Heysen Trail ‘South Coast Week’. October 4th-10th 2020

The Heysen Trail near Kings Beach – photo by Martin Chapman.

 

Your chance to join a guided walk of  the stunning Heysen Trail ‘South Coast’ in one week.

Get in quick for the rare opportunity to undertake the ‘South Coast’. The breathtaking first six sections of the Heysen Trail in ” one hit”, from the trailhead at Cape Jervis through to the delightful little hamlet of Inman Valley.

A full week of walking designed to enable walkers especially those from beyond Adelaide, whether from intrastate or interstate, the opportunity to complete these fantastic sections along the coast in a single block.

Please note this is an extended walk for people wanting to do the entire week of walks and not those only wishing to do selected day walks. You can find out further information about the walks and register for the event on our walk calendar.

Accommodation and dining options

Once you have registered you can think about booking accommodation in Victor Harbor or elsewhere on the Fleurieu Peninsula. Any accommodation booked is the individual walker’s responsibility. Meals will not be provided, but there are a wide range of dining establishments in Victor Harbor

All the walk leaders are currently leading an ‘End to End’ group and have each completed the trail at least twice. They ‘know the lie of the land’ and have organised bus transfers and other details for you. You enjoy the walk without the stress.

For each walk, walkers will need to drive themselves to the end location for the walk. From there, a bus will take you to the start of the day’s walk. The $180 walk fee is to cover the cost of organising the event and the daily bus fees.

Some of these walks are challenging so please ensure you come physically prepared for a memorable week on the Heysen Trail.

The Heysen Trail is open for through walkers and camping … BUT the Cudlee Creek fire has caused a problem…

With the easing of COVID-19 health restrictions on May 11th, the campsites and huts along the Heysen Trail are now open to ‘through’ walkers.

The easing of restrictions means that the trail is now open for small group walks. Currently, under Step 1 of the SA Government Road Map to Recovery bushwalking is permitted, provided the group size and social distancing advice is observed.

Additionally, through walkers need to keep informed while they are on the trail. The COVID situation may change while they are on the trail and this could affect their ability to continue to walk. This particularly applies to walkers from interstate, as border crossing arrangements may change from time to time.

Before setting off on walks on the Heysen Trail, you need to be aware of the following issues:

1. Trail closure caused by the Cudlee Creek bushfire

Forestry SA has closed access to the Heysen Trail in the vicinity of Cudlee Creek, with the affected section shown on this exclusion zone map.

It covers sections of the following maps:

Heysen Trail Sheet Maps 2B & 2C and
Southern Guidebook Map 3.6.

The exclusion zone commences at the eastern exit of Montacute Conservation Park (Grid Ref 983 377) and concludes when the trail leaves Forestry property at Snake Gully Rd (GR 014 402).

Due to the location of the trail in relation to the extensive exclusion zone, finding an alternative route is presenting some difficulties. The travel restrictions caused by COVID-19 have further delayed the task. However, our Trail Development Team is attempting to find a way, but it may be some time before a re-route is approved.

All walkers are advised to avoid the area. Trail closure signs have been erected by Forestry SA. Any walker planning to walk the whole trail this year, including through Cudlee Creek should email the Friends Office to seek advice on alternative arrangements. One option would include taking vehicular transport to avoid the area.

Unfortunately the excluded area includes Grandpa’s campsite, which is now closed. Due to the extent of the fire zone and the danger of falling trees, we do not anticipate the campsite being available for several months, if at all during 2020.

As a result of this closure, there is no campsite between Woodhouse and Scotts Shelter, a distance of 76 kms. Through walkers should be aware of this, and plan accordingly. Refer to the Service Directory and Transport  for planning information.

2. On Line Bookings for Forestry SA campsites

Forestry SA has initiated an on line booking system for the following campsites along the trail:

3. Temporary closure of the Montacute Conservation park

Parks SA have advised that the Montacute Conservation Park will be closed from 6pm, Sunday 31 May until 6pm Friday 5 June 2020 for a feral pest control program. Heysen Trail walkers need to avoid the area during this period.

4. Correction to the website accommodation list – camping is not permitted in the Finniss Conservation Park

Parks SA have also advised us that the old campsite in the Finniss Conservation Park was incorrectly shown in the accommodation list as being available for camping. The campsite was closed some years ago in the interest of protecting the park.

5. Tanks – take care if you are relying on them for your water supplies

Over summer we have become aware that several of the tanks along the trail require maintenance. Due to travel restrictions caused by COVID-19, we have been unable to travel to these remote locations to fix/replace the tanks.

Fortunately, indications are that we can anticipate good winter rains. However, the supply of water in our tanks cannot be guaranteed.

So, if the walk you are planning includes Beetaloo Creek or Eyre Depot we suggest you carry additional water or arrange a water drop.

Prescribed Burn in Hale Conservation Park – week commencing 20th April 2020.

