South Australia

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Landscape and terrain

With the lowest rainfall of all the states, South Australia’s dry landscape is the major feature. Reduced vegetation makes off-track walking fairly easy and there is considerable scope for exploratory walks in the desert ranges.

Climate and weather

Inland areas in the north and west of the state can be very hot over summer – maximum temperatures of 40C and higher are not uncommon.

Coastal regions have a generally milder climate and are suitable for bushwalking for all seasons, although rainfall is frequent during late autumn and winter.

Notable bushwalks

South East. The Mt Gambier region has many small reserves which provide a variety of one-day walks.

Kangaroo Island is the large island south-west of Adelaide. The main reserve is the Flinders Chase National Park which has many short and one-day walks, the five-day Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail and the western end of the island.

Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail.  The 61 km track passes through areas of riverbank and mallee habitats where wildflowers provide splashes of colour all year around then heads along part of the rugged coastline of the Southern Ocean. Highlights include limestone cliffs, white sand beaches and the sculpted granite boulders known as Remarkable Rocks.

Deep Creek Conservation Park to the south of Adelaide provides good coastal short and day walks.

Mount Lofty Ranges range behind Adelaide is also known as the Adelaide Hills. There are several small parks providing good day walks. Morialta, Cleland, Black Hill, Warren, Waterfall Gully and Mt Crawford are popular walking venues. Overnight walks are also possible by using parts of the Heysen Trail.

Mt Remarkable is a small, but significant national park north of Adelaide near Port Augusta. There are many day walks or you can visit all features on an overnight walk.

Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park is a semi-arid area with ancient mountains and gorges including the well-known Wilpena Pound, an amphitheatre of rugged ranges. The park has good track walks of one and two days. The Pound also has good off-track walking.

Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park. A wilderness park in the northern Flinders Ranges. Walks vary from a day trip to Bunyip Chasm to one-week traverses of the gorge systems. Good walking is also available on private land in the nearby Arkaroola area, for which permission is required.

Heysen Trail. A 1000 km marked track running north from Cape Jervis, on the Fleurieu Peninsula, to Parachilna Gorge in the Flinders Ranges provides many opportunities for one-day and overnight walks as well as the challenge of completing the entire trail. The trail passes some of South Australia’s most scenic areas and some iconic destinations such as the Barossa Valley.  Special access has been granted where the track crosses private land.

Safety considerations

Snakes are common in  South Australia and most of them are poisonous although snakebites are rare. Take care to avoid stepping on them when they are warming up in the morning sun.  Carry a pressure bandage.  See Management of snake bite for more information.

Water may not be available in hotter regions of the state during summer, check the status of water sources before you go.

Statewide emergency services information

Dial 000 and ask for Police to report a bushwalking emergency.

South Australia Police  is responsible for land search and rescue, assisted by organisations including:

The SA Ambulance Service  can provide medical evacuations by land or air.  Ensure you have appropriate ambulance insurance .

Interstate visitors should check reciprocal arrangements with their state or territory ambulance organisation.

International visitors should confirm they have travel insurance that covers rescue operations.