Willunga Basin Trail on track for completion by November 2021

With just 16km of trail yet to be signed, the 129km Willunga Basin Trail is on track foo completion by November.

Volunteers are continuing to work on trail establishment, recently completing the Kangarilla area (Sections 7 and 8).

We have brought the trail along Brooks Rd, and made a roadside path along part of Jackson Rd. Council contractors are to clear woody weeds on the edge of Bakers Gully Rd at the end of September and we will then make a safe path for walkers. Federal government funding has been achieved for a fence to separate walkers and cattle including bulls, between Kangarilla and Bone Gully Forest near Mt Panorama; this connection has long been sought by walking groups as well as the Willunga Basin Trail, for whom it is a vital link. We hope that it will be achieved by October.

Volunteers have been doing plantings and weed removal on many parts of the trail and will soon start a spring maintenance program to clear the established parts.

Much of the trail is being walked, including by groups. Friends of the Heysen Trail walked most of it earlier this year.

Visit www.wbt.org.au for more information including maps and descriptions of the sections which have been completed.

Two recent walking surveys tell the story: If we don’t walk more often, it’s often because we think we don’t have the time

Believing that “what counts, counts”, we are always keen to see data measuring how much walking is being done.  So we were pleased to see two new measures of walking appear recently.

The National Walking and Cycling Participation Survey has been undertaken in 2021.  This continues a biennial series for measuring cycling that began in 2013.  This is the first time that it has also covered walking. This is a telephone survey in which a member of a household who is at least 15 years of age is asked to respond for each member of the household.  In South Australia, this involved 529 households, covering 1,324 households.

Practically all of us (96%) walked for more than five minutes in the week before the survey.  And we walked quite a lot: among those aged 15 and over, the median hours walked in the previous seven days was 3.0 hours, or almost a half an hour a day.

This was slightly less than the 3.5 hours recorded for Australia as a whole.  A cynic might say that this is because parking is easier than in the big cities on the east coast, but we should note that the most popular reason for walking recorded was for recreational/ health purposes.  See the figures reproduced below.  (The lines at the top of each column are the error bars, to indicate the 95% confidence interval.)

Reasons given for walking

These figures might be an over-estimate.  Because answering is voluntary (48% of households approached agreed to be surveyed), there is probably a self-selection bias toward households that are pre-disposed toward walking and cycling.  Also, the average household surveyed had 2.5 members, compared with 2.4 recorded in the most recent census.  So there was probably a slight bias toward younger/ more active households.

Nevertheless, the key value of the National Walking and Cycling Participation Survey is that it provides a consistent methodology over time, so we look forward to accurate trends in the years to come.

The other recent source of data is survey of members by the Royal Automobile Association (RAA).  624 members responded to a questionnaire about how much walking they do, their attitudes towards walking and what might encourage them to walk more often.  As with the National survey, almost all respondents (in this case 94%) said that they walked for at least five minutes in the past week.  Over a third said that they did this every day.  Half said that on a typical day they walked for at least 30 minutes.

What was striking was the proportions who said that they could easily walk at least a kilometre to access local shops and similar destination: 85% in the case of parks; two thirds to shops, cafes and restaurants.

Three quarters said that they would like to walk more than they do, but the biggest barrier to doing this was the lack of time.

Once again there is probably a self-selectivity bias here: the survey was voluntary.  Nevertheless, the survey suggests that that, with over half of our car trips 3km or less, there is a lot of scope for replacing short car trips with walking.

Survey on Shared Trail Use

Users sharing a trail

Have you ever walked on a ‘Shared Trail’? The purpose of shared trails is to allow for walkers, runners, hikers, bike riders and horse riders to integrate themselves together, using the same trail for the benefit of all users.

Walking SA is currently developing a Position Statement for Shared Trail Use and would welcome your feedback during this consultation phase.

We would appreciate you completing the brief survey below – it should take no more than 5 minutes to complete.

You can read Walking SA’s other Position Statements.

The Importance of Storytelling

In Nilpena Ediacara National Park, Ross showcased one of the most important Ediacaran fossil sites in the world

In Nilpena Ediacara National Park, Ross showcased one of the most important Ediacaran fossil sites in the world

Recently, as a member of the Parks and Wilderness Council, I was afforded the opportunity to visit the Northern Flinders Ranges to learn more about South Australia’s bid for this iconic cultural, geological and biodiverse landscape to be recognised under UNESCO World Heritage.

Ben visiting Sacred Canyon, one of the the great cultural significance of these landscapes to the Adnyamathanha people

Throughout this trip, Council were given opportunities to visit the recently proclaimed Nilpena Ediacara National Park where Ross showcased one of the most important Ediacaran fossil sites in the world. We also made our way through Brachina Gorge and into Sacred Canyon, where Aunty Pauline explained the great cultural significance of these landscapes to the Adnyamathanha people.

It was these opportunities that reminded me of one of the reasons why I love spending time with people, adventuring through the outdoors – storytelling.

For 60,000 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island People have been doing just that – communally gathering around a campfire to listen to stories from the Dreamtime, or tell of daily happenings, such as what they had learnt, hunted or encountered. Harnessing oral communication, they would speak, sing, dance and/or share in art and craft-making. To me, no group of people have affirmed the value of storytelling like Indigenous people have and continue to do.

Sacred Canyon, one of the the great cultural significance of these landscapes to the Adnyamathanha people

My time in the Flinders Ranges reminded me of how holistically important storytelling is to our lives. As I reflected on the experiences of the stories being shared to me by Aunty Pauline, Ross, or from the many others in our group or the people we met along the adventure, I made the below notes.

Storytelling is one of the most powerful means that we all have to influence, teach, and inspire others.

Stories are what connects us as people between history, experiences, opportunities and ideas. They take even the most beautiful landscapes, adrenalin filling adventures and unique encounters and make them come alive. Stories convey the culture, history, and values that unite people.

When it comes to our communities, our friends and our families, we intuitively understand that it is the stories we hold in common which bind us together.

