New and improved campgrounds as demand surges

A new walk-in campground will be built over the coming months in the Adelaide Hills near the South Para Reservoir Reserve as demand for campsite bookings surges across South Australia.

Located in Old Kersbrook Forest near Kersbrook, the site is expected to cater for up to 20 people and includes tent campsites, a toilet block, picnic facilities and rainwater tank.

The site will support visitors to South Para and Warren Reservoirs, which are now open for land and water-based activities including hiking, cycling, kayaking and fishing. It will also be an exciting addition to the range of activities available for visitors to the Williamstown area, exploring the existing trail routes between the Mount Crawford Forest and the Para Wirra Conservation Park.

Campground bookings across South Australia as well as national park and forest visitor numbers have surged since the COVID-19 pandemic.

From January 2021 until the end of August, more than 131,382 visitors booked to camp in a national park or reserve across the state – the most ever for this period. This is a 66 per cent increase since the same period last year. Forest campground bookings have also significantly increased from 12,088 in 2019/20 to 34,447 in 2020-21.

Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said the new campground at Old Kersbrook Forest is one of 27 campgrounds which are being built or upgraded across the state.

“We know how much South Australians value the natural environment which is why the Marshall Liberal Government is investing a record $130 million in our national parks to boost conservation, improve experiences and increase visitor numbers,” Minister Speirs said.

“Our campgrounds are more popular than ever with visitor numbers booming across the state. It continues to provide a significant economic boost to our regions and support local jobs at a time when it is needed most as we continue to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Marshall Liberal Government is continuing to build new experiences, improvements and facilities across the state including world-class fossil and mountain-biking experiences, new multi-day walks, trails, roads, campgrounds, kayak launches and car parks.

“For visitors exploring the adjacent network of walking and hiking trails throughout the Southern Barossa reservoirs, the new campground at Old Kersbrook Forest will be a perfect place to stop and camp en route between Para Wirra Conservation Park and Mount Crawford Forest.

“With school holidays and the October long weekend coming up, there’s no better time to get out and explore some of our fantastic national parks, reservoirs and forests.”

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said ForestrySA campgrounds have also been extremely popular.

“ForestrySA forest reserves have continued to increase in popularity since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly with international and interstate travel restrictions leading to a focus on local and regional areas of South Australia as a place to visit,” Minister Basham said.

“This significant increase in forest visitation has been echoed in demand for our camping and forest accommodation venues, with most booked out on weekends and holiday periods since the 2021 season began on 1 March.

“ForestrySA is developing a Mount Lofty Ranges Recreation and Tourism Strategy 2021-2026, which will guide future recreation and tourism initiatives, including camping opportunities.”

Popular sites for the October long weekend include Kuitpo Forest, Mount Crawford, Mount Remarkable National Park, Deep Creek Conservation Park, Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park, Murray River National Park and Ikara Flinders Ranges National Park.

Visitors who have missed out on camping and are looking for a last-minute long weekend national parks experience should visit Cleland Wildlife Park or take a day trip to a park or reservoir near them – you can find a park by visiting parks.sa.gov.au.

Further details regarding the Old Kersbrook Forest campground are expected to be available next month, following the completion of the project’s early planning process.

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