Heysen (End to End 14) Final Walk Season 1 (2019)

Background to End-End walks:

There are approximately sixty day walks involved, spread over six years (1,200 ks). The southern walks, from Cape Jervis to Kapunda, are held one Sunday a month during the walk season – from May to November each year. Over summer, during the Fire Danger Season, the Heysen Trail is closed. From Kapunda northwards, due to the greater traveling distances involved, the walk is held over a weekend. When the group reaches much further north from Adelaide, beyond Quorn in the sixth and final year, the walks are conducted as a long weekend and week long walk.


End-to-End 14 final group photo of 2019 Photo by Tony Brosnan

Year 1 of 6 Cape Jervis to Myponga Total walked 106.7 ks and 1,093.3 ks to go.

  1. Sunday 5 May 2019 Cape Jervis to Cobbler Hill: 14.2 ks
  2. Sunday 2 June 2019 Cobbler Hill to Tapanappa: 13.5 ks
  3. Sunday 7 July 2019 Tapanappa to Balquidder: 15 ks
  4. Sunday 4 August 2019 Balquidder to Waitpinga: 15 ks
  5. Sunday 1 September 2019 Waitpinga to Tugwell Road: 17 ks
  6. Sunday 22 September 2019 Tugwell Rd to Inman Valley: 15 ks
  7. Sunday 13 October 2019 Inman Valley to Myponga: 17 ks

Heysen walk season 1 complete.

What have I learned from my first year of walking the Heysen ‘End-to-End 14’?

Walking has little to do with the length of your legs or the age of your body. I’m small but there are other five footers that pound up those hills. I’m creeping towards the end of my fifth decade but I met ‘octogenarians’ who still walk the great walks of the world.

I’m trained as a midwife and I’ve learned that the rhythmic breathing to manage labor works when you walk up hills. I’m a nurse and I’ve learnt that a ‘blister-pack’ isn’t just a package of medications. It’s a packet of mini dressings for blisters on your feet.

 I’ve learnt that snakes don’t just mean hazardous creatures. They are essential glucose management to be carried in your pocket. I’ve learned to bear the weight of extra kilos in my kit lest my camel pack runs dry. I’ve learnt that a camel pack is something you can buy at a camping shop and not sight at the zoo.

I’ve experienced the humiliation of sliding down a hill caught by the backpacker behind me. I’ve learned not to ignore a grazed knee when it turns into a rip-roaring boil.

I’ve learned that endurance is less about self-determination and more about encouragement.

I’ve learnt that walking is a spiritual experience. It isn’t just about ducking under low branches, balancing over slippery rocks, and struggling through kilometers of soft sand. There is the gift of nature difficult to find in urban life. Minute colorful wildflowers. Tiny birds that would never survive in the city. Dolphins, and even a whale, viewed from shore.

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Fringe myrtle –  Photo by Mark Scicluna

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Scarlet robin (Petroica multicolor) Photo by Mark Scicluna


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Photo by Tu Nguyen

Even in a large group, you can find silence. There is always space to walk alone and reflect. To reflect, but also to forget. Forget the textbooks that wait for me on my desk. The incomplete assignments to be written or to be marked.

I’ve experienced the slowing down of time. I am privileged to walk on the land of the Australian Aboriginal knowing the spirit of their ancestors remains ever-present.

I’ve learnt that we all have our own reasons for walking the Heysen from end to end. We each have a story to tell. I’m hoping that next season fellow walkers will be happy to share their story in this blog. Our stories can encourage other walkers, real or virtual, to continue on, one foot after another.

Many thanks to all the leaders of End-to-End 14.

mark briefing

Mark Fletcher – Leader of End-to-End 14. Group briefing before setting off


Cathy Bowditch
Chris Allen
Karin Agostino
Margaret Fletcher
Mark Fletcher
Michael Agostino


Courtesy of Tu Nguyen Post – found on AZ Quotes: creative commons



Heysen (End to End 14) Walk 5

Section 5: Waitpinga to Tugwell Road

Walk 5 of 60  Distance: 17 km of  1200 km
Walked 74 km to date

We hiked through one of the most spectacular sections of the Heysen Trail. With a beautiful sunny day for the first day of Spring it didn’t disappoint. We had a wet start when we checked in at Investigator College but that was short lived and by the time we regrouped at the start of the trail the sun was shining.


