See Australia: Visiting the Yorke Peninsula
An abandoned mining town might seem like an unlikely place for a back-to-nature holiday, but a combination of an unbeatable location in the middle of a national park that harbours some of South Australia’s best coastal scenery, along with fantastic heritage accommodation, makes Inneston an ideal base to explore the beautiful Yorke Peninsula in South Australia’s deep south.
A remarkably intact gypsum mining village that was once home to 200 people but abandoned in the 1970s, Inneston has seven historic buildings, including the former manager’s lodge, post office and gatehouse, that are now self-contained accommodation. There’s a heritage walk around the village that attracts a few day-trippers, but late in the afternoon or early in the morning, chances are the only signs of life you’ll see are the resident emus prowling the deserted streets.
Spend your days exploring the surrounding national park, which has a number of good coastal walking trails, including the two-hour return walk to Royston Head – highlights include panoramic coastal views of offshore reefs and islands and Dolphin Beach, where you can swim in water so clear it’s almost invisible.
There are more than 40 shipwrecks in the coastal waters – the most famous is The Ethel, which ran aground in 1904 during a storm, and you can still see traces of the half-buried three-masted iron barque at Ethel Beach – but there are also a number of much more modern relics lying forgotten on various bays and beaches. Where there are wrecks, there are lighthouses – there are three in the park – and the one at West Cape is stunning. Built of stainless steel, it gleams by day but is at its most impressive just before dusk when the setting sun paints it gold.
On a map the Yorke Peninsula looks a bit like a boot, with Innes National Park on the toe, and the
fishing village of Edithburgh at the heel. In between is a coast-hugging drive east to Troubridge Point along the sole of the foot that makes for a fabulous daytrip, past beautiful deserted beaches, gleaming salt flats, cliff-top lookouts and the towering Troubridge Hill lighthouse made from red clay bricks. Dangle a fishing line from the jetty at Edithburgh – once one of the busiest ports in the country when windjammers and ketches loaded up with cargo bound for England jostled for space at the wharf – or cool off with a swim in the sea-water swimming pool.
WHERE IS IT?
Innes National Park is on the southern tip of the Yorke Peninsula, approximately 300km west of Adelaide.
WHEN TO GO?
Temperatures are moderate most of the year. Summer is usually much drier than the winter months, although winter is a great time for salmon fishing.
2–5 days (minimum 2-night stay in lodges).
This is an edited extract from Australia’s Best Nature Escapes by Lee Atkinson published by Hardie Grant Books [39.99] and is available in stores nationally.
Photographer: © Lee Atkinson