The Yorke Peninsula is as rich in history as it is beautiful. Within 1.5 hours from Adelaide, you are greeted by lush farmland, secluded coastlines, and an evolving food and beverage scene that attracts tourists from all over South Australia. A Yorke Peninsula road trip is the one and only way to see the best of what “Yorkes” has to offer. With a reliable vehicle you can explore many of the great attractions and things to do on Yorke Peninsula, from the mining history of the Copper Coast to the surfing beaches of the “Bottom End”.
Updated October 2021
GUEST POST –
The Chalkie & The Chippy
Table of Contents
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, we will earn commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Yorke Peninsula Map
If you look at a Yorke Peninsula map it is easy to see why it is dubbed the “only leg Australia has to stand on”, given its unique shape of a leg and foot. The region is centrally located on the coast of South Australia, making it an easy trip from anywhere in the state. It is hard to see all of “Yorkes” in just a few days or over a long weekend, so that’s why we recommend a minimum of 10 days to really see all the best things to do on Yorke Peninsula.
Getting Around Yorke Peninsula
In order to get around the Yorke Peninsula, your only real option is by driving yourself in either a car or campervan (click here for car hire). If you choose to travel by car there are lots of hotels to choose from along the route that will be the perfect place to stay over.
If you are looking for more of an adventurous road trip then we highly recommend renting a campervan. There are lots of free places to camp along the Yorke Peninsula and this form of travel will allow you to enjoy the beauty of the peninsula to its fullest potential.
Accommodation Yorke Peninsula
We recommend a mixture of camping and staying in local shacks, “Bed and Breakfast” style rooms or hotels for your accommodation on your Yorke Peninsula road trip. This will give you the best of both worlds – the abundance of nature in secluded camp grounds, and the friendliness and hospitality of locals.
Yorke Peninsula Road Trip Route
Our 10-Day Yorke Peninsula Road Trip Itinerary takes you from Adelaide to the historic Copper Coast, through the rich farmland of the Central Yorke Valley, to the surfing beaches and natural wilderness of the “Bottom End”, and through small seaside towns along the east coast of the leg, before returning back to Adelaide.
DAY 1 - Adelaide to Moonta
The Copper Coast is only a 1.5hour drive from Adelaide, making it the perfect start to an epic Yorke Peninsula Road Trip! The Copper Coast consists of the three towns of Moonta, Wallaroo and Kadina, and is rich in mining history, restaurants and cafes, and of course the beach and fishing scenes we all love! Leave Adelaide early so you can spend the whole day exploring the sights, beaches and shops of Moonta, Moonta Bay, Moonta Mines and Port Hughes for your first day of your road trip!
Shop Down Moonta Mainstreet
Moonta is a unique country town, as all the shops and cafes are open all weekend, and the town is constantly buzzing. There are new shops and cafes popping up regularly. We recommend trying a local “Chips and Parma” at the Café Moonta, trying some local produce at Taste the Yorke, finding vintage goodies at one of the antique shops, trying on a new outfit at Vivian Frank Fashion Boutique, eating an iconic Cornish pasty at the Cornish Kitchen, or devouring a smoothie at Nook and Nourish.
Explore the Moonta Mines
Spend the afternoon exploring the Moonta Mines and learning about the rich copper mining history of the area. Explore the many pump and engine house ruins, the Moonta Mines Museum, the Moonta Mines train ride, the Miner’s Cottage, the skimp piles to climb for a view of the town and, of course, the famous Moonta Mines Lolly Shop!
Watch the Sunset Along the Coast
The whole coast line of Moonta Bay and Port Hughes faces west, offering breathtaking views of the sun setting over the ocean. And there are many spots you can choose to watch the sun go down – the Moonta Bay Jetty, Simms Cove, Port Hughes Jetty or our favourite – South Beach. South Beach would be one of the best and safest beaches on the Northern Yorke Peninsula coast, if not all of the Yorke Peninsula.
Eat at Café Capella’s for Dinner
Café Capella’s is the most popular restaurant in town, and named the best pizza in the region! They offer a huge range of pizzas, pastas and other main meals, and can cater to all dietary requirements. There is seating inside or outside on their outdoor deck, which is perfect for balmy summer nights!
DAY 2 - Explore the Copper Coast
On day 2, visit the other towns of the Copper Coast and explore the many other cafes, beaches, history and fun activities of Wallaroo and Kadina. Each town is only 10-20 minutes apart, making it an easy day trip between them.
Visit Wallaroo’s North Beach
Only 15-minutes from Moonta is the coastal town of Wallaroo. Wallaroo’s North Beach is a great destination for the whole family. You can drive your car on the beach and you don’t need a 4WD to do it! The beach is long and you can find your own spot to relax for the morning, or grab a coffee at the North Beach Kitchen.
