Wild South Coast Way is a great taster of the  iconic Heysen Trail without commiting to the full 1200km. Emily takes us on a five day tour of a section of the trail that meanders along the spectacular Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia.


We acknowledge that this adventure is located on the traditional Country of the Kaurna, Peramangk, and Ngarrindjeri people who have occupied and cared for the lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Quick Overview

A five-day Heysen track teaser, the Wild South Coast Way boasts new shelters with fresh water tanks and tent platforms in hike-in only campgrounds along the entire trail.

On Ngarrindjeri Country (Fleurieu Peninsula, SA) and just a 1.5-hour drive from Adelaide CBD, the trail provides hikers with a taste of the Heysen, following its path for five days, over 75km.


About Wild South Coast Way

The Wild South Coast Way offers a stunning coastal walk along the Heysen Trail. It’s a point-to-point walk that can be hiked in either direction between Cape Jervis and Victor Harbour in South Australia.

If you’ve recently read about Elisha’s thru hike on the Heysen Trail, and you’re keen to have a go but unsure about many aspects of an epic thru hike, the Wild South Coast Way offers a teaser of the Heysen, a snippet if you like, of what is part of a 1200km journey.



Read more: Remember to leave no trace!

This 75km section of the Wild South Coast Way, has existed with many thanks to Friends of Heysen but has only recently had a major upgrade (I’m talking 2022), gaining new campsites with shelters, water tanks, USB ports and long drops across the four sites. This section of the trail is also open year-round, unlike many other parts of the Heysen due to fire safety.

How to Get to Wild South Coast Way

The Wild South Coast Way (Cape Jervis – Victor Harbour), can be completed in either direction, however I recommend beginning at Cape Jervis.

Cape Jervis is a 1.5-hour drive from Adelaide on the southern tip of the Fleurieu Peninsula, boasting views of Kangaroo Island.

If going with friends, you can drop a car at Victor Harbour which is only 45 minutes down the road, before beginning at Cape Jervis. If you’re hiking solo, you can use the Backyard Universe shuttle for around $130.

I drove from Adelaide to Victor Harbour and left my car in a suburban back street. Fraser transported me to Cape Jervis and offered some local knowledge on the history of the roads and farmland. I was then able to finish the hike at my car, which is a bloody nice comfort.

At Cape Jervis and you may be tempted to pop on the ferry to KI (Kangaroo Island), which also has lots of adventure on offer. If not, the Wild South Coast Way trailhead is located right there at the Cape Jervis ferry car park, with a conveniently-located toilet after a morning of driving.

Unfortunately, the trailhead seems difficult to access via public transport at this stage.

The Wild Coast Way: A 5 Day Teaser for the Heysen Trail, Emily Dallas, ocean cliffs, green hills

What it’s Like to Hike Wild South Coast Way

Below I’ve outlined what to expect each day. I had set out for a solo winter five-day adventure which turned into four after running out of gas and deciding to absolutely leg it home due to being cold and not wanting to suffer cold dehydrated meals for longer than I needed to.


The Wild Coast Way: A 5 Day Teaser for the Heysen Trail, Emily Dallas


It was a rookie mistake taking only one gas canister…don’t be like me. However, thanks to a brilliant mate, I had been pouring boiling water into a Nalgene to use as a hot water bottle to keep me warm in the midst of winter on the south coast (possibly how I lost so much gas?).

The South Australia National Parks website has a great interactive map of the trail as it travels through Deep Creek National Park, Newland Head Conservation Park and farmland. You’ll get to see the very speccy views of Waitpinga Cliffs and the Southern Ocean, just a few of the trail’s highlights.

Day 1 – Cape Jervis to Eagle Waterhole

Distance: 16km
Time: 4-5 hrs

Meet Ngarrindjeri Country.

16km of coastal walking is easily done over a few hours including passing Blowhole Beach which is accessible by vehicles and utilised by surfers. Get the camera ready because this place is very photogenic.


