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Yorke Peninsula Camping

After spending more than 6 weeks exploring the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, we were super excited to see what the Yorke Peninsula had to offer, and in this post we cover the Yorke Peninsula Camping options. 

As usual, we tried our hardest to find the best of the best camp sites, although the weather also tried hard to make that difficult. We had a lot of windy days on our travels through the Yorke Peninsula, and that made us bounce around a bit more than we’d have liked.

Still, here’s some awesome camp sites on the Yorke Peninsula, and if you want the same for the Eyre, check this out – Eyre Peninsula Camping.

Looking down on camp at Swincer Rocks

The Yorke Peninsula has some magic camping, including this at Swincer Rocks

There’s a heap of camps on the Yorke Peninsula, and they fall into 5 different categories:

Council run bush camps

The Yorke Peninsula Council has 19 bush camps that are looked after by them, and they have a permit system that covers all of them. You can book one night (or many more) and if gives you the right to camp at any of the 19 sites.

You can’t lock specific spots in, but you just get the right to camp in one of them. The Yorke Peninsula Bush Camps are $20 per night per vehicle, or $100 per week, or $300 per month. The camping is consecutive though; if you pay for 7 nights, you can’t use 7 nights over 14. If you buy it on the 1st, its expired on the 8th regardless of how many nights you’ve used.

Camping at Burners Beach

A typical council run bush camp, at Burners Beach

Yorke Council Camps

A map of the Yorke Council Bush Camps

Yorke Council Bush Camps

There’s 19 in total, with plenty of choice

National Park camp grounds

At the bottom of the Yorke Peninsula lies a boot, with Innes National Park being hugely popular right in the far corner. This has a huge number of camp grounds, and lots of sites (many only suitable for tents), but these are entirely bookable online (for specific spots), and you need a day or longer national park pass to enter.

Innes National Park

Some of the national park campgrounds are fantastic

In town low cost or free options

I was pleased to see a number of different towns supporting travellers with low cost, donation or free camping. Alford, Ardrossan, Julia Oval, Moonta and a few more meet this criteria, and whilst they aren’t always amazing camps they have decent amenities and are great value.

Moonta RV overnight stay

Low cost, or donation sites run by the council are brilliant, like this in Moonta

Free camping outside of town

There’s very few places you can free camp on the Yorke Peninsula, but we did stumble across a bit of a sneaky one; if you drive through the Wauraltee council run bush camp and onto the beach, its free camping!

Wauraltee beach camping

We discovered you can camp on Wauraltee Beach for free

Caravan Parks

There are a LOT of caravan parks on the Yorke Peninsula. For a family who doesn’t use them that often this presented us with some interesting decisions to make, but there are plenty about, particularly on the East coast. Some are great value, and some are more pricey, with a huge range of different amenities to suit every traveller.

So, where did we stay?

Alford Recreation Park

We spent a night at Alford Recreation Park, and really enjoyed it. It’s got decent toilets, a dump point, playground, oval and plenty of room for the kids to run around. It’s a donation camp, right in the middle of town and was really appreciated.

  • Cost: Donation camp
  • Amenities: Flushing toilets, dump point, playground and picnic area
  • Style of camping permitted: All types
  • Pet Friendly: Yes
  • Fires permitted: No
  • How to book: No booking; first come, first served
Views from our camp at Alford

Alford Recreation Park was a great little overnighter

Room at Alford Recreation Park

There’s heaps of room to pull in and stay, and decent amenities

Balgowan Campground

Balgowan Campground is a hidden gem that not too many people know about. It is so much better value than the council run camp sites that its almost too good to be true. It has 12 camp sites, in a small, informal caravan park layout, overlooking the cliffs and spectacular bay.

A short walk has you on the beach, and you can camp on the grass (unpowered sites), with hot showers, flushing toilets and plenty of space to relax for $20 a night!

  • Cost: $20 for an unpowered site. Powered sites are $30, with kids free unless they are over 16, and then its another $10 per night.
  • Amenities: Flushing toilets, hot showers, a playground, LPG bottle swap, picnic table, BBQ
  • Style of camping permitted: All types
  • Pet Friendly: Yes
  • Fires permitted: No
  • How to book: Ring 0498 744 415, or book online
Our camp site at Balgowan

Our unpowered camp site at Balgowan was brilliant

Balgowan Campground looking from the ocean

The campground is perched on top of cliffs with great views

Balgowan cliffs

The beach is a tiny walk and nothing short of beautiful

Wauraltee Beach

We had an amazing afternoon and evening at Wauraltee Beach. The camp site above the beach is the council run one, which costs $20 a night, and has a drop toilet. If you are self sufficient though, you can drive onto the beach and camp for free. Leave no trace and do the right thing though, or they’ll lock it up, or start charging for it.

  • Cost: $20 in the council run camp site above the beach (or cheaper if you buy a longer permit), and free on the beach
  • Amenities: Toilet if you pay the $20 and are in the council site, otherwise nothing
  • Style of camping permitted: All types, but a 4WD gives you greater access
  • Pet Friendly: Yes
  • Fires permitted: No, except between the low and high tide mark under specific conditions
  • How to book: No bookings. If you are camping above the beach you need a council camping permit, but this doesn’t guarantee you a spot here (just at one of the spots!).
Wauraltee Beach camping

You can camp above the beach in the council campground, or on the beach on crown land

Sunset and Kayak at Wauraltee

If you get good weather, this place is easily as good or better than Perlubie Beach

Parara Campground

If you want blue manna crabs, Parara Campground is the place to go, just south of Ardrossan. The camp site is reasonable, with some spots on grassy sections, and its a tiny walk to the ‘beach’ where you can head out to wade for crabs.

We thought the town was quite pretty, and enjoyed exploring it one afternoon whilst the weather was terrible, before heading further south. The actual camp site isn’t anything to rave about, but its good for crabbing and a nice enough spot to stop.

  • Cost: Minimum $20 per night (cheaper if you buy a longer council camping permit)
  • Amenities: A long drop toilet that was OK, but smelt a fair bit
  • Style of camping permitted: All types
  • Pet Friendly: Yes
  • Fires permitted: Yes, in season
  • How to book: You need a Yorke Council camping permit, but it doesn’t guarantee a spot here (although there is lots of room)
Parara campground

Camped at Parara Campground for a night

Low tide at Parara campground beach

Low tide makes for a big change in landscape

Crabs at Parara Campground

If you are chasing Blue Manna Crabs this is a great place to start

Burners Beach

Just beyond Point Turton is Burners Beach, which is a nice place to camp at for a few nights. We stayed on the right as you enter which has no toilet and is quieter, but there’s plenty of room to camp here. This is a council run camp site which means you need a permit, but its a great place to kick back.

  • Cost: $20 minimum, with it costing less if you have a council camping permit for a longer duration
  • Amenities: Toilet
  • Style of camping permitted: All types
  • Pet Friendly: Yes
  • Fires permitted: Yes, in season
  • How to book: The usual council camping permit system applies (no site guaranteed)
Camped at Burners Beach

Burners Beach is a great spot, close to town

Main camp ground at Burners Beach

Lots of room in the main camp ground at Burners Beach

Gym Beach

Our favourite camp site in the Innes National Park was Gym Beach, which is only accessible from the northern end of the park, and seems to be a bit isolated. There’s only a handful of camp sites, with number 5 being big, shady and really beautiful, and the beaches around Gym Beach are stunning.

  • Cost: $24 per night for one vehicle sites, and $34.50 per night for two vehicle sites
  • Amenities: Two toilets and fire rings
  • Style of camping permitted: All types, but some sites are not very big so check dimensions before booking. Very low clearance vehicles may also have difficulty
  • Pet Friendly: No
  • Fires permitted: Yes, in season
  • How to book: Online, on the SA Parks website
Gym Beach is amazing

Gym Beach is quiet, and has some stunning beaches

Squeezing our Reconn R2 into camp

Camp site number 5, which is super shady and large

Shell Beach

Shell Beach is a beautiful place in the Innes National Park. The camp ground is OK, but it’s seriously small, and about 400 metres away from the beach

  • Cost: $24 per site, per night
  • Amenities: A toilet
  • Style of camping permitted: Anything small. A tiny camper trailer might just fit, otherwise its tents, cars or swags
  • Pet Friendly: No
  • Fires permitted: Yes, in season
  • How to book: Online on the SA Parks website
Shell Beach is stunning in the Innes National Park

Shell Beach is a truly beautiful place

Shell Beach camping sites

The sites at Shell Beach Camp are tiny

Casuarina

Further south in the Innes National Park is the Casuarina Campground, which is bigger, but still has tiny sites and we were driving within a metre of many parked cars and their camp grounds as we drove through.

  • Cost: $24 per site, per night
  • Amenities: A toilet
  • Style of camping permitted: Anything small. A tiny camper trailer might just fit, otherwise its tents, cars or swags
  • Pet Friendly: No
  • Fires permitted: Yes, in season
  • How to book: Online on the SA Parks website

Pondalowie Bay

Our second favourite camp site in the Innes National Park was Pondalowie Bay. There’s two camp sites here (so book the right one!), with one being for large vehicles, and the other for tents. This is a short walk to the fishing village and Pondalowie Bay, which is nothing short of spectacular. It’s also centrally located in the Innes National Park, which means accessing the various attractions is easy.

  • Cost: $24 per site per night, for both sites
  • Amenities: Drop toilets, non potable water, camp fire rings
  • Style of camping permitted: Caravans and trailers in the caravan and trailer site, with tents and swags in the smaller campground
  • Pet Friendly: No
  • Fires permitted: Yes, in season
  • How to book: Online, on the SA parks website
Pondalowie Bay Campground

Camped at the Caravan and trailer part of Pondalowie Bay

Camped at Pondalowie Bay

The caravan sites are a decent size, and in a reasonable spot

Pondalowie Bay beach is stunning

Pondalowie Bay is nothing short of beautiful, and its a short walk from camp

Cable Bay

Cable Bay is further south in the Innes National Park, and has some decent sized camp sites. There’s less to do around this, and we preferred Pondalowie as a result, but it would be a nice enough place to camp for a few nights.

