient supplies of each for an extended stay in the event of rain. Bore water is of drinkable quality, however, boiling before use is advised.

    Prohibited

    Pets

    Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the OEH pets in parks policy for more information.

    Smoking

    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Visitor centre

    Nearby towns

    Broken Hill (123 km)

    About 10 km from Broken Hill, in the middle of the Living Desert Reserve, is Sundown Hill, the site of the Living Desert Sculptures. Follow the easy walking trail that takes you past these beautiful sandstone sculptures, even more striking in this desert setting.

    www.visitnsw.com

    White Cliffs (145 km)

    Opals were discovered in the White Cliffs area as early as 1884. The town's first store and hotel opened in 1892, and miners soon arrived to dig their fortunes out of the ground. Make sure you buy an opal keepsake from one of the world's most unusual towns.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Wilcannia (176 km)

    The small historic town of Wilcannia is located on the famous Darling River in the NSW outback. The nearby remote Mutawintji National Park offers a uniquely Australian experience, with its historic Aboriginal sites and captivating rugged desert terrain.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Learn more

    Mutawintji National Park is a special place. Here are just some of the reasons why:

    Iconic scenery

    Mutawintji Gorge walk, Mutawintji National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    Mutawintji National Park displays the classic outback landscape for which Australia is famous around the world. Driving along red dirt roads among rugged gorges and desert, against the backdrop of the ever-changing colour of the Byngnano Ranges, you'll discover the peace and space of the desert. Beyond the ridges, the saltbush and mulga plains stretch to the horizon, making city life seem a long, long way away.

    • Homestead Gorge trail Take a breathtaking walk along the Homestead Gorge trail for scenic landscape vistas and ancient Aboriginal rock engravings. Plus you might see wallabies, emus and birds.
    • Mutawintji Gorge walk The Mutawintji Gorge walk takes you on a hike through one of the park’s most scenic gorges. Enjoy a picnic at the end or simply spend some time taking in the view.

    An important Aboriginal site

    Thaaklatjika Mingkana walk, Mutawintj National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    The traditional home of the Malyankapa and Pandjikali people, Mutawintji National Park has been a significant meeting place for local cultures for thousands of years. Communities have performed initiations, rainmaking and other ceremonies here in gatherings of up to 1000 people. A short, easy walk, suitable for wheelchairs, will guide you amid the splendour of Mutawintji's gorges to the rocky overhang Thaaklatjika (Wright's Cave). Here you'll find paintings, stencils and engravings that depict pre and post colonial Aboriginal history, as well as the animals that live in the area, including kangaroos and emus.

    • Homestead Gorge trail Take a breathtaking walk along the Homestead Gorge trail for scenic landscape vistas and ancient Aboriginal rock engravings. Plus you might see wallabies, emus and birds.

    A wildlife wonderland

    Bobtail (Tiliqua rugosa), Mutawintji National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    It might feel peaceful here, but Mutawintji teems with the wildlife that has occupied these lands since ancient times. You might see a wedge-tailed eagle or even a peregrine falcon and enjoy the chatter of noisy short-billed correllas, zebra finches, budgerigars, apostle birds and magpies. Crossing your path may be goannas and snakes, and look out for members of the only colony in NSW of the endangered yellow-footed rock wallaby. The largest of the rock-wallabies, it is Australia's most brightly coloured mammal - look for them on rocky ridges in the park.

    • Homestead Gorge trail Take a breathtaking walk along the Homestead Gorge trail for scenic landscape vistas and ancient Aboriginal rock engravings. Plus you might see wallabies, emus and birds.
    • Old Coach Road drive The Old Coach Road drive is a piece of Australian history, following a section of the historic Broken Hill to White Cliffs Coach Run that connected these two outback towns. 

    Plants and animals you may see

    Animals

    • Wedge-tailed eagle. Photo: Kelly Nowak

      Wedge-tailed eagle (Aquila audax)

      With a wingspan of up to 2.5m, the wedge-tailed eagle is Australia’s largest bird of prey. These Australian animals are found in woodlands across NSW, and have the ability to soar to heights of over 2km. If you’re bird watching, look out for the distinctive diamond-shaped tail of the eagle.

    • Red kangaroo, Sturt National Park. Photo: John Spencer

      Red kangaroo (Macropus rufus)

      The red kangaroo is one of the most iconic Australian animals and the largest marsupial in the world. Large males have reddish fur and can reach a height of 2m, while females are considerably smaller and have blue-grey fur. Red kangaroos are herbivores and mainly eat grass.

