Mallee Country, SA
The township of Karoonda is 60 kilometres northeast of Murray Bridge. Here visitors can inspect the Railway Museum and Pioneer Park, or enjoy the peace of the Apex caravan and camping area.
The town has become a popular rest area for interstate travellers because of its modern facilities and good takeaway food outlets.
Look out for the concrete statue of a ram standing in the shadow of the town’s giant silos, highlighting the importance of farming to this mallee community.
Karoonda is well known in scientific circles due to a meteorite that fell to Earth just 3.6 kilometres from the township in the 1930s. The meteorite was observed falling from as far away as the Eyre Peninsula – witnesses of this rare sight described it as ‘turning night into day’. Due to the meteorite’s structural type, it shattered on impact. A piece of the Karoonda meteorite is on display in the council offices and visitors are encouraged to view it.
Lameroo is situated on the Mallee Highway and has a population of 550.The township is like a green oasis in the dry mallee area, with an abundance of lush lawns and trees to greet the visitor. The neat lawn rest areas with good, clean facilities are popular for travellers passing through the region.
The Lameroo Golf course within the town boasts 18 watered greens and fairways that provide a pleasant country setting to enjoy your game of golf. The clubhouse has bar facilities and catering facilities are available. Visitors are always welcome.
The Ngarkat group of conservation parks includes Ngarkat, Mount Rescue, Mount Shaugh and Scorpion Springs and cover an incredible 262,700 hectares. The best time to visit these parks is in late autumn, throughout winter and in early spring. Facilities are limited and four wheel vehicles are the most suitable form of transport. The park is large and isolated – the perfect place to really get away from it all! For detailed information on Ngarkat touring options get a copy of the ‘Tracks of the Mallee’ from National Parks and Wildlife South Australia – Mallee Office, Railway Terrace North, Lameroo
Pinnaroo is in the heart of the wheat, oat and barley belt that stretches from western Victoria through to South Australia, and is situated not far from the Victorian border.
The Pinnaroo township is located on the site of one of the original pastoral leases. It began to develop in earnest in the 1900s, as the coming of the railway attracted more and more settlers to the area. The first shop was opened in 1905, and the first bank, hotel and school were all established in the following year.
In recent times Pinnaroo has become highly regarded for its good horticultural crops, with varieties of potatoes, carrots, onions, grapes, olives and flowers becoming a common sight. The town of Pinnaroo has a good shopping area, hotels, motel and recreational facilities including a 9-hole golf course. There are a number of popular farm-stays in this area, too.
The Mallee Tourist and Heritage Centre at Pinnaroo offer a fascinating glimpse into the region’s past. Here you’ll find a world-renowned grain collection, restored stationary engines and farm machinery, along with a heritage museum full of local artefacts, photographs, historic items and more… all in one complex. In addition, the town boasts a comprehensive printing museum.
An animal park is located within the Soldiers Memorial Park and features a wide range of native animals including extensive bird aviary.
Karte Conservation Park can be found 30 kilometres northwest of Pinnaroo. A stroll along the walking trail from the picnic area will soon display the amazing flora found in this part of the mallee. From its highest point there are good views of the park and surrounding farmlands.
The tiny settlement of Wanbi lies 54 kilometres south of Loxton. Although it has a population of less than 20, it boasts a two-storey hotel built in 1932. The Wanbi pub is the only ‘watering hole’ between Karoonda and Loxton.
Billiatt Conservation Park sits 18 kilometres south of Alawoona and 37 kilometres north of Lameroo. In the umbrella-like canopy, pygmy-possums have been seen, along with many birds, including the rare western whip-bird and the red-lored whistler. At ground level mallee fowl scratch in the leaf and bark litter. Although park facilities are limited, this is another perfect place for nature enthusiasts to get away from it all.
Geranium is on the Mallee Highway between Tailem Bend and Lameroo. The town has approximately 80 residents, with a hall, two churches, a store, a garage, extensive sporting facilities including lawn bowling greens making it an important local centre, and an attractive township for farmers to retire to. In an era of centralisation to big towns, Geranium’s future as a small centre seems assured.
In 1999 the Geranium community won South Australia’s Tidiest Town Award. Geranium went on to compete in the National Finals of Australia’s Tidiest Town and won an Award of Excellence for Environmental Action and Education 2000. The Geranium residents put in many hours to achieve this award, indicative of the community spirit of South Australians, who have the highest participation in the tidy town judging of any State in the nation. The Tidy Towns Competition is judged by KESAB (Keep South Australia Beautiful Inc). Geranium won the competition from a huge field of 316 separate communities and 220 schools, competing with many towns far greater in size and population.
The two towns of Mindarie and Halidon are situated on the Karoonda – Loxton road. Although these two towns are small rural communities, every year they host the Mindarie Halidon races in September.
Parilla Township was proclaimed in 1907, and like Pinnaroo owed its initial growth to the construction of the railway. Between 1907 and 1912 the town developed rapidly, with the construction of general stores, a public hall, a school, a church and other buildings. Now, with a population of 45, Parilla is a mixture of new modern residential buildings and historical reminders of the past.
Discover the wonderful wild flowers in late winter and early spring. Enjoy bird watching year-round in the nearby conservation parks. Take a step back in time and visit the Mallee Tourist and Heritage Centre at Pinnaroo. Stop for a drink and a chat at the unique Wanbi Pub. Include a game of golf or lawn bowls when visiting the Mallee.
About Mallee Country
- State: South Australia