Stories enable us to learn from others about past experiences and moments in time, connecting the experiences shared between us of the present day and motivating us to create new ones to share with each other in our future.

When Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island People share together, they aren’t just entertainers but they are also preserving their culture while educating future generations in the history, values and lore of their people.

Storytelling connects us as humans, whether on the trail, sitting around at camp or enjoying that drink in the next country town. Stories take the words off signage, the paragraphs off pages, the data off the sheets and engages us in that content. Stories make us better active listeners, as we become immersed in a fun, risk-free, and transformative learning opportunity.

Stories connect generation to generation through cultural practices, beliefs, traditions, values, languages, experiences and relationships.

Storytelling helps with learning because stories are easy to remember – I certainly remember a well-told story more accurately, and for far longer, than listening to or reading facts and figures.

Stories ground us in a moment in time. When outdoors, stories allow us to feel the ground beneath our feet, to see the beauty of nature around us, to smell the freshness of the day, to hear the calls of the bush and to taste the opportunity for new experiences.

Storytelling builds an image in our imagination of that moment in time, which can appeal to a diversity of listeners, it allows us to appreciate what it may have been like at that moment and it expands our interests into new areas.

I was certainly encouraged to share in more storytelling as a result of this trip. To me, that is the difference of the experience in any destination, circumstance or opportunity… when storytelling is engaged, we can convey a style of immersive learning that can influence, teach, and/or inspire others.

Congratulations to our latest BLSA Day Walk Leader graduate – Judy McAdam

Judy McAdam, our latest BLSA Day Walk Leader graduateJudy McAdam has recently graduated as a Day Walk Leader. Judy is a member of the Friends of the Heysen Trail, being actively involved with the Friends as an office volunteer, Membership Secretary, Council member and as Co-ordinator of End-to-End 10 when they crossed the finishing stile on the July 16.

The Day Walk Leader Certificate equips people to lead single day group bushwalking trips.

Thanks to grant support from Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing, Walking SA partnered with Bushwalking Leadership SA to strengthen bushwalking leadership within our clubs.

Having walked in her teens Judy returned to the trail to train to walk the Camino for a significant birthday 11 years ago and hasn’t stopped walking since, and doesn’t plan to do so anytime soon.

She found the opportunity to undertake the Bushwalking Leadership Day Walk Leader Certificate was too good to miss.

“I found the course excellent and even though I had a reasonable base knowledge I learned a great deal and dug up some lost knowledge and skills out of the archives of my brain, ” says Judy.

“I must admit while reading through the notes prior to first day I had a chuckle that these were the same things I was taught as a girl guide, oh so many years ago but I quickly came to realise that what was good bushcraft then remains good bushcraft today, and even though there were advances in technology and equipment the fundamentals remain the same.”

“I particularly enjoyed the navigation component and I applied the route planning lessons to the current Heysen trail route and maps and found it beneficial in really appreciating the terrain the group we were leading was facing in final 200k of the trail.”

She strongly recommends the course to all walking clubs and walk leaders.


The next Bushwalking Leadership SA Day Walk Leader Certificate course is in September. The Training Day is Saturday 4th September 2021, with the Workshop on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th September 2021. Book via www.bushwalkingleadership.org.au.

You can find out more about upcoming training dates by contacting us or visiting bushwalkingleadership.org.au.

Super Tuesday 2021 Pedestrian Counts

On the assumption that “what is counted, counts”, Walking SA has been looking for ways to measure the amount of walking done, both on hiking trails and in our urban areas.

Every year Bike Adelaide manages the Super Tuesday counts.  Volunteers count cyclists as they ride past particular points from 7am to 9am on the first Tuesday in March.  We’ve been working with Bike Adelaide, both asking our membership for volunteers to count pedestrians, and asking Bike Adelaide volunteers who count cyclists if they could also count pedestrians, at least where they are not too busy.

In 2020 we had 14 locations counted, and this year 35.  Importantly, ten of the 35 were counted in both years, so we are starting to be able to measure trends.  All but one of the 10 locations saw an increase compared with 2021.  The total increase at the 10 locations was 17%.

Here are the figures for locations counted in both years:

Location Pedestrians counted
2020 2021 change
Port Road/ Gaol Road 110 124 13%
Dequetteville Tce/ King William 102 113 11%
Osmond Tce/ William St 100 143 43%
Fullarton Rd/ William St 94 116 23%
Britannia roundabout 45 46 2%
Frome St/ Wakefield St 333 372 12%
West Tce/ Sir Donald Bradman Dr 202 206 2%
West Tce/ Sturt St 98 67 -32%
East Tce/ South Tce/ Beaumont Rd 232 243 5%
Westside Bikeway/ South Road 18 21 17%
TOTAL 1334 1451 17%

The overall increase is interesting given that the counts tend to be in an around the City, and overall numbers heading into the City are probably lower than they were in early March 2020.  One explanation for this might be the increase in walking for exercise that was encouraged by the Covid lockdown.  Also there may well be people walking who previously caught the bus.

But it should also be noted that, with one or two exceptions, pedestrians were not counted in the CBD itself – there are just too many of pedestrians to be counted and in any case counts at these locations the count would probably measure the popularity of the CBD rather than the popularity of walking.

Whatever, it’s good to see more walking in our inner suburbs.

Nine years in the making and almost there, a reflection on the Adelaide100 trail

We've launched a project website for the Adelaide100 trail at adelaide100.com.au

by Jim McLean

Jim McLean, the visionary and trail maker of the Adelaide100 loop trail

As a kid on Sunday School Picnics in the Belair National Park, I was dubbed “Mountain Goat” for the ease with which I scaled steep slopes to explore the holes in the rock which we called “caves”. It was then that I fell in love with the Adelaide Hills. It was the 1950s. On weekends and public holidays people dressed up and headed in droves by steam train, manually operated buses and bone shaking family cars to the picnic grounds of Belair, Loftia Park, Mount George and Morialta. You could find a nook in a gully with a shack and a waterhole and stay and swim over the weekend.