Heysen Trail walkers are advised that the Hale Conservation Park will be closed for several days over the week commencing Monday, 20th April 2020.

The closure will be for the purpose of DEW undertaking a prescribed burn. The burn off is most likely be held on Friday April 24th, but this may vary due to weather conditions.  The closure may affect walkers in the vicinity of the Mount Crawford Forest. The Hale Conservation Park is approx. 4 kms west of the Heysen Trail at Mt Crawford. You can find the park on Map 3.9 of the Southern Guidebook and Heysen Trail Mapsheet 2C.

Rangers will post closure signs the day before the burn on the trail coming from the Warren Conservation Park. On the day of the burn, additional signs will be posted for the two loop walks within the  Hale Conservation Park.

The Heysen Trail remains closed during the Fire Danger Season

Walkers are reminded that the Heysen Trail south of Wirrabara remains closed during the Fire Danger Season. The season ends at midnight on April 30th. Walkers can use the Heysen Trail in Parks and Forest Reserves during the fire season, except on days of total fire bans.

Heysen Trail Closure – Southern Flinders Ranges – 22nd to 28th February 2020.

Heysen Trail walkers are advised that the following parks in the Southern Flinders Ranges will be closed from 6am Saturday, 22 February 2020 until 6pm Friday, 28 February 2020:

  • Telowie Gorge Conservation Park,
  • The Napperby Block of Mount Remarkable National Park,
  • Spaniards Gully Conservation Park and
  • Wirrabara Range Conservation Park

Walkers will not be able to access the Heysen Trail in these parks during this period.

The parks will be closed for the purpose of undertaking a pest control program. Walkers need to take note of this closure and avoid that section of the trail during those dates.

Heysen Trail closure during the Fire Danger Season

The Country Fire Service has already announced the commencement of the Fire Danger Season for the Mid North & Flinders Districts.  As a result, much of the Heysen Trail is already closed.

Some sections of the Heysen Trail may be open during the Fire Danger Season – principally those not on private land. The areas that are open (other than on total fire ban days) include Conservation Parks and Reserves, Forests, public roads and vacant land.

The closure of these conservation parks later this week therefore places additional restrictions on walkers.

Telowie Gorge Conservation park

You can get a further explanation about access to the Heysen Trail during the fire season from our Fire Danger Season webpage.

Please that the Friend’s website will be undergoing maintenance for a few days from early on Tuesday February 18th 2020. If you want to read about the fire danger season but the webpage is not available, please try again later.

For more information about the control program or park closure, please contact the Natural Resources Centre on (08) 8841 3400. Further information can be found on the Parks SA Alerts page.

Heysen Trail Closure – Southern Flinders Ranges

Walkers are advised that access to the Heysen Trail in the Southern Flinders Ranges will be restricted  from 6 am  Saturday, 23 November 2019 until 6pm Friday, 29 November 2019.

Telowie Gorge Conservation Park, The Napperby Block of Mount Remarkable National Park, Spaniards Gully Conservation Park and Wirrabara Range Conservation Park  will be closed for the purpose of undertaking a pest control program.

So walkers need to take note of this closure and avoid that section of the trail during those dates.

The Country Fire Service has already announced the commencement of the Fire Danger Season for the Mid North & Flinders Districts. As a result, much of the Heysen Trail is now closed in those areas.

The sections that remain open are principally those not on private land. These include public roads, Conservation Parks and Reserves, Forests and vacant land.

For more information about the control program or park closure, please contact the Natural Resources Centre on (08) 8841 3400. Further information can be found on the Parks SA Alerts page.

Access to off-track walking may be under threat in the Flinders Ranges and beyond – Pastoral Act Review

Maybe a slightly alarmist subject line, but possibly the case. Walkers ability to access pastoral leases may change, with changes to the way pastoral leaseholders are allowed to manage the land, read on.

The info below has been provided by Walking SA, and is being sent to members of the Friends of the Heysen Trail so they have the information, and can then completed the survey if they have the interest. (many sections of the survey will not be applicable to walkers, so answer “no comment” where applicable). A thorough survey response might take 20-30mins. At the bottom of this email is a table of relevant questions from the survey. The closing date for comments has been extended to 5pm Monday 30 September 2019.

This is of keen interest to FoHT members who undertake extra-circular walks further north, and for any planned FoHT northern trips away. The Friends are with Walking SA in wanting to retain the right to walk through the pastoral country as has been our right since settlement. Sure there will likely be some areas with no, or restricted, access to allow for tourism, cultural sensitivities, or mining activities, yet this should not restrict activity outside those limited, defined areas.

Review of Pastoral Act may impact access for recreational bushwalkers in the Flinders Ranges

What is the issue?

The State Government is seeking input in order to review the Pastoral Act.

Much of the land in the Flinders Ranges north of Hawker is not private freehold land but instead is leased from the State Government to pastoralists to undertake grazing ventures[i], and recognises the rights of Aboriginal people.

