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Work upgrading the Outback’s Public Access Routes (PARs) is underway after flood damage in 2022.

PARs are important for tourism so the beauty of the Australian outback can be explored by 4WD enthusiasts.

They are not classed as roads, nor are they part of the formal road network. PARs are unimproved and unsurfaced dirt tracks intended to provide four wheel drive access in dry conditions. They were established to provide access to point of interest sites such as conservation parks, national parks, and historic sites, which can only be reached by crossing a pastoral lease along the designated PAR, without the need for lessee permission.

In early 2022 South Australia's north and west regions were impacted by ex-Tropical Cyclone Tiffany, unleashing significant rainfall that led to widespread flooding and leaving behind a trail of damage, particularly to the outback road network and many PARs.

Federal funding was secured in 2023 to repair the PAR network, with work due to be completed by June 2024. A list of the progress of PAR repairs, including opening and closure status can be found at Public Access Route repair program and access status.

If you're planning to travel in the outback, please remember to check the latest outback warnings and closures online. Some National Parks in outback SA close for the summer period and temporary closures are in place from 1 December 2023 until 16 March 2024 for public safety reasons. These include access routes to Kati Thanda - Lake Eyre National Park via Halligan Bay PAR, and Walkers Crossing and K1 Warburton Crossing in the north.

There are currently 24 PARs gazetted across South Australia’s pastoral lands. Their lengths vary from 600m to 226km with a combined length of about 731km. A complete list of PARs and information about sites of interest is available at Public Access Routes and points of interest.

Further information on PARs is available from Chris Nichols 8429 0333 at the Pastoral Unit, or if you are planning a trip to one of the State’s Desert Parks, refer to the National Parks and Wildlife Service SA’s Port Augusta office.

Pastoral Board news

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