Preview of the latest Footsteps Newsletter from the
Lavender Federation Walking Trail 

Footsteps Newsletter

Volume 14, Issue 1 - APRIL, 2015
Banner photo - Walking group went from the Eudunda Gardens (Colin Thiele Gardens), around the edge of the Sporting Grounds to this spot on the South Side of the Oval where they meet the first stile on their journey. The group is heading into the beautiful Eudunda Golf Course where they walk along its edge. Photo taken during the Official Opening of the Truro to Eudunda section of the Lavender Federation Walking Trail. Photo by Tim & Bistro of the Eudunda Golf Club. 

Dear Footsteps Followers,
We have a new Footsteps Newsletter for you.
Footsteps is the Newsletter of the South Australian Recreation Trails Incorporated (SARTI) and the Lavender Federation Trail.


In this issue:
  • Monarto Trails Working Group.
  • Lavender Federation Trail extension plans. 
  • Murraylands River Trail takes a step forward.
  • Saunders Gorge Spur Trail.
  • Advantage SA Award for SARTI.
  • Monarto land sale threatens LFT
  • Bits and pieces
    Walking the Lavender Federation Trail - “Great Walks” Magazine

Monarto Trails Working Group:-

Walkers, mountain bikers and NRM staff are continuing to formalize trails at Monarto by eliminating unauthorized trails and creating a sustainable trail network suitable for walkers and bike riders. The current major project is a trail across the Narrinyeri Hills overlooking Murray Bridge extending from near the SE Freeway off-ramp across the hills face, crossing Maurice Road west of Mobilong Prison, down into Rocky Gully and connecting with the Lavender Federation Trail. Currently dubbed the “Jailbreak Trail”, a name unlikely to survive as an official name, the trail will have links into Murray Bridge at several locations. All welcome to the next work morning on the 26th April meeting at 8.00 AM on Maurice Road 1.5 km west of the Mobilong Prison 

Lavender Federation Trail Extension Plans:-

Plans are now well advanced to construct the next stages of the LFT as it moves towards its ultimate destination of Clare. A submission has been made to the Office for Recreation and Sport as part of the “Community Recreation and Sport Facilities Program” to extend the LFT over a two year period.
Year one plans are to extend the main trail a further 49 kilometers to Manoora on the Barrier Highway via Hampden, Inspiration Point, Webb Gap and Waterloo. The disused rail corridor between Eudunda and Hampden will form part of the first section of trail and it is hoped sufficient funding can be obtained to cover the rail ballast to allow construction of a multi-use trail along this section.
At Webb Gap, the Heysen and Lavender Federation Trails will meet thereby joining two long distance trails. The Heysen Trail, a seven year full time project of Terry Lavender OA and the Lavender Federation Trail initiated by Terry in 1998 will come together. The joining of the Heysen and LFT opens up many additional walking possibilities to users of both trails.
In addition to the main trail extension, a spur trail 7.5 km to Robertstown and a Point Pass Loop Trail of 8 km are planned.
Map 5, Eudunda to Manoora will be released when these trails are completed. 

Eudunda to Manoora :- 
Rail corridor Eudunda to Hampden; Historic Manoora Rail Station.

Year two plans are to extend the trail a further 57.5 km from Manoora to Clare via Mintaro, Watervale, and Spring Gully Conservation Park before reaching Clare. A major feature of year two plans is the linking of the Riesling and Rattler Trails to the Heysen Trail via the Lavender Federation Trail. All four trails will then link to the proposed River Trail at Murray Bridge (more later). Linking four major trails together will create a trails network in South Australia of a World Class standard with the potential to attract outdoor enthusiasts worldwide as desirable destination.
Year two funding application includes the release of Map 6-Manoora to Clare and the printing of a new “give away” brochure to replace the current out of date brochure.
The SARTI Board is very of its achievements in the construction of a 278 km trails network entirely by volunteers. Plans now in place to finally complete the 320 km Lavender Federation Trail 20 years after it was conceived by Terry Lavender and supporters have been the dream of many. These plans however, are entirely dependent on successful funding being available from the SA Government.

