Days 26-29, May 21-24, 2022
Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park
Dhiba Guuranda- Innes NP is promoted as being a paradise for beach lovers. Located on the southernmost tip of the Yorke Peninsula it’s about 330 km (200 miles) by road from Adelaide.
The peninsula is another part of the country I’ve always wanted to visit. I had visions of bare, rolling hills dropping down to impossibly blue ocean, where we would stop a hundred times so I can take pictures I had envisioned in my mind.
The reality was a little bit different. There was a lot of bare landscape and it did give way to an impossibly blue ocean but unlike the eastern shore of the St Vincents Gulf, it was flat. And we did not stop a hundred times, although there were some inspiring vistas.
As we reached the tip of the peninsula and the ocean, dotted by islands spread out in front of us took us by surprise – it was breathtaking. We could even see the northern side of Kangaroo Island shrouded in the mist on the horizon.
We were staying at Pondalowie Camp Ground, on the western side of the peninsula. One of 15 campgrounds dotted throughout the park. