Have you explored the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia? After exploring the Eyre Peninsula a few years back, the Yorke is on our radar. We couldn’t get there this year, however, we were lucky enough to virtually follow our mates from Barefoot & Breastless on their adventures and asked them to share their highlights…
THE YORKE PENINSULA!
The Yorke Peninsula, WOW! The clear waters and picturesque coastline of this peninsula, along with the grain belt of the inland pastures speckled with mining history from the late 1800’s make the Yorke Peninsula vast and brilliant. We had many conversations with fellow travellers about this area of South Australia. We heard about calm sheltered bays, great fishing, history to discover and coastal walks. It exceeded expectations.
In March 2020 and again in February of 2021 we spent weeks exploring the Yorke Peninsula. Although generally keen to keep moving from one location to the next during our travels, we are glad we took the time to slow down and really appreciate this area.
The north east corner of the peninsula is a little over an hour drive from Adelaide. As you come down the east coast you travel through farmland rolling towards the ocean to a small town of Ardrossan known for its blue swimmer crabs and red clay cliffs. There is a historic Port and the main street is littered with cafes and convenience stores. Make sure you stop in at the bakery for an awesome vanilla slice and wonder down to the end of town where there is a large play park for the kids overlooking the water. We spent some time at a free camp just south of Ardrossan by the water. At low tide you can go out into the shallows and rake for blue swimmer crabs. We had never heard of a “crab rake” until we reached SA. We just noticed several people out in the shallows and wondered what they were up to. Adam, who is always keen to talk fishing, struck up a conversation and before long we had ourselves some crab rakes and found ourselves in the shallows too. The rakes can be purchased from the local hardware store and you just scratch around in the shallows in search of blue swimmer crabs buried beneath the sand. Our two boys had a blast wading through knee deep water scooping up their catch. If wading through the shallows is not to you liking then you can drop in some crab traps off the local jetty or cast a line for some delicious squid.
Further down the east coast is our favourite coastal town of the peninsula called Port Vincent. Although on the east coast it is quite central, an easy day trip across to places like Point Turton or down to the Innes National Park. We used this town as a base to further explore the area. Port Vincent is a great place for travelling families especially those with small children. There are two holiday parks to choose from for your stay, either the Port Vincent Caravan Park or the Port Vincent Foreshore Holiday Park, we chose the latter.
The Port Vincent Foreshore holiday park https://portvincentfcp.com.au is a clean, well run park, based on the point with a sheltered bay on the east and the beach to the south. The bay is a great place to launch boats and kayaks as it is protected from the southerly winds and you have plenty of beach to set yourself up on for the day. Our boys really enjoyed snorkelling in the shallows to spot all sorts of small fish, whiting, squid, and crabs to see in the clear blue shallows. Adjacent to the beach is a fish and chip shop where you can eat perched up on the balcony overlooking the water or you can grab yourself a pile of chips with chicken salt and sit down at the beach to enjoy the sun, not much can beat that!
The waterfront caravan sites at the park are exactly that, right on the water. At low tide, the kids can explore the sandbar and seagrass beds and when the tide comes up in the evenings you can see blue swimmer crabs all over in the shallows. We tried our luck with the crab rake and were able to catch quite a few. Our boys love the ocean and all it’s creatures. Luke was the boss of the crab rakes, you really cannot keep him away from the crabs, he has no fear, just picks them up.
A five-minute walk from the holiday park is the local jetty which is a great spot to cast a line or drop a few crab traps into water. The caravan park stocks crab rakes and crab traps to use during your stay, and with no free camps or low-cost national park camping in the immediate area, the park really is an affordable option and will not break your back pocket. The amenities are spotlessly clean, there is a new play park for the kids, a good size laundry, BBQ area, happy hour where you can mingle with likeminded travellers and the location of the park is within walking distance of everything you may need during your stay. There is an IGA, local butcher, chemist, newsagency, and a café with brilliant coffee to name a few. In addition, if you need your car serviced like we did, the local mechanical workshop is walking distance from the park. Now do not forget to visit the local pub, great food and great service with a view of the water.
On the west coast overlooking Hardwicke Bay, Point Turton is a calm quiet town. The beautiful local jetty here is the highlight located adjacent to the Point Turton Caravan Park which overlooks the bay. The jetty, built in 1876, attracts many families who enjoy their time by the water. You can catch squid, kingfish, whiting, salmon all from the jetty and have a swim out to a pontoon in the calm protected shallow waters adjacent to the jetty and break wall. For boating enthusiasts there is a fantastic boat ramp and launching facility. The snorkelling under the jetty is amazing, you may even be able to spot the Leafy Sea dragon but you’ll more likely see one of the fantastic rays that like to visit
The Copper Coast
The north west of the peninsula better known as “The Copper Coast” is made up of the towns of Wallaroo, Moonta, and Kadina. These copper mining towns were established in the late 1800’s and mined through to the mid 1950’s. Moonta has a great beach area for a swim with a jetty and netted swimming baths available. Whilst we walked along the jetty there were several folks fishing off the jetty catching plenty of squid. Through town there are many historic buildings to check out.
Walk the Yorke
Anyone who enjoys cycling or donning a backpack and trekking around to explore, Walk the Yorke is more than 500 kilometres of shared walking/cycling leisure trails with approximately 16 walking trails to choose from. Check out https://yorkepeninsula.com.au/walk-the-yorke for all the information you need or stop into one of the Yorke Peninsula Visitor Information centres.
The Yorke Peninsula really is a beautiful part of our country. The stunning coastal scenery, the abundance of seafood, and remnants of early settlement history is a great combination for any travel enthusiast to experience. We highly recommend all travelling families to spend atleast several weeks in the area, if not more, and indulge yourself to imagine what it feels like for those who call this place home.
Adam, Carol, Logan & Luke Smith
Check out where it all started here….