Paruku (Lake Gregory) IPA. Who Manages This Land? And How Do You Get There?
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Paruku Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) manages a huge area of land wedged into the intersection of the Canning Stock Route and Tanami Road in Western Australia.
Paruku is pronounced “Ba-roo-goo”.
A chain of lakes lies within Paruku IPA. Confusingly, the largest lake is called Paruku (Lake Gregory). This is just one of several lakes and wetlands within the Paruku IPA.
Who manages this land and how do you get there?
Who Cares For This Land?
Paruku is an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA). An IPA is like an Indigenous National Park. The Walmajarri people of North-East Western Australia own and manage this IPA.
It covers two pastoral leases, originally Billiluna and Lake Gregory Stations for a total of over 434,000 hectares. Paruku is within the much larger Tjurabalan native title area.
Within Paruku IPA are several lakes and Sturt Creek, including the largest lake called Paruku (was Lake Gregory).
Nyarna (Lake Stretch or Stretch Lagoon) also lies within the Paruku IPA and is a popular stopover for those travelling the Canning Stock Route.
IPAs incorporate traditional land management practices with the latest scientific best-practice. Most importantly, the Walamajarri people continue to hand down tens of thousands of years of accumulated knowledge through the generations and are directly responsible for Paruku IPA’s management.
Paruku IPA Rangers are mainly Walmajarri people and are trained to Cert III in Conservation And Land Management. This compliments the rangers’ existing knowledge of traditional land management techniques. It’s an excellent way to ensure they have all the skills they need to care for their country.
How Do You Get To Paruku?
You need a permit to access Paruku. You can buy them from Paruku IPA offices in Mulan (pronounced Mullen) and Billiluna or online. Even if you buy your permit over the phone or online, you must call into either office on arrival.
Why? So they know where you’re going in case you run into problems. This area is incredibly remote, distances are huge and day time temperatures are high. You could very easily find yourself in a world of trouble if something goes wrong.
Now, access… how do you get to Paruku? It depends where you’re coming from.
- If you’re coming from Alice Springs on the Tanami, turn off to Balgo then drive on to Mulan, to the Paruku IPA office.
- If you’re coming from Halls Creek on the Tanami, turn off to Billiluna, to the Paruku IPA office.
- If you’re coming up the Canning, turn off to Mulan and loop around the lake until you reach Mulan.
Be aware, all of these roads can be horrendously corrugated and rough. It depends entirely on when they were last graded.
When To Visit
The best time to visit is between May and September. Outside of these times, you may get caught up in the annual wet season or be subjected to extreme temperatures. Keep an eye on the wet season and road closures in the region.
When you check in at Billiluna or Mulan IPA Office, rangers there will advise on the best camping sites for you. If you’re an avid bird-watcher, they can suggest a few places where you’ll be in bird-heaven!
Campsites may have drop toilets and/or a basic shelter, depending on the location. Apart from that, you’ll need to be totally self-sufficient. Take all your rubbish out with you and put away all rubbish at night.
Remember this is extremely arid country. So you must bring sufficient drinking water with you.
Also be mindful you are a guest of the Walmajarri people. If they say you cannot camp at a certain place, please respect this. Many places are women only or men only and some places are out of bounds for visitors.
You can get basic supplies at Balgo, Mulan and Billiluna community stores. Unleaded petrol and diesel are normally available. As always, carry extra fuel just in case. Drinking water is precious out here, so bring it with you.
The Paruku rangers are helpful people who want you to enjoy your stay. If you’re keen to experience a truly remote region, little known to travellers then spend some time at Puruku IPA.
Paruku is on Walmajarri Country.
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