Sturt National Park

Overview

Head to Sturt National Park on your journey into the Australian outback. Camp for a few days to really explore the landscape and historic heritage of the park.

Read more about Sturt National Park

Sturt National Park protects an enormous arid landscape of space and solitude. From the rolling red sand dunes of the Strezlecki desert to the flat-topped mesas and the 450 million year old granite tors around Tibooburra, a visit to this outback park is a once in a lifetime experience for many.

One of the best ways to explore the park is along one of the self-guided drives or you could join a guided tour with one of the tour operators that visit the park. For more up close views of the landscape, try the short loop walks at Fort Grey or Dead Horse Gully. If you’ve only time for one walk, head to Mount Wood hills for a walk to the summit where stunning views of this spectacular landscape are waiting.

There’s also the historic Dingo Fence that runs east to south-west along the eastern third of Australia and along the western and northern boundary of Sturt National Park. Originally built in the 1880’s to keep dingoes away from sheep flocks and the southern part of the country, at 5,614km, it’s the world’s longest fence.

Spend the night at one of the park’s four campgrounds, each of which offers sites suitable for caravans and camper trailers as well as barbecue and picnic facilities. You may have the campground all to yourself; however you might share the space with some of the park’s resident kangaroos and abundant birdlife.

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/sturt-national-park/local-alerts

Contact

See more visitor info

Visitor info

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

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    From Broken Hill, take the Silver City Highway through Packsaddle, Milparinka and Tibooburra.

    From Bourke, travel to Wanaaring and onto Tibooburra.

    Roads to and within the park may be closed in poor weather - it's a good idea to check conditions before you set out and take plenty of petrol and supplies.

    Park entry points

    Parking

    By bike

    Check out the Bicycle information for NSW website for more information.

    Best times to visit

    There are lots of great things waiting for you in Sturt National Park. Here are some of the highlights.

    Autumn

    A great time of year to visit when daytime temperatures are pleasant and night times not too chilly.

    Spring

    Depending on the rainfall the park's wildflowers, including the distinctive red Sturt Desert Pea will be on show throughout the park.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    22°C and 36°C

    Highest recorded

    47.6°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    5°C and 17°C

    Lowest recorded

    -2.8°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    February

    Driest month

    August and September

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    178.2mm

    Facilities

    Maps and downloads

    Fees and passes

    Park entry fees:

    $8 per vehicle per day. The park has coin-operated pay and display machines - please bring correct coins.

    • All Parks Pass - For all parks in NSW (including Kosciuszko NP) $190 (1 year) / $335 (2 years)
    • Multi-Park Pass - For all parks in NSW (except Kosciuszko) $65 (1 year) / $115 (2 years)
    • Country Parks Pass - For all parks in Country NSW (except Kosciuszko) $45 (1 year) / $75 (2 years)
    • Single Country Park Pass - For entry to a single park in country NSW (except Kosciuszko). $22 (1 year) / $40 (2 years)

    Annual passes and entry fees (http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/passes-and-fees)

    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, 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.

    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 (351 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

    Wilcannia (361 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

    Bourke (781 km)

    Around 50km north of Gundabooka National Park is the town of Bourke. Considered the "Gateway to the real outback", Bourke is home to around 3,000 people and has a range of places to eat, garages and services, and plenty of things to do

    www.visitnsw.com

    Learn more

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

    Life of birds

    Red kangaroo (Macropus rufus), Sturt National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    The ephemeral Lake Pinaroo was classed as a Ramsar wetland area in 1996 and is the largest terminal basin in this area of NSW. When Lake Pinaroo contains water, it's home to countless species of waterbirds, including threatened waterfowl like the freckled duck and the blue-billed duck. You might even see brolgas and grey falcons hunting prey.

    • Sturt’s tree walk Charles Sturt’s expedition into the Australian outback is an historic event. The walk across the dry lakebed of Lake Pinaroo takes you to the site of a marked tree.
    • Wells walk Take a break from drive touring to explore the Corner Country of Sturt National Park along the Wells walk. Explore varying outback landscapes and pass historical relics.

    Ancient connections

    Sturt

    Sturt National Park is the traditional land of the Wangkumara People, whose Country extended from what is now southwest Queensland and northeast South Australia down through Tibooburra to Milparinka. The Wangkumara People travelled widely throughout this large and arid land to make the most of waterholes, permanent soaks, useful plants and animals. Today there is much evidence of the Wangkumara People's connection with this land - throughout the park you might notice middens and stone relics; reminders of the role this landscape played as the giver and sustainer of life.

    • Jump-Up walking track Discover the landscape of Sturt National Park along the Jump-Up walking track; you’re likely to see Aboriginal sites, wildflowers and kangaroos along the way.