In my youth, through the Boys’ Brigade and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, I was exposed to multiday group-walking. We started with two days on the Fleurieu Peninsula, progressed to three days in the northern Mount Lofty Ranges, and finished with four days in the northern Flinders.

In adult years, friends and I got away when we could. We never tired of the “at peace with the world feeling” that comes with being in unspoilt outdoor environments and being fit and healthy. Central mountains of Tasmania, hinterland forests of southern NSW, logging country of Victoria and the emerging long distance trails at home enduced perfect senses of remoteness even when we knew civilisation was just on the other side of the range or the forest.

I did the Yurrebilla Trail in three one-day walks. I did the Lavender Federation Trail (Murray Bridge to Clare) from Murray Bridge to Springton in two three-day walks. In May 2012 I completed the Heysen Trail. It had taken 22 years, walks of one to six days, and eleven different companions in all.

Trail visionary, Jim McLean, installing an arrow decal in Belair National Park

It was 3.00am in July 2012 with the Heysen Trail fresh in my mind when an idea popped into my head. When that happens I can’t let it go. I jumped out of bed, went to the home office, spread the maps out, and started looking for a way around the suburbs and hills of Adelaide.

Australia is a big country. Just getting to its best walking environments can take significant energy, resources and time. Adelaide is globally unique. It is on a small piece of plain wedged between the coast to the west and the hills to the east. For a dry climate, significant waterways find their way from the hills to the sea to the north and the south. How many other places have this variety on environment so close to the CBD?

A loop trail taking in coast, hills and fresh waterways could be accessed from the backdoors of a large population of curious, outdoors thirsty, health conscious people. It couldn’t be too hard to make. In a couple of years, I could put a rough line-map out to the walking community to do with it as it wished, and I could wash my hands of the project.

It soon became evident it wasn’t that easy. I needed help. The Friends of the Heysen Trail and the Warren Bonython Heysen Trail Foundation were very welcoming, they understood everything about making and managing a signature trail and were very good at it, but they had their plates full. SA Recreation Trails Inc (SARTI) were making the Lavender Federation Trail. They built and are managing a trail from scratch so they knew what they were doing. They were extremely helpful, totally authoritative, but they had their hands with the Lavender Federation Trail. The Department for Environment and Water (manager of the Heysen Trail) and the SA Tourism Commission had other agendas. I tried smaller walking groups and trail makers, anyone I could find.

I toted my idea around hoping for a glimmer of break-through support. In the end it was John Eaton of Walking SA who listened and provided the encouragement I sought. Although no longer officially with Walking SA he was still heavily involved in walking initiatives and was strongly enthusiastic for the Adelaide100, as it came to be known. I was on a range of walking councils, boards, and committees. I joined the Board of Walking SA as well. The Adelaide100 became a Walking SA project in 2015. The first portion, 1.6km of unmade road reserve at Norton Summit known as Monument Road, was completed on the 19th June 2017.

A local National Parks and Wildlife Service SA ranger, working on the roll out of the Adelaide100 trail through Morialta Conservation Park

It is nine years from the time the idea popped into my head. Walking SA has support for the Adelaide100 of the Minister for Environment and Water, David Spiers, his department The Department for Environment and Water, and the mayors of 13 LGAs. SA Health recognised the worth of the project and gave it significant support. An initial project launch at Pinky Flat on the Torrens River was attended by hundreds of people. A subsequent launch was part of Walking SA’s Hiking Expo at Belair which was attended by over 1,000 people.

The Adelaide100 is a long-distance loop trail of more than 100km in length. In addition, it roughly coincides with the boundary of the land title division, set by the South Australian colonists, of the Hundred of Adelaide. The Adelaide100 traverses the traditional plain of the Kaurna people from coast to foothills and extends over the range of the Peramangk people to its most eastern point Basket Range. The colonists chose the site, on the Torrens River, of the City of Adelaide around which the Adelaide100 loops. The current route traverses 13 LGAs, 9 big parks managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service SA, and SA Water’s yet to be opened Happy Valley Reservoir.

The Adelaide100 is currently 40-50% marked on the ground. There is an Adelaide100 website. There are electronic route files. People are walking it. People are running it.

Jim McLean leads the walkers out at the Adelaide100 section launch at Pinky Flat

The first completed sections of the Adelaide100 was opened last October, with a 7km showcase walk on the River Torrens / Karrawirra Parri. The trail section was officially opened by Stephen Wade MLC and Walktober Ambassadors Sandy Verschoor – Lord Mayor of Adelaide and Genevieve Theseira-Haese. It was a spectacular, sunny day with hundreds of walkers celebrating with a community walk along the River Torrens.

The Adelaide100 is designed around accommodation and food outlets being available along the way. It can be walked at a casual pace in six or seven days with nothing more than a day pack on the back. The yet to be signed portions, all in the hills, are currently being negotiated. Fine tuning of the route in these parts is continuing.

A volunteer installing an Adelaide100 arrow decal in Mark Oliphant Conservation Park

As well as the 9 big parks there are numerous smaller parks and reserves along the way. The Torrens Linear Park is traversed from the bottom of Black Hill to West Beach. Most of the Adelaide100 is shared-use. There are cycling alternatives for the walk-only bits. Signage is in place from the Black Hill Conservation Park exit, along the Torrens River to West Beach, along the coast to Kingston Park, and through the back streets to the entry at O’Halloran Hill Recreation Park. Signage is in place through the Sturt Gorge Recreation Park, the Belair National Park, and the Mark Oliphant Conservation Park. Belair and Mark Oliphant is shared-use and there is a cycling alternative for Sturt Gorge.

Walking SA received great cooperation and even generous enthusiasm from suburban and city councils along the way. Rangers of the National Parks and Wildlife Service SA and officers of the Adelaide Hills Council are generously giving their time to the location and fixation of signage through the Adelaide Hills. The brand new Glenthorne National Park is currently being developed by the NPWSSA with walking corridors. The Happy Valley Reservoir will be opened to the public at the end of the year. We look forward to working with the National Parks and Wildlife Service SA and SA Water to complete the routes through Glenthorne and Happy Valley when the time is right.