Try Local Beer at Bond Store
Wallaroo’s Main Street has some small cafes and shops that are worth checking out. But a great taste of local flavour is the newly opened Bond Store, a microbrewery, distillery and restaurant serving gourmet sharing plates, meals and signature drinks in their industrial style restaurant.
Play Mini Golf in Kadina
Only a 10-minute drive from Wallaroo is the capital of the Copper Coast, Kadina. Kadina offers all the main commercial shops in the area, from McDonalds, Cheap as Chips and Target. However, if you are looking for a kid-friendly activity, then the mini-golf course at the Farmshed Museum and Tourism Centre is a hit with the kids!
Have a Picnic at Sunny Hill Distillery
Just outside of the Copper Coast lies breathtaking fields and farmland, and the popular Sunny Hill Distillery. Sunny Hill Distillery offers locally made gin, vodka and other products, as well as a tasting room and function centre. It’s a great way to spend the afternoon with friends, tasting their wide selection of signature cocktails. Bring your own share platters and roll out a picnic rug on their lawn to really enjoy the experience.
Stay at Redwing Farm
A gorgeous accommodation option, just outside of Moonta, is Redwing Farm. This boutique farm offers a variety of self-catering accommodation from a shearer’s quarters, a barn, to a fully renovated vintage caravan! This is a cute and unique accommodation option for couples or families. They also offer community and kids events and activities, so keep your eyes peeled for what’s on when you’re there!
Looking for the Ultimate Van Life Destinations?
Check out the 10 BEST for a South Australia Road TripREAD MORE HERE
DAY 3 - Moonta To Balgowan
Balgowan is a 40-minute drive from Moonta, and is a small coastal town with a few shacks and a boat ramp. Between Moonta and Balgowan there are some great locations and beaches for adventure, camping, fishing and 4WDing.
Enjoy a Gelati at the Coffee Barn Gelateria
Just outside of Moonta, on the way to Balgowan, is the ever so popular Coffee Barn Gelateria, serving some of the best gelati in the state! They always have new and rotating flavours of gelati, and serve delicious pancakes and waffles for an indulgent treat for breakfast! They also offer a Bed and Breakfast accommodation for couples, one of the cutest accommodation on the Yorke Peninsula.
Go 4WDing Between The Gap and Cape Elizabeth
If you have a 4WD vehicle, then we highly suggest heading towards The Gap and Cape Elizabeth. You can access The Gap via 2WD, but you can also drive along the beach and sand dunes between The Gap and Cape Elizabeth if you have a 4WD. This is a fun and adventurous day out. You can pull up anywhere along the long stretch of beach for a fish in the ocean, or some sandboarding in the sand dunes!
Set Up Camp at The Bamboos or Tiparra Rocks
Between Balgowan and The Gap are two picturesque campgrounds, The Bamboos and Tiparra Rocks. The Bamboos is nestled amongst some sand dunes, and Tiparra Rocks is situated on a cliff face. You can also camp at The Gap campgrounds, which can fill up quickly during holidays.
Visit Balgowan Beach For Sunset
Balgowan is a small holiday town, full of old and new shacks. There is also a boat ramp for those fishermen looking for the best fishing on the Yorke Peninsula. The blend of colours at the Balgowan Beach is breathtaking at sunset, as the sun reflects off the red sandstone cliff faces
DAY 4 - Balgowan To Port Rickaby
The Central Yorke Valley region of the Yorke Peninsula is abundant in rich farm land, secluded coast lines, small country and seaside towns, and local produce making this day a scenic and indulgent part of your trip.
Try Local Wine at Barley Stacks Winery
From Balgowan head into Maitland for supplies, and then onto the indulgent Barley Stacks Winery. Yorkes may not compare to the world-class Barossa Valley, but still can produce some delicious wine. Visit their cellar door for a tasting, or check out what events are on for some extra fun.
Fish at Wauraltee Beach
Wauraltee Beach is a 20-minute drive from Barley Stacks Winery, or a 30-minute drive from Maitland. This is the local’s hidden secret. The beach is long, and offers 4WD access, camping and a beach that is great for fishing or swimming alike.
Camp at the Port Rickaby Caravan Park
You can either head back onto the main road, or take the dirt track like the locals from Wauraltee Beach to Port Rickaby. Port Rickaby is a quaint seaside holiday town. There are holiday homes, beach shacks, a functional caravan park, and a small jetty and beach to enjoy. You can catch a spectacular sunset here to end the Central Yorke part of your trip.
DAY 5 - Port Rickaby To Point Turton
Make your way to the “Bottom End” of Yorkes. The “Bottom End” of the Yorke Peninsula really steals the show. It is home to the iconic Innes National Park, dramatic coastlines, native wildlife and secluded surfing beaches.
Drive Along the Beach at Parsons Beach
From Port Rickaby, drive towards another holiday village at Parsons Beach, and take the car for a drive along the sand. You can either choose to relax, swim or fish in the water here.
Try Local Beer at Watsacowie Brewery
As you head into the town of Minlaton from Parsons Beach, you will be greeted by the popular Watsacowie Brewery. This craft brewery holds many events and functions, and is a great stop for a taste of one of the best local beers in the region.
Watch the Sunset at Flaherty Beach
A 25-minute drive from Minlaton are the holiday towns of Point Turton and Hardwicke Bay. Between the two towns is the gorgeous and bright blue waters of Flaherty Beach. The ocean is shallow here, making it a safe swimming spot for families at sunset.
DAY 6 - Point Turton To Marion Bay
Explore the top of the foot of the “Bottom End” for surfing and sand dunes and then head south towards Marion Bay, the gateway to Innes National Park.
Learn to Surf at Berry Bay
Berry Bay is a picturesque bay on the “Bottom End” and a 35-minute drive from Point Turton. It is a popular beach amongst surfers. However, If you don’t surf but are a strong swimmer, it is also just as much fun body surfing in the waves. Alternatively, you can book a surfing lesson with Neptune’s Surf Coaching as you drive through Corny Point on the way. You can also hire paddle boards or surf boards from them too.
Explore the Sand Dunes of Daly Head
Daly Head is 25-minutes south of Berry Bay and also offers impressive waves for experienced surfers. However, the main attraction is the long sweeping beach and bare sand dunes that makes it a picturesque destination to explore.
Watch the Sunset at Marion Bay Jetty
From Daly Head, head 30-minutes south to Marion Bay in time for sunset. Marion Bay is a small seaside town, with some essential shops and a sweeping beach and jetty. Even though the sun sets in the west, Marion Bay still offers stunning colours over Investigator Strait at sunset. You might even be able to see Kangaroo Island on a clear day.
Eat Dinner at the Marion Bay Tavern
The best place for dinner in town is at the Marion Bay Tavern. We love the wood fired pizza selection, but they also offer pub style and gourmet meals as well.
Stay at Bayside Glamping
Bayside Glamping is a unique accommodation option in Marion Bay that can’t be missed. They offer bell tent accommodation in town, as well as a tiny home amongst scrub just outside of town. These cute and quaint accommodation options are locally owned and run, and every detail is well thought out.
DAY 7 - Explore Innes National Park
Innes National Park is the most iconic place of the Yorke Peninsula. It Is a haven for spotting native Australian animals, camping, fishing and surfing. You can explore a lot of the main sites in one day but, if you have more time to spare, we recommend spending multiple days here to really explore this area of the peninsula, and maybe even squeeze in a few bushwalks. Innes National Park, like all National Parks, requires a vehicle entrance and/or camping fee, which you can do via the National Parks and Wildlife Services website.
Fish off the Stenhouse Bay Jetty
As you head into Innes National Park from Marion Bay, you will pass through the small Stenhouse Bay and jetty just before the entrance. This jetty is perfect for fishing, or strolling to the end to see views of Kangaroo Island.
Visit Cape Spencer Lighthouse
As you drive the scenic road into Innes National Park you will notice Chinaman’s Hat Island on the left, and the beautiful coastline of the Southern Yorke Peninsula. After a short drive, turn off to Cape Spencer Lighthouse, the tip of the toe! Here you can enjoy a pleasant walk down to the lighthouse for magnificent and dramatic views of Althorpe Island, Wedge Island, and Kangaroo Island.
Discover Ethel Wreck
One of the most gorgeous sandy beaches in the park is at Ethel Wreck. The yellow and dense sand surrounds the wreck of The Ethel, which has been aground since 1904. The wreck is mostly visible, but it will depend on the sand movements that day. You can either enjoy the view from the lookout above, or walk down the stairs onto the soft sandy beach.
Surf at Pondalowie Bay
Pondalowie Fishing Village is situated within the National Park, and consists of old shacks and a boat ramp. The village overlooks Pondalowie Bay, a long sweeping beach, popular amongst surfers for its long and consistent waves.
Relax at Dolphin Beach
From Pondalowie Bay, head to Dolphin Beach for a safe place for swimming. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and relax on the smooth rocks that hug the bay.
Find the Rock Pools at Shell Beach
Just around the corner from Dolphin Beach is our favourite beach in Innes National Park, Shell Beach. This beach is small and picturesque, with small waves for safe swimming. However, if you explore further east along the beach, there are rocks and a small rock pool you can cool off in as well.
Stay in Inneston Heritage Accommodation
You can enjoy the comforts of self-contained accommodation in the park, from the small hut at Shell Beach to a large hall at Stenhouse Bay. However, an historic part of the park lies in the Inneston Historic Town, which has many stone ruins and several restored and renovated buildings where you can sleep for the night.
