StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesGoolwa
FinishMcLaren Vale
DifficultyDifficulty 1/5
Suitable For2WD Motorhome/Van Motorbike 
Distance178.77 km
Minimum Days1
Average Speed61.02 km/hr
Travel Time2 hrs 55 mins
Page Updated: 21 Oct 2021


This trek begins in Goolwa, more or less at the beginning of the Fleurieu Peninsula. Goolwa itself is quite a big town near the mouth of the Murray River, basically situated on a big inlet.

From Goolwa it's approximately 17km to Victor Harbor via the B37, which is a rural highway. Victor Harbor is a pretty town with quite a lot of history and a good spot for whale watching between June and October. It’s also a good place to stock up on fuel and food before continuing on.

16km from Victor Harbor, you come to the turn-off to Newland Head Conservation Park. The park protects two long beaches, Waitpinga and Parsons, as well as rocky headlands and surrounding coastal vegetation. There is only 1 available place to stay in the park - which is Waitpinga Campground, and online bookings are essential. For more see the Preparation section.

Our trek route takes the turnoff to Newland Head Conservation Park and it's only 3.78km along a bitumen road all the way to Waitpinga Beach, which features a large open carpark and you can watch the ocean from your vehicle or you can get out and hike along the beach (part of the Heysen Trail) all the way to Parsons Beach. If you're not intending on camping at Waitpinga Campground, then on your way out and along this trek you can take another turn off to the coast that leads all the way to Parsons Beach too.

The beaches here are highly regarded by fishermen for excellent catches of salmon. Camping is no longer permitted at Parsons, only Waitpinga Campground but note that sites cater mostly to the hiker or tent-based camper so for vehicle-based visitors you might find the setup unsuitable for your caravan and camper trailer. Check details carefully on the Parks SA website, also noting that online bookings are required.

Whether you choose to be a day visitor or stay overnight, it is a great place to check out. It is a popular spot for photography, surfing, fishing and walking as the Heysen Trail passes through here. The walk trails follow rolling hills and rugged cliffs which provide panoramic views of the Waitpinga Creek, Encounter Bay, the Pages in Backstairs Passage and Kangaroo Island.

From Newland Head our trek returns to the main road and continues inland and we're heading for the turn-off to Deep Creek Conservation Park, 26kms along a sealed road (Tapanappa Rd).

The unsealed road continues west and a day pass for Deep Creek CP is required unless you intend to camp. Deep Creek is the only national park within 100km of Adelaide that offers bush camping. Whilst our Trek route only skirts the perimeter of the Deep Creek Conservation Park, it is highly recommended if you can, to make the turn offs into the park to explore the many excellent options to get out to the coastline - mostly you'll need to hike from a carpark or campground for some way along rolling hills, down steep ravines, across creeks and waterfalls, and down to the beaches below the cliffs so is not for everyone. There is one road that leads all the way to the beach (final steep section is 4WD only), and this is the Blowholes Creek Road. There are 4 campgrounds suitable to vehicle-based visitors and all accessible by 2WD vehicle and there is a large 4 bedroom heritage house (Glenburn Cottage) near the Ranger's quarters that can be booked online (see Things to Do/Where to Stay section for further details). No need to book online for these campgrounds, as you can self-register at the ranger's station on the way in.

If you don't have time to take the turnoffs and stick to the provided trek route, you'll still find the drive throughout this section is quite a pretty one passing through a shady forest section.

When you reach the sealed road again, you'll turn back onto the B23 and its an easy run for 14km out to Cape Jervis. Cape Jervis is one of the ferry points to Kangaroo Island and is the western most tip of the peninsula. From here you may want to extend your trek to Kangaroo Island.

From Cape Jervis we retrace our path slightly and then head in a northerly direction to Delamere (11km) and then only another 1km to the turn-off to Rapid Bay. Rapid Bay is a little town with a small council camping ground but has probably the best (definitely the longest) jetty you're likely to find on the peninsula.

Back on the main road, you wind your way back out to the coast and its 25km to Normanville. Normanville is a pleasant seaside town catering to tourists, so it has the usual shops/bakery etc and a couple of nice caravan parks situated right on the water's edge. This is a really good place for families and boats as the water is really lovely and calm and a good place to relax for a while. Depending how you've planned this trip you could either stay here for a day or more, or continue driving onwards if you're just enjoy a quick overview of the area.

From Normanville, passing a few smaller wineries on the way, the trek heads past Willunga and ends approx 40km later at McLaren Vale (approx 40mins drive south of Adelaide CBD). As good a spot as any to finish a trek and enjoy some wine tasting!

How to Use this Trek Note

  • To download this information and the route file for offline use on a phone, tablet, headunit or laptop, go to the app store and purchase ExplorOz Traveller. This app enables offline navigation and mapping and will show where you are as you travel along the route. For more info see the ExplorOz Traveller webpage and the EOTopo webpage.


ExplorOz Traveller now features the NEW EOTopo 2023 mapset!


The environment experienced during the trek is predominately rural dairy cattle farming, mild to hot in summer months and cool to cold in winter.

TrekID: 55


MUST READ: You are strongly encouraged to read the following articles prepared by the knowledge experts at ExplorOz for your safety and preparation before undertaking any published ExplorOz Trek - Outback Safety, Outback Driving Tips, Outback Communications, and Vehicle Setup for the Outback.


Please refer to Road Reports published by the local shire and/or main roads for the area you intend to visit. Road/Track conditions can change significantly after weather events. Travellers must be responsible for their own research on current conditions and track suitability.
The trek route provided is a “day trip” excursion, primarily on sealed (bitumen) roads. It is within easy reach from Adelaide requiring a drive to Goolwa of less than a couple of hours. However, in the Description we've noted how you can turn this into an extended camping trip with excellent opportunities for hiking and exploring through the Deep Creek Conservation Park and Newland Head Conservation Park.

