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Find a Park > Yorke Peninsula

Innes National Park

  • Information Office
  • Accomm
  • Picnic Areas
  • Campfires Permitted
  • Caravan Sites
  • BBQ Facilities
  • Toilets
  • Camping
  • Disabled Toilets
  • Swimming
  • Scuba / Snorkelling
  • Canoeing
  • Fishing
  • Walking Trails
  • Bird Watching
  • Boating

About

Innes National Park is a favourite for camping, fishing and surfing. Bushwalking is a great way to discover the park, with trails ranging from 30-minute strolls to four-hour treks. You’ll spot an abundance of birds and animals while you catch some of the best coastal views in South Australia. All of the park is accessible by 2WD, so it’s perfect for day visits and a paradise for beach lovers.

There is something for everyone at Innes. Visit one of the lighthouses and the shipwreck of the Ethel to learn about the tumultuous maritime history of South Australia. Explore historic Inneston, an abandoned township surrounded by bushland. Take a stroll from your campsite down to the beach for a spot of fishing, or base yourself in one of the restored heritage cottages dotted throughout historic Inneston.

Southern Spencer Gulf Marine Park borders Innes National Park.

Opening hours

Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Closures and safety

This park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may also be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.

You can determine the current fire danger rating by checking the Fire Ban District map on the CFS website.

Check the CFS website or call the CFS Bushfire Information Hotline 1800 362 361 for:

Listen to your local area radio station for the latest updates and information on fire safety.

Innes Natural Resources Centre 

Open seven days a week, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Contact details

Innes National Park - Natural Resource Centre

Phone: (+61 8) 8854 3200
Email: DEWInnesNationalPark@sa.gov.au
Address: CMB Stenhouse Bay, SA, 5575
After hours regional duty officer: 0417 883 678

When to visit

This is a great park to visit all year round. Summer is warm and dry, great for camping and perfect for the beach. 

Autumn is cooler and best suited to bushwalking and sightseeing. In spring, you’ll be rewarded with a park in magnificent colour as the wildflowers bloom. 

Winter transforms the park into a fresh green landscape, with wild seas and large surf.

Getting there

Innes National Park is located on the south-western tip of the Yorke Peninsula, approximately 300km by road from Adelaide via Port Wakefield, Ardrossan, Minlaton and Warooka.

Dogs not allowed

Dogs are not permitted in this park.

Discover which parks you can walk your dog in on our find a park tool or read 12 dog-friendly walks in Adelaide Parks by Good Living for inspiration.

Assistance dogs

Assistance dogs are permitted in most public places and are therefore welcome in South Australia’s parks and reserves. Assistance dogs must be appropriately restrained on a lead and remain under your effective control at all times while in a park or reserve.

As per the dogs in parks and reserves policy, if the dog is not an accredited assistance dog, they must be trained to assist a person with a disability to alleviate that disability and meet standards of hygiene and behaviour appropriate for a dog in a public place. However, refusal may be given if the person with the disability is unable to produce evidence the dog is an assistance dog with the appropriate training.

Before taking your assistance dog into a park that does not normally allow dogs, it is highly recommended that you contact us so we can provide you with the latest information on any potential hazards within specific parks that may affect your dog. Please contact the park via the contact details provided under the contact tab or call the information line on (+61 8) 8204 1910.

Facilities

There is an information office, accommodation, picnic areas, camping and caravan sites. There are also BBQ facilities and toilets in this park. 

Useful information

Video and virtual tour

Innes National Park - a ranger's perspective

We caught up with Mark Davison, Ranger in charge at Innes National Park, to get his take on what this spectacular coastal park has to offer.

Take a virtual tour

Get a taste for this coastal parks various beaches and surf spots.

Plants and animals

Innes National Park is a haven for birdlife. The hooded plover, a threatened species in South Australia, nests on beaches across the park and the population of malleefowl, another endangered species, is on the rise. Ospreys breed on the cliffs and can be seen along the whole of the coast as they hunt.

Once widespread across the Yorke Peninsula, the tammar wallaby became extinct on the Australian mainland by the 1920s. They were reintroduced to Australia, and to Innes National Park, in 2004. The park now boasts a growing population of healthy tammar wallabies. 

In winter months, you might catch a glimpse of southern right whales from the cliff tops at Stenhouse Bay or Cape Spencer. Dolphins frequent the coastal waters and seals and sea-lions occasionally haul up on the beaches.

