Yorke Peninsula begins at the head of the Gulf of St Vincent and to north of the state capital of Adelaide. It is west of the city of Adelaide between the Fleurieu Peninsula and Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. Shaped like a leg, Yorke Peninsula has over 700 km of coastline and is a distinctive part of South Australia’s coastal landscape.
Yorke Peninsula is rich in agriculture and marine resources and has a healthy fishing industry supporting recreational fishing, crayfish, crab and oyster businesses. Extractive industries also exist in the region including limestone, dolomite, gypsum and sand. High quality salt is harvested at Price by Cheetham Salt, this is the only remaining food-grade salt producer in Southern Australia.
Yorke Peninsula experiences a mild maritime climate. Minimum winter temperatures average around 4°C and the maximum can reach 40°C during summer. Average annual rainfall is around 350 mm/annum near the coastal areas. The wettest months are from May to September. Winds can be quite strong along the coast, especially around the southern limits and offshore islands. Strong offshore winds can create hazardous maritime conditions, particularly during winter and sometimes in spring.
Agriculture is big business on Yorke Peninsula, with harvest commencing in November and throughout the summer months.
- Copper Coast Visitor Information Centre, Kadina (The Farm Shed Museum & Tourism Centre), 50 Moonta Rd, Kadina, toll-free: 1800 654 991, fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 9AM-5PM; Sa Su 10AM-4PM.
- Yorke Peninsula Visitor Information Centre, Minlaton (Harvest Corner Information & Craft), 29 Main St, Minlaton, toll-free: 1800 202 445, email@example.com. M-F 9AM-5PM; Sa & Su 10AM-4PM.
- 1 Ardrossan – home to red clay coastal cliffs
- 2 Black Point and Pine Point
- 3 Clare – regional center of the Clare Valley and the Mid-North
- 4 Edithburgh – popular tourist town in the peninsula's southeast
- 5 Marion Bay – next to Dhilba Guuranda–Innes NP
- 6 Minlaton
- 7 Moonta
- 8 Port Broughton
- 9 Port Germein – home to the state's longest pier
- 10 Port Hughes
- 11 Port Pirie
- 12 Port Vincent
- 13 Port Wakefield – while not a destination of its own, it acts as a gateway town to much of the region
- 14 Price
- 15 Stansbury
- 16 Wallaroo – where the ferry to the Eyre Peninsula departs
- 1 Dhilba Guuranda–Innes National Park (Innes National Park) – home to impressive Yorke Peninsula coastal scenery
- 2 Edithburgh Jetty – dive site near Edithburgh
- 3 Wapma Thura–Southern Flinders Ranges National Park – a lesser-known national park protecting the southern Flinders Ranges
Yorke Peninsula begins 90 minutes drive from Adelaide's CBD or from Adelaide Airport. Coming from Adelaide, National Highway 1 takes you from the northern suburbs onto the 4-lane dual carriageway national highway that passes through the towns of Lower Light, Dublin, Windsor, Wild Horse Plains and on to Port Wakefield.
From Port Wakefield you can continue onto the Copper Coast towns of Kadina, Wallaroo and Moonta, or head south along the coast to picturesque seaside townships or right down the Bottom End to Dhilba Guuranda–Innes National Park. The trip from Adelaide to Dhilba Guuranda–Innes National Park, at the foot of Yorke Peninsula, will take around 3 hours or more by car. Most major roads on the peninsula are surfaced with asphalt.
Many secondary and minor roads on the peninsula are un-surfaced graded dirt roads. Some of these roads may run for extended distances and care should be used to avoid accident due to the sometimes slippery conditions. Windscreen breakage is also possible from stones being thrown up by the wheels of passing vehicles. Always moderate your speed and take care not to cause either yourself or other road users any damage by not fully understanding the prevailing local conditions. These unsealed roads are frequently surfaced by grading machines and care should be used when driving near any roadworks that are in progress.
Buses travel daily to the Yorke Peninsula from Adelaide Central Bus Station. Most towns are serviced by the buses, but not always every day due to different schedules.
