Frequently Asked Questions  

 

The questions listed below have been generated over time from guest requests for information. We are here to help you arrive. If you still have questions after reading this page please don't hesitate to send us an email.

 

Warmest regards, The Ellis Family and Crew

 

1. Why camel trek?

2. About camel treks in 2018/2019

3. Is Camel Treks Australia experienced?

4. Where are we located?

5. How do I book?

6. What’s Included

7. How do guests arrive?

8. Arrival and departure times

9. How challenging are camel treks?

10. Is camel riding difficult?

11. How fit do I need to be?

12. Are camel treks suited to all ages?

13. How far do we travel each day on a camel trek?

14. What should I bring with me on the camel trek?

15. Do I need special footwear?

16. What happens in a medical emergency?

17. We recommend travel insurance

18. Equipment we carry and back-up vehicles

19. What do we eat on camel treks?

20. Camping and accommodation

21. Can I have a shower? Is accommodation an option?

22. What about toilets!

23. What is the weather like on camel treks?

24. Before a camel trek departs

25. What else can I do before or after the camel trek?

26. Secondary school camps

27. Purchasing trained camels

 
 

WHY CAMEL TREK?

Camel Treks take place on Beltana Station set on 1,541-square-kilometres and Clayton Station set on 2,600-square-kilometres. Both offer varied landscapes and a taste of unplugged life, providing an absolute sanctuary for seclusion and peace. 

 

Surrounded by nature and endless views, these well-renowned outback regions in Australia promise a tranquil haven to create stillness and a sense of calm in your mind. The serenity of the Flinders Ranges beckons for some serious soul-searching and allows guests to revitalise and recover from today's hectic technology dependent world.

 

To further help you leave your daily world behind, there are no TVs in the swags, tents or on the Camels, and mobile devices are useless out here with no Internet connection available for miles. Guests can truly disconnect and shift their attention from work and other external factors to themselves.

 

Each morning begins with listening to bird sounds whilst you watch the sun rise out of the horizon. In all directions nature provides beautiful views of the Flinders Ranges and nearby landscapes such as Lake Torrens and Lake Eyre. 

 

Regardless of the duration or choice of your Camel experience, our treks are designed to provide you with a safe and serene environment, away from any distractions and stress. Just good tucker, happy Cameleers and some pretty charismatic Camel characters, under the blue sky during the day and a thousand stars at night.

ABOUT CAMEL TREKS in 2018 / 2019

Treks are offered at an enjoyable steady pace with a maximum of 10 - 14 trekkers. Private and Corporate groups are welcome to contact us with larger bookings. 

 

Camel Treks Australia's standard treks are 100% camping and sleeping in fully netted swags. Please notify us at the time of booking if you would like a tent as swags are a standard provision. 

 

Comfortable, historic accommodation ( optional extra ) on Beltana Station can be pre-booked for the evening of your arrival and departure. 

 

Arrival time for your Camel trek is between 1.30 - 5pm on all treks except for the 'Day Tours' and 'Overnight Safaris' which depart at 11.30am. Both Day Tours and Overnight Safaris need to be pre-arranged and cannot be booked via our on-line booking system.

 

Almost all Camel treks are aligned with Genesis Tour and Charter's return bus timetable from Adelaide City. If bus transportation is not available, it will be stated in the trek description. Genesis is a private service that transports guests to and from Camel treks. Genesis delivers guests to the Beltana Station turn-off where they are welcomed by our Cameleers and delivered to either Station accommodation ( optional extra ) or the Camel yard campsite. 

 

In the event of unexpected extreme weather conditions, we utilise Beltana Station's campground shelter with hot gas showers and toilets. Guests can also choose to book into Beltana Station's choice of historic accommodation options ( optional extra ).  

 

Guests regularly compliment our Cameleer cooks and the menu which uses fresh ingredients and caters for all needs including persons with dietary allergies. 

 

Trek days are spent with Camels and other guests enjoying expansive landscapes, bushwalking, Camel riding, and flora and fauna identification. Multiple bird species inhabit this region, especially birds of prey.