Manoora to Clare:- 
Wind turbines near Waterloo; Sunset towards St Vincent Gulf from Spring Gully Conservation Park.


Murraylands takes a step forward:-

A feasibility study to construct a multipurpose trail along the length of the Murray River to the Coorong has been presented by the consultants to the Mid Murray, Murray Bridge and Coorong Councils. The final plan recommends a 450 kilometer trail extending from Cadell in the Riverland, staying as close as possible to the Murray River before heading down the Coorong to Salt Creek. Initial estimate for the completed project is $7.5 million. The study recommends sections of the trail be constructed in each Local Government area in areas close to main population centres.
Of particular interest is the planned stage one section within the Murray Bridge Council area. This will commence at Hume Reserve at the Rocky Gully Wetlands connecting with the Lavender Federation Trail and heading upstream to Toora Reserve.
With the proposed LFT extension to Clare and linking of the Heysen, Riesling, Rattler and Lavender Federation Trails, the Murraylands River Trail will connect to these other well-known trails.
SARTI is represented on the newly formed River Trail Board


 Saunders Gorge Spur Trail:-

The Sanders Gorge Trail has been a long running project of the SARTI Board over many years. It has involved closing a road reserve, placing a 2 metre wide access across private land and negotiations between the land owner, Mid Murray Council, Office for Recreation & Sport and SARTI back to 2007.
A plan for this trail and a connection to the Lavender Federation Trail at Springton has now been completed. It is planned to construct this spur trail totaling 9 kilometers this year.
Thanks to property owners Brenton and Nadine Newman for their cooperation and SARTI Board members Barry Stacey and Roger Lillecrapp who have been involved in negotiations & planning over many years. 

Advantage SA Award to SARTI:-

The Lavender Federation Trail became one of the final three finalists in the Tourism section of the Advantage SA Yorke and Mid North Region for 2014. In a highly contested sector in an area renown for wineries, food and tourism, SARTI was proud to be awarded a plaque at the awards night at Clare on the 28th October last year. This is the second Advantage SA award for the LFT after reaching the final three in the Group Volunteer section in the Murraylands/ Riverland Region the previous year.


Monarto land sale threatens Lavender Federation Trail:-

During the past 18 months, SARTI has worked with several State Government agencies to ensure the route of the Lavender Federation Trail at Monarto between Hartman and Highland Roads would remain in public hands and the trail route would be secure. A plan was drawn up to retain areas of significance and retain native vegetation with some areas to be sold. Included in the Monarto plans was the declaration of conservation areas in several section of Monarto including Rocky Gully.
Much to the dismay of the SARTI Board, it now appears that the Hartman to Highland Road area has been excluded as a declared conservation area and remains under the control of PIRSA with a thread of being sold. Last information from Minister Bignell was in February.

Bits and Pieces:-

  • Membership.
    Are you a “Friend of the Lavender Federation Trail”?  Membership is just $10 PA for individuals or $100 PA for businesses & organizations.
    SARTI relies totally on volunteers to plan, build and maintain the entire 278 km trail network and relies on memberships, donations and grants to continue our work. There are over 350 individuals receiving this free newsletter with only a small number contributing to our work. Public Liability insurance is a reoccurring expense at $1650 PA for SARTI. You can become a LFT friend by logging onto our web site and contributing financially.
    See website at
  • Eudunda LFT Trail Opening awarded "Eudunda Best Community Event".
    Congratulations to the Eudunda Community who received the 2015 Australia Day Award for “Community Event of the Year” for the opening of the Lavender Federation Trail event in September last year in the Goyder Council Eudunda Ward section. See Award photos here
    Missed what the opening was all about? - check article here (pre event)
  • Maintenance Volunteers Needed: Can you assist in maintaining a section of the LFT? We supply all materials needed for our volunteer groups who generally need only a couple of days a year of their time. Individuals, families and formal and informal walking groups currently maintain trail sections. Two sections of the trail need volunteers as a result of one walking club disbanding and in another area, the person shifting interstate.
    Help is required at Monarto from the Preaminna Mines area to Mount Beevor
    and Keyneton to the Sturt Highway.