    • Emu, Yanga National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

      Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae)

      The largest of Australian birds, the emu stands up to 2m high and is the second largest bird in the world, after the ostrich. Emus live in pairs or family groups. The male emu incubates and rears the young, which will stay with the adult emus for up to 2 years.

    Plants

    • Sturt

      Sturt's desert pea (Swainsona formosa)

      One of Australia’s most famous desert wildflowers, Sturt’s desert pea is found across inland arid regions of Australia, including far west NSW. One of the most easily-recognised Australian native plants, Sturt’s desert pea thrives in red sandy soil, or loam, and has vibrant red leaf-shaped flowers with a black centre, known as a ‘boss’.

    • Saltbush. Photo: Jaime Plaza

      Saltbush (Atriplex nummularia)

      A hardy Australian native plant, the saltbush is a small spreading shrub that can withstand dry salty soils such as those found in the desert plains of western NSW. It is grey-white in colour and has small spear-shaped succulent leaves. It flowers from December to April.

    Environments in this park

    Education resources (1)

    What we're doing

    Mutawintji National Park has management strategies in place to protect and conserve the values of this park. Visit the OEH website for detailed park and fire management documents. Here is just some of the work we’re doing to conserve these values:

    Understanding landscapes and geology

    The physical landscape of Mutawintji National Park is as significant as its cultural one. Programs exist to ensure the majority of the park remains relatively untouched, with minimal development, and that any necessary new development is planned and executed with respect for the land and its conservation. Rehabilitative and revegetation works are carried out in this park, and facilities are regularly maintained.

    Preserving biodiversity

    Mutawintji National Park upholds its biodiversity by protecting vulnerable, threatened and endangered species. Conservation activities are carried out, and include surveying and collecting data on species distribution and population, targeting pest impacts and frequent monitoring.

    Conservation program

    BioNet

    Uniting technology with the vast collection of information on biodiversity in NSW, BioNet is a valuable database open to any user. From individual plant sightings to detailed scientific surveys, it offers a wealth of knowledge about ecology and threatened species in NSW. 

    Managing weeds, pest animals and other threats

    Pests and weeds have a significant impact to the ecosystems within Mutawintji National Park. NPWS carries out risk assesments for new and emerging weeds as well as pest reduction of foxes to protect biodiversity in this park.

    Conservation program

    Wild dog control program

    Wild dogs can have significant impacts on other animals and are regarded as pests. Our wild dog control program operates in many NSW national parks and reserves. When carrying out such pest control, we aim to minimise the wild dogs’ effects on livestock and wildlife, while still maintaining dingo conservation in key areas.

    Historic heritage in our parks and reserves

    The historic heritage of Mutawintji National Park is preserved through a variety of NPWS programs that embrace its notable past. Heritage revitalisation and conservation management plans are ongoing in this park. Maintenance is carried out in tandem with ongoing attention to visitor safety and risk management.

    Developing visitor facilities and experiences

    NPWS frequently reviews and maintains Mutawintji National Park’s destinations and facilities, and balances any improvements with the need to uphold sustainable visitation. Interpretive signage and displays are managed and upgraded, and public education about the park’s cultural significance and joint management arrangement is ongoing. NPWS evaluates its processes and systems in this park, implementing new ideas and technologies as appropriate.

    Conserving our Aboriginal culture

    Mutawintji National Park has been a meeting place for local cultures for millennia. It features numerous Aboriginal sites of spiritual, ceremonial or cultural significance, and ongoing projects are in place to document, monitor and conserve them. Programs to help visitors understand and respect the importance of the park and its assets are ongoing, and NPWS works closely with Aboriginal owners and associated Wiimpatja.

    Conservation program

    Mutawintji National Park joint management program

    Located in semi-arid lands near Broken Hill, Mutawintji National Park, Mutawintji Historic Site and Mutawintji Nature Reserve are all rich in Aboriginal history and culture. NSW National Parks and the Mutawintji Board of Management are working together to ensure their preservation.

    Managing fire

    NSW is one of the most bushfire prone areas in the world as a result of our climate, weather systems, vegetation and the rugged terrain. NPWS is committed to maintaining natural and cultural heritage values and minimising the likelihood and impact of bushfires via a strategic program of fire research, fire planning, hazard reduction, highly trained rapid response firefighting crews and community alerts.

    Conservation program

    Hazard reduction program

    Managing fire-prone NSW national parks requires a three-pronged approach, including fire planning, community education, and fuel management. When it comes to fuel like dead wood, NPWS conducts planned hazard reduction activities like mowing and controlled burning to assist in the protection of life, property and community.

    Rocky cliff over looking the plains, Mutawintji National Park. Photo: Adam Bruzzone