Approximately 7,000-8,000 visitors come to the Lands each year to experience Mutawintji, mainly during the cooler months.
For most visitors, access to the Lands is by vehicle using the White Cliffs Road from Broken Hill and involves a drive of approximately 130 kilometres. The road is generally of two wheel, dry weather gravel standard.
The Mutawintji National Park access road leads visitors to the western edge of the Byngnano Range and the Homestead Valley, where the majority of visitor attractions and facilities are found including the well-known Mutawintji Historic Site. Restricted access with an accompanying guide is permitted to the Historic Site. The present range of visitor destinations and facilities is summarised on Figure 5. A description of the key visitor destinations and facilities as well as significant related management issues is provided below.
In keeping with Wiimpatja ways, the owner families feel responsible for the safety and well-being of people visiting the Lands, therefore the safety of visitors will always be an utmost concern in the management of the Lands.
Mutawintji Visitor Centre
An open-air un-staffed Visitor Centre is located inside the Lands and adjacent to the Mutawintji National Park access road approximately five kilometres from the entrance. The Mutawintji Visitor Centre includes toilets and limited picnic facilities nearby. The building previously contained a range of background information providing a general introduction to the Lands. In recent times these displays became out-dated and have been replaced by less comprehensive information. The Centre can be a more interactive, welcoming place where visitors can meet for guided tours of the Historic Site and other planned activities.
Mutawintji Historic Site
Mutawintji Historic Site is an important cultural place and has many individual sites including engravings, paintings and occupation sites. The site is one of the key visitor destinations in the Lands and has been the main focus of visitor use and facilities. A number of built structures including the Cultural Centre and a staff house occur here. A locked gate approximately one kilometre from the Cultural Centre restricts access to the site and visitors are only permitted on a guided tour with either a Wiimpatja guide or a specially authorised tour operator. A road and car park next to the Cultural Centre provide vehicle access to the site.
The Cultural Centre has displays that explain Wiimpatja culture to visitors. It provides a starting point for the guided tours to the sites.
To protect the art, engravings and occupation sites, boardwalks, barriers and information signs have been erected. Some of the tracks and barriers in the Historic Site are older works and in need of an upgrade to provide a better experience for visitors and to demonstrate that the Historic Site is being protected.
The Staff House, Cultural Centre and associated infrastructure such as the road and car park are easy to see from the art sites and detract from the Wiimpatja cultural experience that the site offers.
Homestead Creek Camping Ground
A large camping ground in amongst tall river red gums beside Homestead Creek provides basic level camping facilities, fireplaces, showers and water.
Homestead Creek Day Use Area
The day use area is located just over a kilometre from the Mutawintji Campground and provides a picnic site beside Homestead Creek. The day use area provides a starting point for four walks of varying lengths and standards. The most popular is the Thaakalatjika Mingkana Walk (short high standard) that takes visitors to Thaakalatjika (Wright’s Cave) where examples of Wiimpatja and European paintings, stencils and engravings may be viewed. The track includes a number of boardwalks to provide visitors easy access to the paintings and engravings without further damage. The three other walks take visitors further along Homestead Creek Gorge with an option to visit rock holes or take a return loop along the Byngnano Range.
This site is accessed by a gravel road leading south-east from the main park access road. A small car park lies at the end of the road just after a small creek crossing and an easy six kilometre walk leads visitors to the gorge and rockhole. Mutawintji Gorge itself lies within the Wilderness Area, which restricts the number of visitors to the site and the type of visitor facilities that can be provided.
Old Coach Road Drive and Split Rocks
This drive follows part of the old Broken Hill to White Cliffs Coach Run and takes visitors past the ruins of the Rockhole Hotel and a number of interesting rock formations such as Boomerang Rock (Wana Karnu). A small picnic area with views over the northern end of the Byngnano Range is provided at the end of this 10 kilometre drive. More adventurous visitors have the opportunity to walk the three kilometres to Split Rocks although there is no marked track.
The Lands contain numerous marked walking tracks of differing lengths and standards that provide a range of experiences for the visitor. There are no formal tracks that provide for walks of more than four hours duration. There are six formal walking tracks, all of which lie on the western edge of the Byngnano Range, as detailed below.
- Homestead Creek Day Use Tracks – There are four tracks in this area as described above in the discussion of Homestead Creek Day Use Area and include Wiimpatja and European paintings, stencils and engravings, Homestead Creek Gorge and the ridge of the Byngnano Range. These tracks are of varying standards and range from 20 minutes to four hours in duration.
- Western Ridge Track – This track provides visitors with views over the adjoining desert plains and also of the Byngnano Range. The track is steep in places and takes approximately three hours.
- Mutawintji Gorge Walk – This walk takes visitors across typical rangeland country before heading into the picturesque Mutawintji Gorge and finishing at Mutawintji Rockhole. The track is of AS Class 3 and takes about three hours. Although the track lies within the Wilderness Area, marker pegs are used to indicate the route.