Loch Luna Game Reserve
The Loch Luna Game Reserve is situated along the Murray River in South Australia. It is a decent 2.5 hour drive from Adelaide (approximately 210km north) along the Sturt Highway. Along the way there is plenty of signage. If you head for Barmera you will see a large brown sign just before you reach the town pointing towards Loch Luna.
Edwin and I headed up there to spend our Easter long weekend for the very first time in April (2013) and we had an absolute ball. Once we navigated our way there, we drove around to all the camp sites to get a glimpse of what they each had to offer. Be prepared to allow a good 30mins for this as the park is big, the sites are spread apart and the dirt road is bumpy. The long weekend meant that it was quite busy and already most of the campsites were taken by the time we arrived. We settled at campsite number 2 which was fairly big for just the two of us but we liked it because it had good access to the water and we could avoid camping under any big gum trees that might randomly drop their branches on us. Once we set up camp we drove back to the registration hut at the entrance to the park to pay our permit. I think from memory it was $8 a night for a car.
Loch Luna is not on the main part of the river, instead it is amongst some wetlands making it ideal for those looking to kayak or get away to somewhere peaceful, like us. During our time there we really just relaxed and didn’t do much but that was perfect for us. We read, went for walks and drove into the local town to attend the Easter Sunday morning service at the Anglican church. Had it been hot enough we may have attempted swimming (though it is not encouraged) and had we had a kayak we would have loved to explore the wetlands. April was a tricky time of year to visit because it became quite cold in the evenings but we were not allowed to have a fire because it was still in fire ban season. (1st November to 30th April) But we were thankful that it was too cold for the flies, mosquitoes and snakes.
I would not recommend Loch Luna for those with jet skis, motor boats of those looking to water ski. It is much to shallow and there is no ramp to access the water. There are no toilets, bins or water facilities at the Reserve so you must take your own water supply, use the bush toilet and be sure to take your rubbish with you when you leave. It is recommended that you bring your own fire wood if you visit when it is not fire ban season. And although it looks like the perfect place to fish, don’t be fooled as all you will catch in this very shallow wetland is Carp (not edible and illegal to throw back into the river).
Volunteers look after the Game Reserve so don’t expect it to be anything more than just bush camping. There is plenty of bird life to be observed as well as Kangaroos and lizards. Some of the (10) sites are suitable for trailers and caravans, some are shaded, some are spacious allowing for large groups of campers, some are close to the highway and the traffic is quite noisy, some have access to the water, and some are even grassed.
We found it to be exactly what we needed, a peaceful get away to unwind and quality time together. We would most defiantly visit again.