Heysen Trail South Coast

Walking Trail Facts
Distance
73 km one way
Duration
3-5 days
Suitable for
Hiking
Trail Class
Grade 5, Trek
Terrain
Undulating
Park (national park, conservation park, forest, reserve)
Deep Creek Conservation Park
Region
Fleurieu Peninsula
Download maps & GPS files
  1. 2 GPS files
  2. 2 website links
Jump to Downloads section
Travel options
  1. Car
Travel time from Adelaide
1-2 hours
Heysen Trail South Coast

About the Walking Trail

This 4-5 day highlight section of the Heysen Trail along the south coast is spectacular, with good campsites along the way for multi-day hikers. This highlight section starts from the southern trailhead of the Heysen Trail at Cape Jervis, following the coast to Victor Harbor. Before Victor Harbor the main Heysen Trail heads north for 1,200km to the Flinders Ranges, but a good spur trail continues into central Victor Harbor.

Trail Sections

Photos below are divided into the following sections:

Cape Jervis Trailhead to Cobbler Hill Camp Site

12.49km, 5-7 hours

The Heysen Trail begins from the trailhead in the carpark at the Sealink ferry terminal. The trail follows the coast along rocky beaches to Fishery Beach, where it winds along remote headlands past the 1970s ufo house and to Blowhole Beach. From the beach the trail climbs Cobbler Hill through remnant scrub to Cobbler Hill Camp Site.

UFO house on the Heysen Trail between Cape Jervis and Deep Creek

UFO house on the Heysen Trail between Cape Jervis and Deep Creek

Blowhole Beach in Deep Creek Conservation Park

Blowhole Beach in Deep Creek Conservation Park

Blowhole Beach, Deep Creek Conservation Park

Blowhole Beach, Deep Creek Conservation Park

Views down to Blowhole Beach, with Kangaroo Island on the horizon

Views down to Blowhole Beach, with Kangaroo Island on the horizon

Cobbler Hill Campground, Deep Creek Conservation Park

Cobbler Hill Campground, Deep Creek Conservation Park

Cobbler Hill Camp Site to Eagle Waterhole Camp Site

2.09km, 30 mins (14.55km from Cape Jervis)

A short section through Deep Creek Conservation Park, passing an optional sidetrip to Aaron Creek, through a cool fern-filled gully to the hikers-only Eagle Waterhole Camp Site. There is a shelter here with sleeping platforms, picnic table and water.

Walking from Cobbler Hill to Eagle Waterhole

Heysen Trail at Aaron Creek, Deep Creek Conservation Park

Heysen Trail at Aaron Creek, Deep Creek Conservation Park

Heysen Trail through Deep Creek Conservation Park, near Aaron Creek

Heysen Trail through Deep Creek Conservation Park, near Aaron Creek

Eagle Water Hole Campground with shelter, bed platforms, picnic table and water

Eagle Water Hole Campground with shelter, bed platforms, picnic table and water

Picnic tables, water, bed platforms at Eagle Water Hole Campground

Picnic tables, water, bed platforms at Eagle Water Hole Campground

Reeds and dam near Eagle Waterhole

Eagle Waterhole Camp Site to Trig Campground

5.09km, 2-3 hours (19.6km from Cape Jervis)

The hiking through here is slower as you enter the first of two major valleys in Deep Creek Conservation Park, before ascending back up to Trig Campground. The campground is located just south of the trail, with a picnic area and toilets. Watch out for echidnas on this hike.

Picnic shelter at Trig Picnic Area, Deep Creek Conservation Park

Picnic shelter at Trig Picnic Area, Deep Creek Conservation Park

Trig Campground to Tapanappa Camp Site

8.15km, 2-3 hours (27.7km from Cape Jervis)

This is a highlight section of the Heysen Trail. Walk through the spectacular valley of Deep Creek. The trail is well contoured as it descends to the permanent waterhole at Deep Creek, which flows after rains, before ascending the other side of the valley up to Tapanappa Camp Site. An alternative option is to hike along the coast to Deep Creek Cove, ascending to Tapanappa Camp Site.

Waterfall at Deep Creek

Waterfall at Deep Creek

Deep Creek waterfall

Deep Creek waterfall

Walking along the Heysen Trail through Deep Creek

Walking along the Heysen Trail through Deep Creek

Deep Creek Cove

Deep Creek Cove

Looking down into Deep Creek Cove on the Deep Creek Cove Hike from Tapanappa Lookout

Looking down into Deep Creek Cove on the Deep Creek Cove Hike from Tapanappa Lookout

Tapanappa Camp Site to Balquhidder Camp Site

17.28km, 5-7 hours (44.9km from Cape Jervis)

Experience glimpses of the coast on the Boat Harbor Hike, descending down to the rocky boat harbor beach. Watch out for pods of dolphins from the lookout above Boat Harbor. From Boat Harbor the trail passes over rocky headlands before a long beach walk along Tunkalilla Beach, followed by a steep ascent. A quiet country road here leads to the Balquhidder Camp Site, a secluded campsite nestled at a y-junction of two creeks.