Flora and fauna species lists

To download flora (plants) and fauna (animals) species lists for this park, use the 'Create Simple Species List' tab under 'Flora Tools' or 'Fauna Tools'  in NatureMaps

Traditional owners

The Narungga people have lived on Yorke Peninsula for many thousands of years and they know the land intimately – its physical features, animal and plant life and water resources. The Narungga nation was made up of four clans: the Kurnara in the north of the peninsula; Windera in the east; Wari in the west; and Dilpa in the south. Today, the Narungga people continue to maintain strong cultural links to the region.

Aboriginal peoples have occupied, enjoyed and managed the lands and waters of this State for thousands of generations. For Aboriginal first nations, creation ancestors laid down the laws of the Country and bestowed a range of customary rights and obligations to the many Aboriginal Nations across our state. 

There are many places across the State that have great spiritual significance to Aboriginal first nations.  At some of these places Aboriginal cultural protocols, such as restricted access, are promoted and visitors are asked to respect the wishes of Traditional Owners.

In places where protocols are not promoted visitors are asked to show respect by not touching or removing anything, and make sure you take all your rubbish with you when you leave.

Aboriginal peoples continue to play an active role in caring for their Country, including in parks across South Australia. 

See and do

Rangers recommend

We have picked the brains of our park rangers to find out what they would recommend you see and do whilst visiting this park.

  • Quietly looking for rare tammar wallabies; re-introduced to the park after becoming extinct in South Australia.
  • Exploring the ruins of the once-thriving mining township of Inneston (try to find the old bakery).
  • Watching ospreys diving into the surf as they hunt for their dinner.
  • Taking a picnic to the West Cape picnic area, where the spectacular coastline will take your breath away.

Bushwalking

Innes National Park has an excellent choice of walking trails. Varying from a 30 minute short stroll to a four hour hike, the trails provide some of the best coastal views in the state, including the Stenhouse Bay Lookout Walk and West Cape Headland Hike, which offers spectacular 360 degree views of the coastal landscape from a lookout.

Learn about the site's European heritage on the Thomson-Pfitzner Plaster Trail Hike from historic Inneston Township to Stenhouse Bay, or observe the native plants and animals along the many trails.

Many of the parks walking trails have been linked with the Yorke Peninsula Council's Walk the Yorke walking trail project. The trail now traverses the entire park with entry and exits at Marion Bay and Gym Beach.

Easy walks

  • Inneston Historic Walk (1 hour loop, 2km)

    This popular trail takes you back to the early 1900s and the gypsum-mining era. Interpretive signs tell the story of the close-knit community of Inneston. Beware of unstable ruins.

    Access: just inside the gate at the Inneston car park.

  • Stenhouse Bay Lookout Walk (1 hour loop, 2km)

    Follow the cliff tops through low, closed coastal heath. The spectacular views over Investigator Strait and the offshore islands are among the best in the park.

    Access: Stenhouse Jetty car park.

Moderate hikes

  • Gym Beach Hike (4 hours return, 11km)

    A diverse hike through the unique flora and high sand dune areas between Browns Beach and Gym Beach. You may see a variety of birdlife and native orchids as you pass through the dense mallee vegetation.

    Access: campgrounds at Gym Beach and Browns Beach. It can be taken in either direction.

  • Royston Head Hike (2 hours return, 4km)

    You’ll have amazing views of the rugged peninsula coast from the lookout point on the cliffs at Royston Head.

    Access: Royston Head Hike car park, along the road to Dolphin Beach.

  • Thomson-Pfitzner Plaster Trail Hike (3 hours return, 7.6km)

    This hike follows the old wooden railway line that runs from Inneston to Stenhouse Bay, with a series of interpretive signs depicting the local environment and history.

    Access: just after the horse stable ruins at Inneston, or in the reverse direction from Stenhouse Bay.

  • West Cape Headland Hike (30 min loop, 1 km)

    A short hike taking in spectacular coastal views across the Southern Spencer Gulf Marine Park and off-shore islands. The loop trail helps you navigate through fragile coastal vegetation to the lighthouse at the head of the cape where you’ll have exhilarating views of the high-energy coastline.

    Access: West Cape car park.

Camping

Camping

Campsites need to be booked prior to arrival.

Book online to reserve your campsite up to 12 months in advance.

FAQs about booking online

Stenhouse Bay campground

Suitable for: caravans, camper vans, camper trailers and tents

Facilities: toilets

A large campground with 25 campsites and is located within walking distance of the beach, Stenhouse Bay Jetty and the Stenhouse Bay Visitor Centre. It is a great base to explore the park from.

