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Walk report Investigator Trail Lincoln National Park

PostPosted: Mon 09 Feb, 2015 8:20 pm
by jobell
Hi folks,

Having benefited many times from information on this forum, I thought I should get off my bum and give something back! I walked the Investigator Trail in Lincoln National Park on the southern end of the Eyre Peninsula at the end of last month (Monday 26 January through Friday 30 January 2014) and thought I might share some of my experience on that trail. Please bear with me if I have trouble uploading photos; forum use is not my forte.

I walked the trail within the national park only; the trail actually extends north out of the park around the edge of Proper Bay to Port Lincoln and beyond to the village of North Shields. The distance between Port Lincoln and the park entry is roughly ten kilometers and it might serve someone well as an "access track" to the park, it also does give a good feel for what Port Lincoln is like and it is a very appealing town all in all.

I walked the 108 or so kilometers within the park over five days as a series of day walks; I haven't walked in a while and intended this walk to be a "shakedown" walk for others I have planned later in the year. I planned my itinerary around campsites which my partner was able to access in our 2WD campervan.

The walking was overall very easy; the trails were overall very flat, the surfaces were a mixture of sand/dirt/rock and loose rock, most of the trails were well maintained and not overgrown and the markers were usually easy to find and follow (with two notable exceptions on the last day of my walk) . At the time of my walk there were no maps of the walk available from the Port Lincoln Information Centre; they reported not having received any for some time. I made do with the sketch style overview map in the park brochure which can be found either for free online or in the visitor centre for $2.00. After all, the park is on the tip of the end of a peninsula... how lost could I get? :D

Camping and vehicle (if applicable) permits are required for the park; we obtained ours from the information centre in Port Lincoln. A SA holiday and camping pass for two months for the cost of $80 more than covered our five days of vehicle entry fee ($11 a day) and camping each night ($10 a night). I believe that the hiking/camping fee is $6 a night.

The trail follows a series of check points through the park that aid in navigation; they also serve as markers for smaller walks. I followed these in a sequential manner IE 1, 2 , 3 etc. If you choose to do the same you will find that the trail forms a rough figure eight through the park visiting Pillie Lake more than once. This served me well as a start/end point on different days and would be handy if doing prior water drops.

The distances indicated in the brochure and on the signage did not necessarily add up to what I think I walked each day; my walking pace and my pedometer indicated some discrepancies. The only real discrepancy that caused a problem for me was my last day which ended up being at least six, if not eight kilometers longer than I had planned for.

My itinerary was as follows (the distances are those I recorded as walked not those indicated on the map):
Day one: Park entrance via Pillie Lake to Surfleet Cove camping ground 24.25 kms
Day two: Surfleet Cove to September Beach 14.5 kms
Day three: September Beach to Taylors Landing 22kms
Day four: Taylors Landing to Pillie Lake 12 kms
Day five: Pillie Lake to park entrance via Sleaford Mere 34 - 35 kms

There were some water tanks that I came across that weren't marked on the maps, not all had water, and some of those that did have water had been claimed by bees and I for one would be unwilling to dispute that claim. As a day walker I had access to water at the beginning and end of each day; I would recommend checking with the on duty ranger for the park as to how much water you are likely to find in the tanks. Otherwise it might be prudent to plan and do water drops prior to walking. Unless you have a partner who likes camping and beaches and who is willing to provide the same support I benefited from.

Still have no idea how to post photos on here, meanwhile (hope it's allowed) my blog entry has a few more details and plenty of photographs of the scenery at ... ncoln.html [url] Actually, no idea how to use that URL button to post a link either. Feel free to set me straight someone.

Brian Clarke hut, which was ten or so kilometers into my last day is a purpose built walkers hut and is very well equipped with a raised platform that would sleep two or three, plenty of room for tents, a good picnic table, a big water tank and even a little alcove at the rear with a concrete floor which presumably is for privacy for getting changed and/or billy baths. Very thoughtful set up indeed, I only hope I have one built for me one day as a memorial as they did for Mr Brian Clarke!

The only points I had trouble with the navigation was firstly approaching the beach at Sleaford Bay over Wanna Dunes; the markers disappeared on me, presumably consumed by sand dune or possibly knocked over by a four wheel drive given a track passes through at that point. The second difficulty was when I was due to leave that same coastline and travel north back towards the park entrance; the markers disappeared again. Both times I followed my nose and found the trail again, although not before a dune scramble and slide or two (aka good fun).

The weather was great when I walked; it's cooler on the Eyre Peninsula down south and the temperatures were mostly in the high twenties. The days were either sunny or overcast.

I saw no other walkers apart from a few tourists walking up the groomed trail on one side of Stamford Hill. My footprints were usually the only ones I saw on the beaches - hoorah!

Wildlife wise the locals are pretty shy; the emus all but panicked on my approach, with dad emus ushering their broods off at a great rate. I almost felt guilty for disturbing them. There's a bit of bird life if you know where to look (I think I sometimes miss some of it) and a few equally panicked kangaroos, and more than a few reptiles, including the kind that sometimes bite. There were march flies around at the time I walked - whatever you do make sure you take fly repellent.

Lots of opportunities to swim - but do be careful, some beaches are remote and very wild and I suspect there's some nasty currents out there. Also, they grow their sharks big in these waters...

Overall, a gorgeous easy walk that I would happily do again. Happy to answer questions if you have them. I don't always check in here that often though - I'm currently travelling around Australia and don't always have internet reception where we camp (I know, I know, it's terrible, but someone has to do it).

Cheers, Joanne

Re: Walk report Investigator Trail Lincoln National Park

PostPosted: Mon 09 Feb, 2015 8:32 pm
by eggs
Thanks for the report.
The link to your blog is fine and the pictures are very good.

Re: Walk report Investigator Trail Lincoln National Park

PostPosted: Mon 09 Feb, 2015 8:36 pm
by jobell
Thanks, and thanks for letting me know the link worked too. There's a first time for everything I guess.

Re: Walk report Investigator Trail Lincoln National Park

PostPosted: Sun 30 Oct, 2016 8:55 pm
by jobell
Update for anyone looking for that blog link for more details/photos: blog now located at and Investigator Trail entries are from January 2015. Cheers.