07 Oct 2022

Six reasons to visit Yorke Peninsula this spring

Yorke Peninsula is one of the fertile (and certainly most lovely) primary producing regions in South Australia. With its warmer weather, green shoots and big salmon runs, it’s no wonder Spring has everyone doing cartwheels …

Is that a salmon in your bucket (or are you just pleased to see me)?

We love Australian salmon for three very good reasons: 
1.    they come in dirty black schools of swirling fish,
2.    they fight like the devil,and 
3.    they make great eating. 

Spring is the thing when it comes to Arripis trutta, and you can’t do better than the lower beaches of Yorkes where they gleefully amass to feed on bait fish.

Beautiful Daly Head (the closest towns are Corny Point and Warooka) is the sweet spot for those hunting salmon. The rocks give you an elevated vantage to sight your quarry and the beach runs for 5km. Better yet, the salmon are said to average a most pleasing 2.7kg.

You don’t need bait, you don’t even need to be particularly good at fishing -- if the black masses are swirling, just point and shoot. It won’t be the first time a novice has hooked a salmon only to find themselves equally hooked on the nation’s most popular sport.

If you’re looking for a dedicated fishing escape, try staying at Hillocks Drive overlooking salmon-tastic Butlers Beach. This privately-owned farm sits on seven kilometres of beachfront and hundreds of acres of bushland. You can camp or make use of their futuristic Ocean Pods.  

Follow the Yorke Peninsula Art Trail

Explore the Yorke Peninsula Art Trail to discover colourful murals, statues, mosaic creations and photo opportunities across the region.

Visit regional galleries and artists' studios to see the artists in residence. You can also buy paintings, jewellery, ceramics and other artworks direct from the maker.

You’ll treasure meeting artists in their workshops and studios where you can chat with talented locals working in a number of mediums – from watercolours to oil paint, glass, ceramics and wood.

The region also produces some exquisite jewellery, woodcraft, clothing and much more from local artisans across the region.

Wandering through the townships of Port Clinton, Ardrossan, Port Victoria, Minlaton, Stansbury, Hardwicke Bay, Yorketown, Edithburgh and Corny Point (just to mention a few), you can see the talent of local artists, and the region’s rich history and beautiful landscapes up close through large murals painted on historic buildings throughout the towns.


What’s the difference between a Coffin Bay oyster and a Stansbury oyster?

Answer: not a lot.

Coffin Bay’s famous shellfish are sold in Australia’s most exclusive restaurants. Yet they start their lives in racks off Stansbury – a fact you can (quite literally) get to grips with on Steve and Gerri Bowley’s fabulous ‘Deckie for a Day’ tour with Pacific Estate Oysters.

The Bowleys own one of the five oyster leases not far out from the little town of Stansbury, and run tours aboard their oyster boat from the jetty.

The 1.5-hour experience will have you out to the racks, suited up in waders and up to your waist in the turquoise shallows. Depending on the season, jobs will need to be done (we had to help load baskets onto the boat), before you get to kick back and sample the fruits of your labours.

Stansbury oysters are grown for a year in the Gulf St Vincent before being trucked to Eyre Peninsula where they’re quickly fattened on the super-rich tides of Coffin Bay. At this point they’re dutifully renamed and their price goes north.

After the tour, head for the Dalrymple Hotel in Stansbury, for a brilliant seafood menu, plus some fine white wines to wash down those local oysters.

The Dalrymple was established in 1875 as the Oyster Bay Hotel, named for the original oyster beds off Yorke that were instrumental in the region being settled. The natural beds were exhausted by 1890, and Yorke’s oyster connection languished for decades until 1966.

Today, the Bowleys grow their oysters over seagrass, a terrior which, Steve believes, gives the Stansbury oysters a flavour that’s subtly distinct from the mineral flavours bestowed by Coffin Bay. 
So maybe there’s a difference after all…

Does spring make you snappy?