 

Treks are all inclusive of breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and the evening meal. We provide port wine in the evenings and guests are further welcome to bring their own moderate amount of alcohol for an evening under the stars around the campfire. 

IS CAMEL TREKS AUSTRALIA EXPERIENCED?

Camel Treks Australia Pty Ltd is owned and operated by Paul and Karen Ellis with the assistance of their children and Cameleer crew. Paul and Karen met competing against each other at a Camel race in April 1997. Both of them have been mentored by Cameleers of the past. To read more about Camel Treks Australia's crew and mentors on our Cameleers page, click the 'CTA Cameleers' box below.

 

Since meeting, Paul and Karen's Camel business has been awarded South Australia's 'Best Tour Operator' award and most recently the 2017 South Australia Tourism Commission 'Silver Medallion for Adventure Tourism'. They also received a 2017 Trip Advisor 'Certificate of Excellence'. They are ranked no.#41 in Australia's must do experiences and Qantas Magazine's 'Top 6 Outback Adventures'! Camel Treks Australia is the only remaining extending camel riding company in Australia.

 

Camel Treks Australia used to be called 'Camel Tours & Treks S.A' and 'Blue Sky Camel Charters' in the year 2000. The business name changed again when the Camels moved permanently in 2013 to the Flinders Ranges trekking in semi arid and arid desert regions north of Adelaide City in Outback South Australia.

 

Paul and Karen operated short camel rides on the Victor Harbour Beach, along with an average of six annual extended treks in the coastal Coorong National Park. They also held contracts with the Royal Zoological Society to operate within Monarto Zoological Park and Foresty S.A.

 

They found that as they and their camels aged, neither animal nor handler enjoyed operating short rides. At the same time, they loved the rugged Flinders Ranges environment in contrast to the Fleurieu Pennisula where they had been based for over 10 years. They started visiting the Flinders Ranges to work, eventually deciding to move there after providing camels for an Afghan descendant's wedding in the historic Beltana township in 2007. 

 

Paul and Karen have never been able to part with camels. Once they sold sixteen of their best workers to a trusted colleague operating on the beach at Broome. Without their companionship, they quickly felt displaced and they have since vowed to forever live and work with camels!

WHERE ARE WE LOCATED?

We are based in Outback South Australia's dramatic Flinders Ranges during the months of April, May, June, September and October. In July and August we are further north offering 9 day treks in arid desert country located off the famous Birdsville stock route. Both locations offer a sense of isolation, privacy and adventure, in a region that is fast becoming one of Australia's most sought after destinations.

 

For further detailed information about our location please click on the 'OUR LOCATION' link below.

HOW DO I BOOK?

You'll find a 'Book Now' link below each trek listed on our 2018 / 2019 Calendar page which is linked below for your convenience. We require a 20% non-refundable deposit to reserve your place on all tours, treks, and safaris. The final payment is required within 8 weeks prior to your tour / safari / trek departure date. Look at the MENU page for descriptions of what to expect on the varied tours / safaris / treks that are offered. Once you have decided on the duration or theme of your trek, go to the 2018/19 Calendar page to select the date and trek option you prefer. The 'Book Now' link will take you to Xola, our online booking system. For treks that occur in 2018, the trek will appear in the 'Upcoming' list of dates. For 2019 treks, use the Xola calendar to scroll to the date listed on our Calendar page.It's that easy! Book with confidence knowing you are trekking with an award winning tourism company.

WHAT'S INCLUDED

On scheduled treks we depart between 1.30 - 4.30pm. This allows people either self driving or travelling with Genesis Tour and Charter time to arrive. Lunch is not provided on Day 1. Guests can, however look forward to a camp fire and tasty camp oven meal that evening. All camping needs are provided, including swags, mattresses, and if pre-arranged guests can hire a clean sleeping bag with liner, blanket and pillow ; tents are also available upon request. 

