Ngarkat Conservation Park stretches from a short way east of the town of Tintinara all the way to the South Australian Border and also borders on the Big Desert Conservation Park in Victoria
. It covers around 270,000 hectares and comprises a complex of sand dunes stabilised by a unique mosaic of heath and mallee. Between the dunes, surface soaks often occur, allowing brown stringy bark and square fruited mallee to grow. Early attempts to farm this country failed as can be seen in the ruins at Box Flat. There are numerous walking trails within the park which may range from short 20 minute walks to long five-hour hikes. Many tracks are only suitable for 4WDs only and sufficient fuel and water supplies must be carried at all times.
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Click the "Map" tab below to see the route we've provided. Icons on the map are the POIs you'll need for navigation purposes. Be sure to check the list of Nearby Places
on each POI page.
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Some areas can get very sandy and if it rains, it gets boggy in some sections. If the sand heats up in summer, climbing some of the dunes will test even experienced drivers.
Mallee and heath are some common native vegetation that is found in the park. Fauna that may be found include: Echidnas, Pygmy Possums, Dunnarts and Grey Kangaroos, with more than twenty species of lizards and hundreds of birds.
The Ngarkat Conservation Park
derives its name from the first occupiers which were the Ngarkat tribe. Their land extended from Copeville to the north and Coonalpyn to the south and as far east to the border. Unfortunately, no Ngarkat had survived beyond the mid 1800’s mainly due to disease and wars with neighbouring tribes.
In the early 1870’s farming leases were issued all over the Mallee area. The pastoralists arrived to set up stations and graze sheep, but due to low rainfall and unsuitable grazing conditions, the leases were all abandoned by the 1890’s.
The construction of a railway line and the sinking of Government bores in the early 19th century saw farming towns like Lameroo
, Pinnaroo and Karoonda begin to flourish.
A further attempt at pastoralism was made throughout the 1920’s but that too failed. Poor wheat prices, dry years and unsuitable practices created this crisis. The ruins at Bucks Camp and Box Flat give a glimpse of what life would have been like in those times.
In 1927 a farmers meeting at Borrika began moves resulting finally in orderly wheat marketing and what has eventually evolved into today's Farmers Federation.