Bookings for End-to-End 14 open on Monday March 18th 2019.

Our End-to-End 14 walks commence on Sunday May 5th 2019.

The Friends’ 14th End-to-End group (E2E14) will set out from Cape Jervis on Sunday 5th May. If you want to join the group in its 1,200 km trek along South Australia’s iconic walking trail, here is your chance.

How to register for the first walk.

Bookings for the first walk will be via the online registration system  and will open at 12.01am on Monday 18 March.

The number of walkers who can join the group is limited by the number of leaders and the capacity of the buses we use: approximately 75 walkers, including leaders.

Due to the anticipated high demand for joining the group, bookings are taken on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. We expect bookings will fill very quickly.  Our online registration system is set to switch over to an overflow list once the number of bookings nears capacity.

Apart from the overflow list, we do not maintain an early registration/waiting list. In fairness to all, bookings are taken only using the on-line registration system. This means if you want to make sure of joining the group, you and your friends need to stay up late on Sunday night and register for the walk as soon as possible after midnight. If you have created a family membership, you can book for all members of your family simultaneously.

If you are thinking of joining the first walk, the best advice is to become familiar with the walk booking process before March 18th. You will find it quicker to book onto the walk if you have already joined the Friends, either as a financial or a guest member. You can find out more information about membership of the Friends here.

If you have questions about our End to End walks you can find the answers here.

Introductory walk on Sunday March 31.

To give everyone joining E2E14 a taste of what lies ahead, the walk leaders have organised a preliminary walk on Sunday March 31.

Walkers who register for the May 5th walk from Cape Jervis will receive an email invitation to register for the Introductory walk. The location of the will be the Cleland Conservation Park.

This walk will be a good opportunity to meet the leaders and also ask any questions you may have about E2E walks. With a distance of about 10 kms, the walk will be a bit shorter than the first official walk. However it will still give a taste of what lies ahead with sections of narrow paths on hillsides and some challenging hill climbs.

It is a loop walk so you will be starting and finishing at your cars.

Good luck to intending walkers. The leadership team look forward to joining you on the trail.

Heysen Highlights book released

Book: Heysen Highlights. A companion guide to the Heysen Trail. 264 pages, RRP $39.95

In this companion guide The Heysen Trail is broken into 58 sections, each comfortably walked in one day. For each day there is a overview of what to expect and what to look out for when hiking the Heysen Trail, this companion guide offers a wealth of discovery on every journey along the Trail, with no shortage of historical, geological and environmental highlights along the way.

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.

Author Simon Cameron 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.

Buy online for $39.95, with postage from $13.05.

About the book

In his companion guide to the Heysen Trail, Simon Cameron offers a personal perspective, gathered over nearly 20 years of walking the Heysen Trail. “Over time I have gathered a multitude of stories that have enriched my experience of the Heysen Trail and I have tried to share them in this book.”

Heysen Highlights is broken into 58 sections, based on the Friends’ End-to-End walk programme that carries groups from Cape Jervis to Parachilna Gorge over a series of 60-day walks. “I have combined and adjusted some of the shorter walks to provide 58 sections.” For each day’s walk there is a brief overview of what to expect and what to look out for.

The book begins with Cape Jervis so the format favours the south- to-north walker, but the short chapters are intended to be a ‘pre- walk briefing’ and not an ‘in hand’ walking guide.

Simon reminds us that the Heysen Trail runs through a diversity of South Australian terrain, varying from granite coast, bushland reserves, plantation forest, marshy meadows, broad acre farms, rolling hills, stone ridges and rocky creeks. “The trail was designed to follow the most scenic and challenging routes possible, providing memorable vistas and showcasing iconic landscapes.”

It also passes through a cultural heritage spanning tens of thousands of years of occupation and nearly two centuries of colonial settlement. Even more unique is a geological landscape that spans the origin of animal life itself. “All of this offers a wealth of discovery on every journey along the Heysen Trail and there are no shortage of highlights along the way.

“Inescapably the book reflects my interests and many chance discoveries, and I know this book is only the beginning of an ongoing process of compilation, updates and corrections.”

The maps in the book will only orientate the reader with the sections in the local region. Detailed Heysen maps are readily available and they are an essential part of any walk because they provide the geographic framework for the experiences that you will gather along the way. “The ‘walk briefing’ offers my personal guide of points of interest for each section and I am sure you will add your own.”

