South Australia’s best luxury walks combined
Excerpt from the Story
"Who's up for an adventure?" asks our guide, Kat Mee, with a glint in her eye. Eight of us sign up, falling in behind her as we begin a slow ascent of the Red Range, a jagged spine of sandstone in South Australia's Flinders Ranges. The conversation trails off as the terrain gets steeper and more technical, the pine-studded ridgeline narrowing until it's just a metre wide.
Either side are vertiginous drops, compelling reminders to focus on our feet rather than the majestic views. Near the top, we have to clamber around an impassable rocky outcrop, edging carefully down a slippery, scree-covered slope before a final scramble to the summit. "That was nuts!" says Chris, a trim 62-year-old fellow walker, beaming with boyish glee.
South Australia is now home to two of the 12 Great Walks of Australia, more than any other state except Tasmania with a disproportionate though impressive five.
For the first time, the two South Australian walks have been combined this year to create an epic nine-day "Ranges to River" trip. Guests spend four days hiking through the Flinders Ranges on the Arkaba Walk, then transfer to Renmark for a four-day exploration of Australia's longest river with Murray River Trails. For me and the rest of our party, it's an irresistible chance to experience two contrasting outback landscapes.
The Flinders Ranges is an eruption of dramatic peaks and soaring escarpments (most notably the vast, crater-like Wilpena Pound) that dates back more than half a billion years. By comparison, the Murray River is a toddler. A mere 600,000 years old, it snakes lazily through a parched floodplain dotted with red gums and black box.
Both face similar challenges. Large swathes of the Flinders have been overgrazed by cattle and sheep, while the Murray's annual flood cycle has been regulated using locks and weirs. Important native species in both have been decimated (dingoes in the Flinders, cod in the Murray) and introduced pests such as rabbits and carp have led to catastrophic imbalances.
Ten days ago, I'd have struggled to identify a single flower, bird call or animal track in either of these magnificent Australian landscapes. Now, thanks to this clever and considered pairing of walks, led by two sets of infectiously passionate and wonderfully knowledgeable guides, they feel like reassuringly familiar treasures.
Click the button below to read the full article written by Rob McFarland,
published on the Traveller website (July 2021)
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To learn more about the incredible Ranges to River 9 day experience, you can visit the tour page by clicking here
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