In South Australia’s remote Outback landscape, the Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park protects the cultural landscape of the Arabana Aboriginal people. It’s home to two hot springs, Blanche Cup Spring and the Bubbler Spring.
Deriving its name from the Arabana language, the conservation park is famous for its network of mound springs and wetlands. They are sourced from the Great Artesian Basin.
The two most famous mound springs in the park are called The Blanche Cup and The Bubbler. Fueled by water that seeps through the ground from the Great Artesian Basin, the overflow has created a vast oasis in the Outback’s desert. Wetlands in the area are an important habitat for numerous species of birds including the Blue-winged Parrot, Australian Pipit, and Zebra Finch.
Remote and pristine, the Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park is a must-see stop on Australia’s famous Oodnadatta Track.
Mound springs are a unique type of pool that can be found in the far north of South Australia. The country’s most iconic mound springs are The Blanche Cup and The Bubbler in the Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park.
These two mound springs are formed by the Great Artesian Basin. Underground, the extremely high pressure pushes water to the surface where it forms mounds of bubbling pools. The water is considered to be natural and artesian because of its high mineral content.
Excess water seeping through the ground has filled South Australia’s Outback enough to create a wetland habitat. The wetlands are important landscapes for the local wildlife and a true oasis in the desert’s arid environment.
The Blanche Cup Spring
Called Thirrka in the Arabana language, the Blanche Cup Spring is the conservation park’s most famous spring. Located close to Hamilton Hill, which itself is an extinct mound spring, The Blanche Cup is one of two springs with public access in the park.
Sitting 65 feet (20 meters) above the landscape, this spring is about 82 feet (25 meters) in diameter. Beneath the hill of Blanche Cup, there is a small car park. Visitors can walk along the elevated boardwalk to view the spring. Swimming is not permitted at The Blanche Cup Spring.
The Bubbler Spring
The second most famous mound spring in the conservation park is The Bubbler Spring. In the Arabana language, the spring is called Pirdali-nha. Part of the name comes from the water, where bubbles frequently come to the surface and pop.
Around the springs, green grass grows, which stands out from the arid landscape. Like all mound springs, The Bubbler is elevated above the surrounding landscape. Visitors can access the spring by taking a short path from the nearby car park. Just like The Blanche Cup Springs, swimming is not permitted at The Bubbler.
Camping in the Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park is not permitted and there are no on-site accommodations. However, just a short distance from the park is the Coward Springs Campground. The Blanche Cup and The Bubbler Springs are about 3.7 miles (6km) from the campsites.
Although technically a part of the park, the Coward Springs Campground is independently owned and operated. Focused on eco camping, campsites at Coward Springs are unpowered but have the option to house a tent, camper trailer, caravan, or RV.
All sites have a firepit. Fires are not permitted from October to April and wood cannot be collected in the conservation park. Eco logs kits can be bought from the campground office.
Facilities at the campground include a small museum, Coffee Van, showers, toilets, and the natural spa. Overnight camping fees do exist or visitors can buy a day pass to access the spa and museum.
The Coward Springs Campground is the closest accommodation option to the Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park. Extremely remote, the closest major town to the campground and conservation park is Marree, which is 1 hour and 33 minutes away.
The Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park is located in the rural locality of Stuarts Creek, South Australia. Stuarts Creek is listed as having a population of 0, so any visitors interested in seeing the conservation park should be prepared to travel to a very remote area.
The closest town to the conservation park is Marree, which is 81 miles (130.9km) away. The roads in these remote parts of Australia tend to be compacted dirt. However, most are maintained throughout the year. With the terrain being flat, most 2WD cars will be able to make the journey to the conservation park.
Address: Stuarts Creek SA 5720, Australia
Coordinates: 29°26’23”S, 136°50’47”E
Phone: (+61) 8 8648 5328 – Park Management Office
Age Restrictions: None
Pets: Not permitted
Entry: Paid – per vehicle