Suitable for those with a high level of fitness and experience in bushwalking, this walk has areas of significant incline. Walking through dense scrub, climbing over and under horizontal tree branches, scrambling up and down rock formations and crossing the network of creeks, make this walk anything but the proverbial walk in the park. In fact, when you have walked up the narrow dirt trail believing that the next bend will reveal the summit, the path gives way to steep steps to take you higher. Barbed wire and electric fences surround the park, so holding the fence for support is not advised. It's all legwork to get you to the top.
You may ask why anyone would hike in Yulte Conservation Park. It is a challenging walk but the satisfaction of reaching the top, 365 metres above sea level, is only eclipsed by the views. Walking among the banksias and other native wildflowers, overlooking the surrounding farmland, and the views of the town of Myponga and the reservoir make this a worthwhile journey.
The 6km return trail is part of the Myponga to Inman Valley section of the Heysen Trail. The trail is best started from the James Track/Yulte Road entrance in the west of the park. The Hindmarsh Valley Road exit is a good place for a break before turning back to the start. The Heysen Trail continues past the Hindmarsh Valley Road exit, through private land.
Steep Trail Through the Scrub. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
This is a walk probably best avoided in the summer months due to a lack of shade and water, and the possibility of intruding the personal space of a snake. Adequate water and sun protection is vital, as there are no facilities in the park. This walk is not suitable for young children or strollers and dogs are not permitted in the park
Country Picnic Bakery, Myponga. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
A tough workout deserves a reward; just 3km away is the town of Myponga with the Country Picnic Bakery, for a coffee and a pastry or the Sandpit Diner in the Myponga General Store for something more substantial. If beer is your thing, check out the Smiling Samoyed Brewery in the main street.
If time permits, the Myponga Reservoir is worth a visit. Situated near the town, the reservoir, a vast expanse of deep blue water, surrounded by pine trees, is set against the earth tones of the surrounding rocks. The reservoir is best viewed from the lookout on Reservoir Road, although taking a drive across the dam wall is an interesting experience.
Myponga beach occupies a small valley approximately 12 km from the town centre. Ideal for kayaking or fishing, the highlight is the jetty, a photographers' delight. The jetty has been damaged, leaving only the wooden jetty supports.
The Yulte Conservation Park is a well-kept secret and a challenging alternative to other crowded walking sites. You might notice that the park is spelt Yulte is some areas and Yulti in others. Either way, head on down to Yulte Road, pass through the Yulti gate and get started.