I enjoy being outdoors and hope to inspire others to get out and experience some of South Australia's great outdoor activities.
Published January 27th 2014
For spectacular bush camping and seaside fun head down to Hillocks Drive, Butler's Beach at the southern end of the Yorke Peninsula, approximately 290 kms or 3 ½ hours easy driving from Adelaide. This generations-old family farm has miles of undeveloped coastline where you can pitch your tent or park a caravan. Prices start at $22 per night for a campsite with million dollar views.
This isn't a conventional caravan park and there are no powered sites. But the widely strewn campsites allow you to find a spot to hide away on your own or with room enough for group camping. Some sites have access to their own private beach and uninterrupted views of the Investigator Strait (and Kangaroo Island on a clear day), others are sheltered among coastal scrub where kangaroo and emu come to graze, and if you're lucky the rare pygmy possum. Even during busy times it never feels crowded, especially compared to the cramped quarters of other campgrounds in the area.
Other accommodation options available include the new ocean pods if you prefer "glamping" (complete with all the mod-cons), old on-site caravans if you don't mind roughing it, or the rambling Hillocks Homestead for a bit of country charm.
The property has magnificent coastal scenery from long, white sandy beaches to rocky headlands and unspoilt vegetation providing important habitat for birds. There's much to explore whether it be poking around rock pools, rambling over sand dunes, or simply taking your dog for an evening stroll along a country road (yes dogs are allowed – no pet Nazis here). Bring your rod for the best fishing on Yorkes. Or if that's not your thing go for a swim or snorkel or take to the many walking trails. It would be easy to occupy a weekend without leaving the property, but the proximity to the Innes National Park (18km away) and all the area's main attractions is another big drawcard. The closest town for food and petrol is Marion Bay (16km).
The campground is well-run with good facilities. Arrive any time and self-register (bring cash), there's access keys and maps in the registration booth. For camping there's no need to book unless you want to secure a favourite spot – check the website for good descriptions of the campsites. There are clean eco toilets close to the campsites and, for a small daily fee, access to an amenities block with hot showers, flushing toilets and laundry facilities. There's also a shop where you can buy ice, bait and basic items including swap-n-go gas. Potable bore water and rainwater are freely available. There's an outdoor area for fish-cleaning, skip bins for rubbish and a spacious pen for your dog if you go out for the day.
Hillocks Drive is a memorable place where the exclusive scenery and experiences come without the high price tag. It's eco-tourism at its best though, refreshingly, that's something that goes without saying.
The campground closes each year after the June long weekend and reopens mid-August. The Homestead is available year-round.
Are dogs allowed in the unspoilt vegetation which provides important habitat for birds? Birds retreat from habitat used by dogs and bird numbers reduce by almost half.(" Banks and Bryan") Cats are worse.
A bird lover