Views from Tapanappa Lookout

Views from Tapanappa Lookout

Trail hike on the Boat Harbor Hike

Trail hike on the Boat Harbor Hike

A honey-eater feeding on a yacka

A honey-eater feeding on a yacka

Boat Harbor, wild beaches on the South Coast Heysen Trail

“Boat Harbor, wild beaches on the South Coast Heysen Trail

View of Boat Harbor

View of Boat Harbor

Watch out for the protected Hooded Plovers on some of the beaches

Watch out for the protected Hooded Plovers on some of the beaches

Balqihidder Beach

Balqihidder Beach

Views of Balquhidder Beach

Views of Balquhidder Beach

A short section of the Heysen Trail is along a remote country road

A short section of the Heysen Trail is along a remote country road

Balquhidder Camp Site to Waitpinga Camp Site

11.63km, 3-4 hours (56.5km from Cape Jervis)

Descend back down to the coast across remote farmland and creeks. The trail passes along a series of headlands and remote beaches before emerging at Parsons Beach and its carpark, continuing along Waitpinga Beach, over the sand dunes into the Waitpinga Camp Site. There is a picnic area here with a shelter and bbq, and campsites with toilets.

Walking along a creek down to the coast

Walking along a creek down to the coast

Beach walking along the South Coast

Beach walking along the South Coast

South Coast sunrises on the Heysen Trail

South Coast sunrises on the Heysen Trail

Views along the South Coast of the Heysen Trail

Views along the South Coast of the Heysen Trail

Hiking along the beaches and headlands

Hiking along the beaches and headlands

Picnic area at Waitpinga Campground at Newland Head Conservation Park

Picnic area at Waitpinga Campground at Newland Head Conservation Park

Waitpinga Camp Site to Kent Reserve, Victor Harbor

17.0km, 4-6 hours (73.1km from Cape Jervis)

This is a real highlight section of the Heysen Trail. The trail ascends Ridgeway Hill before heading out to the coastal cliffs, passing unique sea eagle nesting areas and the spectacular cliffs of Newland Head. Past the cliffs, the trail emerges onto Kings Beach. The main Heysen Trail turns north here, heading on to Inman Valley (the trail is 1,200km long to the Flinders Ranges), but a spur trail continues along the coast on the Victor Harbor Heritage Trail, past Petrel Cove to the Bluff, continuing past Whalers Way along the esplanade at Encounter Bay to Kent Reserve, near central Victor Harbor.

Enjoying the view from the Waitpinga cliffs lookout

Enjoying the view from the Waitpinga cliffs lookout

Glimpses of the Bluff and cliffs on the Heysen Trail, approaching the cliff lookout

Glimpses of the Bluff and cliffs on the Heysen Trail, approaching the cliff lookout

Flowering trees along the Heysen Trail hike to Kings Beach

Flowering trees along the Heysen Trail hike to Kings Beach

Cliffs on the Coastal Cliffs Walking Trail and Heysen Trail

Cliffs on the Coastal Cliffs Walking Trail and Heysen Trail

Walking through scrub above the cliffs

Walking through scrub above the cliffs

Hiking along the headlands

Hiking along the headlands

Hiking along the remote beaches of the South Coast Heysen Trail

Hiking along the remote beaches of the South Coast Heysen Trail

Looking towards King Beach, Victor Harbor Heritage Trail, Heysen Trail Spur

Looking towards King Beach, Victor Harbor Heritage Trail, Heysen Trail Spur

Walking the Victor Harbor Heritage Trail, Heysen Trail Spur, towards Kings Beach

Walking the Victor Harbor Heritage Trail

View of Petrel Cove from The Bluff

View of Petrel Cove from The Bluff

Maps

An excellent map of this section is recommended for all multi-day hikers, and is available for purchase from the Friends of the Heysen Trail. There are 12 maps for the entire trail, first produced in 2014 and superceeding the previous two guidebooks. The relevant map for this section is Map 1: Cape Jervis to Kuitpo Forest.

Trail Distances

The trail distances referred to above come from the Friends of the Heysen Trail Trail Distance table. From time to time the trail is re-routed, so check the latest trail distance info.

A Suggested Itinerary

Below are some suggested plans for hikers carrying their gear and camping at campsites along the Heysen Trail.

Recommended for Most Hikers

This is recommended for groups of hikers, with time allowed for breaks.

Day From To Distance Suggested Time
Day 1 Cape Jervis Trailhead Eagle Waterhole Camp Site 14.58km 5.5-7.5 hours
Day 2 Eagle Waterhole Camp Site Tapanappa Camp Site 13.24km 4-6 hours
Day 3 Tapanappa Camp Site Balquhidder Camp Site 17.28km 5-7 hours
Day 4 Balquhidder Camp Site Waitpinga camp site 11.63km 3-4 hours
Day 5 Waitpinga camp site Kent Reserve, Victor Harbor 17.0km 4-6 hours

Fast Hike

Some single hikers prefer to hike until late afternoon with minimal breaks, and they could hike this trail in 3-4 days.

Downloads

Download KML/KMZ file
Download GPX file

Walk Contributor

Walking SA

walkingsa.org.au

Walking SA is the not-for-profit peak body that leads, promotes and supports all forms of walking in South Australia, including walking for recreation, transport, health, wellbeing, organised events, adventure, environmental appreciation and fun experiences. Our vision is to see more people walking more often.