The Arkaba Wild Bush Luxury Walk
5 Day Guided Journey
From dry creek beds, isolated waterholes lined with 1,000 year-old River Red gums to craggy ridge lines and rolling hills covered in cypress pines to the ancient ramparts of Wilpena Pound, this is some of the most stunning walking country in Australia. While everyone loves to have a comfortable bed and great food, it is the time spent with people on the ground that leaves a lasting impact. Of course, a really good glass of wine at the end of the day always helps! The true value of a Wild Bush Luxury experience on the Arkaba Walk is the vastness of space, the feeling of exclusivity and the opportunity to retreat into nature.
A guide will greet you in the arrivals hall at Adelaide domestic airport at 9:30am sharp. If you have stayed in Adelaide, you will be met in the lobby of your city located hotel between 9:50 and 10am before hitting the open road to Arkaba. Heading north from Adelaide, you will bypass the small country towns of Virgina, Two Wells and Dublin. Keep an eye out for the imaginative collection of large sculptures along the highway, made by way of protesting the development of a waste facility in the small town. Stop for lunch on the banks of Bumbunga Lake. Following a quick break, your journey will take you past the infamous Snowtown, Redhill, Port Pirie and Port Germein before another short stop in the historic railway town of Quorn. From here, Arkaba is about an hour away, and you will arrive to Arkaba Homestead by 5pm in time to freshen up before your guided lay of the land experience and a three course meal hosted by one of Arkaba’s field guides.
Day 2: Wilpena Pount to Black’s Gap Camp
Breakfast will ensure you are sufficiently fueled and ready to explore before our short 35 minute drive to the starting point. The distance today is approximately 13km through the flat interior of Wilpena Pound and a gradual 1.5km ascent to the rim of the Pound, climbing 200 metres ahead of a steeper descent of about 1km into Arkaba wilderness and Black’s Gap Signature Swag Camp. Expect to walk into camp at around 5:30pm in time to settle in, take a hot bush shower (with a view!) and enjoy a pre-dinner drink and canapes service as the sun sinks behind the ancient ramparts of Wilpena Pound Our signature camp is located between Bunbinyana Range and Wilpena Pound, on a site previously occupied by a shepherd in the late 1850s. His stone chimney place still exists and we camp overlooking the creek where he used to take his water. Our field guide and camp assistant will prepare a three-course evening feast, taken al fresco under the evening sky and accompanied by local South Australian wine. Enjoy some interesting tales around our bush TV, the good old camp fire, and retire to your swag bed for an unforgettable night under a canopy of stars.
Day 2 is approximately 13km, 5-6 hours
Day 3: Blacks Gap Camp to Elder Camp
Today is arguably the most scenic, as we move out from Black’s Gap into the rolling hills more suited to the sheep farming activities previously carried out across the property. The first 2km will follow the famous Heysen Trail through Black’s Gap itself revealing a fascinating insight into the pastoral history of the region, pausing at old shepherds’ camps and mustering yards, with Red and Grey Kangaroos and Emus all regular sightings. The last leg of the day will take us slightly west into rolling hills culminating in a sharp 1km climb of about 100m in elevation to the summit of the Red Range where we’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Ikara- Flinders Ranges before moving on to the foot of Elder Range passing through beautiful stands of native Cypress trees.
Your luggage will have been transported by vehicle to your next signature swag camp, our Elder Camp. A hot bush shower, dinner and another special night under the great Australian sky awaits.
Day 3 is approximately 14-15km, 6-7 hours
Day 4: Elder Camp to Arkaba Heritage Homestead
Wake to glorious morning light creeping up our very own Elder Range. As we move south east the first few kilometres will be amongst hill country at the foot of the Elder Range. Walking through Mallee and native pine forests, we cross Slaty Creek which can hold precious water well into the dry season, sometimes even offering the opportunity to drink from clear, ice cold springs. Ascending the Red Range and down onto the banks of the Arkaba Creek, shady and picturesque and lined with time-honoured and rejuvenating River Red Gums, with plenty of opportunities to spot birds that commune in the canopy, including galahs, parrots and honeyeater species. We pass reliable water points providing year-round life support for kangaroos, parrots and emus. The pace is unhurried with time to stop and breathe in the outback, view wildlife and take photographs. Arrive Arkaba Homestead mid afternoon and relax or perhaps partake in a massage or a scenic flight over the ancient ramparts of Wilpena Pound. This evening enjoy a hosted feast and guided viewing of the Southern Hemisphere’s clearest skies silhouetted against mountains half a billion(!) years in the making.
