Northern Flinders Heysen

SA, WA & NT specific bushwalking discussion.
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Northern Flinders Heysen

Postby otter » Thu 04 Jun, 2020 4:31 pm

I'd be really grateful for any advice that could be provided on a walk being planned for late July this year.

We'll have 4 days (could stretch to 5) and are keen to do a 4/5 day hike in the Northern Flinders area. After looking at the Heysen website we are currently considering parking at Wilpena Pound, getting a transfer to Paralincha trailhead and then walking back to Wilpena over 4 days along the Heysen.

Any thoughts or suggestions on a better use of the time in this area would be greatly appreciated. First time into this place, and really looking forward to it. I suspect that a few days just around Wilpena could be happily occupied with walking; but am keen to get into multi-day hiking territory.

Many thanks.
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Re: Northern Flinders Heysen

Postby north-north-west » Thu 04 Jun, 2020 5:42 pm

It's a good choice for an intro into the area. From Parachilna Gorge Rd it's mostly very straightforward, following creek beds, fence lines and old 4WD tracks, with a few sections of walking track as well (particularly as you get closer to Wilpena). Markers can be erratically placed but there aren't too many spots along there where you can get wildly off-line. Gradients are mostly fairly gentle with the exception of the sometimes awkward creek gully crossings, which can be short but very, very sharp drops. The section south of Wilpena is also good, albeit harder work, particularly Bridle Gap.

Only issue may be water. While there are tanks at the shelters and campsites, there is no guarantee there will be water in them. Last winter when I headed south from Parachilna, the tanks at both the trackhead and the first campsite were dry. Pigeon Bore, however, had plenty of water and the old pump works fine - just needs a bit of time to start flowing if it hasn't been used for a while. I've also found usable water in creek between Bunyeroo and Wilpena, but it depends on what rainfall has been like. It was very dry last year.

But if you haven't done a multiday trip before, you may find the physical and mental strain of carrying a full pack for that long rather taxing. The advantage of P - W is that there are a number of points where you cross public roads, so you have the option of calling it quits earlier if needs be.

Depending on when you get to the trackhead, but a possible itinerary would be: day one to Pigeon, day 2 to Trezona or Middlesight, day 3 Youngoona loop then to Yanyanna, day 4 to Wilpena. If you're feeling up to it, the Pound circuit or at least Ohlssen Bagge the next day as a final hurrah.

Enjoy. It's a fantastic area, although the best bits are up on the ridges.
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Re: Northern Flinders Heysen

Postby otter » Thu 04 Jun, 2020 8:54 pm

Terrific, thanks so much for this advice.

We are very comfortable with both multi day walks and navigating off-track, with a focus on finding nice campsites when we can.

Good to know ahead of time that water could be an issue.

I had wondered about the track out to Bridle Gap, so glad you mentioned it - possibly an extra to add on if we can spend a little longer in the area.

Thanks again.
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Re: Northern Flinders Heysen

Postby north-north-west » Thu 04 Jun, 2020 10:03 pm

Well, if you don't mind going off-track and are OK with some steepish scrambling, it's possible to hit all the peaks in the Heysen Range as side trips from the track. I spent three nights at Pigeon, knocking off most of the northern ones, plus Dib and Dob and a couple of minor lumps on that side, then shifted down to Aroona and did the Hayward ridge. Some sections up there give the term "knife edge" a whole new meaning. Even the goats avoid the worst bits.
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Re: Northern Flinders Heysen

Postby peregrinator » Fri 05 Jun, 2020 11:01 am

Great advice from north-north-west. But if you're planning a late July trip, the interstate travel restriction requiring a two week quarantine period may still be in operation.

See the FAQ at:

https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/emergency-declarations/cross-border-travel
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Re: Northern Flinders Heysen

Postby otter » Fri 05 Jun, 2020 1:38 pm

peregrinator wrote:Great advice from north-north-west. But if you're planning a late July trip, the interstate travel restriction requiring a two week quarantine period may still be in operation.

See the FAQ at:

https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/emergency-declarations/cross-border-travel


Thanks! yes, border restrictions is the stumbling block to this trip that I have my fingers crossed will be resolved in the coming month. Plan C also under preparation!
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Re: Northern Flinders Heysen

Postby philm » Fri 05 Jun, 2020 2:18 pm

Some good options mentioned. I would try to do St Mary’s peak on the last day as it’s one of the best walks in SA. If
You can fit this in your plan you may need to start your last day closer to the Pound so you can fit in the Peak. I’d estimate it would add about 5hours from the Heysen Trail junction which is north of Wilpena itself.
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