At the southern tip of Yorke Peninsula lies a 94-square-kilometre refuge for native vegetation, wildlife, and humans. Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park is a favourite place for South Australians to camp, fish and surf, and with some of the best scenery in the state it should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Known to most South Australians as “Innes”, Innes National Park was renamed to Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park in September 2020 to mark its 50th anniversary. The new name also recognises a new co-management agreement with the area’s traditional owners, the Narungga people.
Located 300km from Adelaide via Port Wakefield, the three-hour drive means the park is both easily accessible and far enough away from the city that a weekend there feels like a true holiday. Most people visit the park as a day visitor, often as part of a larger Yorke Peninsula trip, but camping at the park is one of the best ways to experience it. There are more than 100 campsites spread over 8 campgrounds.
The park is the largest remnant of native vegetation on Yorke Peninsula and is an essential habitat for threatened species and coastal ecosystems. The coast is full of pristine beaches, rugged cliffs and offshore islands, while inland is home to diverse flora, emus, and kangaroos.
The park is also home to a lot of history. Its coastline has seen about 40 shipwrecks and its lakes host 3,000-year-old stromatolites. There are several historic buildings in the park that pre-date the park’s 1970 proclamation. These include lighthouses, about 20 fishing shacks that remain leased out to the families on life-tenure arrangements, and buildings at the historic sites of Inneston and Stenhouse Bay.
There is so much to see and do at Innes. Six bushwalks take visitors to see the natural and man-made points of interest and 30km of the Walk the Yorke trail goes through the park from Marion Bay Jetty to Gym Beach. At least 12 beaches are accessible to visitors for swimming and surfing, and there are picnic spots where visitors can view the stunning scenery.
With so much to share about the park, it seemed like it was best to split the information up in a series of posts rather than one long one. So, I am excited to announce my first series!
Over the next six weeks, I will share posts on six great reasons to visit Innes National Park:
- Inneston Ghost Town
I hope you will find them each interesting on their own and as a part of a series.
If you want to make sure you catch each post in the series, get them straight to your inbox:
Innes is located on the south-western tip – or toe – of Yorke Peninsula. It is about 300km, or a three-hour drive, from the City of Adelaide.
Driving is really the only way to get to Innes.
From Adelaide, head north towards Port Wakefield via the Northern Connector (M2) and the Port Wakefield Highway (A1). Keep left past Port Wakefield to take the Copper Coast Highway (B85) for a few kilometres before turning left at the roundabout onto the Yorke Highway (B86).
Continue to follow the Yorke Highway as it heads inland after James Well. Pass through Minlaton and Warooka, following the signs to Marion Bay.
Alternatively, follow the east coast of the peninsula for a bit longer, staying left after James Well to take the St Vincent Highway (B88). After Stansbury, follow the signs to Yorketown then head towards Warooka and Marion Bay.
After Marion Bay, the Yorke Highway heads straight into the national park.
There are plenty of excellent small towns on the Yorke Peninsula. However, even if you plan to head straight to Innes, with a three-hour drive you are probably still going to need to stop for fuel, food or the bathroom.
- Port Wakefield: A popular spot to stop, it gets very busy on a long weekend as it is the jumping off point for several destinations. Port Wakefield has several petrol stations and a few bakeries. Follow the long lines for the good ones.
- Ardrossan: Has a good bakery and a Foodland.
- Minlaton: Home to Watsacowie Brewing Company
- Port Vincent: Has a good fish and chips shop on the coast and a small IGA for essentials.
- Marion Bay: The last fuel stop before the park. There is also a pub.
Opening Hours and Fees
The park is open daily, except on Catastrophic Fire Danger days. It may be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.
The Visitor Information Centre is open daily from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.
Vehicle entry fees apply per day.
Regular: $11 per vehicle
Concession: $9 per vehicle
Campers only need to pay the entry fee once for the duration of their stay.
Food & Beverage
There are picnic areas and BBQ facilities available. However, as a national park, visitors to Innes should leave no trace. There is no water or food available to purchase in the park, and there are no bins – visitors are expected to take their rubbish with them.
Innes is quite remote. Mobile phone coverage gets spotty in areas.