Innes National Park

It was the phone call that changed the course of our holiday. I rang the caravan park a week before Christmas, by chance someone had just cancelled their camp site. It was for the exact five days we wanted. Otherwise we would have gone back to Corryong in the High Country, one of many fire effected Victorian towns that have been evacuated since then.

Life’s sliding doors instead took us to Marion Bay, on the doorstep of Innes National Park in South Australia.

Still, even on the tip of the South Australian coastline, there was potential for more bushfires. On the day we arrived, a hot blustery wind was blowing and authorities weren’t taking any chances. The next day was declared a “catastrophic fire danger day” and all campers inside the eight campgrounds of the adjoining National Park were evacuated.

Fortunately the Marion Bay Caravan Park was a safe haven and the National Park reopened two days after we arrived.

Here are some of my favourite places in the Park:

This small National Park packs a big dose of scenic splendour. This is the view as you crest the road near Chinamans Hat and it’s jaw dropping when you see it for the first time.

Innes National Park covers an area of 9415 hectares of coastal vegetation. It takes only 40 minutes to drive from one end to the other. But why rush it? With so many places to explore along the way you need a full day to appreciate all that’s here and even longer to return and enjoy some of the gorgeous swimming spots we uncovered.

Stenhouse Bay Lookout Walk

The picture perfect jetty at Stenhouse Bay looks out over turquoise waters and is a favourite spot for fishermen.

Adjacent to the jetty is the 2km Stenhouse Bay Lookout Walk leading across the cliff tops to seven look out points that provide spectacular views. The well marked loop trail includes signs and stories of the mining era along the way and at each look out point. I was blown away by the scenic views. Not literally of course!

At one stage we had a couple of emus to accompany us. How’s that for our own personal guides. Yep, the wildlife’s prolific and friendly here.

Lunch at West Cape Lighthouse

Okay, I’m happy to meet the locals but this is ridiculous!

It’s close to lunch time and West Cape is the perfect place for a stop with picnic shelters that overlook a magnificent view. I just hadn’t counted on getting so close to the local wildlife.

Two curious stumpy tail lizards clearly had their eye on our lunch. One was so friendly I thought he was going to climb up onto my lap. Ahh, not so close buddy.

After lunch we enjoyed a breezy 30 minute trek along cliff tops to the extraordinary West Cape lighthouse. This fully automated lighthouse built in 1980 is constructed from stainless steel. The walk was exhilarating.

Historic Inneston

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Fancy spending a night in a ghost town? You can, right here.

Not far from our lunch stop, deep in the heart of the National Park, is a two km walk to historic Inneston. In the early 1900s this was a bustling gypsum mining town that was home to about 150 miners and their families. Nowadays it’s abandoned but you can stay overnight in one of the restored heritage buildings.

If that doesn’t take your fancy you can simply explore the area, the glistening salt water Inneston Lake where mining once took place and all the ruins.

Apparently inside the ‘Bakers Oven’ over 130 loaves of bread were baked daily in the 1920s. No smells of baked bread when we visited, though my hubby had the fancies for a pizza. Around us, only lonely picturesque ruins stood as a reminder of the era.

Oh, and pesky March flies! They were so intent on hanging around, so ferocious and so intent on biting that I ended up running the last hundred metres back to the car to escape them.

Ethel Wreck

The waves were thundering and the ocean swells massive when we walked the 130 plus steps down to Ethel Beach. Such a beautiful beach but such a treacherous coastline. No wonder the Ethel came to grief here, run aground in 1904. You can read her story and see wreck remains down on the beach.

The remains of over 40 shipwrecks are scattered off the coast of Innes and within the Southern Spencer Marine Park. So many stories of tragedy, bravery and final agonising moments.

From the top of the boardwalk you can take in the views and marvel at the power of the sea that brought the Ethel to its final resting place.

And at the bottom, as you walk along Ethel Beach, amid the pounding of the waves and the towering red cliffs, you can’t help but feel small and humbled.

Shell Beach

At the far end of Shell beach, around the corner, is a stunning swimming spot known as the Blue Pool. It’s nature’s own pool and the perfect place to cool down on a hot summer day.

We enjoyed a couple of relaxing hours here on our last balmy day.

So many other inviting places, walks and stunning beaches, so much to enjoy on Innes …

The SA National Parks and Wildlife Service are featuring Innes National Park in their online promotions this month. I was stoked to have two of my recent Insta photos included.

Can you guess which are mine? Clue: one of them I’m farewelling the decade. You can see more photos on their website here

Entry to the park costs $11 entry per vehicle. It’s worth every cent with the park’s campgrounds, roads, signs and board walks extremely well maintained.

Where is it? Innes is right on the “toes” of the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia, just over three hours from Adelaide. It’s ruggedly beautiful, filled with dramatic coastline, wildlife and history that make it a must do destination in South Australia.

