Introducing Arkaba Wilderness Trails. An entirely different kettle of fish. Far from anything we’ve offered before. It’s about getting back down to earth in the purest & primal Wild Bush Luxury way.
Most think swagging out under the stars at our Wilderness Camps (on our Original Arkaba Walk) is an adventurous way to sleep. Drifting into dreamland under the stariest of starry outback skies. And it is intrepid. Joyous. Spirit soaring even. But this new Arkaba Wilderness Trails experience is an entirely different bedtime beast.
It’s stripping gear back to the essentials. Things you need for five nights of backcountry exploring and living carried on your back. Your bed. Food. Water. Shelter in the form of a tarp strung up between a few trees. Clothing to embrace the elements of Mother Nature in all her moods. No more. No less.
Arrive at Arkaba mid-afternoon to a warm Wild Bush Luxury welcome. We’ll begin our journey by acknowledging Adnyamathanha people, past and present. The First Australians and traditional custodians of this Flinders Ranges and Outback country. We’ll ditch our modern constraints, load up our backpacks, and bed down for the night at Arkaba Wilderness Camp.
We set our feet firmly on this ancient land. Some 500 million moons old. Vast open spaces are our constant companion. Arkaba’s Outback; a revelation of a resilient ecology.
Red soil underfoot and big blue skies above, our days are rich in exposure and low in impact. Enduring imprints taken away, fading footprints left behind. We zoom out to see the big picture and tune in to the nature of this land. The place we’re privileged to tred.
We feel wild. We are a community, walking to the rhythm of nature’s tune. We notice the simple things. The hues of the landscape. A thick-tailed Gidgee Skink on a rock. Light shimmering on the trunk of a Red River Gum. The twitch of a Western-Grey Kangaroo’s ears. The crackle of a campfire and the chatter shared around it.
With only the sun and stars to guide our path, we rest when we want and eat when hungry. There’s no time limit. No deadlines. Just nature at its best. Suddenly, our thoughts are free to soar and find a peaceful place to perch.
Our days and nights become one. We’ve gathered a sense of worth, acceptance and connection to nature. Modern worries pale into insignificance as the night sky becomes a comforting blanket and a source of inspiration.
It’s our final day on the trail. We return to Wilderness Camp enriched by our connection with nature. We feel renewed, alive, capable and at peace. This evening offers time to reflect and readjust.
We bid farewell to Arkaba with a fresh perspective gleaned from experiences and stories gathered out in the bush. We’ve got our sparkle on, and we’re geared up to reconnect.
YOU CAN ASK THAT
Arkaba Wilderness Trails is galaxies away from your typical walking holiday, and naturally, you’ll have questions. We have covered some ground on the usual suspects for you here, and you are always welcome to get in touch if you don’t find what you need. No question is silly, particularly with an experience as footloose as this, so please fire away!
How did we ever live without our mobile phones? Let us remind you. Arkaba Wilderness Trails is your opportunity to pull the plug on technology and reconnect. With yourself. With nature. With this wonderful, and at times mind-boggling, world around us. With your life. That’s difficult while being distracted by the chance to watch a dog catch its tail on a screen the size of your hand … well, you know what we mean. We’ll stow your electronic devices, watch and camera ready for your return, but while we’re ‘out bush’ you’ll enjoy the rustle of the gentle breeze in the trees, the crunch of the outback under your feet and the silence of the star-studded night sky, without a single ding, dong or beep. Sounds scary to leave the ‘real world’ behind? Being spartan is liberating, and we bet you’ll thank us for it.
We’ll let the land guide us, as it has the traditional custodians for tens of thousands of years. We’ll listen to its voice. Follow its spirit. Its seasons. Its wild bush landscapes. Each day will be directed by its rugged beauty. Should we wish to stop, and sit awhile, under a time-honoured Red Gum, or cool our feet in a creek bed humming with birds and the sign of new life in young saplings; we will. Should we meet some friendly wildlife who are happy to share their patch and their time; we will. There are no set distances. No designated hours. This land is over 500 million years old. We’re in no hurry.
Walking upon an ancient landscape in a small band carrying only essential belongings on your back is to be a hunter-gatherer of the 21st century. Drawing on lessons ingrained in our DNA, passed on by our ancestors as human traits, you’ll hunt for meaning and gather the values all but lost in modern-day society. Forage for perspective through images and stories that emerge on the trail. Become one with the land. One with yourself. Rewild your natural instincts and imagination.
With ‘tread lightly’ as our mantra, we carry nothing in that we cannot carry out, with only our own thoughts gathered along the way. From cooking to sleeping, we’ve chosen a minimalist approach. Anything we use from nature will be returned or replenished. In the footsteps of our forefathers, we’ll replace technology with storytelling, clutter with clarity and leave as little trace of our experience as possible.
Over the week, you’ll find that strength is as much a test of the mind as it is the body. However, we understand you may wish to enjoy the time you spend walking as much as our spells spent at rest. For this reason, for those who don’t exercise regularly, we suggest you throw a few steps into your daily routine. Take the stairs instead of the lift. Try a walk to work. Test out the trails at your nearest national park or sprint to your local beach. You’ll be surprised what a difference these make.
Arkaba Wilderness Trails is not a race. As a small group, we’ll walk at one with the land. Appreciate its moods. Stop awhile to watch, wonder, and chat. Become a community. For this reason, we’ll walk together. On average, we cover around 50 kilometres over the week. It’s fair to say some people envisage walking further. We’re all different. We all enjoy life at our own pace. If you revel in your fitness, chat with your guide. They’ll be more than happy to plan some challenges for you along the way.
If you’ve suffered nothing other than a paper cut in your day job, you may find you’ll get the occasional blister or scratch in the bush. We’ll suggest a few personal items, and preparation tips to avoid these but on a grander scale, our guides carry a medical kit that would suffice for minor injuries. Both guides hold first aid certificates, with the addition of a second guide enabling the group to continue should anyone need to return to base for medical reasons.
Sadly, snakes and spiders get a bad rap in the Australian safety stakes. To be honest, they’d rather give humans a wide birth. If we do come across them, we’ll show them the respect and admiration they deserve. If they return that respect on a level driven by fear rest assured your guides have a broad knowledge of bush first aid and at all times the homestead and medical aid are within a safe distance.
Our guides carry a satellite phone to communicate with the Arkaba Homestead daily. Should anyone require emergency assistance, our team there will contact the applicable services straight away. Your health and safety is our highest priority.
There are some things in life that take more than a day or two, and for good reason. Arkaba Wilderness Trails is unlike any other ‘gone bush’ experience available in Australia. You’re not only here to connect with our stunning slice of South Australia. You’re here to connect with your fellow walkers. To connect with yourself. If you’ve experienced the Australian bush, you’ll know why a day, or even three, or four, would never be enough. If you haven’t … come join us.
We’ll carry everything we need for our journey on our backs. With your comfort in mind, we’ve selected the best quality backpacks for this style of walking, taking into consideration everything you’ll need to be self-sufficient. Whatever your body type, you’ve been considered. The first night of the program is all about preparation. Your guide will fit your backpack and give advice on packing with an eye to ease of access and comfort. You’ll carry your clothing and items of a personal nature, cooking equipment and food. Anything necessary for the group as a whole will be divided fairly for us all to share. With advice from your guide on what’s best to pack, the total weight of your backpack shouldn’t exceed 15 kgs.
Pack your bag and take 75% out. No, make that 80%. There are no fashion stakes on this walk. It’s all about comfort and layers. We’ll help you with some suggestions. The terrain is probably best conquered in previously worn hiking boots but runners with ankle support would suffice. And throw in a pair of thongs (or flip flops depending on where you hail from) to rest your feet at the end of the day.
