Caring For Thompson Beach

Local residents along with various government, community and other non-profit groups, have put significant time and toil into conservation efforts at Thompson Beach – so that they and others can enjoy it for years to come.

Please respect the area and the efforts of those who help keep Thompson Beach the way it is.

Inlet at Thompson Beach

When visiting, bear the following in mind:

  • Speed limit in the township is 40 kmh. This includes the entire length of the Esplanade, from the southern information stand to the northern one.
  • Only park in designated areas.
  • Illegal dirt bike and quad activity doesn’t go unnoticed  – and the fines can be substantial. Patrolling of the area for dirt and quad bike activity is now also occurring more regularly given its status. If you really feel a need to engage in this sort of activity, go to Port Gawler where there is an established designated facility.
  • Observe all fish/crab catch limits and fishing regulations. Inspectors are often in attendance and checking on catches, particularly during crabbing season.
  • Do not remove any sand or seaweed materials from the beaches.
  • Take your rubbish with you if you can to prevent the bins that are in place from overflowing.
  • Respect the peace and quiet.
  • Only used the designated walkways in dune areas and stick to the shorebird trails when walking in other areas.
  • Take special note of the guidelines at the information boards and various signs located at various points.
  • Note that campfires and camping are not permitted on the beach.
  • Beach driving was permitted in some areas* outside of the Park area, but a trial ban from October 5, 2020 to May 31, 2021  (excluding boat launching and retrieval) is in place. See below for important notes on beach driving.
  • When walking the nature trails, walk quietly so as to not disturb the bird life.
  • If you have a dog, please keep it on a leash – and clean up after it.

As well as not leaving rubbish behind, if you spot garbage on your walk along Thompson Beach, you can help conservation efforts by picking it up – it doesn’t take much effort to do so.

While picking up a plastic bag mightn’t seem like a huge help,  with the CSIRO forecasting almost all seabirds will have plastic in their digestive tracts by 2050; it is a big deal.

Birds often mistake plastics as food, or ingest plastic by accident. It can cause digestive tract blockages and starvation, leading to death.

Besides that, garbage on a beach just looks awful.

*A Note About Driving On Thompson Beach

The northern end of Thompson Beach is a designated bird sanctuary, not a recreational 4WD area. Beach driving and vehicle use is prohibited in the Park area north of the now-closed beach ramp at the northern end of The Esplanade. Penalties apply.

Also, from October 5, 2020 to May 31, 2021 beach driving is banned on the beach in front of the township (excluding boat launching and retrieval) as part of trial to help better protect the area. More on that here.

Get out, stretch your legs – the walk will do you good :).

Beach driving is really only suited to 4 wheel drives – some of the locals I’ve spoken to are a little tired of pulling vehicles out from the beach when they get bogged. Unfortunately, bogging at Thompson Beach is a fairly regular occurrence. It’s gotten to the point some locals refuse to assist in retrieving vehicles – and who can blame them, as it’s a time-consuming and risky exercise.

If you get bogged, it could be a very expensive trip – costing up to $1,000 for a professional tow service to retrieve you + any penalties if you’re driving where you shouldn’t be.

Its not just 2WD’s that can get bogged in sand. Plenty of 4×4 vehicles have become stuck at Thompson Beach. A 4WD is not a Sherman tank – it has limitations, as do drivers.

You don’t want your vehicle winding up like this!

old bogged vehicle

If you do decide to drive when the trial ban is over (bearing in mind vehicles are banned from Park area permanently) – choose your line carefully and don’t venture too far out if it’s low tide. Aside from increasing the risk of bogging, the tide comes in pretty quickly at times. Ensure you’re carrying the necessary equipment to get yourself out of a bogging situation should it occur, rather than relying on someone else assisting you.

If there is a buildup of dead sea-grass on beach access points, then attempting to drive on the beach comes with the added danger of igniting the material.