The jewel in the crown of Yorke Peninsula in South Australia is Innes National Park which is located around 300 kilometres from Adelaide. A pristine wilderness area with a rugged picturesque coastline, shipwrecks, surf beaches, natural bushland and wandering wildlife. There are bush camping facilities in the national park but if you’re looking for a few creature comforts, you can stay at the Marion Bay Caravan Park.
Marion Bay is on the doorstep of Innes, only a 6 kilometre drive in fact to the park’s entrance. The caravan park is a council owned park and the friendly and helpful managers, Kellie and Wally, have only been at this bush camp style park a couple of months themselves. The powered caravan sites are comfortable with a concrete slab for the van and synthetic turf to extend the awning over. Our site overlooked the bay with glimpses of water through the greenery.
The beach was only a short walk out of the park and there were some weird, (what the hell is that) and wonderful (pelicans) things to see. The caravan park is only a short walk to the jetty too. If you’ve had some luck there is a good camp kitchen to cook up your catch. One wall has an eye catching mural covering it, the best way to get people’s attention drawn to the kitchen rules and regulations that I’ve ever seen.
If you weren’t so lucky fishing from the jetty or beach and have an urge for seafood there is a plan B with the Marion Bay Tavern an excellent option. The location is perfect with views to the water and the menu includes locally caught seafood dishes or you can go for the wood oven pizzas which it is well known for too, cooked in a unique corrugated iron pizza oven. The tavern is a popular option with locals on weekends and of course with the thousands of holiday makers that flock to this town in the peak summer holiday time.
The stunning beaches and coastline are one of the main reasons to visit this area and Marion Bay has, like a lot of rocky coastal areas on Yorke Peninsula, a number of shipwrecks off the coast. One wreck is that of the SS Willyama which struck a reef in 1907. It was carrying coal at the time and history says it provided local residents with free coal for many years. There is a lookout from the clifftop where you can sometimes see a part of the wreck protruding out of the water.
Marion Bay has a population of around 200 but is very popular in summer holidays and apart from the caravan park, has a motel at the tavern and holiday houses available to rent. There is a small general store, fuel available and a café that makes up the town and is a great base for exploring Innes National Park.