This is a wonderful national park to see specatacular coastal scenery.
Located at the Foot of Yorke Peninsula, a vehicle entry fee of $10 per car must be paid to enter the park
Innes National Park Visitor Centre is open from 10.30am-3pm, Wednesday to Sunday and everyday during school holidays and public holidays (except Christmas Day). Opening hours may be extended during peak holiday periods.
We spent one whole un-rushed day in the park. We did many parts of the trails, but didn't complete all of them, so if you wish to do this, you would need to stay here.
The Bushwalking is most enjoyable, as the best coastal views can be seen by walking, especially the Stenhouse Bay Lookout Walk and West Cape Headland Hike, which offers spectacular 360 degree views of the coastal landscape from a lookout.
There are many trails starting from a min. of 30mins up to a 4hour hike.
Wildlife, and the great Southern Right Whales can be seen from the cliff tops at Stenhouse Bay or Cape Spencer, as they migrate from sub-antarctic feeding grounds to breeding grounds at the Head of Bight. Dolphins, seals and sea-lions can be seen, we only saw Seals.
If your a Bird watcher, hopefully you will see a few of the 120 bird species,including the rare osprey and malleefowl or the western whipbird. The hooded plover, a threatened species in South Australia, nests on beaches throughout the park.
A fisherman, no worries, go in the Boat, or try surf fishing at Stenhouse Bay Jetty. Browns Beach is one of South Australia's best salmon fishing areas, while other locations in the park offer the chance to catch squid, mullet, tommy ruffs, garfish, sweep, mulloway and whiting throughout the year
Surfing, and each October weekend, one of South Australia's most prestigious surfing events is held at Pondalowie Bay. Chinamans Beach has a powerful left hand break with a larger swell suitable for experienced surfers only.
Scuba diving is known world wide, for located along here are 22 shipwrecks that can be explored.
So there is plenty to keep you busy, and I'm sure you will enjoy your time in the park.
We are out of Innes National Park, and are making a stop at Corny Point Lighthouse.
The Corny Point lighthouse was built in 1882 out of local limestone from a nearby Station. It is situated on the northernmost point of the "foot" of the Yorke Peninsula.
The lighthouse was originally built to warn of dangers awaiting the grain ships coming to Port Victoria, Moonta Bay and Wallaroo in the Spencer Gulf. The fully laden, southbound windjammers were endangered by "sou-westers" which could bring them in onto rocks, reefs and shoals of Berry Bay and Daly Head.
Two stone cottages were built for the headkeeper and his assistant and these had 2 underground water tanks for their water supply.
The light was made automatic in 1920.
There is a sealed road via Warooka and gravel from the Corny Point Township.
The lighthouse reserve is open to the public. There are no tours.
On this side of Innes National Park, we noticed there were a few nice secluded Bays. It was here were saw a Sailing Boat and a few fishermen in their Boats.
Nice, calm water here, but not the case when it enters the bay, for the water had to squeeze between and Island and the cliffs, quite spectacular! .....Even more if the day had been wild weather, it wasn't!
The cliffs are are so fascinating, worn away with the wind and the ocean, the shapes and colours make for good photography. Imagine being here at sunset or sunrise, wow! I think there would be some excellent shots then!
There are a couple of campgrounds, so you can stay here. Surfers also love this area!
West Cape, with its rugged, jagged cliffs pokes out into Spencer Gulf. West Cape also has a Lighthouse, although I didn't walk up to this one, feeling a bit tired from all the previous walking!
Once again, the Cliffs are wonderful viewing.
The sea rolls in, Surfers come here, rather them than me, as the Great White Shark lives in these waters!
On the opposite side of the road to the Beach, is the restored historic village of Inneston, once a small mining and processing town with a population of about 150 people. Inneston was established in 1913 and lasted until the depression years of the 1930s.
We followed a well marked trail through the area, past the cottages which are now restored an available for rent, and past ruins. Interpretive signs tell the story of the close-knit community of Inneston village, a completely self-sufficient village having its own school, post office, bakery, general store and tennis court.
Inneston Historic Walk is a 4km return walking trail, approx 2hours if you stop and look at everything.
Our next stop is at Ethel Beach. Here, there is a proper viewing platform and steps down to the Beach. Once again, the views are excellent!
Two Ships were wrecked here, one named the Ethel is on the beach, hardly anything left to see though.
Originally named Carmelo, Ethel was built in England in 1876. In 1904, the Ethel was sailing to Port Adelaide from South Africa, when it rounded the tip of Yorke Peninsula and struck a reef. The rudder was damaged, one crewmember drowned whilst trying to swim to shore, but all the remaining crew survived.
The S.S. Ferret was passing and notified the nearby lighthouse keeper of the stranded vessel. Some salvage attempts were made, but due to the location of the beach which is surrounded by steep cliffs, it was a hard job to do. If you had been here many years before me, then you would have seen an intact Ethel. Soon, there will be nothing left to view.