The two most common questions are: When will it be finished? How long will it be? Walking SA was hoping that it will be finished by the end of the year. Let’s say not long after that. My estimation is that the Adelaide100 will be between 130km and 140km. We will see.


You can find out more about the Adelaide100 trail, and sign up for updates, at adelaide100.com.au.

Improve your Hiking Skills session

Sunday 22 August 2021
Hale Conservation Park

Choose from two sessions:
9am to 12noon, or
1pm to 4pm

Join an experienced leader from Walking SA for a guided walk & bushwalking skills session in the rugged and rocky Hale Conservation Park.

This 3-hour session will include a 2 hour hike in the park plus some time to have a chat and learn about:

  • How to plan and be well prepared for a hike
  • How to stay comfortable while walking
  • Equipment should you take with you
  • Navigation and map resources
  • What to do in an emergency
  • Rules and guidelines about walking in parks
  • The principles of Leave No Trace
  • Walking SA
  • Bushwalking Leadership South Australia

Fitness requirements: A moderate to good level of fitness is required to complete this hike. The proposed route is on grade 3 to 4 trails and includes some uneven surfaces with moderate to steep ascents and descents. This trail, while only 4kms, requires the ability to walk uphill and climb boulders on a sometimes rough but safe path.

Toilets: No toilets at meeting point. The nearest toilets are in Williamstown or Forestry SA Mt Crawford.

Driving: allow plenty of time to get to the start point, as it is a scenic but slow journey. The carpark is small and tight but is signposted, and on google maps.

Age: This event is suitable for children over 12 years of age accompanied by their adult and who are willing and able to complete a 3 hour trail hike.

What to bring:

  • Completed Medical Info and Acknowledgement of Risk form
  • Hiking boots / enclosed footwear
  • Sun protection – hat plus sunscreen
  • Wet weather protection (if rain forecast) – check the forecast
  • Warm clothing for after the walk (jumper/jacket)
  • Drinking water (minimum 1 litre per person)
  • Snacks
  • Walking poles (optional)
  • Personal medication
  • Hand sanitiser

Please note that the event may be cancelled in the event of a total fire ban or extreme weather, at the discretion of Walking SA.

This event is proudly supported by National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia as part of the Parks of the Barossa – (Para Wirra, Warren, Hale, Kaiserstuhl, Sandy Creek and South Para Reservoir) – Park of the Month program.

Advice for Bushwalkers to consider Biosecurity

Recently we sought advice from the state government Primary Industries & Regions SA (PIRSA) in regards to issues bushwalkers should consider in relation to biosecurity.

Read the advice from Biosecurity SA – Invasive Species Unit, Primary Industries & Regions SA (PIRSA) in full below.

A major issue for the protection of native vegetation and primary production is the transport of seeds of weedy plants on clothing including footwear, and even coats or backpacks.

Walkers are advised to check their trousers, shoes and socks after walking through a weedy area, then take a moment to get all weed seeds out of their clothes. Staying on established walking trails can make it easier to avoid picking up this plant debris.

Walkers should also consider the potential for their vehicles to carry weeds on roadsides and car parks adjoining the walking trail.

The SA Weed Control App may be useful to walkers.

View as response letter (PDF).


Thank you for your enquiry, and for Walking SA’s interest in supporting the education of bushwalkers about biosecurity.

A major issue for the protection of native vegetation and primary production is the transport of seeds of weedy plants on clothing including footwear, and even coats or backpacks. All these items should be checked for any burrs, grass seeds etc. When camping out, it is also advisable to check swags and tents for seeds that get attached.

High risk declared weeds that may be transported in this way include caltrop, Noogoora burr and khaki weed; and, in the arid zone, buffel grass.

Walkers are advised to check their trousers, shoes and socks after walking through a weedy area, then take a moment to get all weed seeds out of their clothes. Staying on established walking trails can make it easier to avoid picking up this plant debris.

Walkers should also consider the potential for their vehicles to carry weeds on roadsides and car parks adjoining the walking trail.

Risk of vehicles spreading pests and diseases can be lessened by washing down using a hose, high pressure cleaner or spray tank and pump. Be sure to clean all potential seed collection points, and move the vehicle forward to ensure tyres are clean all around the tread. Sweep or vacuum inside the cab to remove seeds and plant debris.

Where no wash-down facilities are available be sure to physically remove all clods of mud and visible plant material in addition to cleaning the foot-well and cabin of the vehicle. Use a brush or scraping implement to remove contaminants such as burrs and clods of mud from tyres, mud guards, ledges and crevices where they could lodge.

Removed seeds should be bagged and taken to where they can be disposed of safely, for example by putting the bags in the ‘red’ garbage bin.

Soil pathogens such as phytophthora may also be carried in soil on footwear, particularly in the winter-spring wet months. Walkers should observe any signs marking known phytophthora infestations. The presence of shrubs that have died with all their dry brown foliage in place, especially yakkas and banksia, may indicate the presence of phytophthora.

Further to the above, the Invasive Species Council has produced a useful brochure on minimizing biosecurity risks when visiting natural areas: https://invasives.org.au/how-to-help/keep-gear-clean-wild/

Kangaroo Island is in the fortunate position of being free from many weeds and pests that are established on the mainland, and visitors have a responsibility to protect the island’s biosecurity. In particular, honey and unwashed potatoes must not be taken to Kangaroo Island. More information can be found at the Biosecurity SA website.

The SA Weed Control App may be useful to walkers. It illustrates all the plants declared in SA under the Landscape South Australia Act 2019, and enables a user to report infestations to regional weeds officers with GPS co-ordinates and a photo. The app can be downloaded from the Department of Primary Industries and Regions website at https://pir.sa.gov.au/biosecurity/weeds_and_pest_animals/weeds_in_sa/weed_contr ol_app

Volunteer groups who are installing trails should obtain advice from regional Landscape board staff and land managers regarding biosecurity signage, as part of the approval process for the on-ground works.