- Yorke Peninsula Coaches (Mid North Coaches), Depot: 5 England Street, Wallaroo, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Operates scheduled motor coach and charter services to the Copper Coast towns of Kadina, Wallaroo and Moonta; and to other Yorke Peninsula towns including Ardrossan, Stansbury, Edithburgh, Minlaton and Yorketown and over 57 locations throughout South Australia.
- Sea SA Car & Passenger Ferries, email@example.com. Crossing the Spencer Gulf in just over 2 hours between Wallaroo on the Yorke Peninsula and Lucky Bay (near Cowell) on the Eyre Peninsula. The 56 m Aurora ferry carries 85 cars and 300 passengers. Car $140, adult $35, students with ID over 16 $22, children 4-15 $10.
The rough seas along the southern coastline of Yorke Peninsula have caused many a shipwrecks, which is why this area has a number of lighthouses. Lighthouses at West Cape, Cape Spencer, Althorpe Island, Corny Point and Troubridge Hill (not to be confused with the more historic lighthouse on Troubridge Island[dead link] continue to guide the way for passing boats and sailors to warn them of the dangers.
National Parks and Wildlife reserves include the Althorpe Islands group, Dhilba Guuranda–Innes National Park, and Carribie, Leven Beach, Point Davenport, Warrenben, Troubridge Island and Wills Creek Conservation Parks. Bird Islands Conservation Park is also in the region, further north of Goose Island Conservation Park near the township of Wallaroo. The land comprising Althorpe Islands, Goose Island and Troubridge Island Conservation Parks is traditionally associated with the Narungga people of Yorke Peninsula.
The Moonta Mines State Heritage area[dead link] add covers most of the land under the Moonta Mining Company lease. Now operated by the National Trust, the area includes the Museum, Tourist Railway, Sweets Shop and Family Resource Centre. The National Trust is applying for National and World Heritage Status concurrently. The Wheal Hughes Copper Mine in Moonta provides an underground mine tour
1 Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park near Marion Bay is one of the best-known attractions on the peninsula, with over 9200 ha of mallee bushland. Birdwatchers will love to explore this park, with over 140 species including Ospreys, Hooded Plovers, Malleefowl, and the elusive Western Whipbird. It is a popular destination for camping, bushwalking, fishing, surfing and scuba diving. The park has a range of designated campgrounds throughout, and all (except Casuarina) are on a first come-first served basis.
The Yorke Peninsula Fishing Guide covers the over 700 km of coastline from Port Gawler all the way around the leg to Port Broughton. The free guide is also available from the Yorke Peninsula tourism office, Visitor Information Centres and outlets. Fishing Charters are available from Marion Bay.
The area is popular for diving and snorkelling, especially with diving groups from the nearby city of Adelaide. Due to the colder southern ocean waters a wetsuit is often required for snorkelling or scuba diving activities or for any prolonged periods in the water even in the warmer summer months. Refills for scuba cylinders (air only) are available from businesses in Edithburgh and Port Victoria, and from the local dive club at Wallaroo. There are many shipwreck sites near the Yorke Peninsula. Some require a dive other do not. The Wardang Island Maritime Heritage Trail has eight shipwrecks within 16 km (10 mi) to explore in clear shallow waters making it ideal for novice shipwreck divers. The Investigator Strait Shipwreck Trail, between Yorke Peninsula and Kangaroo Island, highlights 10 of the 26 shipwrecks dating from 1849 to 1982.
The Bottom End is famous for surfing, and had many excellent surf beaches. Some are easier to get to then others and some local knowledge would be helpful for any uninitiated visitor. The Yorke Peninsula is home to some committed surfers. Each October long-weekend, Dhilba Guuranda–Innes National Park hosts one of South Australia's most prestigious surfing events, the Cutloose Cooper's Yorkes Classic.
Home Grown Trail, toll-free: 1800 654 991. Yorke Peninsula's Home Grown Trail highlights the state’s key farming and produce businesses. The tour provides a behind-the-scenes view of the region’s produce operations and a participant can visit primary industry and grass roots businesses. The tour gives an insight into a range of local industries including wine making, sheep and horse studs, alpaca farming, and handmade paper making. Visitors are offered special on-site tours to a variety of businesses and producers.
