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


You can view all our walking clubs at