Australia has some truly world class National Parks, and we’re always super excited to enter a new one, and see what its all about. We’ve been working our way across the coast of South Australia, and next on the list was Innes National Park, on the Yorke Peninsula.
Where is the Innes National Park?
This National Park is right at the bottom of the Yorke Peninsula, in the boot shape. It covers a fair chunk of land, and can only be accessed from the Marion Bay side (with exception to Gym Beach, which is the only place right at the top).
To get to the Innes National Park from Adelaide, you are looking at about 3 hours drive.
What does it cost to enter?
You need a National Parks pass to enter the Innes National Park, and this has to be purchased online. At a pinch, you can do it at the visitors centre (even after hours as they have a PC outside), but its best if you get one prior to arriving.
You can get a day pass for $12.50 per vehicle.
What are the attractions in Innes National Park?
All of the coastal national parks in South Australia have magic coastline, pristine beaches and amazing scenery, and the Innes National Park is no exception to this. There’s a fair bit of history thrown into the mix as well, with some beaches that would comfortably rival the top 100 anywhere in Australia.
If you are into fishing there’s plenty of option for that too, and some of the camp sites are in a pretty good location. There’s lots of walks and hikes that you can do, great scenery and plenty of information to read on the signs around the place.
Innes National Park Hikes
If you are into walking and hiking, the Innes National Park has a substantial number of options. Starting at the entry station, you can walk around Stenhouse Bay. Then, you’ve got Royston Head, West Cape, the Inneston Historic walk (around the old gypsum mining and town), Thompson Pfitzner plaster trail, Cape Spencer, Gym Beach and Marion Bay.
We also really enjoyed walking from Pondalowie Campground to the boardwalk where they watch the surfing.
Do you need a 4WD?
Around 70% of the Innes National Park is bitumen, with the rest being very good condition gravel roads. You absolutely do not need a 4WD, and you don’t even need a 2WD with much clearance; virtually every vehicle is fine.
Can you camp in the Innes National Park?
There’s 7 places within the Innes National Park where you can camp. Only a couple of those are suitable for caravans though, so look carefully, and make a booking online. There is decent reception around Stenhouse Bay, and some patchy reception around Pondalowie Bay that might be OK to put a booking through.
We’d recommend you drive through the camp sites, or do some thorough research before you book anything as some of the tent sites are the smallest that I’ve ever seen in my travels. We have a dedicated Innes National Park Camping post that covers more in detail, if you want to continue reading.
Ticks in the Innes National Park
If you are going to visit the Innes National Park, you need to know that there are ticks around, and that there’s a decent chance you’ll end up with one or more on you, and biting you. According to the signs around the camp grounds these are harmless to humans and you should just carefully remove them. I’m not sure I fully agree with that, and would avoid getting bitten by them as much as possible.
We stayed 3 nights at Pondalowie Campground and saw about 10, with none of us getting bitten, which was great!
Did we enjoy our stay?
I really enjoyed Gym Beach. We spent two nights there, at the top of the Innes National Park and really rated camp site number 5, but also the coastline. From there, we headed through the rest of the park and spent 3 nights at Pondalowie. Browns Beach, Shell Beach and Dolphin Bay are truly beautiful beaches, and you won’t go wrong seeing them.
We quite enjoyed the history at Stenhouse Bay and Jetty, and Inneston, along with the walks to the lighthouses, and Pondalowie Bay Beach is unreal.
It did take a day or two for me to warm up to the main part of Innes National Park, but I eventually fell in love with it. We had some pretty shoddy weather to start with, but its still an incredible part of the world and if you visited when it was warm and calm it would be truly beautiful.
I’d absolutely go back to the Innes National Park.