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Walk the Yorke – Marion Bay to Gleesons Landing is a 60.5km, grade 5, one way hike located in Innes National Park South Australia. The hike should take approximately 2-3 days to complete.
Enjoy the spectacular coastline around the rugged foot of Yorke Peninsula in this 3-day section of the 500km Walk the Yorke trail. The Walk the Yorke trail was opened in December 2015, and is a walking and cycling trail. Generally the trail connects pre-existing walking trails (around 5-10% of the Walk the Yorke) with beach walking and road walking. There are long beach walking sections, although the sand is often firm and the beaches shared with people fishing, surfing and camping.
The sign for this section of the walk is near the tennis courts on Slow Street. During this walk you will experience some spectacular scenery as you pass through Innes National Park. Walkers and cyclists are exempt from paying entry to the park. All vehicles entering the park are required to purchase an entry permit for each day.
It’s one of the longest parts and covers a total distance of 60.5 kms, which can be broken down into three sections.
- Marion Bay (Caravan Park and private accommodation available) to Pondalowie Campground (Innes National Park – permit required): 22 kms (allow 8 hours)
- Pondalowie to Gym Beach Campground (Innes National Park – permit required): 17.7 kms (allow 7 hours)
- Gym Beach Campground to Gleesons Landing (Council Bush camp – permit required): 21.8 kms (allow 8 hours)
Apart from a small section, the trail from Marion Bay to Stenhouse Bay is shared by walkers and cyclists.
Stenhouse Bay jetty is a great place to stop for a break. The jetty was originally used to load ships with gypsum, which was mined at Inneston within the park. Today the jetty is popular for fishing, and features in numerous photo shoots.
If you have time, take the short walk up to the clifftop overlooking the jetty. Here you will find the grave of a Vietnamese seaman who was buried on the clifftop in 1940, after an accident aboard ship. Dao Thanh was buried in a Buddhist ceremony, but the grave was unmarked until 1997 when the Vietnamese community erected a memorial plaque.
Once inside the park boundaries, walkers and cyclists will follow separate trails, so be aware and follow the appropriate directional signage.
This is a long section so take a break, staying in one of the park camp grounds such as Pondalowie Bay. There are a number of campsites within the park, but be aware that bookings are required. There are some fabulous historic and scenic attractions in the park – make a note to come back some time and visit the Ethel Beach, West Cape lighthouse and Dolphin Beach – just a few of the wonderful attractions to be found here. More information on Innes National Park’s experiences can be found here.
As the track departs the Pondalowie Surf Break parking area, there is a section of shared trail. This section of the track follows the gravel road through to Browns Beach and the start of the Gym Beach Hiking Trail – a distance of 7.8km. Vehicle traffic is limited to 40km/h, but walkers should remain wary of the traffic, especially during busy periods. In some places the dense roadside vegetation can prevent walkers from getting quickly off the roadway. Alternative routes for walkers, taking into account environmental considerations, are currently under investigation.
The second suggested point to break your trek is Gym Beach. This is still part of the national park, and requires a permit to camp. You can purchase this permit at the visitor centre on your way into the park, or call Yorke Peninsula Visitor Centre on 1800 202 445.
Leaving Gym Beach, the trail splits with walkers following the coastline on walking trails and beach walks, and cyclists a little further inland along the established roads. This part of the trail is not well defined, so be aware of your surroundings. Trail markers are widely spaced, but follow the coastline and you can’t get lost!
The coastline from Gym Beach to Daly Head provides some of South Australia’s best surfing, with popular spots including Baby Lizards and Formby Bay. Daly Head has been recognised as a National Surfing Reserve and is worth a visit.
There are shelters with seating and small water tanks located at Formby Bay and Daly Head.
Gleesons Landing is a great spot to spend a couple of nights; it’s close to surf beaches and has good beach fishing. It is a designated Council bush camping site, with toilet facilities. A permit is required and is available by phoning Yorke Peninsula Visitor Centre on 1800 202 445.
Please refer to the official Trail Notes for further information.
This section of the Walk The Yorke trail is part of the section called Section 10 – Marion Bay to Gleesons Landing.
All campsites within Innes National Park require accommodation to be prebooked online. There is some limited Telstra mobile phone service in some high spots inside the national park (including Stenhouse Bay campground, Pondalowie Bay campgrounds and Casuarina campground). Walkers and cyclists are exempt from paying entry to the park. Water is usually available at campsites, but campsites like Casuarina campground only have a single water tank, and as such may leave walkers vulnerable to tank failure.
At Formby Bay there is a Walk the Yorke shelter (with water tank and picnic table), which is presumably acceptable for hikers and cyclists to camp at. There are no fees to camp here. The site is not open to car-based campers.
At Gleesons Landing there are ample car-based campsites available, which include a couple of toilets and rubbish bins, but limited shade. A camping permit is required. Permits can be purchased from the Yorke Peninsula Visitor Centre in Minlaton, Corny Point General Store, Warooka IGA, Edithburgh Deli and Newsagency, or any of the Yorke Peninsula Council offices.
The official maps are a little generous with their trail type marking designations. Generally walking trails only exist through towns and headland camping areas, with a couple of walking trails through Innes National Park (the existing Thomson-Pfitzner Plaster Trail, and a new 7.8km constructed walking trail between Inneston and Pondalowie Bay Campsite).
Try to minimise your impact with every step you take. Always walk in the centre of the track and be prepared to walk through the mud – attempting to skirt bogs only makes them bigger and causes more environmental damage. It is also usually quicker to walk straight through.
When walking on beaches, please be aware that you are sharing the beach with shore-nesting birds such as the Hooded Plover, as well as other species whose populations are declining. Shorebirds nest from early September to late March. Please walk below the high tide mark.
Walkers please note – the times indicated on the topographical maps are estimates only. They are based on an average walking speed of 4 km / hour. However some sections may take 3 to 5 hours longer due to the varying terrain, with an average walking speed of as low as 2 km / hour. The terrain includes beach walks with soft sand, dune climbs and rock hopping. Please base your walking times on your own fitness and ability.
Walk the Yorke is a linear trail covering approximately 500kms, and all distances mentioned are one way unless otherwise indicated.
Looking for maps of the walking trail? Topographical maps are available from Yorke Peninsula Council – phone 8832 0000, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. There are 10 maps in all, cost is $9.95 per map, or $90 for a pack of 10. Postage and handling costs apply.
GPX file courtesy of Walking SA. File may not contain elevation data and may only represent half the length on return hikes.
Max elevation: 27 m
Min elevation: -8 m
Total climbing: 637 m
Total descent: -617 m
For more information on this hiking trail, please visit Walking SA