    Contact Trail Manager George Adams via the “Contact us” section on the web site or at  for more details.

  • The AGM of SARTI will be held on Thursday 2nd July at 1.00 pm at the Truro Recreation Reserve Clubroom. All welcome to attend. 


There are also links to the other items as they happen, you can discover them by visiting the website, 
generally you can find them by looking at the 'Latest News'. You can also keep up with news on our Facebook page or Twitter. 

Walking the Lavender Federation Trail:-

"Great Walks" Magazine Feature

In August last year, a group of three ladies from Wake (Wagga & Kempsie) Walkers, NSW walked the Lavender Federation Trail from Eudunda to Murray Bridge over 10 days. Their walk and impressions were published in “Great Walks” magazine in the February/March 2015 edition.
Many thanks to the magazine editor Brent McKean for allowing us to reproduce this article. Great walks website is


Early on a Saturday morning in Eudunda, SA, a small group gathered to farewell us as we headed out along the newly- opened section of the Lavender Federation Trail en-route to Murray Bridge. We were privileged to be the first to walk this section from Eudunda to Truro in the state's mid north, so new the map was only available the day before. And our farewell group was some of the enthusiastic Eudunda community members who were active in the trail’s development through their area.
The Federation Trail was born some 15 years ago when 150 people walked the 18 km from Murray Bridge to Monarto. The name was later changed to the Lavender Federation Trail (LFT) to honor the late Terry Lavender OA, the trail’s architect and instigator who is better known for the Heysen Trail’s existence. He wished to connect the Murray River with the Barossa and Clare valleys in SA's mid north region. Presently stretching 212 km the trail is definitely a labour of love, as dedicated volunteers carry out all the planning, building, maintenance and publicity.

Back county and beyond
The trail crisscrosses rural South Australia in a wandering fashion, using many back lanes, private properties and road reserves along the eastern side of the Mt Lofty Ranges. Following old stone fence lines, you will walk past the lonely ruins of isolated stone cottages, once occupied by early German settlers, then left abandoned when crops and farming failed in the severe droughts of the late 1800s. The trail wanders amongst rugged rocky outcrops of ochre and brown, through fields dotted with majestic river red gums and beside gentle streams. In spring the constant vistas of fields of golden canola flowers contrasting with emerald green grain crops and the occasional white or mauve flowers of other crops create a patchwork landscape.
This is not a traditional bushwalk, but a meander through some of the state's finest wine growing and agricultural regions. Most of  it is off-road and through private properties where some owners are very proactive in promoting and maintaining the trail and highlighting their properties best features. Walking the trail is a chance to visit some magnificent ravines and gorges the general travelling public never gets to see. Spring is the perfect time to walk this trail. Eucalypts are flowering red, pink and yellow and brilliant yellow wattles and wildflowers are everywhere. The countryside is lush and green and there is water in the streams which are generally dry in other seasons. Magpies are teaching their young to fly in the cloudless skies, kangaroos are bounding through the landscape and skinks are soaking up the spring sun.

A fortnight of fun

Allow around 11-14 days to complete the whole walk. More if you are carrying a pack. Camping has issues as there are no designated camping areas, although you are allowed to camp on the road reserves and on private properties with the owner’s approval. Alternatively walk into the nearby villages to access local accommodation. Otherwise, water drops or vehicular backup is essential. Camping has its own rewards though. One evening we were excited to witness a  lunar corona, having first thought it  to be a moon bow. Imagine a full moon with light moist cloud covering. Starting with an unusually huge yellow orb, it expanded into glowing concentric rings around the moon in all the colors of the rainbow. Unbelievably beautiful and a sight never to be forgotten.
We walked the trail from north to south to have the sun on our backs. Eudunda to Truro is possibly the most spectacular part of the trail, weaving its way back and forth across the main Truro Rd, following farm fence lines and up and down steep gullies.
We climbed the 512 m Leake Lookout for extensive views in all directions, went past hidden waterfalls and more stone fences to The Gap, a watercourse through the hills to the edge of the escarpment with expansive views over the Murray Plains. Then topped it off with a walk down to and along a steep rocky ravine. The only down side was the constant styles to be negotiated over the many fences.
Try to deviate into the small towns along the way, even if not planning to stay at them. Although the trail does not go directly in to all the towns, they are worthy of being visited and supported, and all have their own unique attractions. Eudunda was a participant in the South Australian Living Art Festival held annually in August, and a walk around town featured many fine exhibits, including a skinny mini, yarn bombed postal boxes and shop fronts and some rather unique garden art. Truro boasts a fine bakery and motel (great for wet days as we found out), a very pleasant wine tasting cellar and some specialty shops

L-R: Walking down one of the back country lanes near Eudunda,
Walking down to a rocky ravine near Truro.

