Cawndilla campground

Kinchega National Park

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This campground at Lake Cawndilla in Kingchega National Park offers an outback campsite with barbecues, perfect for birdwatching and stargazing.

Accommodation Details
Camping type Tent, Camper trailer site, Caravan site, Camping beside my vehicle
Facilities Picnic tables, barbecue facilities, carpark, toilets
What to bring Drinking water, cooking water, firewood
Entry fees Park entry fees apply
Group bookings Bookings for up to 5 sites and 20 people can be made online. School groups and commercial tour operators can submit a group booking enquiry form.
Please note
  • This is a remote campground, please arrive well prepared.
  • Be aware of the weather conditions. If it rains you may be asked to move your camp to Emu Lake campground or you may be asked to stay at your campsite for several days while the road dries out.

Birdwatchers will flock to this idyllic lakeside campground in Kinchega National Park in outback NSW. Cawndilla Lake is the gathering place for countless waterbirds and it’s birdwatcher’s paradise, no matter what time of year you arrive.

You’ll be mesmerised by the cycle of wet and dry that brings life to this unique wetland. After the rains, you might see rare waterbirds such as brolgas, freckled and blue-billed ducks. Be sure to watch for the cheeky antics of the water fowls. When the waters recede, the flood plains erupt in a carpet of dazzling colour with wildflowers such as daises, sagoweed and sunrays.

At sundown, get ready for the light show of a life time. The lake will glow with the reflected colours of sunset, and the sky will fill with the calls of water birds. Later, relax beside the campfire under a blanket of stars and listen to the orchestra of the bush.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info


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Local alerts

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Park info

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Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Cawndilla campground.

Getting there and parking

Cawndilla Lake campground is in the western precinct of Kinchega National park. To get there follow Lake Drive to the campground.

Road quality

Check the weather before you set out as the road to Cawndilla Lake campground may be closed during heavy rain.

  • Unsealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • Dry weather only


Parking is available at Cawndilla Lake campground.

Best times to visit

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


It's a great time for a camping trip when the weather is a bit cooler and the park is springing to life after the sleepy winter.


Cool off after a hot day of exploring in the park's rivers or lakes.


Throw in your line below Weir 32 on the Darling river – you might catch a golden perch. You'll need a current NSW recreational fishing licence though, and you must abide by bag limits and protected species fishing laws.

Weather, temperature and rainfall

Summer temperature


18°C and 34°C

Highest recorded


Winter temperature


5°C and 19°C

Lowest recorded



Wettest month

May and October

Driest month


The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day



  • Water is not available at this campground
  • Hot showers and bore water are available at the Shearers' Quarters at the historic woolshed by gold coin donation


  • Non-flush toilets

Picnic tables

Barbecue facilities

  • Wood barbecues (bring your own firewood)
  • Gas/electric barbecues (free)


Maps and downloads

Safety messages

Bushwalking safety

If you're keen to head out on a longer walk or a backpack camp, always be prepared. Read these bushwalking safety tips before you set off on a walking adventure in national parks.

Camping safety

Whether you're pitching your tent on the coast or up on the mountains, there are many things to consider when camping in NSW national parks. Find out how to stay safe when camping.

Fire safety

During periods of fire weather, the Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service may declare a total fire ban for particular NSW fire areas, or statewide. Learn more about total fire bans and fire safety.

Fishing safety

Fishing from a boat, the beach or by the river is a popular activity for many national park visitors. If you’re planning a day out fishing, check out these fishing safety tips.

Mobile safety

Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency Plus 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.

Paddling safety

To make your paddling or kayaking adventure safer and more enjoyable, check out these paddling safety tips.



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


NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

Visitor centre

  • Kinchega Visitor Centre
    673 Woolshed Drive, Menindee NSW 2879
  • Kinchega Visitor Centre is always open but it's unstaffed (self service)

Learn more

Cawndilla campground is in Kinchega National Park. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

Aboriginal cultural heritage

River Drive campground, Kinchega National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

This is the traditional land of the Paakantji nation who came together to share the bounty of the flood. These river people caught fish by spearing from a canoe or while diving and used nets and fish traps made from baskets. Artefacts and special sites in the area date back an incredible 35,000 years. Many of the staff at Kinchega are of Aboriginal descent and can provide a wealth of information and knowledge about the area. You could also participate in a Discovery tour to find out more about the Aboriginal culture and history of the park.