Thanks again for your interest in biosecurity issues.

Yours sincerely,
Dr John Virtue
General Manager Strategy, Policy & Invasive Species

Showcasing a Walking Club: Gawler Bushwalkers

Gawler Bushwalkers on a hike

The Gawler Bushwalkers club has been going for over 20 years with many long-standing members and well qualified walk leaders. Members come from a wide range of backgrounds and ages and enjoy bushwalking and as well as walking for fitness and friendship. Many take a keen interest in native plants, trees and orchids, and walk locations often reflect this. The walk program is compiled at the AGM each year in February, and then walks are held every second Sunday from April to October. Members meet a carpark in Gawler for an 8am departure, often with car-pooling, to the walk start point. Most walks are held in the northern areas out from Gawler generally in the Barossa Valley, Clare Valley or Kapunda area and have included the Lavender Federation and Heysen Trail and the new Clare Valley Wine & Wilderness Trail. Most Sunday walks are 5 to 6 hours in duration with stops for morning tea and lunch, after which some members will have a coffee and cake as a reward.

The walks cover a distance of 16 to 20km. Occasionally there is a shorter walk where available, and new, or less-experienced walkers’ needs are always accommodated, as the group aims to offer a welcoming, safe walking experience.

The club also runs a summer walk program on a Thursday afternoon/evening around the Gawler area from November to March, weather permitting.

There is a group of members currently walking the Walk the York trail which they should complete in 2022. A group is also holding a camp in Victor Harbor in October this year.

The club presently has 70 members with 20 to 25 who walk regularly.

The first walk with the walk is free and if people decide to continue, the membership fee is $20 per year. There is no charge for each walk.

You can find out more at:

You can find a walking club at walkingsa.org.au/walk/list-of-walking-clubs-south-australia.

Congratulations to our latest BLSA Day Walk Leader graduate – Roxanne Crook

Roxanne Crook has recently graduated as a Day Walk LeaderRoxanne Crook has recently graduated as a Day Walk Leader. Roxanne is a member of Adelaide Bushwalkers and the Friends of the Heysen Trail, and well regarded in the SA bushwalking community.

The Day Walk Leader Certificate equips people to lead single day group bushwalking trips.

Thanks to grant support from Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing, Walking SA partnered with Bushwalking Leadership SA to strengthen bushwalking leadership within our clubs.

The next Bushwalking Leadership SA Day Walk Leader Certificate course is in September. The Training Day is Saturday 4th September 2021, with the Workshop on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th September 2021. Book via www.bushwalkingleadership.org.au.

You can find out more about upcoming training dates by contacting us or visiting bushwalkingleadership.org.au.

Our Response to Green Adelaide Draft Regional Landscape Plan 2021-26

Heart Foundation and Walking SA teamed up to write to the Government of South Australia to reaffirm that green streets, parks and urban environments have an important role to play in getting people walking.

Trees in the street are critical in creating an environment that people want to walk in. The benefits for walkers are both aesthetic and practical, with street trees providing shelter from the sun and, to some extent, rain.

FACT – Trees are under threat in our city – greater Adelaide is losing a phenomenal number of trees.

We call on the government to to keep mature trees in new developments and establish guidelines for suitable trees to ensure canopy for our streets.

Our Response

View our response (PDF)

Heart Foundation and Walking SA logos

17 April 2021

Heart Foundation and Walking SA response to Green Adelaide Draft Regional Landscape Plan 2021-26

The Heart Foundation and Walking SA welcome the opportunity to respond to Green Adelaide.

We commend the government’s commitment to a cooler, greener, wilder and climate-resilient city, particularly as this will have significant impacts on how we live, whether we walk, and our health and wellbeing.

This submission will focus on key focus areas G1, G2 and G3 under Green streets and flourishing parklands: increase the extent and quality of urban green cover.

Lack of physical activity is a leading risk factor for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and for poor mental health.1 Only 15% of adults meet all the Australian Physical Activity Guidelines (ABS 2018). Walking is a simple, accessible and equitable physical activity way of reducing key risk factors.

If more people walk for recreation, sport, transport and health for 30 minutes each day, evidence supports there will be a reduction of 35% in cardiovascular disease.2 Unfortunately, more than 85% of Australian adults are not achieving this level of exercise according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.3

We believe that green streets and flourishing parks and urban environments have an important role to play in getting people walking.

Green streetscapes and public spaces

The “green-ness” of our streets and public spaces determines the liveability of our city, suburbs and regions and is ultimately a key determining factor as to whether people will choose to live here in the future.

Cities around the world now regard trees and other vegetation as critical urban infrastructure – as important to how a city functions as the “hard infrastructure” such as roads, and particularly vital to the health and wellbeing of communities.

Our streets are particularly important because they make up a substantial part of the open space available to communities, and can be better utilised as places to play, relax, socialise, grow food, be active, sit and create.

We accept that population growth concentrated in Adelaide and our urban areas is inevitable, and that increasing residential density should be part of the overall plan for South Australian population growth.

As we move towards increases in medium density housing, the success lies in convincing the community of the necessity of smaller private spaces and the challenge is to expand and improve public open spaces nearer to where we live.4 The intensification of development in Greater Adelaide’s urban areas requires that built environment professionals and developers consider the role of streetscapes as not solely the domain of motor vehicles but also for pedestrians and cyclists.

Conventional streets favour and prioritise the movement of vehicles, with the quantity and quality of space for people on foot often only considered as an afterthought.5 Instead, to support walking, the role of the street must be re-considered as a place to be somewhere, not just get somewhere. Our streets are becoming increasingly important as public spaces for social and commercial interaction.

For streets to work as effective public spaces, they need to be ‘lively’ and to foster social interactions. Great streets for people should be pleasant places to walk, should protect us from the weather and should respond to climate change.

It is not enough to accelerate greening of our streetscapes and public spaces. We must have mature trees with canopy that provides shade.

