Newhaven Wildlife Sanctuary

Top choice Wildlife Reserve

in Tanami Road (NT)

Run by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC), this ground-breaking wildlife reserve 136km south off the Tanami Track covers 2620 sq km and is on the front line of attempts to save Australia's native wildlife. By building a fence to keep out feral cats, foxes and other species that have killed countless native mammals and birds, AWC has been able to reintroduce numerous endangered native species. Camping ($10 per person, cash only) is possible, as are self-guided tours of the sanctuary.

Camping here is open from April to September. The sites are unpowered, but there are toilet and shower facilities with drinking water. Although some sections of the sanctuary are off-limits while conservation works continue, options for exploring include 300km of trails (information sheets and interpretative notes are available). Short birdwatching walks and escarpment lookout points are also accessible.

Part of the Great Sandy Desert, Newhaven belongs to the Ngalia Warlpiri people – a successful native title land claim was finalised in 2010. AWC works in close partnership with the traditional owners, and many of those employed here come from the local community.

Landscapes are varied, from rocky desert massifs and sand dunes to salt lakes, clay-pans, spinifex plains, and mulga and eucalyptus woodlands. These varied habitats have long provided shelter for species such as the black-footed rock-wallaby (one of 27 mammal species) and the great desert skink (one of 83 reptile species), as well 170 different types of bird. Once nonnative predators have been removed from the area, AWC hopes to introduce 11 nationally threatened or endangered species such as the mala (otherwise known as the rufous hare-wallaby, currently extinct in the wild) and the golden bandicoot.