Amazing views of Newland Head and West Island greeted us we reached our first break. We were there for barely a minute before a keen eyed @Alan Steele spotted a whale breaching in the waters off Newland Head. We will have a truly awesome memory of that magnificent show. It breeched and splashed  for several minutes before heading East towards The Bluff.


Photo by Mark S

Post by Alan: My most enjoyable days walk on the Heysen Trail. After a strong shower as we left it cleared to a perfect day for our walk along the Waitpinga Cliffs. Stopped for our morning tea break and I spotted a whale breaching near West Island, which continued for a good 10 minutes. Such a great walk supplemented by the many plants coming into flower, together with many new friendships in our walking mob!


Photo by Ben K






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Bearded Dragon Photo by Mark S

Being the first day of Spring everything was in flower including spectacular Xanthorrhoeas (Yakkas). Some were as tall as 4 or 5 metres, and could be as old as 200 to 300 years old!


Flowering Xanthorrhoea (Yakka/Grass Trees) Photo by Mark S


Photo by Olga V

Post by Olga – A very scenic walk along the coastal cliffs from Waitpinga to Tugwell road. Thanks to the leaders!

Post by Naomi – Goodbye sand, sea & south coast!

Post by Mark S – Thanks to all of the leaders, our support driver Ken and to everyone that helped to make it such a great day!

Comments also taken from Mark F email and  Friends of Heysen





Heysen (End to End 14 ) Walk 4

Section 4: Balquidder to Waitpinga

The McGregors established Balquidder Station, naming it after a Scottish village. The village was the birthplace of Scottish outlaw,  Rob Roy McGregor captured in 1722.

Waitpinga is an Aboriginal name meaning home of the wind.  An exposed beach, we definitely witnessed the effect of the wind whipping up the waves.  A perfect day for walkers, we made our way easily without being blown around.

While the surf is fabulous it can also be extremely dangerous. Parsons beach may be a safer option.  Our walk took us along both. We finished at Waitpinga Campground in the Newland Head Conservation Park.  Excerpt from Friends of Heysen and Fleurieu Peninsula Tourist info

We began by walking along 4 km of gravel road. To avoid walkers scattering to the left and right when a car approached, we were forewarned to follow orders! Depending on the direction of the car, the Leader or Tail End Charlie called out “CAR”. We relayed the call along  the group until everyone heard and moved hard right. By  about the 4th car we looked like a well-drilled experienced hiking group. Thanks Mark!



Wendy and Mark as we commenced the hike through Balquidder



Ellen leads the way through the Station!

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Jerry snaps our illustrious photographer Mark Scicluna in action



me going down the hill tim tonkin

Heading down to the long trek across soft sand. That’s me  with the red back pack: thanks to Tom’s camera.


Photo by Mark S




In between sections of sand these stones were not easy to negotiate – for some of us 🙂



Mark S



margaret fletcher support vehirlce

Thanks Margaret, what a great shot from the support vehicle on top of the hill.

We had been forewarned about the creek crossing. Known to flow at waist deep we were lucky to  make it across with it barely touching the tops of toes. Still, for some of us it took careful negotiation on slippery rocks.


Then there was the creek crossing


By Vicki






Mark S – a reminder to look out for the beauty of our unique flora.

Excerpts from Mark Fletcher email


Heysen (End to End 14) Walk 3

Section 3 –  Tapannappa to Balquidder

To avoid walking a loop, end to end walkers park their cars at the end of the trail and travel by coach to the beginning. The walk ends when we arrive back at the cars. Walk 3 usually begins at Tapanappa, and hikers enjoy spectacular views of Tunkalilla Beach. A picturesque walk through dense bushland is followed by a steep descent to Boat Harbor Beach. The very testing 4km walk along Tunkalilla Beach is followed by an unbelievably steep climb up to Balquidder.  (Friends of the Heysen web)

However, End to End 14 has a very different story for Walk 3. A special reverse expedition! Balquidder to Tapannappa…

The bus missed the turn and got bogged. Next, the replacement bus got lost, so the leaders suggested we walk in reverse. Everybody took it in their stride 🙂 and in the end what a great walk we had. Everyone handled the steepest section of the Heysen so very well.  Just a few muddy and bruised bums and one Leader (we won’t mention names) with a bit of a sore leg which will be right in a week or so.