Mature streets trees can encourage walking and promote wellbeing in several ways:6

  • By providing facilitative settings encouraging people to walk for both exercise and transport;
  • By facilitating social interaction and a sense of community;
  • Trees can aid the healing process for those recovering from stress related illnesses;
  • Trees planted along a kerb, especially if closely spaced; define a pedestrian zone separated from vehicular traffic, creating a sense of safety both physically and The perception of safety is an important component of walkability, and trees create a protective barrier which reduces the risk of being hit by a ‘run-off-the-road’ vehicle. –
  • By mitigating the adverse effects created by urban heat islands – ensuring people are still able to walk on hotter days under a canopy of connected trees providing shade, in relative
  • Trees (low-allergen) absorb considerable quantities of airborne pollutants and the resulting cleaner air cuts childhood asthma levels.

The Heart Foundation’s Healthy Active by Design guidelines aim to assist planners, urban designers and related professionals to design healthy urban environments that enable people to make healthy lifestyle choices and in particular incorporate walking and cycling into their daily routine. The guide suggest that planners use tree planting and landscaping to contribute to the functionality of streets and open spaces, improve the microclimate and create attractive and legible routes and spaces that encourage active use.7

Trees and landscaping in the street are critical in creating an environment that people want to walk in, especially for recreation. The benefits for walkers are both aesthetic and practical, with street trees providing shelter from the sun and, to some extent, rain.8 An Australian study found the presence of trees providing shade in open spaces was positively associated with an increased likelihood of being active.9

The big tree argument

Large, mature trees are considered to deliver more significant benefits than smaller stature trees.

Therefore large tree species should be planted, and trees should be allowed to grow to maturity to maximize their benefits. For example, large trees provide greater benefits of improved shade, water quality and air quality than smaller trees.10 Large trees out-perform small trees in moderating air temperatures, blocking UV radiation, conserving energy, sequestering carbon and reducing air pollution, in a manner directly related to the size of the tree canopy.11 A study by McPherson12 estimated that a large tree with a height of 14 metres provides three times the annual environmental benefits of a similarly aged 7 metre high tree, and that the value of benefits increases faster than the costs of managing a larger tree.

Larger trees also have greater visual presence, and are often more highly valued by residents, especially where ‘canopy closure’ over the street is achieved.131415 In one study the single largest factor in determining the attractiveness of a street scene was the size of the trees and their canopies. This was supported by a study in which there was a preference for large canopied trees in a tree replacement program.16 A canopy of mature trees arching over the street and shading properties has defined the character of many urban and suburban communities. In fact it is the enduring nature of large trees in a rapidly changing urban environment that contributes to their high symbolic value and a sense of permanence in our fast changing society.17

We strongly advocate for the value of trees in our communities for health, social economic and environmental reasons.

The benefits of trees in our urban environment are well known and documented.

Adequate space in our streets for trees is critical to ensure that the inherent benefits for our communities are achieved.

The 30-Year Plan for Greater Adelaide sets a target that urban canopy cover is increased by 20% in metropolitan Adelaide by 2045. This is a target we strongly support.

We draw your attention to the value of trees and refer you to the section “The Value of Trees” on Page 16 of Creating Greener Places for Healthy and Sustainable Communities: Ideas for Quality Green Public Space in South Australia (PDF 7MB).

However, as development intensity continues to place pressure on existing suburbs, private development on private land must accommodate space above and below the ground to ensure a range of tree sizes can be planted, grow, thrive and mature to achieve the State’s target.

Guidance on suitable trees, appropriate root zones, sizes of new trees (height and girth) as well as establishment periods and regimes is also a contributing factor to the establishment of healthy, large and beneficial trees in our streets.

Existing Trees

Trees are under threat in our city – greater Adelaide is losing a phenomenal number of trees – about 1-6% since 2013.18 If this continues, there is no hope of reaching Adelaide’s goal of becoming ‘a green liveable city’;

Urban infill is necessary, we appreciate that our population is growing and the demand for residential properties will mean smaller housing allotment with less space for trees and permeable surfaces to capture rainfall to sustain green cover.

Trees can be challenging to live with, trees need maintenance and can involve risk to a household, but the benefits to the householder and the wider community are worth it.

Retaining trees on a block can be a real challenge when development takes place – some consider it costly to retain trees, yet ‘smart infill’ and careful design to maximise the retention of existing trees and gain the benefits offered by mature trees rather than the small shrubs or immature trees often favoured in new developments is possible.

Our recommended practical solutions aim to balance the current tensions between our planning system and the community’s need for a green liveable city; including:

  • Support for retaining tree canopy on private land that accounts for 80% of metropolitan Adelaide (not just new tree planting on public land).
  • Clearer rules and simpler and quicker processes in Councils and Government for homeowners and developers, and;
  • Help for the tree owners who, as custodians, currently bear all the cost and risk while nearby properties share in the aesthetic and coolness benefits.

We also believe advocacy on the value of trees in contributing to green corridors, connected canopies, cooling benefits and cost benefits within the private homes will change community expectations in achieving the State’s canopy targets.

To assist in developing easy to access and understand information, high quality and accurate mapping of tree canopies, like flood mapping, needs to be made accessible to all. Similarly, mapping of all significant and regulated trees should be considered as a critical overlay in the Code, noting that trees mature and change over time.

The impact of new infill housing development on green streetscapes

Adelaide’s urban infill development is depleting urban street tree canopy and both public and private green space.

Public green spaces are a core facet of urban infill development being attractive, liveable and sustainable. When liveability and attractiveness are considered, urban infill development can deliver many positive health, environment and economic outcomes.

More and more however, we are seeing examples of suburban densification in Adelaide where private owners knock down one house and replace it with two or more smaller houses1. Often this type of development occurs with minimal consideration of integration between the new dwellings and broader street and neighbourhood context. Done on an ad- hoc basis (compared with other larger site development), this style of development has the potential to negatively impact the place-making functions of the street and neighbourhood.