I feel very grateful we were able to enjoy the beginning of 2020 in this pristine part of Australia.

Whenever you are in the world, stay safe and happy and keep enjoying the journey.

In light and love


Australia is hurting right now with bushfires ravaging much of our land and wildlife. Here are a couple of links where you can donate to help:

Red Cross Australia – general disaster relief

WWF – help save koalas

Please keep Australia in your thoughts and pray for rain.

It is not enough to understand the natural world; the point is to defend and preserve it. Edward Abbey


99 thoughts on “Innes National Park

  1. Hi Miriam, what a blessing you didn’t go back to Corryong. Serendipity in action. What a wonderful place Innes National Park is. Beautiful photographs, great post. At a time when our country, people and wildlife is suffering greatly.. Thank you. Barbara

    Liked by 2 people

        1. Glad to hear that and yes, we’re ok but definitely mindful of everything going on. Concerned for my daughter who’s heading back home from Qld to the High Country. 😟

          Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, do go back. As usual I had a whole plan mapped out to do a big loop around that area. Sadly the bushfire map looks like it followed my plan. We do want to return as it is has special memories for us. Maybe we’ll take our club up there to give the community a boost. As you know we have a passion for pubs and pies!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s a great idea. Once it’s safe to get back into these areas I’m sure they’ll appreciate all the visitors and support they can get. Pubs and pies are a great mix!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Looks a really good place to visit and I hadn’t heard of it before! Yes that was a real sliding door moment. In the last three years about this time we had visited three locations that are currently burning. (Nothing after xmas this year). So we had also got our timing right.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Jenny, sliding doors indeed! It’s devastating to see so many of these beautiful areas burning isn’t it. Many of them are some of my favourite childhood places. Take care.

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        1. Sounds very nice. I’m well too, though a bit worried for my daughter who’s back from Qld. Their home’s in the firing line tonight so hoping those predicted winds don’t cause too much havoc.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. What a great stroke of luck getting a cancellation to visit such an amazing location. Looks like a magical place and what a lovely way to say goodbye to the old year. Glad to hear that the awful fires haven’t spread that far but the news seems grim about the whole situation. Let’s hope the weather changes and the fires start to recede very soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely, Jonno! It was a fabulous trip and we were very lucky. The fires have been devastating and yes, we can only pray that in time, and with lots of rain, things will eventually ease.

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  4. That view was jaw-dropping, Miriam, and so were most of the other photos you posted! That coastline is incredible, and who wouldn’t love spotting a emu or two wandering nearby?
    I’m so glad that the fires aren’t preventing you from enjoying your trip, and also that the government is being so careful about giving warnings and ordering evacuations. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to see so much of the beautiful countryside burning, never mind the damage to people, animals and homes. I pray it all ends soon!
    Meanwhile, stay safe and thanks for sharing your adventures!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ann, thanks so much for your prayers and good wishes. Yes, the entire coastline was simply beautiful and I was so grateful we were able to spend our holiday there. You’re right, it’s really difficult watching and hearing of so many places burning. So many areas I visited and loved growing up, so many lives and communities impacted. We’ll feel the effects of these bushfires for many years to come. On the positive side our emergency services have been truly amazing and this disaster, as so many do, has shown how much kindness and compassion there is in this world. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Australia has been in my thoughts and prayers. I’m glad that the luck was on your side and with the opening that took you to Marion Bay. The views there are gorgeous. I love the Blue Pool at Shell Beach. What a fun discovery! I’m glad you had a nice time. Sending you much love. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Amy and yes, I agree. I think it was all meant to be with us going to Marion Bay. I was very grateful. Hope your year’s got off to a wonderful start. Thanks for the love and the prayers. xx

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  6. Ah my lovely and adventurous friend, reading your posts is such a comfort and inspiration for the soul! I feel as if I am enjoying virtual, healthy chocolate every single time I read your beautiful and uplifting words. Seriously, it´s almost like a cure to the after-effects of reading most of whats out there in the mainstream media and news. Your writing is so fun, conscious, engaging, and making me leave everything and move back Down Under straight away!! Grazie mille my lioness-writer-amiga. Loved meeting the friendly Emu-guides, hearing about the too-close-for-comfort-cuddly lizards, learning about ghost-towns and shipwrecks…Australia will always have my heart, and I am so happy to be connected to you as well as Australia through you! Also, congrats on your pictures appearing in the SA tourism online promo! That is so cool!!! Loved this, I feel invigorated now after a day´s work, and filled up with good vibes and zest for life. Such is your magic, Miriam amiga! Mil besos y amor, your almost-Aussie-Spanish-German mate xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ciao cara amica, oh how I love hearing from you! Virtual, healthy chocolate hey. 😁 Did you also know that I have a particular love for dark chocolate … and I’ve just had some! So your delicious comment came at the perfect time. So glad you enjoyed my post and that it acted as a kind of tonic. You’re right, there’s so much out there in the media, so many heartbreaking and harrowing stories. If I can provide such a little bit of light to show that Australia’s not all burning, then I’m happy to do so.
      Thank you for all you said Maria. Have a wonderful week my lioness friend and we’ll talk very soon. Lots of love and baci from down under. xxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lovely amiga, no I did not know that…but seeing that I love healthy treats and chocolate as well (just made some crazy yummy choc bliss balls ieri) – I could have known that you are the same hehe 🙂 Yes amiga, your post is wonderful – it´s positive and uplifting without denying the truth, which is quite an act of balance, and you have done that superbly! I am sending you so much love, hope, and prayers for rain. May the fires cease asap and the people responsible for too narrow-minded thinking and not enough environmental awareness grow in awareness and take more and more responsible action. So much amore, baci, and wishing you a beautiful and safe rest of the week xxx

