Border Track Committee

Border Track image, sand & bush (70kb)


In 1991 thirty kilometres of the Border Track between South Australia and Victoria in the Ngarkat Conservation Park (CP) faced total closure following many years of severe degradation caused by inappropriate 4WD use.

FWDSA undertook a volunteer project to rehabilitate this section of the track. In return, the track would remain open in a ONE WAY NORTH TO SOUTH direction.

Since that time the Border Track Committee has worked with DEWNR, the South Australian state government Ngarkat CP managers, to keep the Border Track open and accessible to the public.

Planning to travel the Border Track or camp in the Ngarkat CP? Refer here for advisory links. Note that DEWNR online booking for vehicle entrance to and camping in Ngarkat CP came into effect early in 2017. There is no other way to book and pay for your stay in Ngarkat CP, beware of this as many travel websites now contain outdated information. Refer to National Parks Book Now for online booking.

The Ngarkat CP Management Plan stipulates that for public safety, the One-Way section of the Border Track will be closed from the 1st of November till the 31st of March each year.An alternative route using the Ngarkat CP Centre Track may be using during the closure period.

FWDSA Border Track Committee contacts

Peter Harper (Toyota Landcruiser Club & Gawler and Districts Clubs):   Mob. 0410 526 317

Working Bees

Border Track Working Bee - some volunteersBorder Track working group, working on the border track.

Next Working Bee - CANCELLED

Due to COVID-19 the working bee scheduled for 28th and 29th March 2020 has been cancelled.

Also please note the primary contact is now Peter Harper, details further on.


Working Bee details

WHAT:         Each year a group of volunteers from FWDSA affiliated clubs meet at the Ngarkat CP to undertake a number of tasks that have been developed in conjunction with the Mallee & Coorong Senior Ranger (SA Murray-Darling Basin, DEWNR) from Lameroo. These tasks assist DEWNR in maintaining, sustaining and enhancing the Ngarkat CP for all park visitors.

The work to be undertaken will be generally on or near the one-way and two-way sections of the Ngarkat CP Border Track and includes track matting, fencing (repair, replacement or installation), fireplace & rubbish clean-up, signage, vegetation trimming, painting and rubble placement. DEWNR provides materials and specialist tools needed for the work and the FWDSA volunteers provide all the basic hand tools and labour.

The one-way section of the Border Track is closed to public traffic from the 1st November to 31st March each year and therefore will be closed to public traffic during the working bee.

WHEN:         Future dates are yet to be decided. The March 2020 Working Bee has been cancelled.  On the Saturday assemble at 8:30am to start work at 9am, many volunteers setup camp on the afternoon or evening of the preceding Friday.

WHERE:        Meet at the Ngarkat CP Pine Hut Soak campground (S35º 25’ 24.7” E140º 52’ 46.2”).
See this map. Nearby alternate campgrounds at Cox’s Windmill and Nanam Well may also be used. These campgrounds have been pre-booked for volunteers to use at no cost.

DIRECTIONS:   Heading south from Tailem Bend cross the railway overpass, turn left onto the Mallee Highway; drive through Peake, Lameroo, Parilla and past the T-Junction to Bordertown (do not turn at the T-Junction), 5km west of Pinnaroo turn right on to Rosy Pine Road (Ngarkat Park sign at this point, see RAA map 'Upper South East ref:J2), continue south for approximately 15 km. There may be gates across Rosy Pine Road and at the Ngarkat CP entrance to control sheep grazing. The Pine Hut Soak campground is located about 400m inside the Ngarkat CP entrance.



Camper trailers and caravans can be accommodated. Pine Hut Soak campground has one very good long drop toilet, the other campgrounds have no facilities You will need to bring everything you need (water, food, shelter). Please note that the working bee dates will still be in fire danger season so the "camp fire" will need to be artificial (a gas stove will be OK).


Tools            Post hole digging tools, pruners, loppers, bow saw, handsaw, shovel, rake, hand tools, battery powered electric drill and/or small angle grinder with a range of drill sizes, spade bits and blades.
UHF              In car and handheld UHF radios will be useful, Channel 16 will be used initially.
Personal    Working gloves and footwear, high visibility vests or clothing, drinking water, sun protection (hat, long sleeves, long pants, sun screen).