Specifically, poor quality infill may affect:

  • The footpath quality and connectivity
  • The street trees, landscaping and shading
  • The aesthetics of the streetscape
  • The microclimate and heat island effect
  • The safety of pedestrians
  • Accessibility to transport and other local

The legislation must change to give protection to trees. This is imperative for Adelaide to retain its quality urban form, safeguard liveability in the face of a hotter and drier climate, and ensure that the city is a place that is inviting, and supportive of a thriving economic. This matter is too integral to strategic planning outcomes to be left to chance alone.

There must be incentives to keep mature trees in new development through the new planning system.

We must establish urban tree conservation areas such as the Adelaide Parklands and significant tree-lined streets, which protect mature trees from being felled.

Deep soil zones are required to retain existing vegetation on an existing or redeveloped site as well as areas to accommodate new deep root vegetation. Deep soil zones allow for a range of tree species to provide shade, improve evapotranspiration, cooling, increase private canopy cover and soften the appearance of buildings. Our concern is that the design of spaces to allow deep soil zones needs to be considered on a site-by-site basis.

For example, a deep soil zone that is too narrow and along the boundary will not accommodate any trees, so that the quantitative measures might be achieved; however, the qualitative benefits of the tree canopy are never achieved. Therefore, the design of sites is critical.

Therefore, we advocate that deep soil zones need to be considered contextually on a site- specific basis, and to educate on the importance of suitable and adequate planting areas as a fit-for-purpose exercise as part of good practice and is reinforced by various legislative requirements and regulation.

There is also an opportunity for innovation in slab design, house position and orientation, the inclusion of wrap-around courtyards and root trenches that improve the deep root zone of trees. There are also a range of hard surfaces that are designed to be permeable to allow for water penetration to the soil zone (e.g., for driveways). Baseline provisions will not achieve the targets that the 30-Year Plan for Greater Adelaide sets out.

New and denser developments must include tree planting that will provide a legacy, that are fit for purpose, and address species diversity to ensure the best environmental outcomes.

New developments need to reinforce, reference and mandate the important role that front yards have in connecting green space with streetscapes.

We believe that more than 7% of a site’s area is required for deep soil zones for medium to high rise development and should be included to lead change and support State’s targets.


We recommend the following:

  • Guidelines be developed to include details of minimum tree size and quality at time of installation
  • All landscaping is established prior to occupancy
  • The Botanic Gardens of SA Plant selector and local Council lists used to develop suitable plant species by zone, postcode, or a similar guide
  • Greater focus on larger tree species rather than defaulting to small trees
  • The City of Adelaide recognise and utilise the City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest Strategy in developing and focussing on the importance of urban
  • That this strategy explicitly describes its importance, relevance and relationship within a framework of other strategies across South Australian government portfolios, including state biodiversity, climate change, water, strategic planning, recreation and open space, education, walking and health and wellbeing strategies.

Thank you for this opportunity and we wish you great success.

As you will know the Heart Foundation has been commissioned by Wellbeing SA to lead the development of a state-wide Walking Strategy. We consider Green Adelaide’s Landscape Plan as one of the key policies that will support the Walking Strategy and we look forward to continuing our conversation with you during the development process.

If you would like any further information, evidence or clarification on this submission please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely
Imelda Lynch
Chief Executive Officer SA/NT, Heart Foundation

Helen Donovan
Executive Director, Walking SA

Contact: Tuesday Udell, Senior Policy Advisor, Tuesday.udell@heartfoundation.org.au

About the Heart Foundation

For over sixty years the Heart Foundation has been fighting for Australian Hearts.

We have a vision of an Australia free of heart disease and our mission is to prevent heart disease and improve the heart health and quality of life of all Australians through our work in risk reduction, support and care, and research.

As part of our work we are committed to seeing more Australians more active, more often.

The Heart Foundation is the leading Australian organisation advocating for environments that promote and support physical activity and work in partnership with a range of industry, government, non-government and academic organisations to create environments that support healthier living through better planning, built environments and transport solutions.

About Walking SA

Our vision is to see more people walking more often.

Walking SA is the not-for-profit peak body that leads, promotes and supports all forms of walking in South Australia, including walking for recreation, transport, health, wellbeing, organised events, adventure, environmental appreciation and fun experiences. Our vision is to see more people walking more often. Our members include walking clubs, informal groups, individuals and organisations whose aims, and objectives align with those of Walking SA.


1 Also known as knock down rebuild = teardown rebuild = two for one = three for one = housing intensification.

1 World Health Organisation. Global Action Plan on Physical Activity, WHO, Geneva, 2018. 2 UK Chief Medical Officer. 2019. UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines. United Kingdom Government: United Kingdom

3 Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, National Health Survey: First results, 2017-18, cat. no. 4364.0.55.001, December. ABS: Canberra.

4 Udell T, et al. Does density matter? The role of density in creating walkable neighbourhoods. Melbourne: National Heart Foundation of Australia. 2014.

5 Government of South Australia, National Heart Foundation of Australia. Streets for People. A Compendium for South Australian Practice. Adelaide 2012.

6 Heart Foundation SA: Position snapshot: Making the case for investment in street trees and landscaping in urban environments. 2012.

7 National Heart Foundation of Australia. Healthy Active By Design https://www.healthyactivebydesign.com.au/

8 Vic Walks http://www.victoriawalks.org.au/trees/

9 Timperio, A., et al. Features of public open spaces and physical activity among children: Findings from the CLAN study. Preventive Medicine, 2008; 47(5), 514–518.

10 McPherson, J. R., et al. (2005). Municipal Forest Benefits and Costs in Five US Cities. Journal of Forestry(December).

11 Nowak, D. J. (2004). Assessing environmental functions and values of veteran trees. Proceedings of the International Conference on the Protection and Exploitation of Veteran Trees, Torino, Italy.

12 McPherson, E. G. (2005). “Trees with benefits.” American Nurseryman 201(7).

13 Kalmbach, K. L. and J. J. Kielbaso. Resident attitudes toward selected characteristics of street tree planting. Journal of Arboriculture. 1979; 5(6): 124-129.