 

We serve a limited amount of port wine shared around the nightly camp fire. Guests are also welcome to bring thier own alcohol. The Cameleer crew often provide a special pancake breakfast on the final day of each trek. Treks conclude around midday on the final day of departure, lunch and the evening meal are not provided. Guests travelling return with Genesis Tour & Charter have an earlier departure time. 

HOW DO GUESTS ARRIVE?

Guests are welcome to self drive to either of our locations, safely leaving their vehicles. We also offer a return transfer service from Adelaide City to the trek location with Genesis Tour and Charter. This service is an optional extra scheduled to support most 2018 and 2019 Camel treks.Genesis Tour and Charter offer a pick-up service to and from the Adelaide Central Bus Station, and pickup from any hotel in Adelaide City. ​Genesis Tour and Charter departs from the Adelaide Central Bus Station at 6.45am. Passengers are required to check-in 15 minutes before departure.​The bus service offers bathroom and refreshment stops on demand along the way. Camel Treks Australia's guests receive a discount when travelling with Genesis Tour and Charter. Please advise Genesis at your time of booking that you are entitled to a discount as a Camel Treks Australia guest. Guests are responsible for booking their own tickets with Genesis Tour & Charter.Self driving guests can refer to our LOCATION page for more information. This page includes more information about Genesis, vehicle hire, alternative bus services, and our recommended list of must do's in the area. 

ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE TIMES

Day Tours and Overnight Safaris depart at 11.30am with a recommended arrival time of 11am, returning in the afternoon no later than 5.30pm. Both Day Tours and Overnight Safaris depart from Beltana Station.

 

All 3 - 9 day Camel treks depart from either Betana or Clayton Stations unless specified otherwise. We ask that guests arrive no earlier than 1.30pm and no later than 4.30pm on Day 1 of your scheduled trek arrival date. Treks conclude anytime from 11.30am onwards on the day of departure. If guests are travelling with Genesis Tour & Charter, departure time is earlier for an afternoon arrival into Adelaide City. 

HOW CHALLENGING ARE CAMEL TREKS?

It's an outback pace, no one's in a hurry! Camels walk at an average speed of 4kms per hour, often stopping for a mouthful of saltbush along the way. Did you know that Camel Treks Australia is the only trekking company in Australia that allows guests to ride the camels on extended journeys? You can ride, walk, or even travel with the base camp staff during the day, catching up with the camels and fellow guests in the afternoon at a new campsite. We offer a variety of shorter to longer treks to meet all of our guests' needs!

 

Treks are well staffed with plenty of helpful cameleers, incuding full meal preparation. Your level of participation with the Camels is up to you. We welcome guests to get involved with brushing, saddling, and shepherding the camels each morning and evening.

IS CAMEL RIDING DIFFICULT?

Guests have said riding is like being on a comfortable moving armchair. The rhythm is gentle and we have had mature aged guests riding with hip and knee replacements as well as youngsters seated in front of their parents on family themed camel treks. If you can sit to watch the T.V, you can most likely Camel ride.

HOW FIT DO I NEED TO BE?

Camel riding treks are a great experience for anyone who is in good general health. You do not have to be gym fit. There's no rush in the outback, and guests can combine riding and walking throughout the day.

 

Guests who are seeking a higher level of participation with the Camels can advise Karen and she will offer as much hands on as possible. This can range from waking up early with her to shepherd the Camels in the mornings to assisting with shepherding the Camels in the evenings. Other activities can include grooming and saddling.

ARE CAMEL TREKS SUITED TO ALL AGES?

Most of our guests are retired with the average age being between 50 - 70 years on extended treks. We have set aside two family themed Camel treks in the April school holidays for families with children.

 

It is expected that each participant be in good health and be able to combine walking and or riding (not compulsory) throughout the duration of his or her chosen trek, whether it be a day tour or 9 day trek.

 

Camel Treks Australia travels with several first aid kits, trained first aid staff and a comprehensive Royal Flying Doctor Chest that allows us immediate access to a RFD Medical Doctor via our satellite phone in the event of someone becoming ill. 