Day 4 is approximately 14–15km, 6–7 hours
Day 5: Arkaba to Adelaide
Enjoy breakfast at the Arkaba Homestead before departing at 8:30am for your scenic overland transfer to Adelaide via South Australia’s Clare Valley wine country. We’ll make our way through the historic outback towns of Quorn, Wilmington, Mount Remarkable and Melrose, all famous for their nature filled valleys and riverbeds. Lined with massive River Red Gum trees, the land around these towns is home to a multitude of native Australian animals and birds.
Head from Melrose into the beautiful Clare Valley, a region famous for its wines. We enjoy lunch and some wine tasting (naturally!) before continuing south arriving Adelaide Airport at approximately 5pm. Please arrange your departing flights from 6pm, to allow enough time for check-in. Alternatively, if you are staying on in Adelaide we are happy to arrange to drop you at your city located hotel with our compliments.
Price + Inclusions
|The Arkaba Wild Bush Luxury Walk||Price per person|
2021/2022 Departures: Every Wednesday, March – October
Minimum 4 pax and maximum 10 pax
- Expert field guides
- Two nights Arkaba Homestead, member of Luxury Lodges of Australia
- Two nights swag camping Return road transfers from Adelaide Guided lay of the land safari experience
- All meals and beverages including trail snacks Backpack with hydration reservoir and plenty of room for personal items
- Sock protectors
- Light Wild Rambler walking poles
- Arkaba Conservation Levy
What to bring:
- Hiking boots offering good ankle support and are well worn in
- Light long pants – eg zip-off leg types or shorts
- Light wicking shirts (with SPF recommended) or light cotton shirts, preferably long-sleeved
- Camera and spare batteries (no charging facility available until you reach Arkaba Homestead)
- Wide brimmed hat, sunglasses and sunscreen
- Small personal first aid kit including blister protection and insect repellant
- Casual attire for evenings at Arkaba Homestead
- Warm clothing including a hat, thermals, scarf, gloves and fleece
- Wind cheater / waterproof jacket
- Binoculars optional for wildlife and bird viewing
Your Guide will carry:
- Satellite phone and navigation aid for emergency use
- Hand held UHF radio for communication
- First Aid kit
- Flora and fauna identification guides
Take comfort in knowing we undertake robust cleaning practices after each walk. We encourage you to bring your own gear – water bottle, back pack, walking poles & gaiters – if you are not comfortable using ours.
Our Wild Bush Luxury experience on the Arkaba Walk operates with a minimum 4 and maximum 10.
Sleep and Dine under the stars at our signature swag camps
Each signature walking camp has five permanent swag decks. The low timber decks are slightly elevated, and each have a ½ metre corrugated iron screen around three sides, to give privacy – the fourth side is left open to the views over the countryside, while above you is the night sky and a canopy of stars. There is also a sheltered section of your swag deck, in the event of wind or rain. Your bed is a ‘swag’ – the bedding of choice for generations of Australian pioneers, a canvas envelope that is comfortable and waterproof, protecting you from the elements. Inside each swag will be an all season’s sleeping bag with liner.
Each camp site has two waterless composting toilets – each in their own little ‘dunny’ shed and strategically located to enjoy the best of the views. Each camp has two bush showers – essentially buckets that are filled with water warmed on the fire, and equipped with taps to regulate the flow. Some special Wild Bush Luxury touches ensure these bush showers will be a feature of your trip!
The Arkaba Homestead is your oasis of comfort at the foot of the Elder Range
Your final evening will be spent in the comfort of Arkaba’s restored homestead, a member of Luxury Lodges of Australia, and an exclusive outback Australian experience. As the layout of the original homestead has been retained, each of the five homestead guestrooms has a character of its own and has been named after early settlers, explorers or property owners. Each has a private bathroom and opens out on a shaded verandah with views of the surrounding ranges. The décor has been hand-fashioned by wildlife artist, Rosie Woodford-Ganf. Bedheads are from recycled fence posts and fleeces, curtains tied back by gumnut tassels, lights are perched on explorers’ tripod theodolites. The Arkaba Homestead retains a real sense of history and place. We unapologetically spare your room from noisy televisions and internet connections. We’d much rather share expansive views, ever-growing species checklists and binoculars so you won’t miss a thing.