|The cliffs between Stansbury and Port Vincent looked pretty good in the morning sun.|
|From what I saw the trail is very well sign posted.|
So after dropping my ute off at Port Julia we headed south down the St Vincent Highway to Beach Hut. I'm not actually sure how the name Beach Hut came about as the car park in the dusty paddock above the cliffs didn't feature anything that resembled a beach hut from what I could see. Leaving the car we dropped down onto a wide firm beach, the first bit of today's ramble had us following the beach north towards the disconcertingly distant Port Vincent. It's important to walk this section at low tide due to Hooded Plovers using the beach to nest, but the encroaching cliffs would also rule out a high tide ramble I would think. With the tide dead low we didn't have any trouble today though and the beach and its red cliffs made for a great start to the days walk.
|Our initial beach section this morning needed a low tide. That's Port Vincent on the point in the distance.|
|The cliffs would stop you at high tide even if you ignore the Hooded Plover nests.|
After a pleasant few kilometres beach combing our way north we reached a spot called Lime Kiln Gully, this marked the spot where we climbed away from the beach and started to walk the cliff tops. Like the Heysen Trail the Walk the Yorke Trail passes through a variety of different landscapes and while it not really a wilderness style walk the coastal scenery, rural farmland and small towns make for interesting walking. Once on top of the cliffs our route followed a fairly narrow grassy verge between the farm paddocks and the cliff tops, occasionally heading inland a bit to skirt around a dry gully. With fairly open and sparse vegetation there was little to get in the way the expansive views across Gulf St Vincent, beautiful ocean views would be a constant over the course of our days walk.
|The track stays fairly close to the cliff tops for the most part.|
|The track headed inland around some larger gullies, this one featured a nice cave.|
Reaching a bigger gully, which I assume is Devils Gully, we dropped steeply down the slippery track more or less to sea level again. We were now over half way through our mornings walk to Port Vincent so the picnic table here made for a nice spot to stop for awhile and have a bit of a break. Suitably refreshed we set of once again, initially climbing back up top the cliff tops for some more scenic walking, Port Vincent now seemingly a lot closer. Eventually we crested one last small rise and Port Vincent was spread out below us, our route now had us following quite streets though town. Port Vincent was very quiet indeed on this Saturday lunchtime, until we arrived onto the main sea side coastal strip we barely saw another person. Apparently Port Vincent goes off over the Christmas-New Year period but for the rest of the year it reverts back to being a quiet fishing village that wouldn't look out of place in a scene from the 1960's. We headed straight to the Ventnor Hotel for lunch today though, this hotel was opened way back in 1878 and has provided shelter and sustenance to many travellers over the years so four hungry and sweaty walkers today wasn't anything that out of the ordinary.
Now my usual lunch when I'm out walking is dry biscuits or dried fruit and nuts or something similar, so sitting down today to a beautiful T bone had me wondering if I'd actually be able to get up again and finish off the afternoons walk. Thankfully there is a scarcity of taxis in Port Vincent so if I wanted to get back to my ute then walking was really my only option, our post lunch ramble started off fairly easy though with a pleasant stroll along the seaside promenade north to the new marina complex, its collection of modern houses looking slightly out of place to my eyes. Making our way through the marina we picked up a walking track again and soon climbed back up onto the cliff tops. Our route now alternated between a cliff top pad or along quite gravel road that paralleled the cliffs. Leaving the quiet road we entered the Port Vincent Golf Course, our marked route staying as close as possible to the cliff edge as it made its way through the deserted golf course.
After another quick break under the shade of the club house veranda we set off for Sheoak Flat, once we had left the parched grounds of the golf course our route largely followed a quiet cliff top gravel road. With farms to our left and coastal scrub or ocean views to our right the quiet road made for quick and easy progress. We were even escorted by a local farm dog as we slowly dropped down to the tiny Sheoak Flat. Our route now took us through town and out onto what looked like a levy bank protecting the small town from the sea, I reckon if you had a shack in Sheoak Flat then you'd have to concerned about climate change as the town must only be a metre or two above sea level.
|Port Vincent gold course was a fairly scenic course, although the water hazard is fairly large.|
Leaving Sheoak Flat our route once again led us back out onto the quiet road, the late afternoon sun lighting up the parched paddocks in a beautiful golden brown light. After crossing The Dipper on the road we once again picked up a cliff top walking track for the rest of our walk, it looks like this section of track was very new judging by it's appearance, well to me anyway. Port Julia was now very close at hand as we continued our journey north through the mallee trees and grass of the cliff tops and sure enough we soon caught site of the ute, a great days walking had come to it's end. Climbing into the comfortable seats we headed back down the coast to pick up Greg's car before adjourning to the deck of the Stansbury pub for a celebratory drink, if this is what walking's like on the Yorke Peninsula then I reckon I could get used to it!
|We picked up an escort on our run down into Sheoak Flat.|
We walked 23.6 kilometres and climbed 226 metres on this medium grade days walk. Like I've already mentioned earlier, this is a section of the long distance Walk the Yorke Trail. The people of the Yorke Peninsula should be commended for implementing this great trail, you can mountain bike it or walk it and it's easily broken down into bite sized pieces. Like its more famous brother the Heysen Trail it traverses a mixed bag of environments, but to me that's one of its charms - not everything has to be a multi day slog through wilderness, variety is good in my eyes. The rural scenes and quite towns add to its charm, not take away from it. I've been planning on doing the Heysen in a few years but at under 600 kilometres then Walk the Yorke gives me another option if my annual leave requirements get a bit tight. Next day we said goodbye to our gracious hosts Greg and Deb and I headed back to Melbourne and reality, dropping Petra off in Adelaide on the way past. With all our dance cards already filled for this year I probably won't get to do anymore trekking with my South Aussie friends for awhile, although next year is looking good:)
Waitpinga Cliffs, Heysen Trail, Newland Head Conservation Park, 2017.
Mt Remarkable Gorges, Mt Remarkable National Park, 1999.
Port Willunga, 2015.
Esperance to Melbourne, 2010.
|Our last section of track through the cliff top Mallee trees before Port Julia, it looks like this is a new (or maybe re-done) section of track.|
|The end of what had been a very nice walk, now I've got yet another place that I have to come back to.|