    A vast and varied precious landscape

    Rocky hills in Sturt National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    Tibooburra means 'heaps of rocks' in the local Aboriginal language, and you can't miss the rocks - ancient granite tors that surround Tibooburra and line the road on the way to the park. This contrasts with the red sand of the desert on the western side of the park and with the 'Jump Ups' that rise from the plains in the central part of the park. Wherever you go in Sturt National Park, you're sure to be inspired by the dramatic changes in scenery and amazed by the true scale of the vast, arid expanse of outback.

    • Jump-Up Loop Road drive A fantastic self-guided car tour of the outback country of Sturt National Park, Jump-Up Loop Road drive offers scenic desert views, historic heritage and excellent birdwatching.
    • The Granites walking track Explore the geological history of Sturt National Park along The Granites walking track. See wildflowers, kangaroos and lizards as you walk over the ancient boulders.

    A waterbird oasis

    Lake Pinaroo, Sturt National Park. Photo: OEH

    Lake Pinaroo is around 80 km north west of Tibooburra and 24km south east of Cameron Corner. In 1996, it was listed as an internationally important wetland under the Ramsar Convention because of its retention of water for long periods, and the rarity of wetlands in arid NSW. Lake Pinaroo plays a crucial role in the survival of many plants and animal species, and supports large numbers of waterbirds and waders, including international migratory species and threatened species. When full, Lake Pinaroo is a stunning contrast to the dry landscapes of Sturt National Park. You can see waterbirds like the freckled and blue-billed ducks, and large flocks of unique desert birds such as the budgerigar, when the lake is full. Try Camping or bushwalking near this beautiful lake, or go along one of the three self-guided scenic drives through the park. You can also visit cultural heritage sites such as the old homesteads, a historic woolshed and Sturt's tree (when Lake Pinaroo is dry).

    Heritage values of the homestead

    Outdoor Pastoral Museum, Sturt National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    Historic Mount Wood Homestead is located on the oldest sheep station in northwest NSW, taken up around 1881. Listed on the State Heritage Register, it’s one of the most complete examples of a self-reliant sheep station in the region, spanning 368,385 acres. It was a hub for washing sheep wool on the long journey by camel train or cart to Wilcannia, prior to shipping. Today, the woolscour is a rare example of a complete set of wool washing equipment, and the only 19th century station-based scour in NSW to survive intact. Surviving the harsh outback, you can still see the original stone hut built in 1890, a stone homestead (1897), and an art deco-styled homestead (1935). There’s also a woolshed, shearers’ quarters, woolscour, blacksmith shop, stables, windmills and outstations. The  buildings provide a fascinating window into pastoral life and changing technology over almost 100 years.

    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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    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

    Sturt 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

    NPWS is dedicated to conserving the special natural assets of all its parks. The service works to ensure the expansive outback landscapes and granite tors of Sturt National Park are protected and preserved. Management and maintenance programs are in operation in this park, all of which are informed by sustainability considerations.

    Preserving biodiversity

    Sturt National Park upholds its biodiversity by protecting vulnerable, threatened and endangered species. Conservation activities are frequently carried out, and include monitoring and data collection. NPWS consults on issues potentially affecting biodiversity within the area, and implements programs in relation to this.

    Conservation program

    Reintroduction of locally extinct mammals

    The Reintroduction of Locally Extinct Mammals project aims to restore the ecological health of national parks by reintroducing at least 10 native mammal species believed to be extinct in NSW.

    Managing weeds, pest animals and other threats

    Pests and weeds have a significant impact to the ecosystems within Sturt National Park. NPWS carries out risk assessments for new and emerging weeds as well as fox and wild dog control to protect biodiversity in this park.

    Conservation program

    Fox threat abatement plan

    The fox threat abatement plan addresses the long-standing threat of foxes to biodiversity. By implementing fox control measures in 59 sites throughout NSW, the plan protects threatened species and works to minimise the potential of foxes to cause future extinctions.

    Historic heritage in our parks and reserves

    Sturt National Park is home to a wealth of historic heritage, and NPWS is committed to its protection. Raising public awareness of the park’s history and cultural significance is a key priority, and interpretive and educational events are ongoing. Historic structure maintenance is carried out in this park, along with conservation assessments and the surveying and recording of heritage assets.

    Conserving our Aboriginal culture

    Sturt National Park is home to a number of significant but fragile Aboriginal sites. NPWS liaises regularly with local land councils and involves the Aboriginal community in site management. Conservation assessments and impact surveys are regularly carried out, along with concerted efforts to protect and preserve these sites. NPWS promotes research into park heritage, and interpretive displays are maintained to promote greater appreciation of Aboriginal culture.

    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.

    Old windmill in Sturt National Park. Photo: John Spencer/OEH