MELBOURNE, Feb 23 - The boy from Huntingtower private school in Mount Waverley died on Monday night at a sheep station near Manna Hill.
It was the end of the first day of walking for the school's annual Plumbago Station Expedition.
The expedition is the final exploration for the Year 11s in their outdoor education program and a chance to be challenged within a "remote environment", according to the school's program brochure.
The trip would introduce the students to the "beauty, remoteness and sometimes harsh realities of the outback areas that exist in Australia", according to the brochure.
Huntingtower principal Sholto Bowen said in a statement he could "in no way demonstrate how devastated we are at the loss of this wonderful young man and the pain we feel for his family".
The principal said his students, staff and school community would be provided with counselling.
"Our thoughts, sympathies and prayers are with the student's family and friends, and with the students and teachers who were on the camp," he said.
"The camp has been cancelled and the students are returning to Huntingtower."
The Royal Flying Doctor Service sent a plane and crew to Manna Hill, in South Australia's Far North region, but turned back mid-flight when told the 17-year-old had died.
The cause of the teen's death is unknown and SA Police will prepare a report for the coroner.
The temperature in Yunta, near Manna Hill, topped 40C on Monday afternoon and stayed above 34C until 11.30pm that evening.
Huntingtower is a high-achieving, co-educational Christian school and Mr Bowen was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his services to secondary education in the 2015 Australia Day honours.