About the Walking Trail
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.
About this Section
The official website describes this section as:
Walk 10 – Marion Bay to Gleesons Landing: 53.1 kms, approximately 13 hours and 15 minutes – This walk can be split into two sections. Walk Marion Bay to Gym Beach, a distance of 30.4 kms, approximately 7 hours and 30 minutes walk. Second section is from Gym Beach to Gleesons Landing, a distance of 22.7km, approximately 5 hours and 40 minutes walk.
We have walked this, and suggest the following considerations:
- The distance is stated as 53.1km, whereas we measure it closer to 60km. We measure Marion Bay to Gym Beach as 38.7km (not 30.4km), and suggest undertaking this over two days. The third day could be Gym Beach to Gleesons Landing at 21.8km.
- Between Stenhouse Bay and Inneston the Walk the Yorke trail is along the existing Thomson-Pfitzner Plaster Trail. This is a relatively straight trail, as it follows an old mining railway, and heads inland away from the spectacular coast. The official website describes that when in Innes National Park walkers “can visit the Ethel Beach, West Cape lighthouse and Dolphin Beach” – although none of these are on the Walk the Yorke trail, and by following the Thomson-Pfitzner Plaster Trail and the new Inneston to Pondalowie Bay trail walkers cannot reasonably access these park highlight sites by foot.
- The Walk the Yorke trail between Inneston and Pondalowie Bay follows a newly built trail (2015), and it may take some time for the new trail to settle in. Be sure to carefully follow the yellow markers and helpful pink ribbons.
- There is an extensive road-walking segment through Innes National Park, which is unfortunate. It is referred to on the map as a Shared Zone, but is not really conducive to walking. This section begins from Pondalowie Surf Break carpark and is on the dirt road until the start of the Gym Beach Hiking Trail – a distance of 7.8km. It is good that vehicle traffic on this narrow winding dirt road is limited to 40km/h, but walkers can expect to be wary of traffic and to get dusty from passing vehicles, especially during busy periods. There is no footpath, and sometimes the dense roadside vegetation and steep road sides can prevent walkers from quickly getting off the roadway.
- The official map also describes Gym Beach to Formby Bay as being walking trail, but this is not the case, the Walk the Yorke here is mostly on the beach, and sometimes across sand dunes to avoid large rocks, tides and headlands. Trail markers are scant, but it is arguably easy to follow the coastline. It woud be possible to walk entirely along the sand dune, but may be slower than simply walking along the beach (the sand is usually reasonably firm, and the beach route can be more direct).
Campsites along the way include:
- Marion Bay Caravan Park
- Stenhouse Bay campground (Innes National Park)
- House rental: Inneston Heritage Accommodation (Innes National Park)
- Pondalowie Bay campgrounds (Innes National Park)
- Casuarina campground (Innes National Park)
- Browns Beach campground (Innes National Park)
- Gym Beach campground (Innes National Park)
- Formby Bay Shelter
- Gleesons Landing campsites
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. Camping Permits can be purchased online, and cover all council-campsites across the Yorke Peninsula (it does not include Innes National Park or caravan parks.) Purchase a camping permit:
- online at visityorkepeninsula.com.au/camping
- Maitland Yorke Peninsula Council Office – 8 Elizabeth Street Maitland
- Minlaton Yorke Peninsula Council Office – 18 Main Street Minlaton
- Yorketown Yorke Peninsula Council Office – 15 Yorketown Road Yorketown
Distances Between Campsites
|Marion Bay||Stenhouse Bay campground||7.3km|
|Stenhouse Bay campground||Inneston Heritage Accommodation||5.5km|
|Inneston Heritage Accommodation||Pondalowie Bay campgrounds||9.2km|
|Pondalowie Bay campgrounds||Casuarina campground (350m off of trail)||2.8km (+350m)|
|Casuarina campground (350m off of trail)||Browns Beach campground (350m off of trail)||8.6km (+350m)|
|Browns Beach campground (350m off of trail)||Gym Beach campground (250m off of trail)||5.4km (+250m)|
|Gym Beach campground (250m off of trail)||Formby Bay Shelter||9.4km|
|Formby Bay Shelter||Gleesons Landing campsites||12.4km|
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).
|Walking Trail||Beach 1||Road 2|
- Beach is defined as mostly sandy beach walking (approx 75% of this figure), but also includes walking on unformed paths over headlands and through sand dunes (approx 25% of this figure). It also includes short sections of scrambling over large rocks.
- Road is defined as mostly country dirt roads, or dirt access roads through camping areas. 2.8km of this is actually alongside bitumen road through Marion Bay. 2.9km of this is actually fire track where only service vehicles drive. The longest dirt road section is through Innes National Park, from Pondalowie Surf Break carpark to the start of the Gym Beach Hiking Trail – 7.8km – which is a narrow winding 40km/h road with vehicle traffic.
Photos of the Walk the Yorke
The following photos begin in Marion Bay and continue in sequence through Innes National Park to Gym Beach, and on to Gleesons Landing.
Other Walk the Yorke Trail Sections
View other sections we have listed: