The Pioneer Women's Trail is a 26km walking track stretching from Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills down to Burnside in the eastern suburb foothills. The trail commemorates the efforts of early German settlers who arrived in Hahndorf in the late 1830s, when the South Australian colony was just in its infancy. These pioneers grew their own produce which was then transported on foot into Adelaide to be sold at market, at a time when most fresh food items had to be imported from other states.
The women pioneers would regularly make the 35km journey on foot right into the city markets, departing at midnight to make the overnight trek with heavily-laden baskets of fruits, vegetables and dairy goods carried on their backs. The women traversed the rugged bullock tracks through the hilly terrain, stopping to rest before dawn at a stream near what is now Beaumont House before continuing the last section into Adelaide.
On the return journey, the women followed the same route uphill carrying supplies of sewing thread, needles, sugar, tea, tobacco for their men, and two bricks each for building a new church in Hahndorf. This incredible toil continued for the next twenty years until the late 1850s.
Nowadays, walkers honour these efforts by retracing their steps on the trail. Some of the original trail has been lost over time due to modern developments such as housing construction, private property ownership and the South Eastern Freeway, however, the trail sticks as closely as possible to the original route.
JOIN THE WALK Whilst the trail is always open and accessible to the public at any time of year, the National Trust of South Australia hosts this walk as an annual event raising funds for the Trust. On Sunday 16th May 2021, join the walk by choosing which starting point suits you and enjoy some spectacular scenery along the way downhill to Beaumont House:
* Hahndorf (26km, approx. 6 hours)
* Bridgewater (19km, approx. 5 hours)
* Stirling (12km, approx. 3 hours)
At the bottom, once you reach the beautiful Beaumont House, you can rest and recover with food and drinks stalls in the gardens as well as some live music. Shuttle buses will be running to take you to and from your starting point for a small fee. Check the event website for all ticketing information and updates.
BONUS TIP: As you come through the very last patch just a few hundred metres from Beaumont House, look out for a little blackboard sign – the enterprising residents at 'Sixty Four' have turned a nook in their backyard into a tiny hidden café! This little fairytale spot in the trees sells barista coffee and handmade treats – the perfect way to wrap up your walk.