2 Clare Valley in the Mid North of South Australia, is one of the best wine regions in the state and country. Home to spectacular views, wineries and wildlife, it is a popular tourist destination for wine lovers and travellers.
Some camping locations which require a permit, and in some cases the payment of camping fees. Camping permits can be purchased at locations throughout Central & Southern Yorke Peninsula , or contact the District Council of Yorke Peninsula on ☏ for further information.
Central & Southern Yorke Peninsula has a range of camping locations scattered around the coastline and inland, including in Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park listed above.
Events & festivals
Kernewek Lowender (Copper Coast Cornish Festival) is the world’s largest Cornish Festival. It is celebrated in South Australia’s Copper Coast every 2 years. Rich in Cornish heritage, the towns of Moonta, Wallaroo and Kadina, known as ‘Australia’s Little Cornwall’, host the week-long Kernewek Lowender – which translates from the Cornish language to English as ‘Cornish Happiness’.
Paskeville Field Days is a 3-day event held biennially in late September in Paskeville, 28 km southeast of Wallaroo. Its focus on agriculture and features extensive displays of the latest agricultural machinery and equipment, technology, information and services in 30 ha of static displays. This is one of Australia's iconic agricultural field day events and is a significant event for the region.
Make sure you have Cornish Pasty during your Yorke Peninsula stay. These are a legacy from the Cornish miners that settled in the towns of Moonta, Kadina and Wallaroo to work in the prosperous Copper Mines. Cornish Pasties can be purchased from a number of cafes or bakeries throughout Yorke Peninsula.
Barleys Stacks Wines, south of Maitland near Ardrossan, harvests, processes and bottles its wines on site. Varieties include Shiraz, Cabernet, Chardonnay, Viognier, Port, Liqueur Chardonnay and Ratafia.
A fire danger period exists between November and April each year in South Australia. During fire danger periods there are fire restrictions that apply, including total fire ban days. For up to date details of fire bans, visit the Country Fire Services's fire bans page or ☏ 1300 362 361 (domestic). In times of very high fire danger the electricity supply may be shut off without warning in order to mitigate the danger of fire arising from damage to high voltage power lines.
- Yorke Peninsula has hospitals at Wallaroo, Moonta, Maitland, Ardrossan and Yorketown; and medical centres at Kadina, Moonta, Wallaroo, Maitland, Ardrossan, Minlaton and Yorketown.
- Yorke Peninsula is generally a safe region. It is still advised that when travelling, close your vehicle windows and conceal all valuables including your purse, handbag, shopping, phone and laptop; and when parking, lock your vehicle and don't leave your keys anywhere they can be found.
- Speed limits on Yorke Peninsula are 50 km zones within towns, and on open roads are often 110 km/h (although they can sometimes be 100 km/h). Please be aware of the speed limit signs when driving. Ensure you are carrying a fully inflated spare tyre, suitable basic tools to change a flat tyre and always a supply of drinking water, most especially in the summer months.
- As Yorke Peninsula is a farming region, please take care when driving throughout the area as farmers may be moving equipment or stock on the roads.
Cellular (mobile) telephone network reception may not be available in many areas especially those distant from cellular network repeater towers normally located along the major highways and near larger townships. Hilly terrain will also effect reception. In an emergency seek higher ground. Some networks provide a poor coverage in regional and rural areas. It is generally considered that the best reception is available from either Telstra or Optus when in areas such as Yorke Peninsula.
For emergency services including police, fire services and ambulance call ☏ 000 from any telephone and ask the operator to connect you.
Such calls are placed without charge to the calling party.
Head north out of Yorke Peninsula, and you can continue your travels south to Adelaide, north to Flinders Ranges, Outback, westward across to Eyre Peninsula, the Eyre Highway and the Great Australian Bight, or east towards the Clare Valley and Barossa Valley.