Pondalowie Caravan and Trailers campground

Suitable for: caravans, camper vans and camper trailers

Facilities: toilets and public phone

Located near the beautiful Pondalowie Bay, this campground has nine large caravan sites and 16 smaller camper trailer sites.
Please note: Fires are NOT permitted at this campground at any time during the year.

Pondalowie Bay Bush campground

Suitable for: tents

Facilities: toilets and barbeque

Located near the beautiful Pondalowie Bay, this campground has 26 tent based campsites.
Please note: Fires are NOT permitted at this campground at any time during the year.

Browns Beach campground

Suitable for: tents

Facilities: toilets

Located only a short walk from Browns Beach, famous for Australian salmon fishing.  The campground has 11 campsites and is nestled between sand hills, providing shelter from the wind. 

Cable Bay Beach campground

Suitable for: caravans, camper vans, camper trailers and tents

Facilities: toilets

Small campground with nine camp sites offering picturesque views of the offshore islands. 

Casuarina campground

Suitable for:  tents and camper trailers

Facilities: toilets

Located a short walk to the Pondalowie Bay beach and surf break, this small campground has 10 campsites available.

Gym Beach campground

Suitable for: caravans, camper vans, camper trailers and tents

Facilities: toilets

Small secluded campground with six camp sites which is only accessible from the Corny Point Road.  

Shell Beach campground

Suitable for:  tents and camper trailers

Facilities: toilets

Located a short walk from sandy shell beach, this campground has eight campsites that offer shade and shelter from the wind.

Accommodation

Inneston Heritage Accommodation

You can also enjoy the park from the comfort of self-contained accommodation ranging from a single-roomed hut at Shell Beach to a large hall at Stenhouse Bay. Dotted among the mallee and stone ruins of the Inneston historic township are several restored and renovated buildings where you can wake up to wildlife on your doorstep!  

Book online to reserve your accommodation up to 12 months in advance.

FAQs about booking online

Engineers and Managers Lodges (three bedroom with lounge & kitchen, sleeps 10)

Both lodges offer warm gas fireplaces, stunning views across Inneston Lake, beautiful timber floors and quintessentially Australian verandas. Room configuration in bedroom one is one queen bed, bedroom two has two sets of bunks, and bedroom three has one set of bunks and one queen bed. Facilities include shower, toilet, solar lighting and gas appliances. Linen and bedding is not supplied so bring your own sheets, pillows, blankets and towels. There is gas heating but no cooling.

Norfolk Lodge (two bedroom with lounge & kitchen, sleeps four)

Norfolk Lodge reflects the charm of yester-year with its period-style baltic pine furnishings.

Miners Lodge (three bedroom with lounge & kitchen, sleeps six)

Nestled among the ruins of historic Inneston township, the Miners Lodge offers a spacious lounge with an open gas fireplace. Facilities include kitchen and toilet. Three bedrooms with one queen and four single beds. Linen and bedding is not supplied so bring your own sheets, pillows, blankets and towels. There is gas heating but no cooling.

Mallee Lodge (two bedroom with lounge & kitchen, sleeps four)

The Mallee Lodge offers a styling modern interior while maintaining its heritage exterior. Fresh and modern facilities and furnishings. Bedding configuration is one queen and two single beds.  Facilities include showers, toilet, and basic kitchen facilities. Linen and bedding is included. There is gas heating but no cooling.

Post Office (one bedroom & kitchen, sleeps two)

The Post Office is a traditional heritage cottage with a bright and modern interior and perfect for couples. It has fresh modern facilities and furnishings, and one queen bed. Facilities include shower, toilet and kitchen. Linen and bedding is included. 

Gatehouse Lodge (two bedroom with lounge & kitchen, sleeps six)

The Gatehouse Lodge offers modern comfort nestled among the ruins of historic Inneston township. Accommodation is in two bedrooms with two sets of bunks and one queen bed.  Linen and bedding is not supplied so bring your own sheets, pillows, blankets and towels. There is gas heating but no cooling.

Fishing

Go surf fishing on the beach or cast your fishing line from the 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.

The bays and coastline around Innes National Park form part of the Southern Spencer Gulf Marine Park. The Chinaman’s Hat Sanctuary Zone protects a section of spectacular coastline and rich marine habitat between Stenhouse Bay and Cable Bay. Fishing is not allowed in the sanctuary zone, with the exception of a shore based recreational line fishing exemption on Chinaman’s beach (136° 54.918' E to 136° 55.289' E).

