South Australia’s Southern Yorke Peninsula (SYP) can get pretty tedious – day after ho-hum day of blue skies, mile after punishing mile of spectacular coastal scenery, more and yet more (almost) deserted beaches. Seal and dolphin watching, fishing, museums, shipwrecks, snorkelling, surfing, wildflowers, markets and country shows. A well preserved, documented – AND fascinating history. And it all comes with arguably the highest concentrations of bakeries AND scenic public toilets (SPTs) in the country!
Yep, there’s only so much of that you can take.
So I’ve limited this to 7 days. 7 arduous days – NOT for the faint hearted! These pleasures can be exhausting – so unless your stamina is unusually robust, it must be fortified often with the region’s gastronomic pleasures …
SO … where to stay? While you can’t toss a salmon without hitting an SYP caravan park, for my money (and to mix my metaphors), the Coobowie Caravan Park is an unsung gem – and central to most activities. Besides, it’s a surreal pleasure to be assailed by County AND Western hits* when visiting the amenities in the otherwise quiet dead of night! My favourite? The chorus – ‘He drank tequila, and she talked dirty in Spanish’ – stays with me still!!!
Day 1 – Edithburgh (and maybe Yorketown) – Bakery AND SPT alert!
Walk from Coobowie to Edithburgh if you’re up for a 5km magnificent-coastal-scenery hit – or take the car for a Bakery hit at nearby Yorketown, with vanilla slices so huge the staff give ‘how-to-eat’ instructions. These are wasted on Pilchard – his talent for turning one into something resembling a plate of fresh roadkill remains unparalleled. And me? I’m sure the fresh cream honey stick will figure prominently in my last meal … But I digress!!
If you walk, the path – part of the ‘Walk the Yorke’ hiking trail – winds through the clifftop golf course, past the tidal swimming pool (SPT alert #1) and jetty (SPT alert #2) before reaching Edithburgh itself where a range of refreshment options await.
Eat at the excellent Location Cafe, either of the two pubs, the Garage Diner or the General Store; Spot the teddy bears in the trees while strolling through the Native Flora park, bigger in area than the Adelaide Botanic Gardens; visit the terrific historical museum and Bakehouse craft shop; wander the streets for the op shop and craft/gift store; swim or snorkel at the pool, fish from the jetty or play a round of golf.
Don’t want to leave Coobowie? No problem! There’s another pub and Blooms and Bakes for refreshments!
For the masochistic, or those who haven’t yet tired of the magnificent coastal scenery, follow the path from Edithburgh another 3km to Sultana Point (SPT alert #3) – the heel on the foot of the leg!! But be warned … you’ll then have to walk all the way back!
Day 2 – Coastal Drive to Port Moorowie (SPT Alert)
If not for the dirt roads, courtesy of the current State Government’s focus on urban votes at the expense of rural SA, I’d claim the coastal drive from Edithburgh to Port Moorowie as one of Australia’s best.
For my money, the dirt roads actually add to the charm – as the world-class magnificent coastal scenery and deserted beaches are all the more unexpected from the many lookout points.
Past the Wattle Point Wind Farm, the goat track road hugs the coast so closely that the sea spray will wet you in rough weather! When they’re not breeding across the strait at Kangaroo Island – seals frolic below the Troubridge Hill Lighthouse, constructed of purpose-made clay bricks. And on a clear day? The view is stupendous!
From the access stairway to Swimmers Beach – hard to believe it was once covered in stones – look for the telltale schools of salmon masquerading as giant clumps of seaweed. Looks good enough for a swim, doesn’t it? That’s what I thought until the day we spotted a shark cruising quite close to shore heading towards the salmon …
And the day Pilchard and I weathered a storm that nearly blew the car off the cliff? Well, let’s just say flat tyres come at the most inopportune moments!
If you’re there when the mullet run is on, you probably won’t get any further. And the beach certainly won’t be deserted! If you’ve got the bait the mullet are after that day, you’ll leave the other fisher-people in your wake!
Once you tire of the views, the beaches, the clear blue sea and sky, retreat to the Ballywire Farm Licensed Café – the menu specialises in home grown ingredients.