Away from the pollution of man-made light, Arkaba’s night sky offers surround-sound stars. We’ll provide you with a comfortable self-inflating mat, and a quality sleeping bag and liner to bed down for the night. In the tradition of the Australian Outback, we’ll sleep out ‘swag style’ with the sounds of the bush, a crackling campfire and a blanket of sparkling stars to lull us to sleep.
You’ll have plenty of healthy, nourishing food. In fact, you may find you even have food leftover. Meals will be cooked by your guide on the first and last nights of our week together but then it’s over to you. Meals and snacks, while we are in the bush, will be in the form of a food pack which is supplied at the start of your walk. We’ve chosen quality, non-perishable foods to sustain you throughout your walk. Each of us will carry our own food pack and cater for our own needs. All cooking and eating equipment are provided, while any cooking is on your personal portable gas stove. For those with specific dietary requirements or allergies, we try our best to create food packs designed to suit. We suggest you discuss this with our team prior to booking.
While you’ll carry water for cooking and drinking, personal hygiene will not be its priority. Your guide is well versed in keeping water use to a minimum, whilst ensuring your cleanliness is appropriately tended to. We’ll share a few long-held tips on bush hygiene whilst using little of its greatest resource. A list of suggested toiletries will be included in your pre-departure pack and questions are always welcome.
On your first night, you’ll be provided with a 3-litre water bladder that slots into your backpack. The water you carry will be used for drinking, cooking, and personal use. Each day we’ll refill our water supply from creeks and springs, and various water sources found on the property. Year-round there will be plenty of drinking water to replenish your fluids.
Hey that’s just a fact of nature. As they say and excuse our pun, every tree is a lava tree! We’ll be using the bush as nature intended with a few tips from our guides. After all toilet paper was once a tree itself.
Anytime is walking time at Arkaba. Each season portrays its own personality in a myriad of ways. Whether it be the stubbornly hot Summers, when inviting breezes stir the rustic red soil into unforgettable sunsets, or the soft rains of Spring, spreading a sprinkling of wildflowers as far as the eye can see. The cooler months greet the day with crisp mornings and clear blue skies, the perfect weather for exploration. Your experienced wilderness guide is well versed in contingency plans for all of nature’s moods. Should she tease us with showers, we carry tarps to build a shelter. Should she shine to excess, we’ll slow our pace and rest awhile in her shade. We invite you to read about our ‘seasons’ and ‘nature calendar’ for further information on Arkaba’s year-round wonders.
Our minimalist approach to Wilderness Trails and the rewilding of the 60,000 acres that make up Arkaba has gifted us the company of a wide variety of animals who are as curious about us as we are of them. There are few creatures as majestic as a fully grown male Red Kangaroo or a Wedge-tailed Eagle in soaring flight. As quirky as an inquisitive Emu or as colourful and talkative as the array of parrot species that gather in the understory along the ancient creek lines that carve their way through our Arkaba conservancy. For centuries, the wildlife has lived side-by-side with the people who have cared for this land. We’re in their world. A lucky few amongst the many animals who call Arkaba home.
You’re more than welcome to join us. Whether you’re a solo traveller, couple, family or a small group of friends makes no difference. The ethos of this experience is to nurture a sense of community where you’ll bond with your fellow like-minded walkers and roam the land as one. Solo travellers will be matched with a fellow walker of the same gender, to share twin configured accommodation on the first and last night of the experience.
Our stunning slice of South Australia is around six hours drive from Adelaide. Choose to self-drive or chat to us about shared transfers to accompany your walk. We’ll spend our first and final night on Arkaba at one of our Wilderness Camps, with the opportunity to enjoy a short shower and a bush-inspired meal. We’ll begin our journey by honouring the Adnyamathanha people, past and present. The First Australians of the Flinders Ranges and Outback country before tucking into a hearty dinner. After a walk briefing, you’ll load your backpack and get a good nights sleep at the camp, ready to begin the walk the following morning. We’ll return to our Wilderness Camp on our final night with stories to share over a celebratory meal and a South Australian drop of your choice before ending your Wilderness Trails experience after breakfast on our final day.