Join us on a journey into the heart and soul of Australian identity, as we follow both the ‘Heysen Trail’ from Adelaide to the Flinders Ranges and also explore the indigenous history and magnificent landscapes of South Australia’s ‘outback’. Our small group of just 14 travellers will firstly a survey of Sir Hans Heysen’s work in Adelaide before continuing to artist’s studio at Hahndorf, the Barossa Valley and the rural Clare Valley all immortalised Heysen. The second leg of the journey takes us to Arkaroola and Wilpena Pound, where we explore sandstone gorges, climb rugged hills, visit ancient sites and enjoy the experiencing the flora and fauna of the region. Please note: Small group tour, limited to a group size of only 14.
Covid-19 cancellation policy
The following special cancellation and refund conditions applies to this tour.
If you book on this tour and then find that you are unable to travel due to Government imposed Covid-19 travel restrictions we will provide a 100% cash refund of all monies paid to Academy Travel for this tour. This refund will be given irrespective of how close to the tour start date you become ineligible to travel, but you must inform us within 24 hours of becoming personally unable to travel in order to obtain a full refund.
If the tour cannot proceed due to Government imposed Covid-19 travel restrictions, the tour will be cancelled and all participants will receive a 100% cash refund of all monies paid to Academy Travel for this tour. This refund will be given irrespective of how close the cancellation occurs to the start date of the tour.
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
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. Then onwards to Port Augusta.
Days 11–12: Enjoy a farewell dinner in a fine Adelaide restaurant before departure.
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.
Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.
Monday 26 April: Arrive Adelaide
Meet you tour leader in the arrivals hall at Adelaide airport at 3pm 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 27 April: The art of Hans Heysen
We travel down from the hills into Adelaide city to the Art Gallery of South Australia and undertake a guided tour focusing on the collection of Hans Heysen’s works housed in the gallery. Born in Hamburg in 1877, Heysen emigrated to Australia with his family in 1883. Attending art school from the age of 14, he sold his first work at 16 and was regularly exhibited in Adelaide, winning 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. We 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 28 April: The Barossa
Departing the Adelaide Hills, we make the short journey north into the Barossa Valley winemaking region and visit the Seppeltsfield Estate, the original Barossa Valley winery where we enjoy a tasting and a walk around their spectacular gardens. We then drive on through Kapunda to visit Anlaby Station, for lunch and to tour 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 station 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 29 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 not wishing to cycle. Sevenhill was established by Jesuits escaping persecution in Europe in 1851 to produce sacramental wine in their new home, a tradition that continues today. We take a walking tour of the winery’s significant wine and spiritual 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, and explore some of the locations where Hans Heysen painted in the area. We return to Bungaree for a roast dinner this evening. Overnight Bungaree Station (B, L, D)
Friday 30 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 break our journey 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 Prairie hotel at Parachilna, licensed in 1876. We then 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 1 May: 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 2 May: 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 and worked extensively studying the geology around the Flinders Ranges, identifying the first major radioactive ore body in Australia. Our walk this morning follows in the footsteps of Mawson through the Mawson Valley where his geologist student, 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 3 May: 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 4 May: Brachina Gorge
Today 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 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. We explore the area around Wilpena Pound with a walk following the course of Wilpena Creek into the Pound (to discover the origin of its name). Before heading back to the resort, we enjoy a sunset viewing of Wilpena Pound and the Ikara Flinders Ranges with drinks and nibbles. Overnight Wilpena Pound (B, L, D)
Wednesday 5 May: 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’, This morning there is the option to take an optional flight over Wilpena Pound to view this natural wonder. Before leaving Wilpena, we visit the Homestead and then head to Port Augusta, stopping for lunch in charming Hawker, a historic railway town which grew up on the famous Ghan route. Overnight Port Augusta (B)
Thursday 6 May: Botanical gardens
This morning we join a private tour of the fascinating Arid Lands Botanic Garden in Port Augusta before departing for Adelaide. We have time to freshen up in our luxurious hotel before gathering for a farewell dinner in one of the city’s fine restaurants. Overnight Adelaide (B, D)
Friday 7 May: 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.”
A modern hotel well situated in the city’s east end close to restaurants and the main shopping precinct, Rundle Mall. www.accorhotels.com
What is included in the tour price?
Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:
Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate, taxis or public transport are also used for short distance travel on some tours
All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
Services of tour leader throughout tour
All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
Local guides at some sites
Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required and when stated as included
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 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.
What is not included in the tour price?
Our tours do not include the following:
Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity