Designed to include many of South Australia’s tourism highlights, the Mawson Trail is a long-distance cycling adventure that links Adelaide to the outback.

Story By Denis O’Byrne

The late afternoon sun is peeping through black rain-swollen clouds, illuminating the red cliffs of Warren Gorge with a magical golden light. Disturbed by the sounds of human intrusion, two yellow-footed rock wallabies that have been drinking in the creek stand up to identify the threat. For a few seconds their beautiful markings are clearly visible, then, as one, they turn and bolt for the safety of the rocks. To the watching cyclists, this scene is just another reason why they’ve chosen to ride along the Mawson Trail.
Stretching 870 kilometres from Athelstone, a north-eastern suburb of Adelaide, to tiny Blinman, in the North Flinders Ranges, the Mawson Trail is one of Australia’s premier long-distance cycling routes. It was named after the Antarctic explorer Sir Douglas Mawson (1882-1958), who often rode a bicycle while undertaking geological surveys of the North Flinders. The trail was first opened in the late 1980s and was recently redeveloped to broaden its appeal.

This story excerpt is from Issue #46

Outback Magazine: Apr/May 2006