Sorrel at Innes National Park.
The hidden treasure of South Australia.
The beautiful coast of South Australia.
Sorrel stumbles upon a South Australian hidden treasure of wild ocean and earth.
In the 1890s, great quantities of gypsum were discovered on the tip of Yorke Peninsula, and the area was a thriving mining centre until it was sold to the South Australian Government in 1970. It became a national park, primarily to protect the rare and extremely shy great western whipbird, but is home to many other native birds, as well as a great variety of wildflowers.
The 10,000 hectares is a jewel in South Australia's vast parks system and offers spectacular coastal scenery, sand dunes, weathered cliffs, salt lake flats and low scrub. Kangaroos and emus are a common sight in summer and southern right whale watching is very popular from late May to November. Sealions and porpoises swim close to the coastline.
A jetty was built at Stenhouse Bay and this very windy area was where ships loaded the bagged gypsum. Many of them were wrecked in the wild winds, and at least 40 skeletons lie on the ocean floor.
Walking trails have been developed, and they range from five minutes to an extensive, day-long walk. Just minutes from Stenhouse Bay, the park's headquarters, is Cape Spencer Lighthouse. From there, the views are wonderful and you can see Kangaroo Island on a clear day.
Pondalowie Bay and Surfers' Campground are the two most popular places to set up camp as they are close to surfing beaches. Pondalowie is the only beach with car access and has the largest of the park's seven campsites. It has a gas barbecue, public telephone and toilet facilities. It is most popular with families who prefer the calmer waters of Shell Beach and the 15m dunes, which add to the fun. If you want to explore further than Pondalowie, the roads are dirt and can be driven quite easily.
If camping is not your thing, accommodation is available in historic buildings, full of rustic charm, and there is a centre perfect for schools and small conferences. There are five houses in Inneston Township, the heritage mining town. They have solar-powered electricity, but no phones or television.
Innes National Park is great for fishing, diving, surfing and snorkelling. It changes with the seasons, going from warm, perfect summer days to angry, grey, stormy days in winter and everything in between.
Summer holiday programs are run by rangers and they cover historic walks, rock-pool rambles, Aboriginal culture and many other interesting activities for children.
The highest point of the park is Royson Head, offering even more great views.