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Sturt National Park

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Learn more about why this park is special

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's Tree walk, Sturt National Park. Photo: John Spencer

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.

What we're doing for Aboriginal culture in this park

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.

What we're doing for Historic heritage in this park

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, 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.

Plants

  • 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’.

  • 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.

Look out for...

Red kangaroo

Macropus rufus

Red kangaroo, Sturt National Park. Photo: John Spencer

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.

Environments in this park

Education resources (1)

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