And how very lucky were we to have that firm sand to walk along? Added to that, the company of a seal and a large pod of dolphins for good measure.  Kudos to those who picked up a bit of rubbish washed up on the beach to make that lovely beach cleaner for E2E14 being there.

At the end of the beach walk, we had the lightest sprinkling of rain to cool us down before descending to a truly beautiful Boat Harbor Beach. There we bathed in warm sunlight, as we sat on green grass, eating lunch, gazing at the beautiful blue sea. We finished up with a pretty bush walk with lovely views down the valley.

Yet another Heysen leg along with that Heysen steepest hill checked off the list. All in all a day very well spent.

Mark  F- Group leader

(Excerpt from group email)

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Along the fence and down the hill. Photo by Christie



Down the Fence

Down the slippery slope. Photo by Cathy

up the hill

This is the direction end to enders usually take – Up! This is Mark walking a few days earlier.                                            Photo by Mark Scicluna

Christie – WOW, just wow! Sunday’s walk took us from Hillside to Tunkalilla Beach to Boat Harbour to Tapanappa camp. Thanks, group leaders for this amazing opportunity, although a backwards trek today. I for one can say I’m VERY grateful. Grateful for amazing weather, scenery and good company.

Cathy – A day that turned out well considering the slow start. Fortunate with the weather and rewarded by magnificent views. Thanks to everyone for their patience and positive attitude.

Mark H – What a fantastic walk we enjoyed today made possible by our wonderful team of walk leaders. They deserve warm thanks once again for their organization and flexibility. We are all very lucky to have them.

creek crossing

Over the stones, through the creek. Photo by Mark Scicluna



A pod of dolphins. Photo by Mark Scicluna



Heysen (End to End 14) Walk 2

Section 2 – Cobbler Hill to Tapannappa

Today we trekked through narrow tracks and dense native scrub in Deep Creek Conservation Park.  We (me) slipped and slid through narrow muddy tracks, particularly along Aaron Creek. Walking poles are the best invention ever; not to mention the helping hand of others. There were some very tricky, steep sections as we climbed in and out of gullies.  Once again Mark S caught some spectacular scenery on camera.


Walking towards the challenge of the climb and the mud



Rain had prepared a muddy trail especially for us


Back burning with regrowth just visible


We dared to disturb her as we trekked past


The best part of hiking is how remote and wild it is


Reassuring trademark signs of the Heysen Trail


Every now and then the bush cleared, but still not a human in sight.



Heysen (End to End 14) Walk 1

Section 1 – Cape Jervis to Cobbler Hill

Welcome to my Blog! Whether you’re an actual or a virtual walker 🙂 come and share in the unfolding experience of walking the entire length of the Heysen Trail.  “End-to-End Group 14” (E2E 14) commenced on May 5th, 2019 from Cape Jervis, South Australia.  After 1200km and 6 years we will reach Parachilna Gorge, in the Flinders Ranges.  In the first few years, we will walk one Sunday a month during the walk season. In the 6th and final year, the walk includes weekends and culminates in 2 x 1 week-long adventures. This brings us to the year 2025!

Around 75 walkers commenced the 14th End-to-End (E2E 14) trail today.  We began this first E2E Walk from the Cape Jervis trailhead. We trekked along sandy coastal tracks and up and down hillsides. On this perfect Autumn day, we enjoyed spectacular views over Backstairs  Passage to Kangaroo Island. Viewing the Island from end to end felt like a symbol of what lay ahead for our 6-year trek.

We hiked to Blowhole Beach and stopped for a well-earned lunch break.  With boots and socks off, the water lapping on the edge of the sand was a welcome relief for burning feet.

The final portion of this first walk is a 3K climb through the native bushland of Deep Creek Conservation Park to Cobbler Hill. As members of the Group arrived at the end in groups, pairs, trickles, champagne was on offer, courtesy of the Friends.  One walk down, 60 to go!

Partial excerpt from The Friends of the Heysen Trail.



Photos: Mark Scicluna Member of End to End 14







Blowhole beach for lunch



This Monarch butterfly settles on a type of Milkweed plant, possibly laying eggs.