In section one, for example, we are told that the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula is difficult to see other than on the Heysen Trail because there is very little vehicle access. It is one of the great coastal walks with rugged cliffs, granite bluffs, untamed ocean,  tucked inlets, and wild beaches. All of this is offered with endless seascapes, and nature’s proudest displays of flora and fauna. Dolphins cruise the surf, and sea birds ply the skies while kangaroos and echidnas share the path. The luckiest walkers might see migrating Southern Right Whales.

Tapanappa, in section two, is reputed to mean ‘pathway’ or ‘stick to the path,’ which is essential on this coastline. Any attempt to move cross-country is dangerous. A distressing number of rescues and even fatalities have occurred in the Deep Creek Conservation Park. Deep Creek is a true wilderness, to be treated with respect as well as awe. A short detour to the Tapanappa lookout, at the end of the section, captures the natural majesty, and a glance to the east provides a tantalising view of Tunkalilla Beach – another jewel on the Trail.

Leave only footprints, take only photographs

Leave only footprints ….

Heysen Trail walkers are well aware of the general principles related to walking which are captured by the expression “leave only footprints, take only photos”.

Many sections of the trail traverse National and Conservation Parks. It is therefore a useful reminder that the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 includes regulations about activities in parks that the general public must comply with.

Disregarding these regulations may result in park users being issued a fine.

The following extracts of these regulations are particularly relevant to us:

15 – Fires

  1. A person must not, without the permission of the relevant authority, light, maintain or use a fire in a reserve in contravention of a ban or restriction imposed by the relevant authority.

16 – Possession and use of chainsaws

  1. a person must not, without the permission of the relevant authority, have control of, carry or use a chainsaw in a reserve.

26 – Bringing animals into reserve

  1. Subject to this regulation, a person who has control of an animal must not, without the permission of the relevant authority, bring it into a reserve or permit it to enter a reserve.

30 – Interference with earth etc

A person must not, without the permission of the relevant authority—

  1. remove from a reserve any-
    1. soil, rock, mineral or similar material; or
    2. wood, mulch or other dead vegetation; or
    3. fossil or archaeological remains; or
  2. dig or otherwise intentionally disturb any soil or similar material in a reserve; or
  3. intentionally disturb any-
    1. wood, mulch or other dead vegetation in a reserve; or
    2. fossil or archaeological remains in a reserve.

Need more information?

Before you head off to a park, you can find further information about at the What you need to know section of the Department for Environment & Water website.

Of particular interest to walkers are the sections outlining the rules about the use of BBQs and lighting campfires and which parks dogs are permitted.

Walkers be warned – Bees!

Bees love Canola

Now is the time you need to take caution when walking near flowering crops. We are now at the highest risk of being attacked by bees.

August to October sees canola crops come into full flower providing picturesque bright yellow fields. The flowers attract bees and the installation of commercial bee hives (clusters of white boxes). Bees don’t take kindly to any interference (intentional or not) and can attack en masse.

What you need to do:

  1. To reduce the risk, walkers are strongly advised to avoid walking between the bee hives and neighbouring canola crops in flower.
  2. If your walking trail passes a group of hives, take a wide berth away from them. If possible, stick to made tracks or walk along fencelines.  You should avoid walking through crops when off trail.
  3. If you have experienced reactions to bee stings, you are responsible for carrying appropriate medication. You should also advise your walk leader of any medical condition before you commence your walk.

Listen to Radio Interview with Ron Kandelaars on 891 ABC Adelaide, 13 July 2016

Friends of the Heysen Trail ambassador, Ron Kandelaars, was interviewed today by Ian Henshke on 891 ABC Adelaide.

He discusses walking South Australia’s 1200 kilometre long Heysen Trail as a great bucket list item, and our organisation’s End-to-End Walking Program. He also interviews Katrina Gillespie who is walking the trail with her two teenage sons and husband together, to set aside their digital devices and walk the Heysen Trail together as a shared experience.

Listen to the interview on SoundCloud.

Lavender Federation Trail meets the Heysen Trail, extending to Clare

Lavender Federation Trail meets the Heysen Trail, extending to Clare

The Lavender Federation Trail has been successful in gaining grant funding to extend the trail from its current trailhead at Eudunda onwards to Clare.

The 106km extension will be constructed over the next 18 months and will bring the trail to a total 320km length. The extension also includes an 8km Point Pass Loop Trail and a 7km Robertstown Spur Trail.