 

We operate our treks within driving distance of several Hospitals including the Hawker, Marree, Leigh Creek and Port Augusta Hospitals.  

 

Parents of children aged between 4 and 12 years are able to join the 'Family themed Camel Treks', currently offered in the April South Australian school holidays. 

 

Family groups are also welcome to contact us with their own preferred dates.

HOW FAR DO WE TRAVEL EACH DAY ON A CAMEL TREK?

The distance we cover varies between 8 - 15km depending on the terrain, weather conditions and available Camel feed at the spot we choose to camp each night. Now before you panic think about your favourite arm chair, add a gentle rocking rhythmm and how easy it is to watch a plesant nature documentary and bingo ... you've got it!

 

Camels we hate to admit, are essentially work-shy and prioritise filling their stomachs first throughout treks. Luckily for them the region is rich in tucker the Camels like. They plod along at a comfortable riding pace, frequently stopping at favourite bushes, and unlike riding a horse which requires a reasonable amount of rider alertness and balance, riding a camel is easy. We have in the past assisted riding for the disabled groups.

 

We do suggest that guests combine riding and walking as this keep the legs comfortable. We stop throughout the day to have morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea, which allows for easy switching between riding and walking.

WHAT SHOULD I BRING WITH ME ON THE CAMEL TREK?

Camel Treks Australia can provide a sleeping bag, silk / cotton liner, pillow and blanket for guests who do not have their own bedding at an additional fee of $40 per trek, per person. Please advise us at your time of booking if you want to hire bedding, under the 'Add on' section of our Xola booking system. Bathroom facilities are available on some treks, please enquire whether we will visit the outback camping ground on your trek.

 

You will need to bring two packs / bags:

 

1.) A smaller day backpack that you can carry a water bottle, snacks and camera whilst walking.

 

2.) A second larger bag / suitcase to hold all your other personal belongings that you can access each morning and evening of the Camel trek. 

 

When deciding what clothes to bring, opt for comfort suited to walking and riding. For example, tight fitting clothes are likely to prove uncomfortable.

 

  • Sleeping bag rated from -5 to 0 degrees Celcius. Night temperatures vary each month, and are listed under the weather section of this FAQ page. We hire sleeping bags with clean liners, pillows, and sheets @ $40 per person per tour.

  • 1- 2 litre drink water bottle which we will refill throughout the day / journey.

  • Warm jacket and beanie for cool mornings and evenings.

  • Long and short sleeve shirts / t- shirts comfortable enough for riding and walking.

  • Long pants for riding and walking.

  • Broad brimmed sun hat and fly net. 

  • Sunscreen / fly / insect repellant

  • Comfortable boots / shoes that allow for walking over varied terrain and socks per days of trek. Sandals for around the camp site if desired.

  • Basic toiletries including hand sanitary wipes

  • Camera with fully charged batteries and spare batteries as we have limited re-charging abilities. Extra memory cards.

  • Head torch and larger touch if desired.

  • Towel and swimwear just in case we visit a waterhole or hot thermal spring (see Menu page for further information)

  • We include limited Port (alcohol) on treks, guests are welcome to BYO.

  • Luggage is limited to two bags per person as suggested above. A day pack with items that are considered more essential such as water and camera, and a larger bag for containing all other personal items.

  • In your day backpack some guests have included suncreen, handwipes, camera, hat / beanie, jacket and favourite snacks.

DO I NEED SPECIAL FOOTWEAR?

Expensive new hiking shoes and boots are not required for treks. If you do need to buy new shoes, please allow enough time to wear them in. Being equipped with comfortable shoes will ensure your feet remain blister-free and you have a great time.

 

Cameleer staff wear closed walking boots (work boots or hiking boots with sock protectors) that allow good ankle and foot movement. Sandals are not advised due to spiky ground covers and rocky terrain. 

WHAT HAPPENS IN A MEDICAL EMERGENCY?

We are equipped with two Satellite phones and UHF radio handsets. In the event of an emergency, we can be in immediate contact with Station Homesteads, The Royal Flying Doctor Service and the closest Hospitals which may include Marree, Leigh Creek, Hawker or Port Augusta Hospitals.