DAY 8 - Innes National Park To Edithburgh
Between Innes National Park and Edithburgh is the Scenic South Coast Road. This is a great alternative area for camping if Innes National Park is fully booked in high season. The road is a dirt road, but the stops along the way are worth your while.
Meehan Hill Lookout
At the eastern most point of the long sweeping beach at Marion Bay, is the Meehan Hill Lookout. This dramatic cliff overlooks the bay, ocean and sandy beach below. You can also follow the path down onto the sand for a spot to relax.
Hillocks Drive and Butler’s Beach
Hillock’s Drive is a unique destination on the Southern Yorke Peninsula. Just off the Scenic South Coast Road is the Hillock’s Homestead, a place where you can stay or buy essential camping supplies. You will need to pay an entrance fee to access the beaches and campgrounds within the property, which you can do at the Homestead. Hillock’s Drive includes lots of cliff top camp sites, lookouts, 4WD tracks, Ocean Pod accommodation and gorgeous beaches including Butler’s Beach!
Kangaroo Island Lookout
If you are still after some dramatic coastline views of Investigator Strait, then head to the Kangaroo Island Lookout, just off the Scenic South Coast Road. You can admire the crashing waves below and Kangaroo Island in the distance.
Trourbridge Point Lighthouse
Just before arriving into the township of Edithburgh, you will pass through small towns of Foul Bay and Port Moorowie. You can either head straight into Edithburgh town, our take a detour via the Trourbridge Point Lighthouse. This lighthouse is 32 metres high and offers views of the ocean to the south and west of the leg.
Eat Dinner at the Location Café
Arrive into Edithburgh for dinner at the Location Café and Coffee Shop. They offer a wide selection of meals and have a vibrant outdoor area to enjoy.
DAY 9 - Edithburgh To Port Vincent
From Edithburgh, you will finish your last 2 days of your Yorke Peninsula road trip along the east coast of the leg.
Swim at the Edithburgh Tidal Pool
Start your morning with a refreshing swim at the Edithburgh Tidal Pool. This pool is a great spot for all ability swimmers, located right near the jetty.
Visit the Wattle Point Wind Farm
Before leaving Edithburgh, head to the Wattle Point Wind Farm just out of town. These 55 turbines supply electricity to 52,000 homes. You can learn all about how they work at the free viewing area on Sheaok Beach Road.
Enjoy a Picnic Lunch at Wool Bay
Just a 15-minute drive from Edithburgh is the small holiday town of Wool Bay. This historic town was once a busy port, and the steep cliffs to the port were perfect for a bale of wool to roll down (hence the name). It is now a small town with a safe and sandy beach for families, a jetty and boat ramp, many cliffs and coves and a BBQ shelter and picnic area perfect for a packed road trip lunch.
Try Fresh Oysters in Stansbury
Only a 12-minute drive from Wool Bay is the township of Stansbury. The Southern Yorke Oysters in Stansbury produce locally grown oysters. You can visit their shop if the open sign is out to buy your own oysters for dinner!
Stay at the Port Vincent Foreshore Caravan Park
End your day in the coastal town of Port Vincent, only 15-minutes from Stansbury. Stay at the Port Vincent Foreshore Caravan Park, a beachfront park overlooking the whole bay. You can either choose to camp, or rent a cabin for your last night.
DAY 10 - Port Vincent To Adelaide
On your final day, continue heading up the east coast of the leg through more small seaside towns, taking in the last moments of country seaside living and natural landscapes.
Enjoy Aquatic Activities in Port Vincent
Port Vincent is known for its aquatic activities from boating, sailing and fishing. Enjoy your last morning swimming in the crystal clear waters near the pontoon, hire a kayak or paddle board from Port Vincent Outdoors, or take your boat out at the boat ramp.
Enjoy an Iced Coffee at Black Point
20-minutes from Port Vincent is the holiday town of Black Point, a long sweeping beach with beachfront shacks and holiday homes. While in town, catch Wilfred the Van, a renovated vintage coffee van, and try some of their specialty coffees and iced drinks.
Visit the Ardrossan Bakery
Head 20-minutes north of Black Point, and stop into Ardrossan. Explore the town and visit the Ardrossan Bakery to try a delicious doughnut to fuel up for your 1.5 hour drive back to Adelaide.
We are Breanna and Dylan, a local Yorke Peninsula couple, who have spent most of our childhood and young adult life exploring South Australia. We have travelled long term to Europe and SE Asia and have written about our travels in our Travel Blog – Chalkie and the Chippy. We loved travelling overseas, but still believe the best style of travel is road trips in our own backyard, and finding hidden gems in familiar places.