Buckaringa Sanctuary conserves 2,000 hectares of rugged quartzite ranges and broad valley floors in the southern central Flinders Ranges of South Australia. 

The property offers spectacular scenery featuring steep cliffs and two dramatic gorges, dissected by Redgum-lined creeks. 

Buckaringa is in an area of transition in the Flinders Ranges between the cooler, wetter and better vegetated south and the warmer, drier and sparser vegetated north.  As a result, the property contains a rich diversity of flora and fauna.  The most significant species on Buckaringa is the nationally threatened Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby, one of Australia’s most beautiful macropods.  The property is also home to a suite of declining bird species.

Key vitals

Size / area:
2,085 hectares
Flinders and Lofty Block
Threatened plants:
Threatened wildlife:


Buckaringa protects one of the largest populations of the nationally threatened Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby in the southern Flinders Ranges.  This species has declined significantly across its range as a result of predation by foxes, competition with feral goats, loss of habitat and, originally, hunting for its spectacular pelt. Buckaringa is an important secure refuge for the species.

Around 115 species of birds have been recorded on the property, including significant species such as the Diamond Firetail, Peregrine Falcon, Elegant Parrot and Gilbert’s Whistler.  There is suitable habitat for the Short-tailed Grasswren – the only Flinders Ranges endemic bird – which has been confirmed in the immediate vicinity of the property. 

There is a diversity of reptiles, ranging from the smallest skinks to large goannas, and at least two frog species which become numerous in the small pools and rock holes after rain. 

Click below to view the list of wildlife species at Buckaringa:
Mammals List  |  Birds List  |  Reptiles List  |  Amphibians List  |  Threatened List

Measures of success: Ecological Health

Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby and juvenile
Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby and juvenile

AWC is the only conservation organisation to measure, in a robust scientific manner, the ecological health of a network of sanctuaries in Australia.  At Buckaringa, we measure a suite of ecological health indicators each year including:

  • The diversity and abundance of key faunal groups such as birds and ground-dwelling reptiles.
  • The Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby population.
  • The significance of threats such as feral animals and weeds. 

Our performance against these indicators provides rigorous scientific data which enables us to track the ecological health of Buckaringa.

Field programs

General description

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon

Buckaringa is part of a folded sedimentary sequence of sandstones, siltstones and shales. While the sandstones are relatively resistant to erosion, both the siltstone and shales are weak and easily eroded. The sandstone fold structures form the present pattern of ridges and ranges. 

The quartzite of the main range on Buckaringa (the ABC Range) forms a hogback ridge with a steep cliff along its eastern side.  Buckaringa and Middle Gorges are formed where streams have cut through the ridge at right angles to the strata, forming steep-sided gorges with numerous crevices, caves and fallen boulder piles.  The remainder of the sanctuary consists of ridges and bedrock plains carrying shallow soils and rock debris, with deeper soils on the flatter alluvial areas away from the rock outcrops.

Buckaringa’s climate is characterised by cool winters with cold nights where the temperature frequently falls below 0°C, and hot summers with daytime temperatures often over 40°C. It is located in the transition zone between predominantly winter rainfall areas of the southern Flinders Ranges and the summer rainfall areas further north.

Ecosystems and plants

There are six major habitats at Buckaringa:

  • Open Acacia shrubland dominated by short-lived species such as Elegant Wattle over a mix of native annual and perennial grasses and some introduced species. There are regenerating chenopod species such as Saltbush, Bluebush and Ruby Saltbush.
  • Hummock Grasslands dominated by Spinifex.
  • Redgum creeklines that occur as a narrow band along the length of several ephemeral creeks that periodically flow on the property (this habitat is important for hollow-nesting species).
  • Shrubland found on rough, rocky range country that includes a mix of low shrub species such as Hakea, Eremophila and Cassinia, often with a Spinifex understorey.
  • Black Oak woodland consisting of low woodland of Casuarina.
  • Native Pine woodland.

Over 300 plant species have been recorded on Buckaringa, including threatened species such as Sandalwood.

Staff at Buckaringa