Fishing is actively managed in South Australia by the Department of Primary Industries and Resources SA.
Check out these useful links before embarking on your fishing adventure:

 

Surfing

Surfing is a popular activity at Innes National Park. The Yorkes Classic, one of South Australia's most prestigious surfing events, is held in the park every October long weekend. Pondalowie Bay offers long and consistent waves, while Chinaman’s Beach has a powerful left hand break with a larger swell suited to experienced surfers only.

Scuba diving

Twenty two ships have been wrecked along the coast between Edithburgh and Innes National Park, with six ships meeting their fate near Althorpe Island. Today, you can scuba dive to explore the remnants of some of these underwater time capsules in the Southern Spencer Gulf Marine Park.

Mountain biking

Mountain biking is currently not permitted in this park. 

Bird watching

More than 120 bird species, many of conservation significance, find safe refuge and nesting sites within the park. Look for the rare osprey and malleefowl or listen for the shy western whipbird. The hooded plover, a threatened species in South Australia, nests on beaches throughout the park.

Places of interest

Inneston village

Visit the historic Inneston village and explore the ruins of an abandoned gypsum town along the Inneston Historic Walk. Once home to around 200 people, Inneston was completely self-sufficient, having its own school, post office, bakery, general store and tennis court.

Shipwrecks

Over 40 shipwrecks lay off the coast of Innes National Park and the Southern Yorke Peninsula. An interpretive maritime trail along the coastline recounts tales of tragedy, bravery and the final agonising moments before these ships sank beneath the waves. Visit the rusted relics of the park's most famous wreck, The Ethel, that came to grief in 1904 when it ran aground near the beach during a severe storm. The wreck is not always visible, it depends on the sand movements at the time. 

Lighthouses

Take a short walk to admire the operating lighthouses at Cape Spencer and West Cape. On the horizon is another lighthouse that operates on Althorpe Islands Conservation Park. These lighthouses not only provide safe passage for vessels today, but offer an insight into the area's maritime heritage.

Stromatolites

Stromatolites consist of layers of blue-green algae (or cyanobacteria). Innes National Park is one of only a few places in the world where living stromatolites are known to exist. New layers develop on top, closest to the light, trapping whatever silt may be present. Old layers underneath are impregnated with calcium carbonate and become fossilised. In this park, the dome-shaped structures occur around the edges of the salt lakes. Carbon dating has indicated some of the stromatolites to be around 3,000 years old. Examples of stromatolites can be seen at the park's visitor centre.

Volunteering

Want to help?

To find out how you can help in this park or nearby, please visit Natural Resources Northern and York – Volunteering.

Want to join others and become a Park Friend?

To find out more about Friends of Parks groups please visit Friends of Parks South Australia.

You could join others to help look after a park. You can take part in working bees, training and other events.

Become a Campground Host

Combine your love of camping with doing a good deed by becoming a volunteer campground host in this park. 

A campground host is a volunteer who stays at the park either for a specific peak period, like the Easter break or a long weekend, or an extended period of time (up to a few months) to support park rangers.

If you are passionate about the environment, a keen camper, like to meet people from all around the world, and are a happy to help, then hosting could be right up your alley. 

Safety

Bushwalking

The international Trail Users Code of Conduct is to show respect and courtesy towards other trail users at all times.

Ensure that you:

  • when hiking, wear sturdy shoes, a hat and sunscreen
  • be aware of weather conditions and avoid walking during the hottest part of the day
  • make sure you have appropriate weather proof clothing
  • carry enough water to be self-sufficient
  • please be respectful of other users at all times
  • stay on the designated trails and connector tracks for your own safety, and prevent the spread of declared weeds to other areas in the park
  • ensure someone knows your approximate location and expected time of return
  • take appropriate maps.
  • Walk, hike or trek - what's the difference?

Camping

When camping in a National Park, it's important to remember the following:

  • Always let someone responsible know your travel plans, especially when travelling in remote areas. It's a good idea to let them know when you expect to return.
  • Check the weather forecast before you leave, including overnight temperatures on the Bureau of Meteorology. Even during very mild weather, the nights can get very cold. 
  • The quality and quantity of water cannot be guaranteed within parks. Please bring plenty of water and food to be self-sufficient.
  • Always camp in designated sites (where applicable) - do not camp beneath trees with overhanging branches, as they can drop without warning. It's also a good idea to check that there no insect nests nearby.
  • Check to make sure you're not camping in a natural waterway, flash floods can happen anytime.
  • If camp fires are permitted, you must bring your own firewood, as the collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited. Extinguish your camp fire with water (not sand or dirt) until the hissing sound stops.
  • Ensure that you are familiar with the fire restrictions for this park.

