Yorke Peninsula is, much like your favourite pair of socks, warm and welcoming, with plenty of character to make it stand out in the wash!
South Australia’s On our tour of the Yorke Peninsula, we start at the very beginning: Wallaroo, one of South Australia’s most popular seaside resorts. Wallaroo North Beach is as fl at as they come, offering an expanse of clear, green water and soft white sand that would look incomplete without frolicking children!
Unsurprisingly, this calm, sheltered beach is a favourite with visiting families, who come for the relaxed seaside vibe, and stay for the brilliant nightly sunsets. A unique feature of Wallaroo North Beach is that you can actually drive your car onto the sand and park right next to your towel. Do be mindful of the incoming tide, though! Offi ce Beach is smaller, but is located much closer to town, and has a natural seawater swimming pool for those seeking a deeper swim close to the shore.
Wallaroo is known for its beaches, as well as its excellent fishing, which is free and convenient from the jetty. Anglers come from all over to catch King George whiting, yellowtail whiting, garfi sh, tommy ruffs, mullet, salmon, bream, snapper, mulloway, yellowtail kingfi sh, blue swimmer crabs and squid. If you’re travelling with a boat, head to the marina, where you’ll be well catered for.
Take the Spencer Highway 40 minutes south and you’ll arrive in Maitland, the most inland town on our route and the heart of the Yorke Peninsula. Time your visit for a Thursday or a Friday for the Maitland Markets, where you can fi nd art, craft, local produce and special gifts, as well as enjoy a wonderful afternoon tea. But perhaps the best attraction of the markets is the venue itself. The interior is laid out as a U-shaped street lined with shop frontages with hooded verandahs, street lights, period petrol pumps and vintage signs, which were all reclaimed items. Someone even donated a Maitland Community Notice Board, complete with notices from the 1960s! But you don’t have to stay in Maitland, because you can drive the whole length of the Yorke Peninsula in only two hours.
Travel 15 minutes south-west and you will come to Port Victoria, where you will feel like you’ve rediscovered a coastal paradise thanks to its pristine beaches that are free from crowds. One of the best ways to experience the foreshore is on the Geology Trail, a four-kilometre path that will take you from the jetty around Rifle Butts Beach, which was formed 2000 million years ago by volcanic eruption. Alternatively, take the Southern Walking Trail along the coastline and through the sand dunes and flora park, or take the Northern Walking Trail and spot pelicans on the shallow beach.
Half an hour south-east of Port Victoria lies Minlaton, where you can see the Red Devil Bristol M1C monoplane, a memorial to pioneer aviator Captain Harry Butler. In 1919, Butler flew his World War I Bristol monoplane on the first special mail delivery across the sea from Adelaide to Minlaton. There is more to discover about Captain Butler at the Minlaton Museum, where you can also get a glimpse into how early settlers lived and worked in the region.
From Minlaton, travel 20 minutes south-east to get yourself back on the coast, this time on the Gulf of St Vincent side, at Stansbury. At the top of your list of things to do in this town should be spotting dolphins frolicking in the bay! Prime dolphin spotting times are in the mornings and evenings. As expected, those with a penchant for fishing are very well catered for in Stansbury, with crabbing providing fantastic fun on the jetty from September to April each year. In the evenings, you can also land squid, mullet, garfish, tommies and snook. Don’t forget to pick up some Stansbury oysters while you’re in town – they’re a real treat!
Until April 2017, you can browse the fantastic Stansbury Seaside Markets on the picturesque Stansbury foreshore. Sample all the delectable locally made preserves, breads, dips, pastries, cakes, sauces, spices and other treats, or pick up some souvenirs and gifts for those back home.
Head south when you’ve loaded your van with goodies to the beautiful town of Edithburgh, just 20 minutes down the coast. Bring your diving gear and head to the Edithburgh Jetty, a paradise for ocean lovers that is renowned for its spectacular underwater scenery and the easy access it provides for divers of all abilities. Join the fish and other marine life living among the jetty pylons, and watch for seahorses, leafy sea dragons, curious cuttlefish and even Port Jackson sharks (don’t worry, these gentle fish eat only sea urchins and shellfish, and are harmless to humans) as you admire the colourful coral.
Less intrepid swimmers (or young children) who prefer to swim in unoccupied waters should instead visit Edithburgh’s unique Tidal Pool, which is filled with the tide from the Gulf of St Vincent, and offers a safe and protected place for a dip. Built in the 1880s for male swimmers, the pool was one of two – the other catering for women – when mixed swimming was not permitted.
Now that you’ve made your way to the very tip of the ‘sock’ that is the Yorke Peninsula, head back up to the top along the west coast, passing peaceful beaches and dipping back inland through farmlands. Make leisurely stops at small towns like Corny Point, The Pines, Couch Beach and Point Turton. You’re sure to find life comfortable, warm and welcoming in this part of South Australia, just like your favourite pair of socks!