Josie Kelsh from Exploring South Australia spent three days experiencing Winter on Yorkes. Here’s her take on it. 

My Yorke Peninsula road trip began in Adelaide with a car load of snacks, a full tank of fuel and an urge to explore.

I have been to the Yorke Peninsula before, for beach holidays with my kids, once or twice camping, and even for the wedding of a friend. But I have never explored it as I was planning to do over the next three days.

Day One – Port Wakefield to Point Turton

My first stop was in Port Wakefield. While this is traditionally a roadside stop for refuelling, using the toilet, and restocking all the snacks already eaten, there is more to see here.

I stretched my legs by taking a walk on the boardwalk through the mangroves. I couldn’t help but notice a local prankster has set up some quirky scenes with mannequins and skeletons. There’s one fishing in a small boat, and some others having a pool party on the banks of the creek.

If more snacks are needed before getting back on the road, the ever-popular Kipling’s Bakery gets my vote.

My next stop was Ardrossan. Best known for its ochre cliffs, great fishing and huge grain silos, it’s worth driving in to take a look around.

I strolled along the jetty, peeking into the buckets of the people fishing. 

“Not much luck today” they were telling me, but there were tall tales of enormous snook, garfish, tommies and even the prized king george whiting caught in the past. The black stains on the jetty suggest this is a good location for squid too.

As I continued to drive south, I ducked in and out of small coastal towns, enjoying the pristine beaches, small town vibes and the water tower art.


Wool Bay mural art
Wool Bay mural art


I came across the first mural at Port Vincent, and followed the SYP Water Tower Trail through Stansbury, Wool Bay, Coobowie and Edithburgh.

Edithburgh is perfect for a lunch stop. I had brought a picnic with me, enjoying it at the coastal reserve overlooking the tidal pool. It was a little cool for swimming, but I imagine some hardened locals here every morning, come rain or shine.

If you didn’t bring your food, there are cafes and pubs on the main street, along with a small museum if you want to delve into the history of the area.


Yorke Peninsula Salt Lake trail
Yorke Peninsula Salt Lake trail


After the water towers it was time to drive another of the Yorke Peninsula trails, this time the Salt Lake Trail. It winds its way between Yorketown and the southern coast past salt lakes that range from pure white or candy pink to baby blue and more.

While there are some suggested routes, I know that there are dozens (probably hundreds) of salt lakes in this part of the Yorke Peninsula, so I set off at random to see what I would find.

The most popular lake is fittingly called Pink Lake and is one of the best to visit to see, well, a pink lake. But depending on the time of year and how much it has rained, it may not be pink.


Pink Lake
Pink Lake


In the past I have seen this lake (and many of its neighbours) resplendent in its pinkness, but even if the lakes are dry, this is spectacular country and a photographer’s dream.

With all this driving, it was time to check into my accommodation while there was still some light to explore.

I stayed at the Point Turton Caravan Park in one of the seafront cabins. They are north-facing and this was the perfect location to enjoy both the sunset and the sunrise.

Before calling it a day I went for a walk down to the jetty. I had heard rumours that there were often stingrays that came right in close here and I was not disappointed.


Point Turton stingrays
Point Turton stingrays


While there were several stingrays swimming around, there was one big one in particular that was very friendly.

The Point Turton Tavern is just a short walk up the hill from the caravan park. It’s a great place to try some of the local King George Whiting for dinner.

Day Two – Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park  

I woke up bright and early on my second day, excited for what was to come. Today I was going to spend the day exploring Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park.

If you look at a map, the national park makes up the “big toe” of the peninsula and is accessed near the town of Marion Bay.

Visitors need a National Parks pass here, which can be bought at the office on the way in or online in advance.

Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park is all about dramatic coastal scenery, wildlife, history, shipwrecks, lighthouses and beaches for miles.

At Stenhouse Bay I learned a little about the gypsum mines that attracted settlers to this remote location in years gone by. There is no mining now, but lots of reminders of that history.


Stenhouse Bay jetty
Stenhouse Bay jetty


The water near the jetty here is a brilliant shade of blue, reminiscent of tropical waters in Insta-famous locations.

I took a short walk up and over the adjacent hill which gives stunning views along the beaches and bays of the coast. 

It's such a dramatic view, with the sound of the waves crashing below, and it made me quite emotional as I stood taking it all in.

Here I spotted my first wildlife for the day - a pair of emus casually hanging out amongst the scrub.


Emus in Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park
Emus in Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park

 The history continued at my next stop - the deserted town of Inneston.


I was immediately drawn to the stunning salt lake at Inneston. This one is spring-fed, so there was water in it. It was the most beautiful shade of blue, and so crystal clear.

Some of the remaining buildings here at Inneston have been restored and are now available for visitors to stay in. 

Others have been left as reminders of days past, such as the old Bellco factory, which made the chalk that our teachers used when we were kids.

As I continued to drive through the park, I stopped at numerous beaches and viewpoints. I just couldn’t get enough of this breathtaking coastal scenery.

West Cape is a favourite. The long, white, sandy beach always looks magical to me. There are often surfers here enjoying the waves. This beach is my pick for the best beaches in Australia.

It’s a short walk from the car park to a lookout with 360-degree views, and a little further to the West Cape Lighthouse. These new automated lighthouses tend to lack romance, but I quite like the unusual bulbous shape of this one. It reminds me of the Boab trees.

Another memorable stop is always Ethel Wreck Beach, named for the shipwreck that has been sitting on the sands since 1904.

Ethel Beach
Ethel Beach

Each time I visit it has disintegrated a little further, and it won’t be long before nothing but the story - and the name of the beach - remains.

For dinner on my second night I tried out the warm and cosy Warooka Hotel, just ten minutes from my Point Turton base.

Day Three – Warooka to Barley Stacks Wines

Sadly day three meant the return trip to Adelaide. But there was still more to see here on Yorke Peninsula.

I followed the coastline to Corny Point, where I scrambled over rocks to admire a sea lion soaking up every bit of the weak winter sun. His harem splashed in the waves below.

Corny Point sealion
Corny Point sealion

I could see the lighthouse across a little bay and had to get closer for a proper look. Now automated like West Cape, this one was built in 1882, so it retains that stereotypical lighthouse charm.

I thought I had seen the best beach on Yorke Peninsula yesterday, but then I stopped at Berry Bay, and I had to reconsider.

Berry Bay
Berry Bay

This is a well-known surf beach that stretches for miles. Even in winter surf schools run at each end of the beach. It was too cold for me to go near the water, but I could have stood watching the waves here all day.

There was one more viewpoint, and that was overlooking the weirdly-named Baby Lizards, another popular surf location. 

Baby Lizards
Baby Lizards

This one is different though. I wasn’t looking down at a pristine white beach, but instead into the dark green depths of the waves right below the cliffs.

Lunch was at the Minlaton Bakery as I passed through town. It’s a good choice and it was a busy little place with locals and visitors alike having the same idea.

I still had one last stop planned before returning to Adelaide. The Yorke Peninsula is known as one of the best barley-growing regions in the world, so you wouldn’t expect to find a winery amongst the crops.

But this is South Australia, we have wineries everywhere, and Barley Stacks Wines proves grapevines can be grown here just as well as the traditional crops. I called in for a tasting, curious as to what I was going to find. 

Barley Stacks Wines
Barley Stacks Wines

The hospitality was second to none, and I loved chatting to Brooklyn and Lyall, learning the ins and outs of their particular wine-making as well as growing barley.

As I drove the last kilometres back to the city I had plenty of time to reflect. Yorke Peninsula had given me three days of relaxation, of nature, of art, of history, of wildlife and of incredible views.

While the beaches are beautiful, it’s not all about swimming and sunshine. In winter it’s time to admire the power of mother nature, the pristine sand and the ever-changing blues of the ocean. 

All I can say is…Winter on Yorkes. IYKYK.

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.