Fire

Can I have a fire or barbecue?

  • Wood fires and solid fuel fires are prohibited between 1 November 2018 to 15 April 2019, except at Podalowie Bay Campground where fires are NOT permitted at any time.
  • You must bring your own firewood, as the collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited.
  • Gas fires are permitted through the year, other than on days of Total Fire Ban.
  • Ensure you are familiar with the fire restrictions for this park.

 

Closures and safety

This park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may also be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.

You can determine the current fire danger rating by checking the Fire Ban District map on the CFS website.

Check the CFS website or call the CFS Bushfire Information Hotline 1800 362 361 for:

Listen to your local area radio station for the latest updates and information on fire safety.

Water

Strong currents and rips can make swimming dangerous in this area.

Do not climb on, or fish from slippery rocks. 

Know before you go

Every national park is different, each has its own unique environment, it is important to be responsible while enjoying all the park has to offer.

Please ensure that you:

  • leave your pets at home
  • do not feed birds or other animals, it promotes aggressive behaviour and an unbalanced ecology
  • do not bring generators (except where permitted), chainsaws or firearms into the park
  • leave the park as you found it - place rubbish in the bins provided or take it with you
  • abide by the road rules (maintain the speed limit)
  • respect geological and heritage sites
  • do not remove native plants
  • are considerate of other park users.

  • Important: Collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited. Dead wood plays a vital role in providing shelter for animals and adding nutrients to the soil.

Maps

Park maps

Maps on your mobile

If you have a smartphone or tablet you can download the free Avenza PDF Map app and have interactive national park maps on hand when you need them.

The app uses your device's built-in GPS to plot your real-time location within the park onto a map. The app can be used without a network connection and without roaming charges. You can also measure area and distance, plot photos and drop placemark pins. 

How to get it working on your device:

1. Download the Avenza PDF maps app from the app store whilst you are still in range (its free!).
2. Open up the app and click the shopping cart icon.
3. Click ‘Find’ and type the name of the national park or reserve you are looking for.
4. Click on the map you are after and install it (all our maps are free).
5. You will now find a list of your installed maps on the home page of the Avenza app.
6. Use our maps through the Avenza PDF map app while in the park and never take a wrong turn again.

Fees

Entry fees

Vehicle entry fees apply in this park.

We recommend booking and paying for your entry and camping before arriving at the park, however, there is a self-registration computer available at the park for credit card payments only (note, there is very slow internet connection in this area).

Check the online booking page for more details about individual campgrounds and fees.

Where can I book and pay in person?

If you are unable to book and pay online you can do so, in person, at these booking agents across the state.

For online bookings enquiries please email:

Natural Resource Centre - Clare

Phone: (+61 8) 8841 3400

Natural Resource Centre - Innes National Park

This office is open seven days a week.

Phone: (+61 8) 8854 3200
Email: DEWInnesNationalPark@sa.gov.au

 

Camping and accommodation

Campsites and heritage accommodation must be booked prior to arrival.

Click through to the online booking page for more details about individual campgrounds and fees.

Book online

Book online to reserve your campsite up to 12 months in advance.

FAQs about booking online

Book and pay in person

If you are unable to book and pay online you can do so, in person, at these booking agents across the state.

For online bookings enquiries please contact:

Natural Resource Centre - Clare

Phone: (+61 8) 8841 3400

Natural Resource Centre - Innes National Park

This office is open seven days a week.

Phone: (+61 8) 8854 3200
Email: DEWInnesNationalPark@sa.gov.au

Park pass

If you intend to visit often, you may like to purchase any of the below park passes.

12 month vehicle entry for a single park

Is this your favourite park? If you visit more than five times a year, it's more economical to purchase a 12 month vehicle entry for a single park pass.

2 and 12 month vehicle entry for multiple parks pass

Are you wanting to explore a number of SA’s national parks? Purchasing a 2 or 12 month vehicle entry for multiple parks pass can offer you value for money and convenience.

The 2 and 12 month vehicle entry for multiple parks pass entitle you to vehicle entry for not just this park, but up to an additional 10 parks as well!

Other fees and permits

There are no other fees or permits associated with this park. 

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