  • Games and fun activities at Kinchega This is a program of fun games and activities we can play together in Kinchega National Park or Discovery rangers can visit your school. Designed for Stage 2 (Years 3-4) students with a focus on History, Geography and science, choose from some of these games: the Aboriginal site game, tracks and traces, Barkindji bush foods or the threatened species game.
  • Kinchega Visitor Centre Find useful tourist information at Kinchega Visitor Centre. Get details on birdwatching and touring the Darling River and Menindee Lakes near Broken Hill in outback NSW.

Life in all its splendour

Emus (Dromaius novaehollandiae) in Kinchega National Park. Photo: John Spencer

Lace monitors patrol the banks when it's warm, the Peron's tree frog sends out a call like laughter in the night and flocks of pink and black cockatoos use tree hollows to nest. Remember not to collect firewood - fallen timber is the home of the kultarr, a small, mouse-sized marsupial with large ears, long delicate legs and a thin tail tipped with a dark tuft.

  • Kinchega National Park field study Join a ranger in sampling abiotic factors and use these to assess the abundance and distribution of plants and animals on the floodplain sand dune interface, as part of the Preliminary Biology or Senior Science field studies.

Pastoral heritage

Kinchega Woolshed, Kinchega National Park. Photo: John Spencer

Encounter Australia's pastoral history at the classic, colonial historic Kinchega Woolshed and Old Kinchega Homestead, and learn of the trials and tribulations of early settlers. Kinchega is the location where Burke and Wills picked up William Wright, manager of Kinchega Station. His failure to meet Burke and Wills at the assigned time sealed the doomed expedition's fate.

  • Geography of Homestead Bend Immerse yourself in the Geography of Homestead Bend. Visit Aboriginal occupation sites in Kinchega National Park, and the ruins of the Old Kinchega Homestead, and investigate how and why both Aboriginal people and early pastoralists lived in the area.
  • Kinchega Visitor Centre Find useful tourist information at Kinchega Visitor Centre. Get details on birdwatching and touring the Darling River and Menindee Lakes near Broken Hill in outback NSW.
  • Kinchega Woolshed Visit the beautiful historic Kinchega Woolshed for a glimpse into Australian pastoral history and imagine the heyday of this place, where six million sheep were sheared.
  • Menindee Lakes and Kinchega guided tours Sign up for this wide-ranging tour of Kinchega National Park and other scenic Outback highlights with the experienced guides of Broken Hill City Sights and Heritage Tours.
  • Old Kinchega Homestead tour Explore Old Kinchega Homestead precinct within Kinchega National Park on our Stage 2 (year 3-4) Geography excursion. Take a walk around the Old Kinchega Homestead ruins with a NSW National Parks Ranger to gain insight into life on a pastoral station during the pioneer days.
  • PS Providence historic site Step back in time at the historic site of the explosion of the PS Providence on the banks of the Darling River in Kinchega National Park.
  • Woolly tales tour On this school excursion in Kinchega National Park, Stage 2 (Years 3-4) Science students will learn about Kinchega's vast pastoral history and woolshed operations while taking a guided tour of the historic Kinchega Woolshed. 
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The colourful beauty of the floodplains

Pigface on the floodplains of Kinchega National Park. Photo. Julieanne Doyle

When the Darling river fills, majestic river red gums break the surface and birdlife flocks to the lake system by the thousand. When it empties, the land is a beautiful bright green. In spring you'll see vibrant splashes of purple as the Darling river pea begins to flower. Sitting outside your tent just before nightfall is a special time - the sunsets at Kinchega are out of this world.

  • Menindee Lakes and Kinchega guided tours Sign up for this wide-ranging tour of Kinchega National Park and other scenic Outback highlights with the experienced guides of Broken Hill City Sights and Heritage Tours.
  • Morton Boulka picnic area This remote lakeside picnic area buzzes with birdlife, offers the chance to paddle and swim, as well as explore unique Aboriginal Heritage in Kinchega National Park.

Plants and animals protected in this park


  • 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, Paroo Darling National Park. Photo: John Spencer

    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.


  • 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.

  • Sturt's desert pea. Photo: Jaime Plaza

    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’.

Environments in this park

Education resources (1)

School excursions (6)