“As we followed stream beds lined with seemingly immortal river red gums and climbed broken hills on the way to the Elder Range, my sense of time slowed from the frantic speed of the Internet to the pace of an unhurried walk”
Travel + Leisure
Planning your Wild Bush Luxury experience on the Arkaba Walk made easy with responses to some common questions here.
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One of the best things about the Arkaba Walk is that you don’t need to carry all your gear. Instead, we provide you with a lightweight day pack to walk with during the day and a large (65L) duffle bag to pack up the gear you would like to have access to when you walk into Black’s Gap and Elder Wilderness Camps—reuniting with your main luggage on the final evening at Arkaba Homestead. A support vehicle takes this duffle bag between Wilderness Camps, so you will only need to carry your provided day pack while you walk. There is a detailed packing list towards the end of your Arkaba Walk itinerary. We also provide essential toiletries and towels for your convenience. Need help packing? Have a look at our Trip Essentials.
Both the Original Arkaba Walk and new lodge-based Arkaba Walk experiences are all-inclusive and expertly guided explorations of Arkaba’s wildlife conservancy and the surrounding Flinders Ranges. The main difference between the two walks is that the lodge-based walk is just that, a series of immersive day trips on foot using Arkaba Homestead, a member of Luxury Lodges of Australia, as your base. This is different from our original Arkaba Walk as it spends two nights out at our signature swag camps, with the last night in our Arkaba Homestead. Both walks have their own unique itinerary and highlights and we would invite you to view them and see which one is best suited for you.
At Arkaba we offer two walks for two different experiences on our wildlife conservancy. The original Arkaba walk experience departs every Thursday between 1 April and 14 October 2021. This walk starts on a 3 Night 4 Day basis for our self-driving guests, with the option to include both a pre-walk stay and group transfers from Adelaide.
The new lodge based Arkaba Walk also starts on a 3 Night 4 Day basis and departs fortnightly on Mondays between 5 April and 22 November 2021, it also has the option of including a pre-walk stay as well as private transfers from Adelaide. Both of these walks offer three full days of walking covering between 12 and 14kms each day.
60,000 gloriously remote outback acres. 5 rooms. No more than 10 guests. Our Original Arkaba Walk operates to a minimum of 4 and maximum of 10, while our Lodge- Based Arkaba Walk operates with a minimum of 2 and a maximum of just 10.
Walking holidays are a great way to meet new, interesting, like-minded people and we regularly welcome people travelling solo. You can join a departure with a minimum of 2 people confirmed, and as long as you are one of the first two single travellers to book, will receive your own swag deck and Homestead Guestroom at no additional charge. As this is on a first-come-first-serve basis any additional single travelers will be charged a $1,500 single occupancy fee, or the option to join an alternative walk departure at no additional charge.
The Arkaba Walk is graded as moderate, covering between 12 and 14kms per day for three walking days. It’s not a race to the finish, rather an experience that encourages you to take your time, soak in the outback and stories passionately shared by our field guides. There are two sections that some will find more challenging on our original Arkaba walk experience, a steep descent from the lip of Wilpena Pound at the end of day 1, and a steep ascent to the summit of the Red Range at the end of day 2. The reward more than makes up for these short, sharp sections with incredible photo opportunities. One of the best aspects of our Arkaba Walks is that the style is exploratory, you don’t follow a fixed trail and we have the flexibility to change up the route according to fitness and interest levels of your collective group.
We generally advise that if you have a reasonable level of fitness and spend some time walking most days, you are in a great position to really enjoy the experience. It’s helpful for our guides to be aware of any pre-existing medical conditions or previous walking experience that may affect your ability to walk 12-14km each day.
The best preparation for a walking holiday is to walk. It is a good idea to start conditioning a couple of months before your walking holiday, depending on your existing fitness level. A combination of short and long walks as well as hill climbs and stairs will help to prepare you to walk over varied terrain. You should be physically active for at least 1-2 hours three times per week.
Enjoy some day hikes at your local national park as this can help you get used to walking on uneven surfaces and break in your walking boots. It is essential that the boots you wear on any walking holiday are well broken in. You will carry a daypack (provided by us!) during your Arkaba Walk filled with only the items you will need access to during the day – water, camera, snacks, lunch, binoculars etc. Walking with a day pack weighing between 4-5 kg will also assist with your preparation.
Our Original Arkaba Walk package ends with a scenic road transfer through one of South Australia’s most famous wine regions, the Clare Valley, with lunch and wine tasting included. All walkers are dropped at Adelaide Airport to meet onward flights from 6pm, however we can arrange for you to be dropped at most places in the Clare Valley or your Adelaide City hotel at no extra cost, if requested in advance.
The Arkaba Walk begins at 8am for breakfast and a walk briefing before departing from the homestead so we suggest all walkers not booked on our packages that include a pre-walk stay, stay within close proximity the night before the walk. There are suitable options in the nearby areas of Quorn or Hawker – both within 60 minutes commute to Arkaba – or we can assist with a booking at Rawnsley Park, just 10 minutes’ from Arkaba. We would not recommend staying further away as it is important to be mindful of the realities of driving in the outback when the wildlife can be very active on the road in the early mornings.
