Nature

Yorke Peninsula has some amazing coastal environments and nature experiences, with Innes National Park the jewel in the crown.

Innes National Park is popular year-round and with the ever changing seasons, there is always something different and exciting to see…from wildlife roaming the park to wildflowers bursting with colour.

There are several conservation parks in the region including Troubridge Island Conservation Park where you can rent the original old lighthouse keepers cottage.

From birdwatching to bushwalking and camping, Yorke Peninsula is the perfect getaway.
 

Innes National Park

Innes National Park, located at the bottom of the peninsula, showcases some of the most spectacular coastal scenery that you're ever likely to experience.

At Innes National Park, you can stay in renovated miner’s lodges or camp behind sand dunes under sheoak trees. With a magnificent coastline ranging from pristine sheltered coves and majestic cliffs pounded by the surging waves of the Southern Ocean, to serene salt lakes and offshore islands including Chinaman's Hat and Althorpe Island.

It's no wonder this park is a paradise for surfers, anglers, families and campers alike.

Discover the interpretive trails, camping grounds, heritage accommodation and diverse range of flora and fauna. 

Western grey kangaroos and emus are traditional favourites at the park and the area's diverse bird life attracts plenty of interest, especially from keen birdwatchers, with over 90 species of birds including malleefowl, the rare and shy western whipbird, white-bellied sea eagles and ospreys. 

Close encounters with nature and wildlife, emus, Innes National Park, Yorke Peninsula, South Australia

Wildflowers create a rich tapestry of colour when they blossom during spring and autumn. Coastal shrubland comes alive with cockies tongue, common fringe-myrtle, coastal white mallee and wattle.

Explore the remains of the historic heritage-listed Inneston village which was once a hive of industry, with a plaster factory, a gypsum  mine and the original Bellco Chalf Factory. Inneston has 12 houses, a restored post office building and the ruins of what were once the store, factory, bakery and stables.   Seven renovated heritage buildings are available for accommodation and make a great base to explore the park.

Gypsum was originally mined at Inneston and then transported along a railway line to the jetty at Stenhouse Bay. Let your imagination take you on a journey back in time as you walk the Thomson/Pfitzner Plaster Trail. Offering coastal and island views, the trail takes you along the old railway line and has interpretive signs that tell of the area's mining history. 

Innes is a famous surfing destination offering world-class surf breaks.  South Australia's most prestigious surfing event, the Yorke's Surfing Classic, is held in Innes National Park every October long weekend. 

Experience the Investigator Strait Shipwreck Trail off the coast of Innes National Park, between Yorke Peninsula and Kangaroo Island. The trail highlights 10 of the 26 shipwrecks dating from 1849 to 1982, attracting divers from all over the world. Land-based interpretive signs on the rugged and beautiful coastline tell of the park's maritime history in the days of sail and steam. 

Head to Ethel Beach to explore the wreck of the Ethel  that ran aground in 1904. The Ethel shipwreck is a popular attraction for tourists and photographers. 

Exploring shipwrecks, Ethel Shipwreck, Ethel Beach, Innes National Park, Yorke Peninsula, South Australia

Conservation Parks

Spectacular scenery, heritage and coastal walks, bird-watching, unique flora and fauna, camping, bush walking, surfing, fishing, diving...

...or just relaxing on secluded footprint free beaches or your own island - Yorke Peninsula has it all!

Clinton Conservation Park

Don't forget your binoculars because this park is ideal for birdwatching enthusiasts. With 57 known bird species living in the park, you will be sure to see interesting bird life along the shoreline and in the mangroves.

Clinton Conservation Park was dedicated to protect a significant and undisturbed area of mangroves. The park provides the perfect opportunity to see the samphire shrubland, mallee woodland and tidal estuaries that it protects.

Wills Creek Conservation Park

Wills Creek Conservation Park is a protected area located east of Price on the north west coast of Gulf St Vincent. The park is considered to be a significant coastal wetland/estuary area supporting mangroves, intertidal habitats, fish nursery areas and important habitats for seabirds.

Ramsay Conservation Park

Ramsay Conservation Park is a protected area about 6.5 kilometres West-northwest of Port Vincent. The conservation park is a small park in the Minlaton-Curramulka Threatened Habitat Area and conserves some species of significance, including the nationally and state endangered jumping-jack Wattle.