As the land is leased, people can undertake recreational off-trail bushwalking in these remote locations. They must notify the lessee of their intentions to walk, and the lessee can only deny access in certain scenarios.

To clarify, by “off-trail bushwalking” we often mean following old vehicle tracks, or walking in a low impact environment, and can include camping for a few nights.

The Act also provides what are called Public Access Routes (PARs), which are often used by 4WDers for recreational use. They will likely probably remain, but our concerns are for access to other lands not part of PARs.

How could changes to Pastoral Act impact on recreational bushwalking? What are our concerns?

Tanks-the unreliable water supply for walkers

One of the many tanks along the trail installed and maintained by the Friends of the Heysen Trail

Heysen Trail walkers are reminded that in some locations on the trail, the supply of water can’t be guaranteed

Walkers, especially through walkers, need to be aware that water and its quality cannot be guaranteed along the Trail.

Whilst we endeavour to have up to date information on water levels on all our tanks, due to the remote location of some, this is not always possible.

Be prepared

  1. Plan for your walk, by checking the location of tanks along the trail

    There are approximately 70 publicly accessible water tanks and supply points along the trail, not including addition sources in the towns the trail passes. Generally you will pass at least one water point a day.

    You can find a list of these water sources in the Accommodation list on the Friends website. By conducting a ‘Water tank’ & ‘Water only location’ search on that page, you will find the water points along your intended route.

  2. Look at what other walkers have reported about each of the water supplies.

    Read any comments that have made by other walkers about the tanks and campsites. You will find them at the bottom of each page of the  campsite and tank tank location description.

    As the trail heads into the more remote and arid areas in the north, the water supply is less reliable. Read what other walkers have posted recently and as a back up, carry enough water to last into the next day if you’re unsure.

Send us reports on the condition of tanks, campsites and the trail.

You can help other walkers and our Office volunteers keep a track of water supplies. Tell us about tank water levels and quality in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section on the relevant Accommodation listing.

If you see maintenance work that needs attention, you can also report that to our Trail Development team. Post a comment and we will get the problem assessed and fixed as soon as possible.

If you have any questions or information that will assist us in maintaining the trail, you can also contact the Friend’s Office.

We trust this will help you and fellow walkers enjoy the trail.

The Friends welcome Joshua West as a new Ambassador for the Heysen Trail.

The Friends of the Heysen Trail are pleased to announce that Joshua West (also known as Trekking West)  has accepted our invitation to act as a voluntary Ambassador for the Heysen Trail.

Josh joined the Friends prior to his journey through-walking the Heysen in 2018. His main aim in doing so was to raise awareness and funds for the Black Dog Institute.

During the walk he shared his photos, videos and experiences via Facebook and a daily blog on his website.

His blog continues to be available to inspire and help others who are encouraged to walk the trail.

Relive Josh’s Heysen Trek

Josh’s Daily Diary reports are descriptive and contain some wonderful photos of his adventure on the trail. Read from the comfort of an armchair, they will put you in the boots of an inspirational Heysen Trail walker.

Josh is not one to rest after his Heysen achievement, He is currently walking the Camino de Santiago.

As an Ambassador for the Heysen, Josh will continue to promote walking this fabulous long-distance trail. The Friends appreciate his support in meeting our goals of expanding  interest, knowledge and engagement with the trail.

In addition to the Friends website, anyone with a desire to explore long-distance Heysen hiking can check out Josh’s detailed information at www.trekkingwest.com/

Animals are Cute, especially New Born Lambs

Please don’t interfere with livestock.

We all know how cute young animals are, especially new born lambs frolicking after their mums.

It can be distressing for walkers on the Heysen Trail to see what look like abandoned  lambs, wandering along the trail.

It is tempting to “rescue” them! Please don’t!

Rarely do the mothers abandon their young, however if you pick them up, they almost certainly will.

Please leave all livestock alone when hiking the Heysen Trail.

Book Launch: Heysen Highlights Sunday 14 April

During this Sunday's Hiking Expo we'll be officially launching our Heysen Highlights book

During this Sunday’s Hiking Expo in Belair National Park we’ll be officially launching our Heysen Highlights: A companion guide to the Heysen Trail book.

The book will be launched by John Schutz, Chief Executive of Department for Environment and Water, as part of the Hiking Expo ceremonies at 12noon.

Author Simon Cameron will be on hand to sign any copies purchased on the day. Simon joined the Friends of the Heysen Trail in 2001, the same year that he started walking the Trail. He has never stopped walking it. As anyone who has had the joy of walking with Simon will known, there is so much to see and so much to discover along the Trail that there never will be a reason to stop.

In this companion guide the Heysen Trail is broken into 58 sections, for each day there is an overview of what to expect and what to look out for when hiking. By explaining the historical context, of the Aboriginal people, European explorers and settlers and the development of the trail, walkers can enrich their experience of the trail and its landscape.