Apr 4 - 15, 2022
12 days
$7,460per person, twin share (land content only). $1,690 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.

Tour Leader

Dr Chris Carter
Apr 4 - 15, 2022

Tour Leader

Dr Chris Carter$7,460per person, twin share (land content only). $1,690 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.
  • Tour Info
  • Itinerary
  • Tour Leader
  • Hotels
  • Inclusions


From the comfort of Adelaide to the expanses of the Outback, our itinerary traces sections of the legendary trail named in honour of the artist Sir Hans Heysen, whose paintings bear witness to the region’s stunning landscapes, history and heritage.

This active, adventurous small group tour (capped at just 14) commences in Adelaide and the Adelaide Hills. There we’ll survey the art inspired by the Flinders Ranges, including a visit to ‘The Cedars,’ the home and studio of Heysen and occasionally his daughter Nora, war artist and first female winner of the Archibald Prize.

Next we stop in the Barossa Valley to explore South Australia’s German immigrant heritage and enjoy the region’s historic wineries. We’ll stay on a historic working sheep station before travelling on to the true Outback at Arkaroola and Wilpena Pound. Here we’ll see sandstone gorges, visit ancient indigenous sites and walk through early European settlements, observing the distinctive flora and fauna and learning about the rich cultural history of the region.

A note on the tour style: This tour is quite different from a regular Academy Travel tour. Accommodation and food in the outback can be relatively basic, with shared facilities at some places. In order to fully enjoy the tour, you need to be able to participate in bushwalks of several kilometres and be prepared to travel by sturdy rather than luxury coaches. Please also note that the tour leader Chris Carter is an archaeologist and adventurer, and his style of tour leadership will reflect these interests.

COVID-19? Book with confidence
If Government imposed COVID-19 restrictions mean that we cannot run a tour, or that you cannot travel to join a tour, then you will be given a 100% refund of all monies paid to Academy Travel for your tour.

Vaccination requirements
Academy Travel requires all participants on its tours to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. We reserve the right to inspect your digital vaccination certificate.


  • Discover Hans Heysen’s enduring outback landscapes at the Art Gallery of South Australia and The Cedars, his studio in Hahndorf
  • Travel to the Barossa Valley and follow the Clare Valley Riesling trail, enjoying regional produce and fine wines in beautiful surroundings
  • Walk though Bararranna Gorge, and journey through ancient seabeds and razor-back ridges in 4WDs at Arkaroola
  • Uncover 600 million years of geology, following in the footsteps of Douglas Mawson’s research
  • Special access to Indigenous cultural heritage, historic sites and activities with a traditional owner, at Wilpena Pound

Itinerary Overview

Days 1–2: Arrive Adelaide. Tour the Art Gallery of South Australia and the Heysens’ studio at The Cedars in Hahndorf.

Days 3–4: Enjoy lunch at a Barossa winery, tour Martindale Hall and follow Clare Valley’s Riesling trail through classic Heysen landscapes.

Days 5–7: Drive to Arkaroola. Walk through Bararranna Gorge and discover Arkaroola’s geological history in 4WD vehicles.

Days 8–10: See the rock engravings at Red Gorge with a traditional owner. Continue to Wilpena Pound, climb to Rawnsley Bluff and tour Brachina Gorge with an Aboriginal ranger.

Days 11–12: Enjoy a farewell dinner in a fine Adelaide restaurant before departure.

Detailed Itinerary

Start & Finish

The tour begins at Adelaide airport and ends at our hotel in Adelaide. Contact us for quotes, bookings and flight schedules into and out of Adelaide from your destination.

Detailed Itinerary

Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.

