An epiphany-filled fourth day revived me from a dishevelled mess to slightly better than a dishevelled mess.

After a draining Day 3, I woke up feeling very sore and sorry for myself. Both my internal and camera batteries still required charging, and I was up at 4:30 am trying to replenish the latter. Fair to say, it was a slow morning, but it’s incredible how quickly your mood can change with the right stimuli. Following several meaningful revelations and one of the most phenomenal landscapes I’ve ever seen, the body and the mind sorted themselves out.

Daily Diary – Day 4

Much of the morning was spent despondently kicking rocks along the dirt track, questioning how I was going to make it through the next 56-odd days and dreading my next water bladder rinsing. However, it wasn’t long before I, quite literally, stumbled upon my inspiration, as I departed Wilpena Pound.

Wilpena Pound is a natural amphitheatre of mountains and sedimentary rock in the form of a large syncline. The origin of the name Wilpena is uncertain, however the Adnyamathanha name for the nearby Elder Range is Woodna-Wolpena, which translates as Great Mountain, so perhaps the name is derived from that.
Heysen Trail Map Sheet 8

The jagged climb to the Bridle Gap lookout was severe on my weary legs, but the view out the other side, of the majestic Bunbinyunna, Elder and Red Ranges, was immediately invigorating. This rocky outcrop provided one of the most memorable viewing platforms I’ve ever parked my butt on. The staggering 180º panorama was beyond awesome, even by the impossibly high Flinders Ranges standards.

Day 4 Bridle Gap Lookout

The view that greeted me as I clambered out of Wilpena Pound.

I unpacked my lunch, drained the plastic bag containing my water bladder and just sat, gawked and tried to take it all in. All of the concerns that I’d amassed over the past 3 and a half days immediately vanished. I couldn’t sit around for too long however, I still had 21km to tick off before I arrived at Red Range Campsite. I eventually set off down the abrupt slope to the valley floor and made my way through the creek bed-riddled terrain.

Day 4 Rocky Slope

Yes, the rocks really are that red.

Day 4 Creek Bed

This section contains some of the most beautiful creek beds along the trail.

By the time I made it to Red Range campsite, it was well after dark; I was wearied, weakened and ready for bed, but I may have never been happier. Plus, tomorrow night I had hut accommodation to look forward to.

All the details.

Trail distance covered



Free + park entry fee.


The region has hot dry summers with cool to cold nights and cool, wet winters. Autumn and spring can be warm and mild with occasional periods of rain or showers.


This stretch has a little bit of everything. Actually, no. Scratch that. It has a lot of everything. Steep rocky slopes, long-winding dry creeks, grassy hill climbs, forest strolls. Landscapes for all tastes.