  • Cost: $24 per site for one vehicle, or $34.50 for sites that can take two vehicles
  • Amenities: Toilets
  • Style of camping permitted: All types
  • Pet Friendly: No
  • Fires permitted: Yes, in season
  • How to book: Online, on the SA website

Stenhouse Bay

When we visited Stenhouse day (actually all 4 times) the weather was foul, with huge waves, lots of wind and a generally unpleasant atmosphere for camping. We thought Stenhouse Bay was the most open and unprotected camp site, and rated the others higher, but it is in a decent location and if the weather is good, it would be a pretty great place to chill for a few days.

  • Cost: $24 per site for one vehicle, or $34.50 for sites that can take two vehicles
  • Amenities: Toilets
  • Style of camping permitted: All types
  • Pet Friendly: No
  • Fires permitted: Yes, in season
  • How to book: Online, on the SA website
Stenhouse Bay Camp Ground

We thought the Stenhouse Bay campground was a lot more barren and open than the others

Stenhouse Bay on a bad day

On a day where there’s good weather it would be a nice place

Daly Head

After the Innes National Park, we called in at Daly Head to see what it would be like. The beach itself is stunning, and asides from a number of stairs to get down its a good place to camp. We continued on as it was fairly busy, we’d seen a big black snake and there are plenty of long grassy sections for them to hide out in!

  • Cost: $20 per night minimum (less if you pay for more days of the council camping permit)
  • Amenities: Toilet, picnic area
  • Style of camping permitted: All types
  • Pet Friendly: Yes
  • Fires permitted: No
  • How to book: The usual council camping permit (which doesn’t guarantee a spot here)
Daly Head views

Daly Head had great views, but it was pretty busy and its a decent hike to the beach!

Daly Heads Picnic area

They’ve got a small picnic area

Gleesons Landing

I can’t say I really rated Gleesons Landing, but we didn’t check out the beach up the other end that might have been nice. This is a lot of shallow reef, and a crayfish sanctuary, which makes it interesting but not overly great to camp at with young kids.

  • Cost: $20 per night (usual council camp permit system)
  • Amenities: Toilet
  • Style of camping permitted: All types
  • Pet Friendly: Yes
  • Fires permitted: No
  • How to book: Council permit system to be used (doesn’t guarantee a spot though)

Swincer Rocks

We very nearly skipped Swincer Rocks, and it turned out to be our favourite camp site on the Yorke Peninsula. We got a spot metres from the water, with pristine views, and we had the whole place to ourselves in the lead up to Christmas, which was quite a surprise.

  • Cost: $20 minimum per night (council camping permit required)
  • Amenities: Nothing
  • Style of camping permitted: All types
  • Pet Friendly: Yes
  • Fires permitted: Yes, in season
  • How to book: Purchase a council camping permit (but this could still be full)
Swincer Rocks Camp Ground

Swincer Rocks takes the cake for our most enjoyable camp site on the Yorke Peninsula

Sunset at Swincer Rocks

We nearly didn’t call in here, but are so glad we did!

Gravel Bay

Further north from Swincer Rocks is Gravel Bay. We were actually going to head here first, and after staying at Swincer Rocks never got around to it. It looks like a decent spot though, and we’ll check it out another time

  • Cost: $20 minimum per night (council camping permit required)
  • Amenities: Nothing
  • Style of camping permitted: All types
  • Pet Friendly: Yes
  • Fires permitted: Yes, in season
  • How to book: Purchase a council camping permit (but this could still be full)

Kadina Showgrounds

After heading north in a hurry, we spent a night at Kadina Showgrounds so the kids could watch the Christmas Parade. For the money its not something you’d complain about, and if you need power then there’s that option too.

  • Cost: $10 per night for unpowered, and $20 for powered. You can get free drinking water from the information centre too.
  • Amenities: None, and you need to be self sufficient
  • Style of camping permitted: All types, as long as you are fully self sufficient (including grey water)
  • Pet Friendly: Yes
  • Fires permitted: No
  • How to book: Through the Kadina Information Centre
Our camp site at Kadina Showgrounds

Our spot at the Kadina Showgrounds

Kadina Showgrounds camping

It’s nothing spectacular, but its a decent overnight stay

Moonta RV overnight Stay

If you are looking for a basic donation camp near the coast, Moonta RV overnight stay is the place to go. It’s basically a big oval with lots of places to pull up. Moonta is a beautiful town, and you can head down to the bay and let the kids run wild on the beach, in the dedicated swimming area or at the free (yes, completely free) water park.

  • Cost: Donation camp
  • Amenities: Rubbish bins and dump point
  • Style of camping permitted: All types (self contained, but you can release grey water)
  • Pet Friendly: Yes
  • Fires permitted: No
  • How to book: No bookings; first come, best dressed
Moonta Bay RV overnight stay

The Moonta RV overnight stay is nothing amazing, but its perfect and we were very grateful

Hopefully this post gives you some ideas about where to camp on the Yorke Peninsula. We’ll be back another time to explore more places, but we covered quite a few whilst dodging the weather! If you want to see where we went after this, you can follow our Lap of Australia Itinerary.

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