Monday 4 April: Arrive Adelaide

Meet your tour leader at 3pm in the arrivals hall at Adelaide airport and transfer to our accommodation at the historic Mt Lofty House in the Adelaide Hills. After time to settle into your rooms we reconvene this evening for our welcome dinner in the award-winning Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant. Overnight Mt Lofty (D)

Tuesday 5 April: The Art of Hans Heysen

We travel down from the hills into Adelaide city to the Art Gallery of South Australia for a guided tour, focusing on the works of Hans Heysen. Born in Hamburg in 1877, Heysen emigrated to Australia with his family in 1883. He began art school at the age of 14 and sold his first work at 16. His works were regularly exhibited in Adelaide, and he won the Wynne Prize nine times between 1904 and 1932. Heysen’s deep love of the Adelaide Hills led him to purchase ‘The Cedars’ in Hahndorf where he set up his studio and lived out the rest of his life, making forays into the Flinders Ranges to capture the stunning Outback landscapes of the Australian bush. After studying Heysen’s artworks, we’ll make our way to ‘The Cedars’ and take a guided tour of the home, studio and its rambling gardens, which served as the family home and studio for his daughter Nora Heysen, also a lauded artist. Overnight Mt Lofty (B)

Wednesday 6 April: The Barossa

Departing the Adelaide Hills, we make the short journey north into the Barossa Valley winemaking region. Here we’ll visit the Seppeltsfield Estate, the original Barossa Valley winery, enjoying a tasting and a walk around the spectacular gardens. We then drive on through Kapunda to visit Anlaby Station for lunch and a tour of the house and gardens. Founded in 1839, Anlaby is one of the oldest stations in SA and remains a working merino sheep property with a heritage-listed garden. We continue to our heritage accommodation at Bungaree Station, a working sheep farm on 80,000 acres of land, which is exclusively ours for the night. We tour the property’s heritage buildings before enjoying a BBQ dinner with Clare Valley wines. Overnight Bungaree Station (B, L, D)

Thursday 7 April: Clare Valley

This morning we take the Riesling Trail, riding bikes approximately 4.5 kilometres along the flat pathway by the old railway line to Sevenhill Cellars, the oldest winery in the Clare Valley. The bus will follow for those who don’t wish to cycle. Sevenhill was established by Jesuits who escaped persecution in Europe in 1851. In their new home they produced sacramental wine, a tradition that continues today. We take a walking tour of the winery’s significant sites, including the underground cellar, old-vine vineyards, St Ignatius of Loyola Shrine and the crypt and church of St Aloysius. For lunch we head towards the Clare Valley and the heritage town of Mintaro where we take a guided tour of Martindale Hall, a Georgian-style sandstone mansion built in 1879 and featured in the 1975 film Picnic at Hanging Rock. There we’ll explore some of the locations where Hans Heysen painted. We return to Bungaree for a roast dinner this evening. Overnight Bungaree Station (B, L, D)

Friday 8 April: To Arkaroola

Departing early for our seven-hour drive today, we witness the landscape change from verdant bushland and vineyards to the rocky outcrops and red soil of the Flinders Ranges. We’ll take a break along the way to inspect the ruins at Kanyaka Station. Established as a cattle station in 1852, it became one of the largest in the district with 70 families working and living here until massive losses through the effects of drought caused the station to be abandoned, leaving only the stone buildings standing desolate and empty. We stop for lunch at the iconic outback pub, the Parachilna Prairie hotel. We continue to Arkaroola, near the Gammon Ranges National Park, arriving in the early evening and have dinner in the restaurant at the resort. Overnight Arkaroola (B, L, D)

Saturday 9 April: Bararrana Gorge and Waterholes

This morning we depart on a seven-kilometre walk to Bararrana Gorge on our first foray into Adnyamathanha Aboriginal lands. Although not too strenuous, the terrain is rocky and involves climbing up hills, along dry creek beds and over some large boulders. The walk is quite varied and allows us to discover the geological story of Arkaroola, rewarding us with magnificent views over the gorge and surrounding area. After free time for lunch at the resort we set out in 4WD vehicles to explore the waterholes along the Arkaroola Creek system and seek out native birds and other wildlife, including the endangered Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby. Dinner this evening is by the campfire with music provided by the traditional owners. Overnight Arkaroola (B, D)