Troubridge Island Conservation Park

Relax and get away from it all on a small remote island. Enjoy the tranquillity and company of little penguins and a breeding colony of terns.  For many this is the ultimate adventure or romantic escape.

This island oozes character and charm and leaves you with a welcomed but rare sense of solitude. Stay in the old lighthouse keepers' cottage and by night you can fall asleep to the relaxing sound of the ocean. Enjoy time out with swimming, fishing, slow walks and bird watching. 

Access to Troubridge Island is by permit only or with Troubridge Island Charters. For accommodation bookings, telephone 08 8852 6290.

Point Davenport Conservation Park

Point Davenport Conservation Park is situated on a headland between Foul Bay and Sturt Bay on the south coast of Yorke Peninsula and is considered to be an area of high biodiversity with a range of habitats including beaches, foredunes, and an estuary that is listed as a nationally important wetland.

Warrenben Conservation Park

Warrenben Conservation Park is a protected area located about 12 kilometres north-east of Marion Bay. Together with Innes National Park, Warrenben Conservation Park conserves a large proportion of the natural habitat remaining on southern Yorke Peninsula.

Carribie Conservation Park

Carribie Conservation Park is a protected area about 32 kilometres west of Warooka. It was proclaimed as a conservation park to conserve a small area of remnant sheoak/mallee vegetation.

Leven Beach Conservation Park

Experience one of the finest natural beach areas in South Australia. This park preserves vegetation vitally important in maintaining the stability of the dune system.

Encounter low cliffs, undulating sand dunes and healthy vegetation, including spinifex and sheoak via one of the bushwalking trails, or enjoy the scenic coastline by taking a relaxing stroll along the beach.

Another popular activity is beach fishing, so make sure you bring your rods and bait! If you plan to stay overnight, the adjacent Burners Beach campground is the place to go.  

Goose Island Conservation Park

Goose Island Conservation Park is located to the west and north west of Port Victoria. Proclaimed to conserve an offshore breeding and refuge area for sea-birds and the Australian sea lion, the conservation park is made up of Goose Island, Little Goose Island, Seal Rocks, White Rocks, Beatrice Rock, Island Point, Rocky Island, Boat Rock and Bikini Islets.

Bird Islands Conservation Park

Bird Islands Conservation Park is a 369 hectare conservation park incorporating land at Warburto Point on the mainland and two islands.

Located about 10 km south of Wallaroo, additional land was added to the conservation park in 1991 & 1999 to include the intertidal zone of both islands, and to support mangroves, samphire and other vegetation.  

Bird Islands Conservation Park can be accessed by car along Warburto Road. The islands can be accessed by wading across at low tide, or by boat at high tide.
 

Bird Island Conservation Park, intertidal zone and mangroves, nature, Yorke Peninsula, South Australia

Camping

If you love camping and the great outdoors, you'll find plenty of options on Yorke Peninsula from Innes National Park to conservation parks, beachside camping and caravan parks.

Innes National Park has seven campgrounds to choose from  - Pondalowie Bay Campground with public toilets, gas barbeque facilities and up to 50 campsites;  Stenhouse Bay, Browns Beach and Gym Beach or to really get away from it all...try Cable Bay, Casuarina or Shell Beach. 

Camping permits for Innes National Park must be purchased online or from Yorke Peninsula Visitor Information Centre, Minlaton, or agents in surrounding towns.

Hillocks Drive is one of the best known natural bushcamping locations on Yorke Peninsula, with 7km of scenic coastline.  Bring your swag, tent, caravan or camper trailer, there’s plenty of space for a secluded getaway, or camping in large groups. Or, if you prefer glamping...why not try their Ocean Pod?

Yorke Peninsula Council has 15 bush camping sites...some are free and some have a small fee but all sites require a permit.  Camping permits can be purchased at the Yorke Peninsula Visitor Information Centre, Minlaton, on their website, or from any of the Yorke Peninsula Council offices.

All up, the region has 30 caravan parks from absolute beach front to bush camps - with so much choice the toughest thing is deciding where to camp! 

Please make sure you stick to the designated camping areas to help sustain the natural environment.

Camping, nature, boiling a billy and cooking on an open fire, Yorke Peninsula, South Australia

Wildlife 

There's an abundance of wildlife to be found on Yorke Peninsula.

You can see kangaroos and emus roaming free and a variety of birdlife from black-faced cormorants to wedge-tailed eagles, falcons and crested tern.

