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Trail Run the Newland Head Conservation Park

Waitpinga, South Australia



7.1 miles

Route Type



Added by LJ Nielsen

With a scenic single trail that meanders through pristine beaches and across daunting coastal cliffs, Newland Head offers Trail Runners a remarkable journey through South Australian wilderness.


Utilising a portion of South Australia’s infamous Heysen Trail, the majority of the run lies within the boundaries of the iconic Newland Head Conservation Park, a 90 minute drive south of Adelaide. As the trail section connects the Kings Beach carpark to the Waitpinga Campground, a total distance of 11.5km, runners can opt to go on a one-way jaunt (starting at either location), or complete a longer, 23km return journey. Kings Beach Road lies a 10 minute drive west of the charming coastal city of Victor Harbor, while the Campground is located further west, beside the treacherous waters of Waitpinga Beach, Dennis Road, Waitpinga


The Kings Beach Carpark is itself located at the southern end of Kings Beach Rd, Waitpinga and provides ample parking to the various cyclers, hikers, runners and surfers who are drawn in by the natural charm of area. In winter, gigantic Southern Right Whales can be observed in the cold, Antarctic-like waters, while seals and bottle-nosed dolphins use the beaches as their own personal playgrounds throughout the year. From the trailhead, it is a short run to the top of King Head, where the marvellous oceanic cliffs can be viewed sprawling gloriously into the distance.

The trail then follows the picturesque coastline whilst gently rising and falling along the rolling hilltops, eventually reaching the park’s centrepiece, the Philosophy Chair – an old bench perched high above the ocean, offering a birds-eye view of powerful waves battering the cliffs. This view is one of South Australia’s most iconic, and provides a valuable insight into how the coastline has evolved over the millennia. There is a multitude of breathtaking viewpoints as the trail continues along the coast, with views enticing trail runners to teste their nerve as they peer over the edge. At around the 8km mark, the trail deviates from the coast and enters a sandy, scrubby environ with kangaroos often seen bounding between the vegetation. This section of trail offers a welcoming, easy stretch that delivers runners to the end point (or halfway point, depending how big your tank is, or where you left your car) – the Waitpinga Campground. While this vehicle-accessible campground boasts a large rain-water tank that gives runners an opportunity to restock their water supply, it is also an ideal place to spend a night by the roasting fire, nursing a cold one well earned from a long day on the trail.    

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