14 Schroeder, H. W. and W. N. Cannon. The aesthetic contribution of trees to residential streets in Ohio towns. Journal of Arboriculture. 1983; 9: 237-243.

15 Sommer, R., et al. Household evaluation of two street tree species. Journal of Arboriculture. 1989; 15: 99-103.

16 Heimlich, J., et al. Attitudes of residents toward street trees on four streets in Toledo, Ohio, U.S. before removal of Ash trees from Emerald Ash borer.” Journal of Arboriculture and Urban Forestry 34(1): 47-53.

17 Dwyer, J. F., et al. (2003). “Sustaining urban forests. Journal of Arboriculture. 2008; 29(1): 49-55.

18 Conservation Council SA. What’s happening to Adelaide’s trees? June 2020

Helen Jensen completes the BLSA Day Walk Leader Certificate

We’ve been offering training to members of our hiking clubs to complete Bushwalking Leadership SA’s Day Walk Leader Certificate. We’ve been able to provide this with grant support from the Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing.

Heather JensenLast month one of our first group of students, Heather Jensen, graduated. Heather is a member of Adelaide Bushwalkers and the Friends of the Heysen Trail.

The Day Walk Leader Certificate equips people to lead single day bushwalking trips.

Heather found the planning elements tedious, but has been surprised to learn it to be the most critical aspect of preparing for the hike. It has allowed her to be prepared and confident when leading a hike – and indeed enjoy the experience – knowing when to proceed or pull the pin, and understand the potential hazards and how mitigate those with contingency plans.

Through the course Heather has realised that she has been overly reliant on easy and accessible smartphone and devices to work out where she is in the bush. The course has equipped her with the knowledge to navigate via the “old school compass and map” method. Having seen that sometimes technology can fail or fall short, her approach now is a mix of both methods. Technology can interfere with the walk and enjoyment of it and is not necessary to get out there.

“I found when I only had the paper map to follow, I took a lot more notice of my surroundings and although this takes longer to stop and check where I am on the map, it is much more satisfying.”

On her practical trip when she led a small group on a hike she had planned, one of the hikers had a fall.

“The course taught me how to handle a variety of emergency situations, and with my First Aid skills, gave me the confidence to be calm with the injured hiker and the rest of the group, so as to best help the person and group.”

The course is delivered over multiple sessions with a five-hour practical, which as a bonus gives students time to take in what they are learning, explore the issues more and raise questions.

“I believe the course provides a good grounding in how to be a good day hike bushwalking leader and all groups should be sending their leaders on the course to ensure the safety of those in their care.  Experience and practice will help me to continue to understand and maintain what I have learned.”

You can find out more about upcoming training dates by contacting us.

Showcasing a Walking Organisation: the Friends of the Heysen Trail celebrates 35 years

Celebrating 35 years of volunteering to keep the Heysen Trail Alive!

For the past 35 years members of the Friends of the Heysen Trail (the Friends) have worked to develop and support the Heysen Trail, South Australia’s 1200km adventure hike. The continued existence and access for walkers on the Heysen Trail depends upon the work done by volunteers.

Formed in 1986 to provide volunteer support for the initial planning and construction of the Heysen Trail, the Friends has continued to work closely with relevant state government departments, currently the Department for Environment and Water, to maintain and develop the Trail. Since that time, the Friends has vigorously advocated for and contributed to construction of additional campsites and facilities. During the past 10 years our volunteers have built and installed major improvements including:

  • Water tanks: 15
  • Pit toilets: 8
  • Campsite platforms: 18
  • Cabins with bunks: 1
  • Huts refurbished: 6

The Friends are fortunate to have a large group of volunteers (we are all volunteers) involved in the office, administration, trail development works, promotions, our ‘Trailwalker’ magazine, and the extensive walk programme. The large range of activities ensures there’s a place for all those who would like to help support Australia’s 1200km adventure hike, the Heysen Trail.

Walking – The Friends deliver a comprehensive program of bushwalks, TrailStarters and TrailWalkers, are day walks accessible from Adelaide. TrailStarter walks are shorter walks, with a walk time of about 3 to 4 hours and are not too physically demanding. TrailWalker walks are reasonably demanding for walkers who have walked regularly in various terrain. With a walking time of about 5 to 6 hours they require a higher degree of physical fitness. Summer Walks are generally shorter walks held over summer, many at evening twilight time with a sociable meal after, to keep up fitness and friendships.

The End to End walk program is for those wishing to walk some or all of the Heysen Trail. To hike the 1200km involves approximately sixty day walks, spread over six seasons. The southern walks, from Cape Jervis to Kapunda, are held on one Saturday or Sunday per month during the walk season. Due to the greater travelling distances involved, from Kapunda northwards, the walks are held over one weekend a month. The Friends organise many of the logistics making it a safe and supported way to hike the entire trail. With walking times of about 5 to 6 hours these hikes are for those who have walked regularly in various terrain and have a high degree of physical fitness. In 2021 there will be 7 groups walking separate sections on the Heysen Trail.

The Friends membership fee is $25 per year. A charge of $10 per walk applies for most walks, with $5 for Summer Walks. A Golden Boots card provides 12 months of walks for the one $75 fee. After two walks, guest members need to join as members. Proceeds from the walks are returned to support and promote the Heysen Trail. Currently the Friends has around 1,200 members.

You can find out more, including the walk program and guidelines for walkers at heysentrail.asn.au.


You can view all our walking clubs at walkingsa.org.au/walk/list-of-walking-clubs-south-australia.

Are you planning a walking group in Kuitpo or Mount Crawford forests?

The number of people and groups visiting our forests has been increasing, particularly since COVID.

For all small group day activities, including those run by walking clubs, ForestrySA requests the organiser confirms they can proceed as planned, and are not impacted by forest operations and other events in the vicinity.

At least two weeks prior, please send an email to recreation@forestrysa.com.au with the following details:

  1. Event Organiser name + contact details
  2. Expected number of attendees
  3. Dates/s and timing of arrival and departure to forest
  4. Map or route, and itinerary for proposed activities