The trail extension will intersect the Heysen Trail at Webb Gab. A special event is in the planning for April 2016 to celebrate the crossing of the two long-distance trails. The event will be run between us, the Friends of the Heysen Trail, and SARTI (South Australian Recreation Trails Incorporated, the makers of the Lavender Federation Trail). The Lavender Federation Trail will also intersect with the Riesling Trail and Rattler Trails.

Survey on the Best Walks of SA

Survey on the Best Walks of South Australia

The Bushwalk Australia eMagazine October’s edition will focus on South Australia. They are seeking input on the best walks in South Australia.

Submit your favourite Heysen Trail walks! Browse through our Walk Selector for some inspiration.

Submit the survey below and enter your 6 favourite walks:

  • 3 x favourite day walks
  • 3 x favourite multi-day walks

For each walk:

  • name the walk/trail
  • short description of why you think it is good
  • a link to webpage somewhere with more info

If you are a day-walker only, or overnight-walker only, you could skip entering info on the other category.

All 8 new sheet maps for Heysen Trail now for sale

Purchase any of the new 8 new sheet maps for Heysen Trail

The full series of Heysen Trail map sheets have been released and are available for purchase.

These new fold-out map sheets replace the Southern and Northern Guidebooks.

Each map is available for purchase now via our online store, for $15 with postage from $2.15.

The maps are double sided and printed on water resistant paper. The maps include elevation profiles with kilometre markers and crossing point names. The new map style allows walkers to gain a “big picture” understanding of where they are on the trail, with a continuous trail line and a constant 3-5km of mapping around the trail.

Remember, you can sign up to receive re-route notifications for your guidebook or map sheet editions. All guidebooks and map sheets published since 2014 are available for notification.

There are 8 maps in this series:

5 Ordinary People finish 1,200km hike of Heysen Trail 2pm Saturday 20th June 2015

5 Ordinary People hiking the Heysen Trail

5 Ordinary People finish of their extraordinary 1,200km through hike of The Heysen Trail at Cape Jervis this at 2pm Saturday 20th June 2015. They will be welcomed by a large band of supporters at the Heysen Trail Trailhead in Cape Jervis. Heysen Trail End-to-End certificates and badges will be presented by the President of the Heysen Trail, Robert Alcock.

About the family’s 65-day trek

A family of five, including Eli, 12, Emily, 10, and Noah, 9, skipped term 2 of school in favour of hiking the Heysen Trail.

There’s so much more to life than just maths and English that kids miss out on, if parents don’t invest time in them.

Along with their parents Luke and Erina, they will be a world away from the classroom routine when they undertake a mission to cover 1,151km on foot over 56 days. Their trek began at the northern trailhead at Parachilna Gorge, trekking south through the Flinders Ranges and Adelaide Hills to Cape Jervis.

It’s all part of Erina’s plan to give her children an educational experience of a different kind.

“We want to teach our children the life lessons that, when you’re caught up in the nine to five regime, you just don’t have the time to do,” she says. “There’s so much more to life than just maths and English that kids miss out on, if parents don’t invest time in them.”

Read more


Heavy Rains Filling Water Tanks

Photo courtesy of @creber295, 17/04/2015, titled '5 hour wait for 120mm of rain to settle so we could get through.'

Photo courtesy of @creber295, 17/04/2015, titled ‘5 hour wait for 120mm of rain to settle so we could get through.’

Heavy rains on Friday in the Flinders and to an extent in the Mid North will be welcomed by this season’s hikers on the Heysen Trail.

During audits conducted from January to early April we were aware that some tanks were low, and with the hiking season starting soon (with the end of the Bushfire Danger Season) we were about to remind hikers to be vigilant with water planning.

The advice though should always be followed: when planning multi-day walks and camping, ensure that upon entering a campsite you still have sufficient water to make it to a known water supply, should the water tank be found to be unexpectedly too low.

We anticipate that Friday’s rains have had a positive effect on tank levels. Reports late night suggest that Yanyanna Hut, which we knew to be almost empty, has been filled to half full. We knew of a number of other tanks that had fallen to 1/4 level, and we hope they too have been filled.

The rains will be welcomed by farmers, and we hope will bring new life to the landscape.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s 8th April 2015 assessment lists much of the area of the southern 2/3 of the trail as facing a Serious or Severe Deficiency in rainfall. Heavy rains that fell over Easter only resulted in 1-5mm of rain (low) in the northern Mt Lofty Ranges and Flinders Ranges.