Peter Harper

Mob. 0410 526 317

VKS-737 Mobile 2300

Let us know in advance:

  • Contact details for your group.
  • When you plan to arrive.
  • The number of people and vehicles in your party.
  • If you can bring a trailer that could be used to transport materials from the campground.

All welcome!

Whilst enjoying a break from your routine, you will be able to assist with the ongoing FWDSA involvement with the maintenance of the Border Track.

For instance, in March 2017, over 500 hours of effort in Ngarkat CP by five FWDSA Clubs resulted in track matting installation, poly and steel cable fence installation and maintenance, campground and signage maintenance and the creation of a new 2km walking trail from the Cox’s Windmill campground to the current Fishpond’s walking trail.

All FWDSA Clubs and other interested groups are welcome to attend these working bees. In prior years we were very pleased to be assisted by representatives from the Victorian 4WD clubs. It is through the actions of those contributing to the working bees that access and enjoyment of this magnificent remnant of Australian Mallee bush is preserved.

Reports from past working bees

pdf Report from the August 2016 working bee - DEWNR and the FWDSA Border Track committee continued an upgrade to Cox’s Windmill campground.

pdf Report from the June 2016 working bee - A track survey of the central section of the Ngarkat CP.

Border Track Committee (BTC)

The Border Track Committee (BTC) is a sub-committee of Four Wheel Drive South Australia (FWDSA). It reports directly to the Executive of FWDSA and consists of representatives from clubs affiliated with 4WDSA.

The BTC was formed in 1994 as a direct result of work being done by FWDSA affiliated Clubs on the One‑Way section of the Border Track that runs North - South along the South Australian and Victorian Border within the Ngarkat CP, just south of Pinnaroo, South Australia.

The work being done on the One‑Way section of the Border Track was in response to an agreement between the FWDSA and the now Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR). This agreement was put together during 1991-92, when meetings between interested parties determined that it was essential that work be done to lessen the impact of increased usage of tracks within the Ngarkat CP, in particular, the Border Track. The alternative to doing this work was the closure of the Border Track within the Ngarkat CP by DEWNR. It was also agreed to accept one-way travel along a 30 km section of the Border Track, south of the Scorpion Springs turnoff, to lessen the damage being done to the track.

The Ngarkat Conservation Park

The Ngarkat CP comprises four contiguous reserves totalling approximately 270 000 ha. It also abuts the Big Desert Wilderness in Victoria of 140 000 ha. This makes the area a significant remnant of the Ninety Mile Desert that once covered 1.5 million hectares. The area is classed as a semi-arid dune field that has dense Mallee coverage over most of its area. Vegetated East-West dunes cover the area of the Border Track and it is the damage to these as well as areas of clay swales or bog holes that attract most of the work done by volunteers. Track users often experience difficulty in crossing the dunes and clay swales. Over time, detour tracks had been created around the swales and adjacent to the track crossing the sand dunes causing significant degradation of the Border Track and immediate surrounds.

Restoration of track

Most of the work done to date has been to trim overhanging trees on the track and transfer these trimmings to the finger (side) tracks. They are then laid across the track to deter further use and also to trap sand and seed to slowly revegetate the damaged areas. It has been the policy to maintain the historic through track along the border fence as well as one or two other side-tracks at the more significant sand dunes for use when travel is difficult due to soft and deep sand conditions.

The badly rutted clay swales have either been bypassed or filled in with a rubble and sand material combination. There are no longer any deep bog holes on the Border Track within the Ngarkat CP.


The BTC promotes safe and responsible use of the Border Track within the Ngarkat CP by educating the 4WD’ing public on the correct way to drive in the sandy conditions found through the park. A well-worded sign erected by DEWNR at the northern end of the one-way section of the Border Track contains such guidance. This sign suggests appropriate speeds, tyre pressures and driving attitudes to adopt when traversing the Border Track.