Gym Beach

 

As of April, 2009, there are no rubbish points within the park.  All rubbish will need to be taken out by campers to the rubbish station at Stenhouse Bay.

Gym Beach is on Southern Yorke Peninsula, an area known as "the foot".  (A look at a map of Yorke Peninsula will reveal why).  It's about 300 kilometres from Adelaide.

Gym Beach is actually part of the Innes National Park, but access is gained via the Marion Bay to Corny Point Road rather than the main entrance at Stenhouse Bay.  (You can, however, hike the 6 k's from Browns Beach to Gym Beach, but there is no vehicle access).  The turn off to Gym Beach is about 10 kilometres from Marion Bay along this road.

From the sealed road, a dirt road leads to the beach.  It's rough in places due to corrugations, but is suitable for 2WD vehicles if care is taken. 

It costs $16 a night to camp.  If just visiting for the day, it will cost $10 to enter.  There are only about five sites, but they are well screened from one another.  There are two on top of the hill looking over the beach and the others are a bit more sheltered, tucked in amongst the low coastal scub and dunes near the toilets.  Only two of the sites provide any sort of shade.  There are two toilets here, both of the "long drop" variety.  They are well maintained.  There is a rainwater tank here also, but water is not always available due to the areas relatively low rainfall.  It's best not to rely on the water.

All sites are bare sand, but under this the ground is firm so normal tent pegs work well.  Caravans could also be parked at all the sites here, except for one on top of the hill as it might be a bit tight. 

The coastline here is spectacular.  There are two beaches really, almost separated by a granite shoreline.  The beach directly below the first couple of camping sites is more exposed than the other.  The second beach, around the shore to the west, is very sheltered and offers safe swimming, snorkelling and fishing.   

Gym Beach itself is a long stretch of sand that faces almost west.  It's a bit of hike from the campground, but it's a superb, pristine beach, well worth the walk.  Occasionally there are even a few waves along here, with a break about half way along.  It'll be obvious when you look at the beach from the hill top.

 

Fishing here is good.  Small salmon and tommies can be caught in the calm waters of the beach shown in the photo.  Off the rocks, when the wind is from the southerly quarter, garfish and squid are never far away, especially in the warmer months.  (The water has to be clear for squid).  On a recent trip here, I hooked and lost a decent sized salmon from the rocks on a lure.  Look for mullet during the Autumn run too.

On the same trip, whilst fishing off the rocks, a sealion swam around a few metres in front of me before becoming bored and body surfing a few waves towards the beach.  It is the first time I have seen a sealion there.  Dolphins are common though and are often seen in numbers.

The hiking track to Browns Beach is about 6 kilometres long and it's quite an easy walk with no steep inclines.  The path is wide and easily negotiable.

I have seen emus here, but no kangaroos, although I'm sure they do make appearances.  Shingleback lizards (sleepy lizards) are common and I have come across snakes on two separate occasions, both times on the track to Browns Beach.

Birdlife is also prevalent including Currawongs, Superb Blue Wrens, Pacific Gulls and, everyone's favourite, Seagulls.

Campfires are allowed here (except during Fire Danger Season which is normally 1st November until 30th of April).  You must bring your own firewood.

Spring and Autumn are the most comfortable times of the year to visit, although nights can be quite cold.  There is little shelter here, so winter storms and the summer sun will be uncomfortable.  Summer, in particular, can be very umcomfortable anywhere away from the water.

Although the coast here sees a bit of swell, there doesn't seem to be any rideable waves for the surfers.  Having said that though, I have seen some keen body boarders amongst the waves off the rocky point to the west.  I heard one of them call the break "Cheesegraters" so you can imagine what the rocks will do to you if you come off at the wrong time.  The beach below the campsites is open to the swell, but it's fairly deep, so the waves dump right onto the beach.

Gym Beach is a beautiful spot with plenty to keep everyone amused.  If you do stay here for a night or two, please remember to take your rubbish with you.  

Photos below show the coastline at Gym Beach.

 

 

 

    The sheltered beach mentioned above.