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        1. Choc bliss balls!!! Yumm! But I suppose they’re all gone by now! Sorry for my late reply Maria, I’ve been away camping with family and friends the last few days and only now getting back to my comments. Thank you again for your lovely words which always fill me with so much heart and hope, you really do uplift me every time. And thank you especially for your prayers for rain. Seems someone is listening as we’ve been blessed with a bit of it. We need so much more to put these fires out but it’s all so welcome.
          Take care my lovely friend and I hope that you’re happy and enjoying a wonderful weekend. Lots of love and hugs from my peaceful river campsite to you. xxxx 💙

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Lol yeah they were gone like a minute after making them 😄 But I can make a new batch for us chocoholics, no worries mate 😉 💙 Camping sounds sooo good! Hope you had a blast – but I am sure you did, as you are an expert at seizing the day and all its opportunities amica. My pleasure to comment on your gorgeous creations my friend!! How could I not? So happy to hear about the rain!! Hope it will continue in this way. Lots of love and hugs from Southern Spain to you somewhere in stunning Australia:) 1001 hugs (I´ll never tire of this game haha)

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        3. Moochos hugs from here my lovely friend. Yes, we had a wonderful weekend with lots of swimming, eating and relaxing with our friends and then we had a heap of rain when we got home so all is good here. Hope you had a lovely weekend too and especially hope the week ahead is a fabulous one for you Maria. Thank you cara amica for always brightening my blog posts with your sparkle and light. 1002 hugs and loads of chocolate love sent to you. xx 😍

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        4. Ah Miriam, that sounds so divine! I think I gotta follow your lead and take more time off, I´ve been working so much, and it´s fun, but I think some balance is in order. So so glad to hear you guys got more rain! Such a relief!! So happy also to hear that my writing fills you with positive vibes 🙂 That means the world to me! I have not forgotten about our email, just been really caught up between Lucky and work. Thinking of you my wonderful, powerful, beautiful, loving, wise, fun and inspirational amica!! YUM chocolate love just arrived!! Love it! So much chioccolata love back to ya, and 1003 hugs cara 😍 xoxo

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        5. Sounds like you’ve been working way too hard Maria. Yep, follow my lead cos my dear you need some chill out time too. Balance is definitely the key. Hope Lucky is behaving and bringing a whole lot of joy into your busy days. Dogs have a wonderful ability to keep us in the moment don’t they. No stress about the email and the Wayne Dyer story, just when you get a chance. Sending big hugs and moochos hugs your way. xxx 😍

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        6. Thanks sweetheart. You are so right – balance is crucial, especially when being self-employed!! Lucky is amazing – the amount of joy and laughter he brings is truly a gift. He loves to bite and do his thing (if you get my meaning haha) everywhere, so I´ll balance out online work, training puppy, and yes- rest time more in the future. YES dogs are the true Zen masters!! You are so right there once again. So much love amica!! Hugs y besos 😍 xxx

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  7. Lovely photos, as always, Miriam. I particularly loved the turquoise blue of the water; it reminds me of the Caribbean Sea and south Florida. Glad that your vaca was not cut short due to the fires, but scary to think that they were that close! We feel quite helpless here in the states, watching the devastation. Praying for rain to come your way…

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  8. Miriam, what a stunning location to say farewell to the old year, the decade and welcome 2020!😀 The second photo of the road and the coastline is breathtaking and I loved following you along on your trip! Haunted town, an oven so similar to the one my grandmother baked in, the pool looks heavenly. So glad for the ‘sliding doors’ moment that let you have a relaxing five days in Innes – some things are just meant to be! hugs xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I agree with you Annika, some things are definitely meant to be. It was such a wonderful trip and I feel infinitely grateful that we had that sliding door opportunity. I hope your year has started off wonderfully my friend. Big hugs back xx

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