THE TRAVEL SET.
with Chelsea Needs
The Beach Dweller’s Guide to Innes National Park
Grab your mates and head on the road trip of the year.
Innes National Park is located on the southwest tip of the Yorke Peninsula and only a short 3-hour drive west from Adelaide, South Australia.
It is an untouched heaven where you can experience the perfect coastal escape. Famous for its crystal clear water, breathtaking cliffs, historic shipwrecks and world-class surf beaches.
So grab the swags, camera and snacks and jump in the car. You’ll head to Marion Bay first. This is known as the gateway to Innes National Park. If you choose not to camp, stay at the caravan park or rent a house there. Wherever you go, you will always wake up to a warm sunrise on your face and the sound of the crashing waves. Start your day off right and why not try a famous ‘Jimmy Burger’ from the local deli on the way into the National Park.
Stop off at Stenhouse Bay to take a step back in time. There are old mining sites standing on the cliffs of the beach dating back to 1913. It is a scenic spot to fish off the jetty into the fluorescent green water first thing in the morning.
After that, drive over the first hill with views of Chainman’s Hat Island. It is a good photo opportunity, so pull over the car and get the camera out. This is where you see the wild cliffs and beaches for the first time in Innes National Park. Grab out a long board and cruise down the ‘scenic route’ as I like to call it.
Next stop, Cape Spencer Lighthouse. Take a short walk to admire the still operating lighthouse. On either side of the path are steep cliff faces with beaming blue waves crashing at the bottom. Take the view in!
If you have the boards, have a surf yourself or watch the dolphins that occasionally visit at Ethel Beach. Surfing the waves will give you a different view of the shipwreck that lies on the shore. It came to grief in 1904 and is the most famous of the wrecks in Innes.
Next, enter through the fishing village of Pondalowie Bay, where you’ll pass colourful boat houses each with telling their own story. If you take a short stroll down the right end of the beach you will find a small wreck covered in graffiti. It’s become a photogenic landmark against the white sand. Pondalowie Bay is always filled with fisherman setting off on day trips. Snapper and Flatheads are a popular catch in the area and are always go down a treat after a long day of adventuring.
Dolphin Beach a true oasis. Dive into the clear blue water and enjoy this secluded bay. Last time I visited here for a swim, a local surfer and his dog arrived in a little yellow boat and invited us on a short cruise along the coastline. He showed us secret caves and coves and described how simple his life was, collecting driftwood to build his house, surfing, fishing, snorkeling all in this beautiful backyard of his. Always expect the unexpected here!
When you’re ready for the next paradise, walk down a path along the sand dunes to find the pristine waters of Shell Beach. Take some time to collect shells as souvenirs and bask in the sun. Locals and a few lucky visitors only know it, but there is a very special rock pool at the right end of the beach. It’s a deep turquoise pool, filled with tropical fish and a view of the ocean. When you find it, don’t even think twice about dreading the cold. GET IN THE WATER!
Along the drive from beach to beach, there’s no doubt you won’t spot a couple of salt lakes. Pull over at one and slip your shoes off, you’ll enjoy taking a lap in the shallow water. Feel the squelch between your toes and taste the salty water if you’re daring.
Browns Beach is the dead end to the National Park. It is a nice place to reflect on your adventures and unwind with a walk on the beach if you still have the energy.
Daly Head can only be accessed back through Marion bay and across to the west side of the Yorke Peninsula. Drive down the lonely dirt roads and pass the pretty seaside houses. Daly Head is a world-class surf beach with towering waves and kilometres of sand dunes. This beach is always filled with limitless explorations.
For all the adventurers out there, Innes National Park is definitely a favourite place to explore new surroundings, make memories and soak up the South Australian sun in.
Food and Water