Walk the Heysen Trail

Boardwalk on Heysen Trail near Newland Head Conservation Park in South Australia.

“Let’s go for a walk,” announced Jared on Boxing Day morning. “I want to show you one of the most beautiful coastlines in South Australia.”

I’ve been in Australia for six weeks and in that time my host has shown me plenty of gorgeous coastlines. I had no doubt this would be another.

We stopped for a savoury pie and ice coffee in Victor Harbour and then followed the twists and turns of Highway B37 into Newland Head Conservation Park. Jared steered the Toyota hatchback onto Waitpinga Road and then into a campground.

The Heysen walking trail

At 1,200 kilometres, the Heysen Trail is Australia’s longest walking trail. It starts in Cape Jervis (the ferry pier for Kangaroo Island) and stretches east and then north towards the Flinders Ranges, ending in the Parachilna Gorge east of Lake Torrens. It’s named after Hans Heysen, a German-born Australian artist.

(Here’s a map of the Heysen Trail on Google Maps.)

Jared led me onto a boardwalk trail over sand dunes. We walked and talked about how plants and traditions were both different and similar in Canada’s and Australia’s indigenous cultures.

At the crest of a hill, we paused and looked out. The sea sparkled and the rounded slopes of the land seemed to melt into the blue. The edge of the Great Australian Bight began just west of where we stood.

According to The Wilderness Society, the Bight is threatened by BP (British Petroleum). The multi-national wants to drill for oil and gas in these waters as they did in the Gulf of Mexico. That installation in the southern USA caused a devastating oil spill disaster in 2010.

“C’mon,” Jared beckoned. “I want to you show you another section of the trail in Deep Creek, a bit further to the west.”

Later that day, the Toyota wagon would lead us to more of an adventure than we anticipated.

Heysen Trail near Deep Creek Conservation Park in South Australia.
Heysen Trail in Deep Creek Conservation Park in South Australia.