The Heysen Trail

Trail specs

Distance (mi.) Stages Elevation Gain (ft) Best Time Difficulty



[sgpx gpx=”/wp-content/uploads/gpx/20190210235242-31104-data.gpx”]

Trail description

With no less than 745 miles (1,200km) the Heysen Trail stretches from Parachilna Gorge to Cape Jervis in southern Australia. In 1969 there was already a preliminary design of the route ready. But some stubborn landowners and possibly even more stubborn politicians refused to commit. We had to wait until 1992 before the Heysen Trail could be officially opened. The Heysen Trail owes its name to the German artist Sir Hans Heysen. This good man emigrated to Australia at a very young age and devoted his life to painting sheep and other cattle on a beautiful Australian background.

Most hikers choose to walk short parts of this long-distance hiking trail. But if you choose to thru-hike the Heysen Trail, you should count on sixty days of walking. Although the mountains are relatively low, you will still gain over 85,000 ft (25,000m) in total.

Photo by Nomadic Pics

With the Heysen Trail you treat yourself to 745 miles (1,200km) of varying and breathtakingly beautiful landscapes. You walk through romantic vineyards and vast grasslands. But rugged gorges and impressive pine forests are also present. Along the way you pass historic villages and here and there you will flirt with the sea.

Photo by Kyle Taylor

The most southern part of the route is easily accessible for everyone. For novice hikers it is an ideal stretch to get acquainted with a multi-day trek. Children will also have a great time on this part of the route. But the further you go to the North, the more experience you need to have. After all, you will get a lot of rougher terrain under your feet, which will put your fitness level to the test from time to time.

It is not recommended to hike the Heysen Trail from December to October. During that period large sections of the route are closed every year because of an increased fire risk in the forests. But fire is not the only thing that throws a spanner on the Heysen Trail. Phytophthora also contributes to this. Phytophthora is a root-rot disease that kills native plants. It is spread by moist soil and organic material that attaches itself to shoes. Because there is no remedy for the disease, it is all the more important to prevent its spread as good as possible. Something in which we as hikers have an important task to fulfill. Along the Heysen Trail various shoe cleaning stations are set up, which you can use for that.

With your clean shoes you are most welcome in the many huts and campsites on the route. There is no shortage of overnight accommodation on the Heysen Trail. The very detailed official website of the Heysen Trail is definitely worth a visit. You will find, among other things, a very handy overview with distance indication of every possible place to spend the night. In addition, you can also find an overview of various facilities such as supermarkets where you can resupply. The detailed website proofs that the Heysen Trail has not only inherited the name of Sir Hans Heysen, but also his “Deutsche Gründlichkeit”.

Photo by Jocelyn Kinghorn (modified)

More information


Books and maps:

Icons made by Freepik from is licensed by CC 3.0 BY