16 Feb 2024

Coastal Way Road Trip: Marion Bay to Moonta Bay

Willyama Beach
Located on the southern end of Marion Bay and around the headland from the main beach, Willyama Beach is a family-friendly stretch of beach accessible via a walkway from the headland. Willyama Beach is popular all year round, from a summer or spring day at the beach to a brisk winter beach walk.

Stenhouse Bay Jetty
The 200 metre long Stenhouse Bay jetty is a favourite fishing and diving spot, and was once a thriving port, shipping gypsum mined from Inneston and loaded onto ketches. A high quality of gypsum was found in this region; it was washed, roasted and ground for use in plaster of paris and cement.

After the depression in the 1930s gypsum producers amalgamated their operations at Stenhouse Bay, which enabled the port to flourish.

The vessel 'Hougomont' was scuttled at Stenhouse Bay in 1933 on the southern tip of land in the bay. This acted as an artificial reef to help shelter the waters around the jetty for easier access and loading of cargo.
Trade ceased in 1969 but the bins and loading facilities are still intact today as a reminder of this thriving era.

Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park
A must-do on any Yorke Peninsula itinerary, Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park is located on the southern tip of the peninsula, and encompasses spectacular coastal landscapes, a diversity of wildlife habitats and a wide range of recreational opportunities. Hear the waves crash on the beaches, the wind whispering through the sheoaks, view the rugged coastlines sculpted by the Southern Ocean and wander through remnants of South Australia’s mining and maritime history.

You can also get up close to Australian wildlife in the wild, including the reintroduced Tammar Wallabies which were previously extinct from the Australian mainland. Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park has spectacular coastal scenery, sweeping beaches and beautiful bays, wildlife, maritime and mining heritage. The park protects the largest area of native vegetation remaining on Yorke Peninsula and is the jewel in the crown for the region.

Recreational opportunities including bushwalking, bird watching, photography, camping, discovering Aboriginal and European history, fishing and surfing.

Choose from campgrounds at Casuarina, Pondalowie Bay, Cable Bay, Gym Beach, Shell Beach and Stenhouse Bay; or if you prefer a roof over your head, in the former gypsum mining town of Inneston, renovated miner’s cottages can be rented for your stay.

Inneston Heritage Accommodation - Spend the night in a ghost town! 
In the heart of Dhihlba Guuranda-Innes National Park are the ruins of the gypsum mining town of Inneston which once supported 150 miners, shopkeepers and their families. Today it’s a ghost town except for a few secluded cottages that you can discover via the 2km Inneston Historic Walk or rent a cottage by the night.
It’s a brilliant spot to relax and chill out and wake to the sight of emus, kangaroos, Tamar wallabies and mallee fowl or head out for a walk around the Inneston Lake.

Inneston Lake, Innes National Park
Visit the clear, brackish waters of Inneston Lake in the heart of the Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park, one of the very few places in the world where stromatelites grow. They’re very rare marine growths similar to coral built by algae and sediment.

Thomson-Pfitzner Plaster Trail Hike
The Thomson-Pfitzner Plaster Trail Hike follows the old wooden railway line that runs from Inneston to Stenhouse Bay and with a series of interpretive signs you can find out more about the local environment and history as you walk the 7.6 kilometre (return distance) trail, which will take approximately 3 hours.

Cape Spencer Lighthouse
The Cape Spencer lighthouse is located on the clifftop along the southern coastline of Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park and a short walk takes you to the tower with its magnificent views overlooking Althorpe Island and on a clear day all the way across to Kangaroo Island.

An automatic beacon was commissioned in 1950, with a major upgrade taking place in 1970 to the cement structure you see today. Standing 78 metres above sea level and powered by a 120 volt 1000 watt tungsten halogen lamp, Cape Spencer Lighthouse is a working lighthouse with a light range of 23 nautical miles.

West Cape Lighthouse
Located within Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park, the West Cape Lighthouse has undergone an over $1 million redevelopment resulting in a unique experience for visitors.  Featuring upgraded visitor facilities including car park, and interpretative signage; a new lookout provides 360-degree views of the park — showcasing sweeping vistas of West Cape beach, Pondalowie Bay, salt lakes, mallee vegetation and stretches of rugged coastline.  

Constructed of stainless steel and built in 1980, West Cape is a fully automated lighthouse, standing 67 metres above sea level with a range of 22 nautical miles. The lighthouse can be accessed by a walking trail from within Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park and has spectacular views across Pondalowie Bay.

Ethel Shipwreck
Located in Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park on Ethel Beach, the wreck of the Ethel is a popular attraction for tourists and photographers, and has been a landmark of southern Yorke Peninsula since it was wrecked in 1904. 

Built in 1876, the Ethel  was a 711 ton sailing vessel than ran aground in January 1904 when it was enroute to Port Adelaide from South Africa.  During the night, a member of crew tried to swim ashore with a life line, but sadly drowned, however the rest of the crew were able to reach land safely. The next morning, the Ethel was found washed up on the beach above the low tide mark.

Today, over 100 years since it ran aground, there isn’t much left of the vessel and the hull has totally collapsed. What’s left of the shipwreck lies mostly buried beneath sand but every now and then, stormy weather conditions with the massive high tides and huge swells, siphon the sand out to see, exposing the wreck.

Daly Head National Surfing Reserve
Located along the foot of Yorke Peninsula and Australia’s southern coastline, Daly Head was named a national surfing reserve on 12th January 2013.  This iconic and world class surfing location is supported by the local surfing community and environmental group who were instrumental  in helping Daly Head to achieve National Surfing Reserve status, and are passionate about preserving Daly Head for future generations.

Walk The Yorke
With more than 500 kilometres of continuous shared walking & cycling leisure trail, you can explore Yorke Peninsula's coastline from Port Wakefield to Moonta Bay.

With coastal trails & town walks, Walk the Yorke showcases Yorke Peninsula’s spectacular coastline, diverse coastal communities and environments unique to ‘Yorkes’.  

Choose from short walks or a day walk, or why not try a multi-day walk?  The hero walks of Walk The Yorke are those recommended by the designers and developers of this 500km trail, and have some of the best scenery & walking experiences.

Corny Point Lighthouse
Completed in 1882, the Corny Point lighthouse is made of limestone quarried from a nearby farm. De-manned in 1920, the light continued to shine until the 11th December 1942, when a Japanese invasion was feared and it was turned off for several weeks. It was converted to electricity in 1978.  Entries from the light keeper's logs describe how it survived earthquakes and other natural phenomenon such as seeing meteors flying past.

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.  

Baker Bros. Gallery at The Top Shop
This historic shop in Warooka’s main street showcases products from local artisans and handcrafted art.  Featuring local arts, jewellery, candles, photography and children’s items its a great place for finding a unique gift or souvenir. 

Flaherty’s Beach
Flaherty's Beach is a stunning beach located between Hardwicke Bay and Point Turton on the western coast of Yorke Peninsula.  The long white sandy beach with it turquoise waters has seen this location rated as Australia's most beautiful beach, and it was named number 4 in the Tourism Australia Best Beaches list in 2022. 

Hardwicke Bay
Beautiful pristine sandy beaches, perfect for young children, make Hardwicke Bay irresistible to holidaying families, retirees or romantic couples alike.

Its sheltered bay is perfect for swimming, fishing, boating, yachting and windsurfing, all of which are popular pastimes on Yorke Peninsula, especially during holiday season. This peaceful town offers everything for anyone wanting to relax and looking for the great escape.

King George whiting is often abundant in this area, making it popular for fishers; or if you’re wanting a swim, head around 200 metres south of Hardwicke Bay where you’ll find a natural swimming pool surrounded by a reef.

Hardwicke Bay initially evolved as a small shack settlement for the locals on weekends and a base for professional fisherman in the 1940's. The council opened land up in the 1960's and a farmer subdivided his land in the 1980's. Today the bay is rapidly developing with permanent and holiday dwellings.

Home to the Harry Butler Memorial and the Red Devil Bristol Monoplane, believed to be the only genuine one left in the world. The region’s first brewery has opened in Minlaton allowing you to see why the town promotes itself as the ‘Barley Capital of the World’.

Minlaton Museum
A small museum packed with local history and settlers stories, the Minlaton Museum is located in the former General Store which was built in 1889.  With a collection of eulogies, genealogies and tales of past & notable residents, the museum is a tribute to Minlaton.  A must-visit is the room dedicated to local World War One pilot, Captain Harry Butler, with documents and artefacts on display.

Red Devil Memorial
Pioneer aviator Captain Harry Butler grew up in Minlaton, joined the Royal Flying Corps, became a fighter pilot in France and then an aviation instructor in England.

He cemented his place in aviation history on 6th August 1919 when he flew his World War I Bristol Monoplane on the first mail delivery over water in the Southern Hemisphere from Adelaide back to Minlaton.  
Today, Captain 'Harry' Butlers 'Red Devil' Bristol Monoplane is on view in a display hanger in Minlaton. Believed to be the only genuine one of its kind left in the world, it attracts visitors from far and wide. 

Watsacowie Brewery
Offering locally produced ales brewed on-site, Watsacowie Brewery has an atmosphere-filled cellar door with the brewery bar and furniture made from local Jarrah and Oregon timbers reclaimed from a 120 year old shearing shed.

It’s not just craft beers on offer, with cider, wines & soft drinks also available from the Watsacowie bar; plus live music and food trucks are often on site as part of the regular weekend events.

Harvest Corner Craft and Gallery
Located in Minlaton’s main street, Harvest Corner is a volunteer-run hub for Yorke Peninsula artisans with a unique combination of visitor information, quality locally produced craft and an art gallery displaying original artworks.

Port Rickaby Jetty
Situated on the western side of Yorke Peninsula, with the Spencer Gulf lapping its shores, Port Rickaby lies in a clearing between long coastal sand dunes.

A shallow bay guarded by north and south reefs creates a sheltered, sandy swimming beach ideal for family holidays.

Make sure you visit the lookout opposite the kiosk for fantastic 360 degree views, with historical information and photographs of the area.  A stroll along the historic Port Rickaby jetty is a must when visiting.

Port Rickaby was once a busy grain port, visited by ketches and steamships. Large wheat stacks dominated the land now occupied by the caravan park. The jetty was once three times its current length, with up to nine ketches moored at the same time.

The names of some of the ketches and steamships that frequented these waters are now used as local street names, for example: Falie, Waimana and Coringle.  

Port Victoria Museum
Known as the ‘last of the Windjammer ports’, Port Victoria was once a thriving hub of activity; and is famous for being the last port the ships sailed from in ‘The Great Grain Races’, bound for Europe via Cape Horn.

Participants in this race were also known as ‘Cape Horners’, and regularly held an unofficial race back to the major European ports to see who could make it in the quickest time.   Before steam engines came along, wind power certainly made these vessels move with the fastest journey from Port Victoria to Europe being recorded by the ‘Pamir’, taking just 83 days.

Discover the maritime history of Port Victoria and tales of the Great Grain Races, by visiting the Port Victoria Museum overlooking the jetty.

Barley Stacks Wines
Nestled amongst rich farmland and barley crops between Maitland & Minlaton, Barley Stacks Wines offers a range of premium wines - Chardonnay, Rose, Viognier, Moscato, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon – and sparkling varieties at their cellar door.

Port Hughes Coastal Walking Trail
Follow the cliffs and foreshore from Simms Cove to South Beach – a distance of 2.5 kilometres. Along the trail, 10 interpretive signs tell the history of Port Hughes from a fishing village, to an important distribution point for Yorke Peninsula’s agricultural produce and finally its emergence as an important tourist location. A brochure on the trail is available from local Visitor Information Centres.

Port Hughes General Store – big brekky!
The Port Hughes General Store is well known for its ‘Big Beach Brekky’. Enjoy the ultimate Australian Breakfast of bacon, sausage, eggs, hash browns, mushrooms, tomatoes, baked beans and toast, served up in a frying pan! It’s known simply as the Beach Brekky.

Moonta & Moonta Bay
Visit the National Heritage-listed Moonta Mines, grab a Cornish pasty from the local bakery and immerse yourself in the mining and Cornish culture. Moonta offers some great retail therapy and there is no shortage of dining options. Take the kids to Splash Town water park in Moonta Bay for an afternoon of fun!   Discover why Moonta was named South Australia’s Top Tourism Town in 2021!

The Yorke Peninsula is the traditional lands of the Narungga (Nharangga) people, who have lived on, and cared for, this country since the beginning of time. We work, live and travel on Nharannga Banggara [Country], and we take time away from those pursuits to acknowledge and pay our deep respects to the Nharangga Elders of the past and present. 

Today, it is essential that we continue to care for and protect our spectacular natural environment. Tread lightly and leave no trace. Learn more about responsible and respectful travel on Yorke Peninsula.