 

Additionally, we carry the comprehensive Royal Flying Doctor Chest which gives us direct phone access to a RFD Medical Doctor who offers immediate advise. Senior Cameleer staff are all remote first aid and four wheel drive trained. 

 

If you reside in Australia, we recommend the purchase of Ambulance insurance cover. In the event of an emergency this insurance covers all travel expenses to a Hospital, without which would be expensive from any remote location in Australia. Cover pre-purchased starts from A$45.00. International guests should obtain comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical expenses and evacuation. 

WE RECOMMEND TRAVEL INSURANCE

Camel Treks Australia strongly recommends travel insurance, especially for our International guests.

 

It is highly unlikely that any treks will be cancelled as we operate in an environment that experiences stable weather conditions. In the rare event of negative weather affecting booked flights or hired cars, it offers peace of mind to be covered. Personal illness and extended family illness cannot be planned for, and travel insurance covers you for the unexpected so that you can reschedule without loss. 

EQUIPMENT WE CARRY AND BACK-UP VEHICLES

We are fully equipped for travelling in outback conditions. On treks, we carry two charged satellite phones and comprehensive first aid kits including the specialised Royal Flying Doctor Chest. All staff carry a UHF handset that they can use to communicate with each other as well as with Outback Station Homesteads. We have four wheel drive vehicles at each base camp that can be be used in the event of any emergency. Senior Cameleers also trek with GPS Handsets and Epirbs. 

 

Our camping equipment is easy to use and of the highest quality, offering maximum comfort. We provide large easy to construct swags which have insect proof screens and plenty of head room. We also have double swags for couples or parents with young children; tents can be provided with advance notice. Each swag has a mattress, other items can be hired for a nominal fee of $40 per person per trek - sleeping bag, liners, blanket and pillow. Our strict maintenance schedule ensures all hired bedding is clean at the start of every new trek. Sleeping in a swag allows for complete vision of the evening stars and is often a highlight for guests.

WHAT DO WE EAT ON CAMEL TREKS

The meals served on Camel treks are fresh, varied and plentiful using high quality seasonal fruits and vegetables. If possible we provide local organic outback Station meats and grains. Special diets including gluten, dairy and nut free, vegetarian and vegan can be catered for with advance notification.  

 

Cameleers prepare and cook all meals, however if you are keen to join in creating your own camp oven damper we are happy to help you. We provide mid morning and afternoon snacks in addition to main meals, cordial with unlimited drinking water, and a wide variety of teas including herbal blends, instant coffee as well as morning plunger coffee. 

 

In the evenings we provide a limited amount of Port wine, however we welcome guests to bring their own alcohol to enjoy around the campfire. If you are travelling through the Barossa Valley, Clare Valley or Southern Flinders Ranges on your way, there are many superb wineries well worth a visit.

 

Please advise when booking if you are vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, dairy, wheat or nut free or if you have any other dietary concerns or food allergies. We would also like to be informed if any of your allergies lead to anaphylactic shock. 

CAMPING AND ACCOMMODATION

All of our Camel treks are 100% camping in swags under the stars. Guests can also request tents. Our experience is swags are warmer and having an insect net can allow guests to roll back the canvas to view the stars allowing for a greater outdoor experience. 

 

Beltana Station has multiple options for guests to book accommodation on the evening of their arrival and the evening of their departure. Cameleer staff collect guests staying in Beltana Station accommodation and deliver them to and from the Camel trek. Clayton Station also has two luxury units with outdoor hot thermal spa baths that are available during our July and August 'Off the Birdsville Track' treks.

CAN I HAVE A SHOWER? IS ACCOMMODATION AN OPTION?

Homestead accommodation at Beltana Station is an optional extra on the first and final nights of all Camel treks listed in April, May, June, September and October.

 

Limited luxury accommodation is available on Clayton Station during our 'Off the Birdsville Track' treks in July and August, however there is a campground on Clayton Station where we conclude the treks which offers a spa bath, camp toilets and showers. 