Sunday 10 April: Mawson Walk and Ridgetop Track

Known mainly for his exploration work in Antarctica, Douglas Mawson was a lecturer in minerology and petrology at the University of Adelaide. He worked extensively on the geology around the Flinders Ranges, identifying the first major radioactive ore body in Australia. Our walk this morning follows in his footsteps through the Mawson Valley, where one of his students, Reg Spriggs, discovered ancient animal fossils that are over 600 million years old. This afternoon we take the resort’s specially designed open-top 4WD vehicles and navigate the steep slopes and rugged terrain to the Ridgetop Track for a 360-degree panorama over the red granite ranges to Lake Frome and the desert beyond. This evening is at leisure or you may wish to join the resort’s Astronomy Tour. Overnight Arkaroola (B)

Monday 11 April: Red Gorge to Wilpena Pound

We depart Arkaroola early this morning for Red Gorge, an area with a spectacular array of rock engravings. On the walk to the art sites – approximately four kilometres each way – we are accompanied by one of the traditional owners who will interpret the rock art and offer insights into the culture and history of the Adnyamathanha people. After an alfresco picnic lunch, we continue to Wilpena Pound and our accommodation for the next three nights. Overnight Wilpena Pound (B, L, D)

Tuesday 12 April: Wilpena Pound

The ancient sedimentary rock that makes up Wilpena Pound forms a natural amphitheatre known to the Adnyamathanha people as Ikara, meaning ‘meeting place’. Today we explore the area around Wilpena Pound with a series of optional walks, including one following the course of Wilpena Creek through red-gum woodland into the Pound (to discover the origin of its name). We return to the resort for a break and lunch before following a section of the Heysen trail down to the Homestead and shearing shed. Apart from spectacular scenery we hope to see a number of bird and marsupial species which abound in the park. In the evening (weather permitting) we meet for a sunset tour with views of Wilpena Pound and the Ikara Flinders Ranges with bubbles and nibbles. Overnight Wilpena Pound (B, L, D)

Wednesday 13 April: Brachina Gorge

This morning there is the option to relax at the resort or take an optional flight over Wilpena Pound. Mid-morning, we join an Indigenous ranger for a tour into Brachina Gorge passing through 130 million years of history providing insights into past climate and the evolution of early life forms in the region. The gorge is home to many species of birds and reptiles and is an important refuge for the Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby and was used by the early settlers as a pass for bullock teams transporting their loads across the country. Overnight Wilpena Pound (B)

Thursday 14 April: To Adelaide

After breakfast this morning we embark on the six-hour drive back to Adelaide. Arriving in the late afternoon we check into our comfortable modern city hotel with time to freshen up before gathering for a farewell dinner in one of the city’s fine restaurants. Overnight Adelaide (B, D)

Friday 15 April: Depart

The tour concludes after breakfast in the hotel. (B)

Dr Chris Carter

An indigenous and historical archaeologist, actively involved in research in the Atacama region of Chile.

Christopher Carter is an archaeologist with over 20 years’ experience leading tours to Central and South America, Spain and Ireland as well as within Australia. He is particularly interested in human interaction within landscapes and the formative period of cultural development.

Chris has a BA(Hons), MA and PhD from the Australian National University (ANU). He has worked as a tutor at the ANU and lectured at both the ANU and University of Sydney Centres for Continuing Education. When not leading tours, Chris works as an archaeological consultant and heritage advisor.

Chris’ research interests cover both Indigenous and Australian historical archaeology. He is also actively involved in research in the Atacama region of northern Chile and involved in a number of studies investigating the early settlement of this region. He has had a number of academic papers published in international journals.

As a teacher, Chris has always declared that archaeology cannot be learned in the classroom. Such statements resulted in him taking a group to South America in 1995. He has continued to lead several tours a year ever since. The areas visited have expanded to other regions that reflect the subjects he teaches.

We asked Chris, what part of tour leading does he find most rewarding?

