|Map sourced from Google Maps.
|Map sourced from Friends of the Heysen Trail.
The second best thing about the Heysen is the crazy little outback towns the trail pokes through on it's wiggly route.
I carried 3 or 4 days food at a time and stocked up at:
- Wilpena- Good IGA supermarket. Butane gas cannisters.
- Quorn- Small supermarket and great hiker hostel; Elizabeth House. Gas.
- Melrose- Adequate general store and spacious, cheap camping/ caravan park. Gas.
- Crystal Brook- Good supermarket, pharmacy. Gas.
- Spalding- Adequate general store. Gas.
- Burra- Good supermarket and town with full facilities. Gas.
- Kapunda- Large supermarket and my favourite trail town. I stayed overnight on a whim and had a blast. Gas.
- Tanunda- Large supermarket, full on tourist town.
- Bridgewater- Coles supermarket.
- Mt Compass- Good supermarket.
- Heysen's Rest Hiker Cabins. Great overnight stop between Mt Compass and Robinson's Hill campsite. Definitely go the full breakfast next morning. No resupply.
- Inman's Valley General Store- No resupply but 100% recommend grabbing a feed off the menu if the kitchen is kicking. Cafe.
- Victor Harbor- Largest town near the Heysen (7 kilometres off trail), Coles and Woolworths. Gas.
All towns have somewhere to procure water and food to go. There is usually a pub room and/or campsite to crash in too.
Dining is generally restricted to simple Aussie pubs with a generic menu and general stores flipping a toasted sandwich at you but the larger tourist towns such as Tanunda and Victor Harbor contain many fast food options and a higher standard of accommodation if that floats your boat.
Water is scarce on the trail.
I completely relied on the tanks situated in the walker campsites. Camel up and fill the bottles when you can. I never filtered any water and never got sick. Your call, you do you.
I gave up my curmudgeon ways and downloaded the Far Out Heysen Trail mapping file, shunned all paper maps and kept a sharp eye out for oft sighted Heysen marker posts as I bumbled along fencelines and dry creek beds.
The Friends of the Heysen are a bunch of super cool walking heroes that maintain and protect and improve the trail. Kudos you badasses!
The website is here.
Strongly consider throwing them a donation after walking on the Heysen.
- It's unpopular but that's changing, evolving. You get solitude but increasing trail services and friendly locals that kind of know what your doing.
- Empty campsites and great intel via the Far Out app.
- Well marked trail, easy resupply.
- Mobile coverage is good. If you want that.
- I heard the occasional bit of gunfire on this walk, as you do. One Saturday night while attempting to stealth camp outside Wilmington a drunk bogan in a 4WD skidded to stop near my tent and proceeded to blast away into the bush, probably random Roo shooting. I froze and hoped for the best and listened to him swear and stomp around and completely miss seeing me and after Mr Trigger-happy Fuckface departed in a hail of gravel I packed up quick smart and bailed into Wilmington, camping on the Golf Course. There are a couple of reports floating around of wild Friday and Saturday nights around Wilmington involving firearms experienced by bewildered hikers.
- The trail is quite exposed. Not many bug out spots aside from the trail towns and no shelter other than the huts.
- If you are chasing a wild landscape with dreamy mountain vistas and alpine lakes then the mundane agricultural land in the middle of the Heysen may disappoint. I just loved being out there but that's me.