It took me 25 years of life in South Australia to get my silly backside to the Yorke Peninsula, and I felt like I'd been robbed. Why did nobody tell me we had such magnificence available for exploration on a whim?
I saw plenty of Kangaroo Island and plenty of Victor Harbour, but there are spots in Yorke's that have that combination of accessibility and remoteness that those places can't quite match, as wonderful as they are.
For the remaining uninitiated, Yorke's begins about 90 minutes North-West of Adelaide, and stretches over almost 6,000 km2 South-West (for comparison, metropolitan Adelaide is around half that size), encompassing the major(ish) towns of Ardrossan, Minlaton, Port Victoria, Yorketown, Edithburgh, Moonta, and the home base of our most recent getaway, Marion Bay.
The clear blue waters of Marion Bay.
The deep South of the Yorke Peninsula boasts some of the most beautiful surf spots in South Australia, but given that we travelled at the icy climax of winter, we traded the boards for bonfires and enjoyed the ocean from a distance. At least that was the plan.
Fire up the bonfire , lay back and appreciate a view of the stars you can’t get in the city.
Regardless of the weather, visits to the sands of Berry Bay, Daly Head and Pondalowie Bay and are mandatory. In fact, I'm calling it, the stretch between Marion Bay and Corny Point is the most spectacular, eclectic and fun stretch of coastline in South Australia.
Rough seas pound the cliffs of Innes National Park, with the West Cape Lighthouse in the background.
A good chunk of that coast resides in Innes National Park, a protected area near Marion Bay worthy of more than a full day. It’s like a condensed Great Ocean Road with just a tiny fraction of the tourists you would find climbing over each other for a photo at the Twelve Apostles.
Ethel Beach, the home of the most visible of Innes National Park's many resident shipwrecks, is an incredible spot. Warning signs tell you it's not the place for a swim, but once you get down there, in the calm gap between the imposing cliffs and the thunderous waves, you kind of have to get your feet wet at the very least. Clothing optional if you don't mind a polite reciprocation of the excited thumbs-up from that creepy guy who just popped up on top of the cliffs. Sorry, that was too specific.
With waves averaging 1.5 metres and several strong rips, extreme care should be taken when swimming or surfing at Ethel Beach (do it though).
Outside of the national park and just minutes from the lazy town of Corny Point is a relatively hidden gem that finds itself right at the pointy end of my all-time beach rankings, Berry Bay. The quietness of this perfect stretch of shore would almost be tragic if it weren’t so enjoyable.
You may bump into the odd surf class in the relatively flat South corner of Berry Bay. Aside from that, there’s every chance you’ll have the rest of this glorious beach to yourselves.
The facilitation of a low-cost, relaxing group getaway is where the region really excels as a tourist destination. Those trips where the scenery and activities are important, but the company is central.
With the right planning, you can manage a comfortable 4-5 nights away in Marion Bay for as little as $100 per person (before food and drink). For us, at the price of $90 a night, it was the a 2-bedroom apartment (room for 4+ occupants) at the Marion Bay Holiday Villas, which is in that sweet spot of having the amenities of a city hotel while still being able to take a few footsteps over to a roaring bonfire with a beer in hand and appreciate the clear view of the stars. Those who prefer camping will find an abundance of locations instead if they wish.
Yeah, not a bad spot for a beer.
With summer approaching, or regardless of the season, you need to keep the Yorke Peninsula at the forefront of your mind if planning a trip or two locally. Living within a few hours of such raw natural beauty and not taking the time to explore and appreciate it is damn near criminal.
Where should we go next? Hit up the team at MANABOUTADL at email@example.com or on Facebook to tell us which South Australian travel spot we should cover soon.