“I love teaching and, as they say, ‘to travel is to learn’ and what better classroom than the wider world. Nothing satisfies me more than to lead people into new areas where they can see how humans have interacted with landscapes over the years –  to witness the evolution of both the people and the environments they occupy.

On a recent tour, one member of the group commented that they can now ‘see’ a lot more than they did before. In the past, they had taken so much for granted and never thought about how things changed through time. Their eyes had been opened and they began to think more about what they were looking at. To me, these are the statements that make my job worthwhile.”

View Bio & Upcoming Tours


Mt Lofty, Mt Lofty House (2 nights)

Built in 1852 in the style of a British manor house, this designer boutique hotel in the Adelaide Hills has panoramic views to Adelaide and the sea. www.mtloftyhouse.com.au

Clare Valley, Bungaree Station (2 nights)

Heritage accommodation on a working sheep and cattle property close to the Clare Valley. Our accommodation is shared across several historic buildings with shared bathrooms. bungareestation.com.au

Arkaroola, Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary (3 nights)

Comfortable motel-style accommodation in fully airconditioned rooms, all with ensuites and views over the ranges. www.arkaroola.com.au

Wilpena Pound, Wilpena Pound Resort (3 nights)

The only accommodation located within the Ikara Flinders Ranges National Park. www.wilpenapound.com.au

Adelaide, Crowne Plaza Hotel (1 night)

Opened in November 2020 this well-situated hotel is close to restaurants and the main shopping precinct, Rundle Mall. It boasts fabulous views of the city and Adelaide Hills. www.adelaide.crowneplaza.com 

Tour Inclusions

What is included in the tour price? 

Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:

All tours

  • All accommodation at properties mentioned in the itinerary
  • Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Taxis may also be used for short trips on some tours. Some city stay tours may involve local transport
  • All breakfasts
  • Lunches and dinners indicated with the letters L and D in the itinerary
  • Beer, wine and soft drinks at sit-down lunches and dinners. Picnic and light lunches may not include alcoholic drinks
  • Services of tour leader throughout tour
  • All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
  • Local guides at some sites
  • All tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals

On international tours only

  • Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required, and when stated as included
  • Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
  • Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
  • Some trips may be made by public transport such as high-speed train and subway

What is not included in the tour price?

Our tours do not include the following:

  • Air or land travel from your home city to the tour start/end points
  • Local taxes and airport levies that we are not able to prepay on your behalf. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
  • Lunches and dinners not specifically indicated with the letters L or D in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses such as passports, laundry and phone calls
  • Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity
  • Airport Transfers on international tours
  • Tours may begin at either the arrival airport or the first hotel. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel, and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers

Airport Transfers

Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.

Travel Insurance

We require all tour participants to have adequate insurance coverage.

  • For domestic tours, Medicare and your private medical insurance should be used to cover any medical expenses.
  • Domestic travel insurance is available and strongly recommended to cover non-medical expenses such as cancellation.
  • For international tours, we require you to have comprehensive travel insurance. Prices vary according to your age, your pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the length of your journey abroad.

Tour Details



Fitness Requirement

Grade Three

A Grade 3 tour is appropriate for travellers in good health with good mobility, who can comfortably participate in up to 3 hours of physical activity per day on most days.
More Details


There are currently no places available on this tour. A place on the waitlist is not a confirmed place on tour. If you would like to be notified if a place becomes available on tour, please register your details.

Tour Full Join Waitlist

More information?

The consultant for this tour is Hannah Kleboe. For further information or to have the consultant call you, please email.
Email Hannah Kleboe

Next Departure

If these dates don't work for you, register to hear about the next tour.

Join Waitlist

There are currently no places available on this tour. A place on the waitlist is not a confirmed place on tour. If you would like to be notified if a place becomes available on tour, please register your details below.


Please keep me informed about the next departure of this tour.

Hold a Place

Thank you for your interest in this tour. We are happy to hold a tentative place for 48 hours while you make your final arrangements to come on tour.


Sign up to our mailing list for tour updates and latest news.