During 1802 and 1803, European explorers, Matthew Flinders and Nicholas Baudin charted the coastline of Yorke Peninsula.

Their skill and accuracy in defining the coastline meant their charts were used well into the 20th century.

From the 1840’s through to the 1940’s, ships were the main transport for people and cargo, to and from Yorke Peninsula. 

Given this, it’s not surprising that there are 85 shipwrecks scattered around Yorke Peninsula’s coastline.

The Zanoni shipwreck lies 10 nautical miles south-east of Ardrossan and is the most intact 19th century merchant sailing vessel in South Australian Waters. If you are interested in diving the Zanoni, a permit is required. 

The Ethel shipwreck has been a landmark of southern Yorke Peninsula since it was wrecked in 1904. The 711 ton sailing vessel was heading to Port Adelaide from South Africa, when it ran aground. That night, a 19 year old crew man attempted to swim to shore with a life line, but sadly drowned. The next morning, the Ethel was found washed up on the beach.

Located in Innes National Park, the wreck of the Ethel is a popular attraction for tourists and photographers. Today, 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.

Two underwater Maritime Heritage Trails provide excellent diving opportunities for beginners and the experienced.

  • The Wardang Island Maritime Heritage Trail has 8 shipwrecks within 10 nautical miles of one another. Amazingly, no lives were lost in any of these shipwrecks. Clear shallow waters make it ideal for novice shipwreck divers. 

  • The Investigator Strait Shipwreck Trail is between Yorke Peninsula and Kangaroo Island and highlights 10 of the 26 shipwrecks dating from 1849 to 1892. These vessels range from the famous Clan Ranald, a huge 3,596 tonne steel steamer to the Welling, a 10 tonne wooden fishing cutter.

Why not explore the coastline or pop into some of the many museums to discover for yourself the remains and tales of the many shipwrecks that can be found here?


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Copper Coast Visitor Information Centre, Kadina

Ph 1800 654 991

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Yorke Peninsula Visitor Information 

Ph 1800 202 445

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