If sticking to the provided route, it is all suitable for 2WD vehicles, however in extremely wet conditions the unsealed section via Deep Creek may present problems. An alternative route on sealed roadways to Cape Jervis is available.


Vehicle entry to Newland Head Conservation Park is free however fees apply for camping. See Waitpinga Campground Booking Information.
Deep Creek require day pass. If intending to enter Deep Creek CP, a once off Park Entry fee (car) is applicable plus camping fees if planning to stay overnight. Self registration stations are located at various access points and the Ranger's Headquarters. Travelling along the trek route does not require any fee payment at all.

More information is available from the National Parks SA website.

Fuel Usage

4cyl 25 litres4cyl 29 litres4cyl 36 litres
6cyl 27 litres6cyl 32 litres6cyl 31 litres
8cyl 27 litres8cyl 30 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

Mid winter may bring brisk conditions along the coastal regions. In extremely wet conditions the unsealed section into Deep Creek CP can be bypassed by staying on the sealed highway.

Closest Climatic Station

Kuitpo Forest Reserve
Distance from Trek Mid Point 21.28km N
Mean Max. °C26.125.923.019.715.813.012.313.616.218.321.823.5
Mean Min. °C14.114.212.511.
Mean Rain mm22.622.938.956.985.9111.5100.284.673.
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended


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Goolwa to Beach Huts
Driving: 5.42 km
Heading: 265°
Avg Speed: 69.01 km/hr
EST Time: 04:42
Beach Huts to Middleton
Driving: 0.18 km
Heading: 304°
Avg Speed: 31.74 km/hr
EST Time: 00:20
Middleton to Port Elliot
Driving: 5.51 km
Heading: 239°
Avg Speed: 65.33 km/hr
EST Time: 05:03
Port Elliot to Kleinigs Hill Lookout
Driving: 4.02 km
Heading: 253°
Avg Speed: 49.57 km/hr
EST Time: 04:51
Kleinigs Hill Lookout to Victor Harbor
Driving: 1.87 km
Heading: 230°
Avg Speed: 48.5 km/hr
EST Time: 02:18
Victor Harbor to Waitpinga Beach
Driving: 16.73 km
Heading: 230°
Avg Speed: 62.72 km/hr
EST Time: 16:00
Waitpinga Beach to Deep Creek CP Ranger's HQ Access
Driving: 39.59 km
Heading: 278°
Avg Speed: 65.02 km/hr
EST Time: 36:32
Deep Creek CP Ranger's HQ Access to Main South Rd (B23) & Three Bridges Rd
Driving: 8.48 km
Heading: 269°
Avg Speed: 58.76 km/hr
EST Time: 08:39
Main South Rd (B23) & Three Bridges Rd to Cape Jervis
Driving: 7.45 km
Heading: 271°
Avg Speed: 60.26 km/hr
EST Time: 07:25
Cape Jervis to Main South Rd (B23) & Three Bridges Rd
Driving: 7.45 km
Heading: 91°
Avg Speed: 60.26 km/hr
EST Time: 07:25
Main South Rd (B23) & Three Bridges Rd to Delamere
Driving: 5.5 km
Heading: 40°
Avg Speed: 72.31 km/hr
EST Time: 04:33
Delamere to Rapid Bay
Driving: 5.47 km
Heading: 351°
Avg Speed: 57.65 km/hr
EST Time: 05:41
Rapid Bay to Lady Bay
Driving: 21.41 km
Heading: 57°
Avg Speed: 65.1 km/hr
EST Time: 19:43
Lady Bay to Normanville
Driving: 3.41 km
Heading: 39°
Avg Speed: 70.02 km/hr
EST Time: 02:55
Normanville to Yankalilla
Driving: 3.14 km
Heading: 111°
Avg Speed: 56.3 km/hr
EST Time: 03:20
Yankalilla to Myponga
Driving: 14.01 km
Heading: 54°
Avg Speed: 66.19 km/hr
EST Time: 12:41
Myponga to Main South Rd (B23) & Biscay Rd
Driving: 15.01 km
Avg Speed: 69.62 km/hr
EST Time: 12:56
Main South Rd (B23) & Biscay Rd to Victor Harbor Rd & Aldinga Rd
Driving: 6.03 km
Heading: 88°
Avg Speed: 72.05 km/hr
EST Time: 05:01
Victor Harbor Rd & Aldinga Rd to Willunga
Driving: 1.56 km
Heading: 85°
Avg Speed: 52.58 km/hr
EST Time: 01:46
Willunga to McLaren Vale
Driving: 6.53 km
Heading: 350°
Avg Speed: 67.42 km/hr
EST Time: 05:48
Distance is based on the travel mode shown (Driving, Straight, Cycling, Walking etc), Direction is straight line from start to end, Avg Speed & EST Time is calculated from GPS data.

What to See

From Cape Jervis you might like to consider a side trip to Kangaroo Island. Be aware that the cost of the vehicular ferry is high so be sure to plan ahead and book accommodation/camping on the island. You can find the prices on the Sealink website. There are day packages from Adelaide, which maybe a cheaper option if you're just going for the day.


Where to Stay

If you are a visitor to the area, consider a one or two night stay at Goolwa to explore this town and environs. Several days could be spent in and around Victor Harbor with a leisurely walk or horse drawn trip across the causeway to Granite Island and whale watching excursions in season.

There is a wide range of choices from hotel/motel, Bed & Breakfast, or camping. The Beach Huts at Middleton provide a unique and alternative method of accommodation. Camping is available in all the major tourist areas, or for a more secluded stay, Deep Creek Conservation Park has several campground areas to choose from and great walking trails to explore the flora and fauna of the area.

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