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Published December 1st 2016
SA's Iconic Coastal Walking Trail
In a state that is blessed with some of the best long distance trails in Australia, it made pre-eminent sense that another one would work. Long term dreams and planning led to a considerable investment by the Yorke Peninsula Council and the Federal Government, with the end outcome being what is known with some considerable affection as Walk the Yorke.
The Walk the Yorke is a series of independent walking/cycling trails around the Yorke Peninsula that have been connected by a sea of yellow signs, seats and shelters to form one long continuous trail that stretches almost 500km around the entire coastline of the Yorke Peninsula. And to make sure that walkers and cyclists are able to experience the Peninsula at its best, the trail is shared in most parts with the exception of the beach walks where the cyclists are directed alongside close lightly used roads and tracks.
Walk the Yorke starts in the traditional starting point of the Yorke Peninsula at Port Wakefield, alongside the swimming pool and the beautiful old and shady pepper tree, a feature of many holiday homes on the Peninsula. The trail then heads northeast along the former rail corridor before skirting the boundary of the Clinton Conservation Park on its way south to Port Clinton.
At Port Clinton, the trail joins the popular Port Clinton to Price Environmental Trail to be the first of many former small independent trails that have been joined to create this unique long distance trail. From this point for almost 400km, the walking trail hugs the coastline with a series of beach and clifftop walks occasionally interrupted by some of the best holiday towns in South Australia.
Jetties, lookouts and lighthouses are a key attraction of the trail, and some of the best views of the ocean and SA's maritime past are at hand to greet you. The lighthouses and the views from Troubridge Point and Corny Point create stunning memories, while the chance to see a shipwreck, including the Ethel, is one not to be missed.
The trail passes through the centre of Innes National Park and its gorgeous surf beaches where it is easy to get distracted from walking and just sit on the beach and watch the waves roll in. A stop at the historical town of Inneston adds perspective to the trail, noting the vast distances that our pioneers once travelled.
And the distractions continue throughout the Peninsula where the food choices in the towns en-route are second to none. Quaint coffee shops, cafes and bakeries can serve your immediate needs while a stop at Stansbury Oysters or Barley Stacks Wines provides decadence and the ultimate sustenance for the trail.
The Walk the Yorke may be walked or ridden anyway you choose. From beginning to end, in whole or in parts, in summer or winter. Accommodation is available on the Peninsula all year round, and with it being only 2-3 hours away from Adelaide, it also lends itself to day trips.
Best of all, the Walk is ideal for weekend escapes where it is the only place in South Australia where a 20 minute drive will allow you to see a magnificent ocean sunrise in the morning followed by a skyshow sunset in the evening on the other side of the Peninsula.
Joining the Heysen Trail and the Mawson Trail, the Walk the Yorke is the third longest trail in South Australia. But contrasting with these other two iconic trails where one can walk or ride for days without seeing other people, the Walk the Yorke has the distinct advantage of passing many people in towns, homes, farms and shacks, all of whom are keen to engage in conversation usually with the opening starting line of "Are you doing Walk the Yorke ?"