Very likely if you’re a photographer. The season of renewal throws up some terrific subjects on Yorke Peninsula:

Wheat crops and Canola fields – From vibrant green paddocks turning to golden hues to great rolling vistas of cadmium yellow beneath skies of cerulean blue, Yorke Peninsula is filled with colour during spring. No filter required. Canola is something of a hero crop right now – pick any country lane on the peninsula and you’re likely to get an eyeful of bright yellow. Just remember to take your photos from the roadside, not inside the fenceline.

Baby emus in Minlaton – there’s a clutch of them guaranteed every year, head to the Minlaton Fauna Park to see the baby chicks and emu families.

Wildflowers at Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park - Innes is flushed with colour, with golden wattle, red ‘cockie’s tongue’ (Templetonia) and pale pink fringe myrtle. Birds are also on the wing in spring, offering twitchy photographers the chance to snap at rarities like ospreys and red-capped robin.

Surf action – there’s a million-hit Instagram shot waiting to be had when the big dolphin pods decide to surf the waves around southern Yorkes.

A classic English gardenCamelot Garden in Kadina is replete with lawns, 150 roses and a lavish collection of trees. It’s open to the public on Friday 28, Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 October between 10am and 4pm. Plenty of colour, form and composition -- to help you with your colour, form and composition…

People at play – spring sees colour of a different sort spreading across the region thanks to events like the Copper Coast Cycling Cup event across the Copper Coast towns of Moonta and Wallaroo, Edithburgh’s A Day At The Burgh, The Mulberry Tree Festival in Warooka and the Yorke Peninsula Field Days at Paskeville (last week of September in odd—numbered years. It’s a chance to grab portraits of country people living the good life. 

Join a photography tour of Yorke Peninsula

If you’re a keen photographer, consider joining a tour of the southern part of the region with like-minded people as part of the small group boutique tour.

Ballara Art & Lifestyle Retreat offers tour packages to suit experienced and amateur photographers, hosted by Yorke Peninsula photographer Steph Ball, and often with a guest photographer to provide additional expertise and insights.

With itineraries including coastal view, lighthouses, rural landscapes, property ruins (with exclusive access to the tour group), and Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park, there are a range of photographic opportunities to be found.

Surf’s up!

Did you know South Australia’s first National Surfing Reserve (NSR) was established on Yorke Peninsula? Daly Head received official NSR status in 2013, becoming one of just 19 Australian surf beaches recognised as an 'iconic place of intrinsic environmental, heritage, sporting and cultural value to [the] nation’. Alumni include Maroubra, Margaret River, and Burleigh Heads.

According to the NSR website

Over 50 years ago, the Daly Head surfing area was discovered by a group of surfers in search of quality breaks on the Yorke Peninsula. Local fishermen talked of large waves breaking in the area which kept the eager surfers hungry in their search, despite the limited beach access throughout the scrub & farmland. By 1961, the surfers’ efforts were rewarded with a variety of breaks that make the Daly Head area the stand out that it is to this day.

Spring sees some frenzied surfing action around the southern beaches of Yorke Peninsula, with Pondalowie Bay, Daly Head and Berry Bay some of the favourite locations for surfers and boardriders.

Be aware the surf can get pretty serious around these parts, but the vibe is distinctly chilled, with none of the ‘surf wars’ that plague busy breaks in the eastern states. Beginners can also get a break thanks to occasional surf schools operating on gentler waves. Check out Yorkes Junior Surf Club which meets at Berry Bay (Corny Point) on the last Sunday of every month at 10am.

If you want to join a surf lesson (wetsuits & board provided), Neptunes Surf Coaching offers group and private lessons.  Located at Corny Point, the surf lessons are held at nearby Berry Bay North with an accredited instructor.  Or, if you just want to hire some gear, Neptunes offers surfboard hire, snorkelling kits, and paddleboard hire, all with wetsuits and safety equipment.  


Written by Max Anderson for Yorke Peninsula Tourism; updated 7 October 2022

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.