There are instances where new departure dates can be added on days other than Thursday or Monday, usually only for an exclusive group and this is subject to availability. Please enquire with our reservations consultants who would be happy to look into opening up new dedicated departure dates for your group.
There’s no better way to see how much ground you covered than with a scenic flight over Wilpena Pound. For walkers booked on the ex Adelaide package, the only available time to book a scenic flight is on the afternoon of day 4, after completing the walk around 3pm. For walkers on the ex Arkaba package, we suggest a scenic flight following your check-out from Arkaba on day 5, to maximise your last morning in the homestead.
Good news! For groups of 10 travelling together, one person will enjoy our all-inclusive Wild Bush Luxury experience on the Arkaba Walk with our compliments. To secure an exclusive departure with less than 10 walkers, you will need to pay the equivalent of 9 walkers to enjoy exclusive accommodation and private guiding throughout.
While not necessary, we do provide walking poles for your use. They’re lightweight, easily adjustable and ideal for taking weight off your knees as you descend off the lip of Wilpena Pound, the jewel in the crown of the Flinders Ranges.
It is essential that you have footwear that are broken in and have ankle support, as the creeks beds in particular can be unsteady underfoot. If you don’t have time to break in a new pair of hiking boots, and feel confident in your existing walking shoes, then comfortable trainers would be suitable. For a full list of trip essentials and packing advice click here.
You are welcome to use your own but we do provide you with a 30L day pack with ridged lumbar support, which includes a hydration bladder holding up to 2L. If you have a preferred water bottle instead of the bladder provided, you are most welcome to bring this with you.
Due to COVID health guidelines we are no longer able to provide you with a water bottle, so please do bring your own. Each day our guides carry at least 10L of additional water and encourage you to keep hydrated. A container with 1L minimum is recommended.
The walk operates between March and October with each month offering different flavours, as South Australia is a very seasonal destination. The wildlife at Arkaba is incredible all year round, as is the ever inspiring natural environment, so the best time to walk will depend when you can get away and your preferred walking weather. March to May provides warm Autumn days, with moderate nights and the earth can still be quite dry. June to August is Winter and the earth usually starts to green up with a bit of rain, the days are perfect for walking and the nights are cold (with all sorts of Wild Bush Luxury tricks to keep our walkers nice and warm, don’t be concerned if you feel the cold more than others!). September and October see the arrival of Spring, when rain dependent wildflowers are out and new animals are born. Nights are still quite moderate though the days will begin to heat up significantly towards the end of September into October.
The arrival of the wildflowers is very dependent on rainfall, however we have found in previous years that late August to September seems the time most likely to see the delicate, vibrant petals popping out from the ancient earth. Green and red rough-leaved grevillea, the bright purple vanilla lily and soft silver mulla mulla welcome spring to the Flinders and our guides know just the places to find them!
The walk takes place in all conditions, excluding extreme weather. With the right clothing, there is no bad weather and we recommend walkers keep an eye on the Bureau of Meteorology weather forecast leading up to the walk. It is useful to pack a light waterproof jacket in most cases. All sleeping and meal areas at the swag camps are undercover and protected from any rainfall.
Our 3 night, 4 day walks cannot be split into parts however booking a stay at the Arkaba Homestead instead would allow you to enjoy smaller sections of the walk that can be accessed by vehicle within your included guided activities. Should you be booked on the lodge-based walk and for whatever reason are not able to join the days walks we would be able to have you join the homesteads guided safari experiences instead.
The accommodation is part of the real Wild Bush Luxury of the Original Arkaba Walk Experience, with our signature star beds accommodating walkers on night 1 and 2 with the last night (and first for those with a pre-walk stay!) being spent in the Homestead, a member of Luxury Lodges of Australia. Our star beds are raised sheltered platforms with two extremely comfortable single swag beds and each night you have the option of sleeping undercover or (our preference!) out under the stars. The Arkaba Homestead has five beautifully restored guestrooms, with either twin or king beds and each with a view out to the surrounding ranges, a private verandah and ensuite.
Each camp has two waterless composting toilets that require no use of chemicals and have no pulluting discharge. There are also two showers which are an experience in themselves! Using gravity rainfall showers fed by hearth warmed tank water that are purpose built buildings, offering incredibly beautiful (and private) views.
Shampoo, conditioner, hand and body soap are provided at each campsite as well as the Arkaba Homestead. With conservancy at the heart of everything we do, products are carefully selected and are Australian made, biodegradable and designed to genuinely minimise our environmental footprint.
Gloriously, there is no Wi-Fi or phone reception at Arkaba, with the bush camps operated by solar power so you will only be able to charge your devices when returning to the homestead on day 3. We recommend bringing portable battery pack recharges if your device requires charging during the walk, particularly if you plan on taking plenty of photos!
With enough notice we are able to cater to most dietary requirements. Being a remote property, it is important our chefs are made aware of anything specific well in advance as you do not have a menu of options to choose from at meal times. It may also be helpful for our chefs to know what you do like, so feel free to let us know!