 

On all treks, staying in accommodation on your night of arrival and departure is an optional extra.

 

Beltana Station has a campground with hot gas showers that Cameleer crew are happy to four wheel drive guests to who feel they need a fresh-up before departure. 

WHAT ABOUT TOILETS!

We provide toilet tent surrounds placed over clean covered drop pits that are dug freshly at each campsite. We also have a plentitude of sanitary wipes and hand washing water available for guests usage. When out and about during the day moving from one camp to the other we carry toiletries to make going in the bush both private and easy.

WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE ON CAMEL TREKS?

We operate all Camel riding tours and treks between April and October during Australia's cooler months. We are unable to offer Camel riding experiences between November and March due to hot summer temperatures.

 

Weather can vary throughout our Camel trekking season. Expect warmer weather in April / early May and late September / October. The cooler months are June, July and August.

 

The below chart offers averages of what to expect. The night time temperatures can drop below zero and having the right sleeping bag is important. A good coat / jacket, beanie and socks for around the evening campfire will also be appreciated. If you feel the cold, pack a minus five rated sleeping bag. Camel Treks Australia hires sleeping bags for guests unable to provide their own, please contact us at the time of booking if you wish to hire a sleeping bag with clean silk / cotton liner, blanket and pillow for $40 per person.

 

Temperature averages on Beltana Station are listed below. Please allow 2 - 5 degrees warmer on Clayton Station in the months of July and August.

 

Months / Warmest - Coldest

April : 25.5°C - 13.2°C

May : 20.4°C - 9.5°C

June : 17.3°C - 6.6°C

July : 16.8°C - 5.9°C

August : 18.6°C - 6.7°C

September : 22.2°C - 9.3°C

October : 26.3°C - 12.4°C

 

BEFORE A CAMEL TREK DEPARTS

Upon arrival, guests are introduced to the Cameleer crew. If guests self drive, they will be shown where to leave their vehicle safely for the duration of their trek and where to put their luggage.

 

A general briefing on what to expect, where to find the toilet, drinking water and each camel's name and personality is shared.

 

Staff and Cameleer crew share their individual roles and we discuss how to mount the camel, where to sit ... on the back seat verses the front seat; why combining riding and walking allows the leg muscles time to adapt with ease; why some camels are better suited to carrying heavier loads; which camels are fully trained; and which camels might be on their P plates or L plates carrying pack saddles loaded with meal and water provisions.

 

Guests have the opportunity right at the beginning to disuss any concerns, wishes, hopes and or fears! Staff at Camel Treks Australia are committed to your experience being comfortable.

WHAT ELSE CAN I DO BEFORE OR AFTER THE CAMEL TREK?

If you have extra time to spend before or after your Camel trek you might like to experience a four wheel drive tour or a scenic flight over Wilpena Pound and fine outback dining just for a start! The whole region surrounding our Camel trekking base ideally located to explore the National Parks in all directions. Please take a moment to read 'Our Location' page linked below for further detailed infomation.

SECONDARY SCHOOL CAMPS

Camel Treks Australia currently hosts up to nine Secondary School groups each year from between April - October for 4 - 12 days duration. Each camp offers varied themes including Photography, Aboriginal Culture, Mapping and Flora and Fauna identification. Further information can be found at our web site that is devoted to school camps, please click link below.

PURCHASING TRAINED CAMELS

Camel Treks Australia Pty Ltd are Commercial Camel Trainers in Australia and have previously trained Camels for International export; these Camels have gone to excellent properties in the United Arab Emirates and are more comfortable than the average human in Australia! We only sell and educate Camels that are destined for experienced Camel hands.

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We love what we do and we'd love to show you!

Booking Office

Back Track Adventures

222 Barry Parade, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006

cta@backtrack.com.au

Phone 07 3850 7651

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© 2018/19 CAMEL TREKS AUSTRALIA Pty Ltd

ACN: 609 922 349 ABN: 50 609 922 329