Reaching 1,200km north from Cape Jarvis, on the Fleurieu Peninsula, to Parachilna Gorge, in the Flinders Ranges, the Heysen Trail is the longest hike on any bushwalking South Australia list. It is named after landscape artist Sir Hans Heysen (1877-1968), whose paintings capture the Australian “bush” like no other artist’s. The Flinders Ranges, in particular, captivated and inspired him, for here he encountered the “bones of Nature.”
On its epic journey through private land, national parks and historic towns, the Heysen traverses coastal heath, native scrub, and farmland. The trail caters to day walkers and end-to-enders and many southern legs suit beginners and families. The country beyond Spalding is more rugged and the settlements further apart so the trail beyond here is recommended for experienced hikers only.
The Friends of the Heysen Trail, who help maintain it, provide all the information you need. They also run a program of monthly day walks over six years for people wanting to walk the entire track over time. Hiking it in one go takes about two months and requires detailed preparation, particularly with regard to water, because much of the walk is in semi-arid country.