While the outback may be home to many gorgeous sights such as the Uluru (Ayers Rock), one gem you won’t want to skip out on is the Dalhousie Springs.
Dalhousie Springs, also known as the Witjira-Dalhousie Springs, contains water that is thousands, if not millions of years old. It originated as a fundamental part of Aboriginal tradition, proven by the large campsites and stone artifacts found throughout the location. Due to the Indigenous significance, the Dalhousie Springs is part of the Australian National Heritage List.
Although originated as an essential part of Lower Southern Arrernte tradition, Europeans discovered the area in the 1870s. During this time, the springs were given as a pastoral lease to businessman and pastoralist EM Bagot. Abandoned in 1925, the springs were acquired by the Witjira National Park in 1985.
Dalhousie Springs Pools
One of the best things to do at Dalhousie Springs is swim in one of the 100+ immense hot springs. These unique springs have a mound, volcano-like outflow due to the combination of calcium and salt deposits from the mineral-rich waters and wind-blown sands that create mud and plant debris.
The hot springs can range in temperatures from 38-43°C (100-107°F). If it’s too hot in one area, you can swim to another spot to cool down. While enjoying the hot springs, you may even feel nibbles on your feet from one of the many small native fish of the area. However, it’s more common to see endemic species such as the hardyhead, catfish, perch, and mogurnda in the overflow channels.
When taking a break from the hot springs, visitors can enjoy various hiking trails, such as Irrwanyere Nature Walk and Idnjundura – Kingfisher Springs Walk. Guests can observe Indigenous artifacts, old campsites, and even the stabilized ruins of the Dalhousie Homestead. Up above, a range of birds can be observed throughout the day.
The large hot spring pools attract various waterfowl species, especially when the surface is slightly colder in winter mornings.
Camping at Dalhousie Springs
The Dalhousie Springs is a hot spot for campsites, dating back thousands of years to the Indigenous tribes. Today, it continues to be a location for travelers worldwide to enjoy beautiful sites night and day. This is partially thanks to the colossal expansion in the 1990s, which included enhancing the camping area and upgrading the roads.
Campsites include hot showers, toilets, laundry, shade, barbeques, benches, rubbish disposal, and payphones.
Note: There are three different campgrounds at Dalhousie Springs, including the Dalhousie Springs Campground, 3 O’Clock Creek Campground, and Purni Bore Campground. All campgrounds require a reservation and should be reserved sooner rather than later as these campgrounds can fill up quickly.
There are several ways to access Dalhousie Springs. Regardless of entry, using a vehicle, off-road camper, or caravan with 4WD is recommended. Use the Mt. Dare Station entry if you’re arriving from the north. Keep in mind these roads tend to be ridged and difficult to manage (hence the 4WD recommendation). It can also become slippery after rainfall.
Another option is to use the Hamilton access track. This unique rack gives visitors a view of sandy dunes as they travel through the Pedirika Desert.
Address: Witjira National Park | Edith Springs, Witjira SA 5734, Australia