Tiny holiday town at the tip of the Yorke
Located 320 km west of Adelaide, Marion Bay is a
tiny township (only 70 people live in the town
full-time) on the southern tip of Yorke
Peninsula which offers access to the beautiful
and spectacular Innes National Park.
The Warri clan of the Narranga Aborigines
were the original inhabitants of this region.
They lived off the riches of the sea (fish and
crustaceans), left their artistic markings on
the rocks and left shell middens where they
The first Europeans into the area would have
been the sealers who moved along the coasts of
South Australia looking for seal colonies. They
were followed in the late 1840s by settlers who
had been attracted to the area by the discovery
of copper further north in the Copper Triangle.
The town takes its name from the sailing ship
Marion which was wrecked on Troubridge Shoal in
1851. There was a time when Marion Bay was an
important port being used as a major
transportation point for the local gypsum
industry. Today it is a sleepy and attractive
port which is popular with holiday makers who
drive the length of Yorke Peninsula so they can
experience and explore the beauties of Innes
National Park. There is a safe swimming beach
and the port and jetty area are used by a number
of fishing craft. There are also dive and
fishing charter vessels operating from the port.
They tend to specialise in whiting and snapper
Things to see:
Innes National Park
BE WARNED: The road is rough and the seas, at
the northerly edge of the Roaring Forties, can
be very dangerous. This is an area of great
beauty but also of great danger.
One of the hidden wonders of South Australia,
indeed of Australia. The Innes National Park, an
area of nearly 9000 hectares, protects the
southerly tip of the Yorke Peninsula and is home
to a rich and diverse range of landscapes from
peaceful bays to spectacular cliffs.
Located about 8 km south of Marion Bay in the
Innes National Park, Stenhouse Bay is now a
ghost port. There was a time when the old jetty
and the hoppers and storage bins along the
shoreline were bustling with activity.
Windjammers used to arrive to load limestone
which was mined inland and brought to the port.
Wreck of the Ethel
Whether it is still there is really up to the
sea but for many years the Ethel, an old barque
who never made it beyond Reef Head, could be
seen from the road between Inneston and
Pondalowie Bay. The vessel was wrecked in 1904.
If it has disappeared at least there is a
memorial to the event on the cliffs. The views
along Ethel Beach are particularly beautiful.
Innes National Park is full of joys and
surprises. One of the major attractions is the
views. At Cape Spencer the view across to the
two tiny islands is particularly attractive.
Innes National Park is home to a number of rare
and endangered species of bird. If you are a
keen birdwatcher it is worth preparing to see
the mallee fowl, the western whipbird, the
osprey and the beautiful white-breasted sea
eagle. The winter rains attract over 120 species
of bird to the park in the spring months when
the wildflowers are blooming.
Surfing and Fishing
The park is famed for its excellent fishing and
surfing. Pondalowie Bay and Chinamans Bay are
known to surfers around Australia for the
excellence of their waves and Browns Beach has a
reputation with anglers fishing for salmon.
The historic town of Inneston was first settled
in the late 1880s when gypsum was first
discovered in the area. Today it is nearly a
ghost town (lots of rusting old equipment, a
crushing plant, a disused Post Office, stables
and so on) but some of the cottages have been
leased to people who are trying to revitalise
the tiny settlement.