When combining the bedrock of animal life on earth found in our ancient outback landscape in the Flinders Ranges with the species found along the Murray River’s ephemeral wetlands, you get a distinct illustration of the diversity of the South Australian environment.
Rob McFarland joined our Ranges to River: Great Walks of South Australia experience, stretching his legs through the prehistoric Flinders Ranges on our Arkaba Walk and then along the Murray River with our fellow Great Walks of Australia friends, Murray River Trails.
Our Arkaba Walk and the Murray River Walk, two Great Walks of Australia, come together to give you the opportunity to conquer both in one incredible South Australian journey.
Navigate dry creek beds lined with the time-honoured River Red Gums, coming across the occasional isolated springs while never losing sight of the rolling, craggy cypress pine ridged lines of the Flinders Ranges. Leave the outback behind at the floodplain wetlands of the Murray River and enjoy a gentle cruise up its meandering bends. This exclusively curated journey gives you access to some of the best walking country in Australia.
While everyone loves to have a comfortable bed and great food, it is the time spent with guides on the ground that leaves a lasting impact. Of course, a really good glass of wine at the end of the day as the sun sets over the ancient ramparts of Wilpena Pound and the cliffs along the Murray always helps!
WITH TRANSFERS FROM ADELAIDE
Meet and greet Adelaide airport or city located hotel before we hit the open road for our direct journey to the Flinders Ranges and your guided lay of the land safari experience on arrival at Arkaba.
SELF DRIVE ITINERARY
Make your way to Arkaba Homestead from 2 pm for check-in to your Homestead Guestroom. There will be time to freshen up before your guided lay of the land safari experience.
Traverse the basin of Wilpena Pound before crossing onto Arkaba’s private wildlife conservancy and descend to Black’s Gap Signature Swag Camp. Glorious diversity meets big outback space and starry skies.
Today is arguably the most scenic, as we move out from Black’s Gap, following meandering riverbeds into the rolling hills more suited to the sheep farming activities previously carried out across Arkaba. The first 2km will follow the famous Heysen Trail through Black’s Gap. Next, we head slightly west into rolling hills culminating in a sharp 1 km climb of about 100 m in elevation to the summit of the Red Range – the views are worth the effort! Then, finally, moving on to the foot of Elder Range, passing through beautiful stands of native cypress trees.
Your luggage and swags will have been transported by vehicle to our new signature swag camp, the Elder Camp. You can expect to arrive around 5.30 pm in time for a hot bush shower with a view, a 3-course dinner and another beautiful night under the stars.
Walk across varying terrain through Mallee and cypress forests before ascending the Red Range. Immerse yourself in our ancient Arkaba Creek line alive with glorious diversity en route to Arkaba Homestead.
Depart Arkaba Homestead after breakfast for a scenic transfer through gorgeous outback towns with wine tasting and lunch in the Clare Valley. Meet your Murray River Walk driver, who will continue your transfer to the Renmark Hotel with dinner at the Nanya Bistro that evening.
SELF DRIVE ITINERARY
Morning at leisure to relax fireside, take an optional scenic flight over the ancient ramparts of Wilpena Pound or perhaps retreat into nature from Arkaba’s wildlife viewing hide or historic woolshed. Check out by 11 am and set off for Renmark via the Clare Valley wine country. Take your pick of local wineries for lunch. From the Clare Valley, head east through Robertson and Morgan before arriving at your chosen accommodation in Renmark.
Meet your guides and fellow walkers at 8 am at the Renmark Community Hotel for a pre-walk briefing before we board the pontoon “cruiser” boat for a 14 km cruise along the Murray River to start the walking route.
Discover the lagoons that are havens for waterbirds, learn about the site of a World War II Japanese internment camp and cross creeks that feed the red gum forests and box woodlands. A gentle climb through the cliffs reveals a magnificent view of the vast Murray River floodplain that will surround you over the next three days. A short transfer across the river in the cruiser and you have arrived at your destination.
Your “Boat Guide” will welcome you aboard and settle you in – before a cool foot dip in the river or a hot spa followed by a 3-course dinner paired with local wines.
Rise before the sun and walk a gentle slope to the rim of the Murray River valley for a spectacular sunrise. See colours appear and marvel at the journey route below before returning to the houseboat for a cooked breakfast. Depart again for the daily walk discovering Aboriginal canoe trees, giant red gum forests and small islands along leafy Amazon Creek.
Arriving at your floating home you’ll enjoy a local tasting plate as you dip your feet in the cool waters of the Murray River.
Awake to the mists on the water and enjoy a great coffee, local navel oranges and tasty breakfast followed by a briefing on the Murray Darling Basin and the management of its network of rivers which drain 14% of Australia. Today we cruise to the Chowilla Creek Environmental Regulator to learn about environmental watering and new stewardship for the river before setting off our walk.
You’ll walk along Chowilla Creek, restored wetlands and visit the proposed site of the 1960’s Chowilla Dam.
We celebrate completing our walking journey from Queens Bend Cliffs in the afternoon before cruising to the houseboat as the late afternoon sun illuminates the red cliffs.
After breakfast, take a self-guided 2 km walk along the river before cruising in the pontoon boat through Lock 6. Experience a gentle drop in the water level of 3 metres.
Rejoining the houseboat downstream, you will cruise for 2 hours on the houseboat to the innovative Wilkadene Woolshed Brewery, set in a 100-year-old shearing shed on the banks of the river.
Enjoy a tour with the head brewer before sitting down with your guides to a fine barbecue prepared by your guides before saying your farewells.
You will depart for Renmark by bus and arrive at the Renmark Hotel at 2 pm.
Those on the package with transfers to Adelaide will depart for Renmark by bus before continuing to Adelaide to arrive at Adelaide airport by 5 pm in time to connect evening flights. Alternatively, if you stay in Adelaide, we will arrange to drop you at your city located hotel.
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