I feel humbled and thankful that someone has the foresight and dedication to make these walking trails happen.

Wine light

In Springton visit the Herbig Tree, a very large, hollow red gum thought to be over 300 years old, which was the first home of Friedrich Herbig. He married and had his first two children while still living in this tree on his property. Eden Valley is home to some very fine wineries, including Henschke Winery, one of the oldest wine names in the Barossa. Mt Pleasant has a growers market every Saturday conveniently next  to the campground, two good pubs and a small grocery shop. In Moculta view the Shannon family mausoleum, where around 24 of their family members are interred. Tungkillo unfortunately has lost its struggle with economics, and apart from walkers being allowed to camp behind the hall, it has no other facilities, the pub and store having recently closed.
Yet rural South Australia is not without its excitement and events. Following a farm fence line, we came across a sheep caught in the fence. It had obviously thought the grass looked much sweeter on the other side, but  unfortunately could only get  its head through the fence and not back again. Three women to the rescue! One holding  it down and two pushing and pulling its head back through the fence.  Success. And for gratitude, a short sharp mean kick to one of its rescuers as it staggered away to join the mob. Then that same  day there was an armed robbery at nearby Mt Pleasant  bank, the bandit escaping in a 4WD, causing quite a concern in the community.
Between Tungkillo and Murray Bridge we climbed Mt Beevor, from where we could see Mt Lofty, the Barossa Ranges, glimpse the Murray River and in the far distance, spot the sand hills of the Coorong. But beware the wind. It was our constant companion for most days and made relaxing at the lookouts a little unpleasant.

The last kilometres into Murray Bridge are not without their special delights either. The trail travels along the fence of the Monarto Zoo, the largest open range zoo in Australia, where we spotted some giraffes, ostriches and Barbary sheep. After the zoo we feared walking the busy, boring bitumen roads into Murray Bridge. But no, happily the track follows the railway line through Rocky Gully Nature Reserve, a hidden treasure of large boulders and rocky outcrops. Then through pleasant woodland crown reserves, almost the only “bush” on the trail, and finally through bird-prolific wetlands to finish on the banks of the Murray River, where majestic paddle-steamers and houseboats cruised lazily past.
If time restricts walking the entire trail, there are endless possibilities for day and overnight walks. The trail can be accessed often from various roads and there are numerous loop trails around towns along the route. There are four strip maps for the trail and all show the various loop walks.

A job well done

The Lavender Federation Trail is a trail in motion. It will move onto Hampden via an old railway corridor, and eventually to Clare where it can link up with the Riesling and Rattler Trails, making it well over 350 km. It gets close to and will cross the Heysen Trail and in time there will be a network of trails intersecting each other making South Australia a highly desirable destination for walkers. With hidden ravines and gorges, the Barossa and Clare valleys, the Flinders Ranges, the Murraylands and a fabulous coastline, it is a state worth visiting.

And now, as I sit on the banks of the Murray at the end of our walk, enjoying a glass of good South Australian wine, I feel humbled and thankful that someone has the foresight and dedication to make these walking trails happen.
Some photos from the original article have not been reproduced and the layout of the article differs in some areas. Originally published in the February/March 2015 edition of “Great Walks” magazine.

Di Waterhouse and her friends left Eudunda a feature story in the local newspaper was published - we have that story on our website (shows further photos)


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Graham Hallandal
Editor (Footsteps),
Lavender Federation Walking Trail.
South Australian Recreation Trails Inc.,
Post Office Box 1052,
Murray Bridge, 5253, Australia.

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