In Innes National Park, keep an eye out for emus, western grey kangaroos, western pygmy possums, the rare western whipbird, ospreys and maybe even a white-bellied sea eagle in full flight.  Sharp-eyed visitors may spot a malleefowl roaming in the park, an elusive and rare ground-dwelling bird, slightly larger than a domestic hen.

Dolphins can be found all year round in the shallow waters of the Yorke Peninsula coast. Between May and September, keep an eye out for southern-right whales as they pass along the coastline.

Why not visit one of Yorke Peninsula's fauna parks:

  • Ramsay Wildlife Park, between Minlaton and Port Vincent - natural vegetation and native animals that can be seen from the fenced area. 

  • HJ & Brian Cook Native Animal Reserve, Minlaton - home to emus, wallabies and kangaroos. 

  • The Bute Lions Fauna Park in the heart of Bute has emus, peacocks, guinea fowl and golden pheasants.      

Many towns throughout the region have nature walks - stroll through native bushland or watch pelicans lazing on the beach, black swans drifting gracefully in the shallows and a myriad of other coastal birdlife.

Emu and chicks, wildlife experience, Innes National Park, Yorke Peninsula, South Australia

Wildflowers

Wildflowers create a rich tapestry of colours across the landscape during spring and autumn. 

Yorke Peninsula's coastal shrubland and Innes National Park comes alive with flaming red cockies tongue, pink common fringe-myrtle, coastal white mallee and golden wattle.

Visit the Native Flora Park at Edithburgh with 17.5 hectares of unique parkland where over 1,000 native plants from all over Australia flourish. There are over 2 kilometres of walking trails and the park is home to parrots, lark, quail and honeyeaters.

Mulbura Park between Port Vincent and Port Julia, just off the coast road, is a native flora reserve in virgin scrub and was established by the Minlaton Branch of the National Trust.  

Enjoy colourful roadside displays of wildflowers by just simply driving around the region.
 

Birdwatching

Yorke Peninsula is a haven for birdlife with numerous species found throughout the region and there are many significant areas for birdwatching on Yorke Peninsula.

Innes National Park, on the western tip of the peninsula, is most often known for the rare western whipbird, which was discovered shortly before the area was declared a National Park in 1970.  Over 120 bird species have been found in the park including osprey, boobook owl, white-faced heron, white-bellied sea eagle, purple-crowned lorikeet, malleefowl, emu and the southern scrub robin.

Clinton Conservation Park is a great area for birdwatching enthusiasts, with approximately 57 species from as far away as Japan and China nestled along the shoreline and in the mangroves.  Part of the Samphire Coast, this conservation park is abundant in growth with mallee woodland and samphire scrubland.

The Samphire Coast continues along the eastern side of Gulf St. Vincent, down to St Kilda, just north of Adelaide.  It is a significant area for migratory shorebirds, providing a variety of habitats from mangroves to sandflats and mudflats, and plays host to over 60,000 shorebirds each year.

Troubridge Island is home to several species of terns, black-faced cormorants and a colony of little penguins.

Many towns on Yorke Peninsula have coastal walks and bird hides giving perfect access for birdwatching.

Bird Species on Yorke Peninsula

Cormorants are plentiful throughout the region, especially in coastal areas, with the little pied cormorant, black-faced cormorant, pied cormorant, little black cormorant and great cormorant being the most prolific.  There are also high populations of terns, with gull-billed tern, caspian tern, crested tern, little tern, fairy tern, and whiskered tern being found in abundance.

Brightly coloured and beautiful birdlife can be seen throughout Yorke Peninsula with the lorikeet and parrot family, including the rainbow lorikeet, musk lorikeet, purple-crowned lorikeet, red-rumped parrot, mulga parrot, blue-winged parrot, elegant parrot, and rock parrot being found.

Other birdlife that can be seen on Yorke Peninsula includes:

Black kite, black swan, brown thornbill, cape barren goose, cockatiel, common greenshank, crested pigeon, galah, golden whistler, great egret, hooded plover, house sparrow, ibis, little penguin, magpie, marsh sandpiper, murray magpie, pacific gull, pelican, peregrine falcon, red-capped robin, red wattlebird, silver gull, skylark, starling, wedge-tailed eagle, welcome swallow, white-necked heron, willie wagtail and yellow-plumed honeyeater. 

For more information, download the Coastal Birds of Eastern Yorke Peninsula brochure.

Malleefowl, birdwatching, nature, Innes National Park, ​Yorke Peninsula, South Australia