Barry Duykers of the Southern Ocean Walk takes five with Great Walks.
"It was a love of natural environments that led me into the walking tour business. My wife and I were steadily being drawn into a corporate career path when we opted for a sea change in the early ‘90s.
We established a nature-based holiday accommodation business in one of our state's most beautiful parks, knowing that tours would be a logical extension. We take our clients on what is arguably the most spectacular section of South Australia's Heysen Trail from Cape Jervis to Victor Harbour, taking in some pretty amazing coastal scenery along the way.
The walk includes seven beaches, two conservation parks and a permanent waterfall. My wife and I know this part of the world very well as our love of this coastline goes back a long way. In fact, we were married here in 1994 and it has been our home as tourism operators ever since.
There are many highlights on the trip but one is when dolphins follow us along the trail and put on a performance catching waves and bailing out at the last minute to do it all over again.
Based on feedback we've received, guests also really appreciate the personalised touch that comes with small group tours.
This part of the world offers an incredible diversity of landscapes and no two days are the same. One moment we are in dense sclerophyll forest and a few hours later we are walking on a remote ocean beach. What's all the more remarkable is that all this is only 90 minutes from a capital city.
Of course people can do the walk on their own but there are major advantages to doing it guided. Firstly, our guides interpret the landscape, the flora, fauna and history of the area so that guests leave with a much better understanding of what they've seen and experienced. You’d have to do an awful lot of research to match that.
Second, logistics. We transfer guests to and from the trail each day, have refined the itinerary and know exactly when and where to stop. As one guest commented, it removes any decision fatigue. Thirdly, the food is amazing. We pride ourselves on sourcing local ingredients and the three-course dinners are a gastronomic experience."
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