No rest for the wicked.

Imagine you’d just hiked 800 kilometres through South Australia’s remote wilderness. At times you’d starved, run out of water, had your face lashed by torrential rain and your arms scorched by the piercing sun. Then, after overcoming all of these challenges, you’d arrived home to a warm welcome and a much-needed rest day. Of all the activities you’d least like to do, which one would top the list? Run a marathon? 1,000 push-ups? Be poked in the eye with a ballpoint pen? Well, all of these pale in comparison with my Day 43 task. Yes, that’s right, you guessed it. I had to submit my tax return.

Heysen Trail Diary – Day 43

I will say one thing for churning through your taxes, the mundanity gives your mind freedom to roam. After all, you can’t concentrate too hard on incomings and outgoings—you’ll have a brain haemorrhage. As I sat in my parent’s home office and chewed through the previous years’ finances, my mind inevitably slipped back to the magnificent turnout on Day 42. Several messages had trickled in throughout the morning from weary attendees thanking me for the experience and blaming me for cramping legs—I did warn everybody to stretch thoroughly.

On top of calculating my own financial figures, the final fundraising amount for the Community Walk could now also be tallied. Thanks to the support of sponsors, helpers, my incredibly accommodating parents and everybody who accompanied me on the day, we amassed an astonishing $880.48 for the Black Dog Institute. A fantastic result!

Heysen Trail Trekking West Experience Fundraiser

Like every rest day on the trail, I grudgingly stretched my legs on an unenthusiastic stroll. As much as I wanted to relax, I knew my feet needed to maintain momentum. Despite having lived in Tanunda for over 20 years, I’d never ventured out for much of a meandering ramble through the quaint township. When you have a car, why walk, right? Oh, how my thought processes had changed.

Tanunda (an Aboriginal word, reputedly meaning either ‘watering hole’ or ‘many birds on a creek’) is the focal point of the Barossa Valley.

My aimless route took me by the picturesque Tanunda Oval, down along the bubbling North Para River, across the rickety swing bridge, past a handful of landmark churches and back home again. Somewhat oddly, the peaceful walk through the town’s unassuming suburban neighbourhood felt like scrambling through a bustling metropolitan sprawl. After weeks of dirt tracks, vacant grassy blocks and perpetual scrubland, the sight of neighbourhood street gutters seemed comparatively futuristic.

Tanunda Swinging Bridge Heysen Trail

I returned to the scene of yesterday’s adventure.

It was amazing to be home, but I knew I couldn’t get too comfortable. The more I settled into familiar surroundings, the harder I would be to extract—my head needed to remain in the game. Day 44 would bring my biggest mental challenge on the trail.

All the details.

Trail distance covered



Tanunda (Residential Property)




Cool damp winters with light to heavy showers and some days of rain. The ranges are wet and cool during winter but are warmer during autumn and spring. Summers are warm to hot and relatively dry.