The Wild Coast Way: A 5 Day Teaser for the Heysen Trail, Emily Dallas


Day one will have you appreciating the diversity of the trail as you travel over the beach and into the forest’s gully. It’s wonderful coastal walking, with very limited sand walking which in hindsight you will be grateful for as there is some decent sand walking to come. Day 1 has something for everyone, including the infamous ‘UFO house’. You can make camp at Waldi Krikin Ngawanthi (Eagle Waterhole). Make sure to book in advance.


Day 2 – Eagle Waterhole to Yapari Ngawanthi

Distance: 13km
Time: 3.5 – 4.5 hrs

13km in the heart of Deep Creek Conservation Park will have you hiking down some epic stairs to a waterfall, which in the middle of winter was absolutely gushing.


The Wild Coast Way: A 5 Day Teaser for the Heysen Trail, Emily Dallas


Definitely an ideal spot for lunch before trudging back uphill. This waterfall is very accessible to day hikers and campers so you’re bound to see more people today (just in case you need to prepare for human interaction). Make camp at Yapari Ngawanthi.


Day 3 – Yapari Ngawanthi to Kurri Ngawanthi

Distance: 17km
Time: 6 – 7 hrs

Your third day should be a 17km hike to set up camp at Kurri Ngawanthi.

My third day however, saw me get up at dawn to ensure I had enough daylight to hike through that night’s camp and to the next (due to lack of gas and wanting to get much quicker to somewhere warm with hot food). My route was 30km but still stunning, walking through dawn and into dusk.



Your day hopefully will be less full on and more meandering. The hike is filled with clifftop edges, what seem like vertical paddocks, sheep talks, sand walking for what seems like forever (but it’s pretty, I promise) and some country gravel roads to finish the day.


Day 4 – Kurri Ngawanthi to Natunyuru Ngawanthi

Distance: 13km
Time: 4 – 5 hrs

Day four will take you through some more farmland with some farm animals, and down to a rocky beach. From here, you’ll ascend and participate in some slippery, cliff-edge walking.



For me, in the middle of winter, in wind, rain and ocean spray, this made for some good old vertigo. Ensure to walk to conditions!

Make camp at Natunyuru Ngawanthi.


Day 5 – Natunyuru Ngawanthi to Victor Harbour

Distance: 13.8km
Time: 3.5 – 4.5 hrs

A 13.8km day weaving through the Waitpinga Cliffs, day five is a highlight of the journey. There are so many ideal places to just sit and see. Also, as you get closer to The Bluff there’ll be ample opportunities for seal spotting!



Once you get to Kings Beach, you will need to follow the path that clings to the water, as this is where the Heysen trails inland and north.

Skill Level


The Wild South Coast Way requires a moderate level of skill as there are some techy slippery aspects. This hike has been graded as a level 5 with regard to the Australian Walking Track Grading System.

It is easily navigated as there is a trail and markers the entire way, however there are very steep sections, slippery sections, and some quite rocky terrain. The trail isn’t accessible by wheelchair, however many locations along the way are.


Distance/Duration/Elevation Gain

75km / 5 days / 2500m

Wild South Coast Way is 75km in distance and can be completed quicker than five days (if you’re into trail running).

For most people, five days is a brilliant amount of time to soak in the views and to enjoy the highlights, like the waterfall, Blowhole Beach, and Waitpinga Cliffs.


Essential Gear

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag + mat
  • Food
  • Water bottles including purifiers of some sort
  • Wet weather gear
  • PLB of some sort
  • First aid kit
  • Gas stove (not on Total Fire Ban days)

Tips For Hiking Wild South Coast Way

Nifty things to know

  • You need to book the campsites in advance
  • Many spots are accessible by vehicle such as Blowhole Beach and other campgrounds within Deep Creek Conservation Park
  • Pretty convenient USB ports at each shelter


The Wild Coast Way: A 5 Day Teaser for the Heysen Trail, Emily Dallas, tent on platform

Wild South Coast Way FAQs

How long is Wild South Coast Way?

Wild South Coast Way is 75km long.

How long does it take to complete Wild South Coast Way? 

It takes around 4-5 days to complete the trail.

Where is Wild South Coast Way located? 

The walk begins in Cape Jervis and ends in Victor Harbour.