Nyarna (Lake Stretch) – Camping On Sturt Creek

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Nyarna (Lake Stretch) is also known as Stretch Lagoon. This is a popular camping spot at the Northern end of the Canning Stock Route. Being the only permanent waterhole within the Paruku IPA (Indigenous Protection Area) along Sturt Creek, Nyarna is an important site for the Walamajarri people.

Paruku is pronounced “Ba-roo-goo”.

For more information on who looks after this country, how it’s managed and how to get there, go here.

Nyarna lies just South of Billiluna on the Canning Stock Route. In turn, Billiluna is just South of the Tanami Road.

Lake Stretch (Nyarna or Stretch Lagoon).
Lake Stretch (Nyarna or Stretch Lagoon).

Getting There

We arrived at Nyarna from the South. After leaving Mulan IPA Office, we took a back track North-West. This track is actually called “Back Track” in the Paruku IPA Visitors Information Guide!

Back track to Lake Stretch (Nyarna or Stretch Lagoon).
This back track has more trees overhanging the track than the rest of WA put together!


This track is a narrow two-wheeled track, corrugated as expected. For probably more than half of its 80km length, small trees and coarse shrubs overhang the track. So be prepared to get some bush pin-striping on your vehicle… especially if you’re in a 4WD truck like we were!

Corrugations and overgrowth aside, this track has some incredible scenery. It has just about everything. You’ll cross long stretches of floodplain, cross over red sand dunes with quite deep sand then twist and weave along the barely-defined Sturt Creek.

Note: This was filmed using a Go Pro Hero Black. Camera House have a large range of GoPro cameras and accessories.

Just be aware that the Paruku IPA map in their Visitors Guide does not quite reflect the actual track. A good GPS will help you out here.

You’ll eventually reach the Canning Stock Route. Without a GPS, you wouldn’t even know you were on the CSR. A little way North, turn off to Nyarna (Lake Stretch) for a well-earned rest.

The Campsite

Nyarna is set up for bush camping. There are pit toilets and a basic shelter with some interpretive signs. You need to be self-sufficient.

Camping at Lake Stretch (Nyarna or Stretch Lagoon)..
Our campsite.

At first we were disgusted with the amount of rubbish strewn everywhere. However, we realised what had happened. Billiluna community provide bins, which are normally covered with small sheets of corrugated iron.

With the winds we were experiencing, all the covers had blown off and the crows were pulling out bags of rubbish then systematically ripping them apart.

There’s plenty of space here. The sites are well spaced and hug the edge of the lagoon.

The Two Brothers

The Walmajarri people look after the Two Brothers. They lived at Nyarna for a long time and when they passed away they became two trees, one on the eastern Side and one on the West. If you identify them, be respectful and don’t go too close.

River gum at Lake Stretch (Nyarna or Stretch Lagoon).
An old river gum dipping its toes in the water.

The Lagoon

We were at Nyarna in mid-May. The wet season hadn’t been particularly kind in this region, so the lagoon was fairly low. Despite this, birds were everywhere. 

It was good to lie back and gaze at a kite, using the wind to circle over the water. This bird was an expert glider, adjusting his wings slightly depending on the prevailing wind.

You can swim in the lagoon. We were going to, but the wind was howling and it was quite cool. We contented ourselves by wandering around the edge and taking in the serenity of this place.

Late afternoon at Lake Stretch (Nyarna or Stretch Lagoon).
Late afternoon at Lake Stretch (Nyarna or Stretch Lagoon).

In Summary

Whether you’re on a Canning Stock Route adventure or exploring Paruku IPA, Nyarna (Lake Stretch) is an ideal stopover. 

Nyarna is on Walmajarri Country.

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