A photo journey from Manoora to Clare
What can you experience on the 59 km section between Manoora and Clare?
Heritage railway station and water tower at Manoora.
Quiet minor roads and easy flat walking towards Mintaro.
Historic Mintaro. Great place to stay overnight or a stop for coffee or lunch.
Stunning scenery between Mintaro and Watervale with views from the wind farm at Waterloo to St Vincent Gulf and Mt Horrocks.
Watervale. Location for an overnight stop, lunch or coffee.
Short 7 km walk along the Riesling Trail past Penwortham
Minor roads & tracks into Spring Gully Conservation Park with views west towards Gulf St Vincent.
Neagles Rock overlooking surrounding vineyards.
Minor back roads into Clare.
Map 6 Manoora to Clare is an essential guide for walking this section of trail.
Preorder at LFT map stockists (details from the website) or purchase your copy at the Clare opening.
This is the 17th year that Footsteps newsletters have been distributed free of cost to interested walkers. From small beginnings, distribution has grown as the Lavender Federation Trail has extended over many years from Murray Bridge to Clare.
There are many reading these newsletters that are unaware how this project began. This is the story of how it happened.
21 years ago in 1997, a group of walkers realized the potential of a long distance walking trail on the eastern side of the Mt Lofty Ranges. Among these was Terry Lavender OA who over several years was responsible for the construction of the 1200 km Heysen Trail.
The concept of building a trail from Murray Bridge to Clare evolved. The attraction of a trail in this location is that much of the route is in the “rain shadow” of the Mt Lofty Ranges thereby offering dry weather walking for much of the year.
In 1999 the first walk from Murray Bridge to Monarto Recreation Reserve took place with around 200 taking part. A management board, South Australian Recreation Trails Incorporated (SARTI) was formed to oversee the project.
A policy of SARTI from the beginning was to design the trail to pass through smaller towns & communities so they would get an economic benefit and expose walkers to great walking locations in areas they would probably never see. Local communities throughout the trails evolution have been involved in all aspect of planning the route and its construction. In many areas, the trail traverses private land in the most attractive areas available, often at the suggestion of the land owner. In one case, the land owner after suggesting we traverse their property, constructed the trail installing trail infrastructure & will maintain it. The trail is mostly “off road” utilizing the unique “road reserves”, unmade road networks planned but never used that cover South Australia. Maximum use is also made of Government owned land where available.
The end result? A linear trail, 325 km long, called the Lavender Federation Trail, running from Murray Bridge on the Murray River to Clare and connecting with almost 100 km of link & loop trails to nearby towns & attractions. Stiles are always constructed across fences and there are constructed “in house” by volunteers & assembled on site. How many stiles have been made & installed? Around 230.
The trail is one of many contrasts and unique features. Past Monarto Zoo, the World’s largest zoo where exotic animals from around the World can be seen from the trail, many gullies, permanent water holes & high points with outstanding views. At Mt Beevor 50 km from Murray Bridge, looking south the Coorong & Southern Ocean/west is Mt Barker & Mt Lofty/north the Barossa Range/east, the River Murray. Passing through the Barossa, the temptation is to stop at a winery, again tempting when the Clare Valley is reached. In the new section about to be opened the wind turbines at Waterloo & St Vincent Gulf can be viewed from one location.
Walking just below a ridge line metres from wind turbines, the historic buildings of Dutton, traversing “The Gap” with permanent water holes and kilometres of dry stone walls east of Dutton are other areas well worth looking at.
The unique feature of this trail? It has been designed, built and maintained entirely by volunteers, the eldest 86. We understand it is the longest trail network in the country built entirely by volunteers
The Lavender Federation Trail connects together the 1200 km Heysen, 35 km Riesling & 19 km Rattler trails and eventually, the 450 km Murray Coorong Trail now under construction from Cadell in the Riverland to Salt Creek on the Coorong.
We believe that this project is an outstanding example of community involvement in a volunteer project and an example of what can be achieved with the cooperation and assistance of Local & State Government authorities.
Originally called the “Federation Trail” to recognize the centenary of Federation of Australia in 2001, the “Lavender” in the title was added in 2004 in honour of Terry Lavender. When you walk through Spring Gully Conservation Park, keen walkers will notice a change to the trail marker wording so there is no confusion with the lavender plant.
Is this the end of SARTI now the Lavender Federation Trail is complete? No!
Ten separate maintenance crews will still be needed to maintain the trails.
Can you help maintain a section?
Speak to George Adams at the opening to get details of areas still needing a maintenance crew.
Our map sales generate income to pay for trail maintenance materials and trail upgrades.
Our public liability insurance alone costs almost $1,800 per year.
Become a “Friend of the Lavender Federation Trail” by outlaying just $10 PA or $100 PA for businesses & groups.
See the web site for Membership details.
Our organization has many things still to achieve and in the next Footsteps, more on this.
See you at Clare on Saturday 5th May 2018.