And after lunch? WELL … dare I suggest the Port Moorowie clifftop walk? It’s a 3km (one way) corker, stretching from west of the town at Point Gilbert, along the clifftop and through to McEacherns beach. Whoops, yes, more magnificent coastal scenery, another mostly deserted beach! Just return the way you came if you can’t cope …
If you CAN cope, the nearby Mozzie Flat campground has yet more of what you’d expect. Knock yourself out! But be warned – ‘mozzie’ is an Australian euphemism for ‘mosquito’!
Day 3 – Minlaton & the Other Side (Bakery Alert)
At its narrowest point, the SYP is a mere 33km across, so while a trip to the other side necessarily leaves the coast, the absence of magnificent coastal scenery/deserted beach combo is momentary.
Unless, of course, you break your journey at Minlaton, where you can experience TWO world class attractions!
First, there’s the ‘Red Devil’ – believed to be the only Bristol M.1C Military Monoplane from a World War 1 limited edition of 1918 left in the world, flown by ace pilot and local hero Captain Harry Butler.
Then, just up the road in the main street, there’s the Minlaton Chocolaterie. I dare you to go in and NOT buy anything! I just don’t think that’s possible …
But … given the total magnificent coastal scenery overload of the last 2 days, those experiencing withdrawal symptoms should continue to Port Rickaby for a fix. And while you’re there, enhance those views from the top of the sand dune – if my (then) 81 year old mother-in-law can climb it, then so can you!!
Day 4 – Innes National Park (Scenic Public Toilet alert)
Sound familiar? Regular readers will recall the amazing wonders of this OZ Top Spot that I’ve written about several times – but click HERE if you’ve missed them!
Day 5 – Corny Point and Western Beaches (Scenic Public Toilet alert)
Yeah, continue up the western side of the ‘leg’ for more of the same old, same old. Another day, another series of wild, windswept beaches with magnificent coastal scenery, great surfing and fishing. What can I say? Yes, it’s exhausting documenting such tedium… but I’m willing to sacrifice myself so others don’t have to suffer!!
Besides, you don’t see emus on the beach and galahs nesting in the cliffs too many other places, do you?!
Don’t miss western hot spot Point Turton, with its jetty, coastal walk and pub with the best lunch view! Then a little further up, do yourself a favour and stop at Hardwicke Bay – the colour of the water is AMAZING!
Day 6 – Stansbury (Scenic Public Toilet alert)
Sadly, the Stansbury Seaside Markets are – well, naturally – right on the beach. So even though you’re shopping, you just can’t escape the magnificent coastal scenery/deserted beach combo. Sorry.
Once you’ve experienced the markets, take a walk! The Stansbury Visitor Information Centre will let you know where to go!
Day 7 – Troubridge Island
Readers may also recall the fabulous Troubridge Island, 6km offshore from Edithburgh, from a previous post! There’s a minimum 2 night stay so sneak in another day, especially if you have unfulfilled fantasies involving lighthouses AND being serenaded by thousands of penguins …
As you head back to the real world after this little taste of paradise, treat yourself to another of life’s great pleasures and drop in to the Ardrossan Bakery. You won’t regret it!!
Then, there’s Port Clinton – worth a stay if you want to experience the upper York Peninsula.
I’ve given up trying to write a definitive post on the SYP – there’s just too much to see and do!! SO … be prepared for even more posts in the future, because I’ll definitely be back!
Since these photos and this post, I’ve visited the Yorke Peninsula many more times! For more information and updated posts, try these:
- Tour the Yorke Peninsula via its BEST Scenic Loos!
- The Jewel in the Toe, Innes National Park
- 7 Wonderful Walks in Innes National Park
- Why Port Clinton is a TOP Aussie Town!
- MORE Photos of the Yorke Peninsula on FLICKR
- AND … more pix of the Yorke Peninsula’s Scenic Public Loos HERE!
*Don’t be disappointed if this no longer happens – it’s a few years since we’ve stayed at the Coobowie Caravan Park.