The S.S. Ferret has an interesting story. It was built in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1871, and was stolen in 1880 and made its way to Port Phillip in Victoria under the name of S.S. India. It was recognised and retrieved. In 1920, the Ferret left Port Adelaide for Port Victoria. Along the way, a dense fog deceived the crew and they passed too close to Cape Spencer, becoming stranded onnly 200 metres away from the Ethel.. All 22 crew survived.
Evidently, the site of the Ferret wreck is difficult to dive or survey as the water is too rough.
The Anchor of the Ethel is on display, and once again, the Investigator shipwreck trail gives all the details on the wrecks.
Young Saint George is the name of another shipwreck, one of six shipwrecked near Althorpe Island.
The Schooner was loaded with goods for the building of the new Lighthouse. It was moored next to Althorpe Island when it broke loose from its moorings and crashed into the rocks. No lives were lost, and the crew manage to salvage some items, but the hull of the Schooner was completely destroyed.
Once again, a sunken ship is an interesting dive site
From Cape Spencer and also along the road we were travelling along, we could easily make out some Islands. The biggest was Althorpe Island, which I could see had a Lighthouse and some buildings. The island covers 96 hectares and has sheer cliffs rising from the ocean.
Captain Matthew Flinders first sighted the island in 1802. Nobody really knows how he named it, but speculation is, it was after Lord Spencer’s estate, Althorp (without an ‘e’), or his eldest son and heir. At the time, Lord Spencer presided over the board of the Admiralty.
Up until 1991, Lighthouse Keepers and family used to live on the Island, a lonely life.
Not for me, but they must have liked it and the strong wind that is experienced along this coast.
When it was manned, supplies and equipment were all transferred to the island by plane. Now, the Lighthouse is automated.
What a lovely view we had of Cape Spencer and its Lighthouse as we travelled along the scenic drive. We drove into the carpark, and then walked the short way to the Lighthouse. Nothing out the oridinary here, just a very plain Lighthouse which was built in 1950 and then upgraded in the 1970's. After reading about all the Shipwrecks along this coast, it's a very important structure.
Chinaman's Hat Island, I looked, and I guess it does look a little bit like that! I wondered why it was named such, and still are none the wiser. Evidently, it is a good diving spot.
It happened to be our next point of interest on our scenic drive of Innes National Park.
At Stenhouse Bay lookout is where another wreck is located on the Investigator Shipwreck trail.
The Anchor on display, is from the Barque "Hougomont," and once again, a description is given of the event.
This wreck is actually different to the others, as the Ship was not actually wrecked here. In April 1932, the barque Hougomont was dismasted in a fierce gale near Kangaroo Island. She hobbled to Port Adelaide, and it was here the owners opted to dispose of it rather than undergo costly repairs. January 1933, the Hougomont was towed to Stenhouse Bay and deliberately scuttled as a breakwater for vessels loading gypsum at the nearby jetty.
Stenhouse Bay is at the western tip of Yorke Peninsula and is our next stop. There was a town here once, which was named after Andrew Stenhouse, who in the 1920s had a business called the Permascite Manufacturing Company. He helped start the gypsum industry in this location.
The Waratah Gypsum Company supplied most of Australia's needs. The Gypsum they quarried and exported, was of a very high quality. Gypsum was used in the manufacturing of plaster of paris and cement.
The Waratah Gypsum Company closed its works and the town was sold to the South Australian Government which demolished the town except for the few houses required for the rangers of the National Parks and Wildlife Organization who look after Innes National Park.
There is quite a long Jetty where the Ships would have come to be loaded.
Stenhouse Bay has a campground, and a Trading post.
Willyama Beach is secluded, private and picturesque beach located at the southern end of Marion Bay. There are viewing platforms for the penguins, and you can go bushwalking. The views of the coastline are wonderful, and in the early morning and late afternoon, there are Kangaroos to be seen. Emu's, Birds and wildflowers in season.
Once again, diving the wrecks and exploring the reefs can be done!
Moorowie and its port is the first very small town we come across. The town is full of shacks and holiday rentals. People come here to getaway from it all, to go walking, fishing, snorking and diving. If you want peace and quiet, then you will have it here!.
Whilst driving around Yorke Peninsula and Innes National Park, we often came across the Investigator Strait Shipwreck Trail. I think we were following it, even though it wasn't intended.
The Investigator Strait Shipwreck Trail is the stretch of water which lies between southern Yorke Peninsula and Kangaroo Island. Six land-based interpretive signs are located along the coastline and are quite an interesting read.
Captain Matthew Flinders named it on 27 March 1802 in honour of his ship HMS Investigator.
Between 1849 and 1982, 26 vessels are known to have been wrecked in these waters, with the loss of more than 70 lives. The wrecks are a haven for aquatic life and attract diving enthusiasts from around the world.
The shipwrecks along the trail were selected for their strange and tragic circumstances surrounding their loss, their historical significance; or because they provide a fascinating underwater experience for beginners and advanced divers alike.
A number of wrecks are still to be found.
The S.S. Clan Ranald forms part of this trail and is the only turret ship to have been lost in Australian waters. It has been declared an historic shipwreck under the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976.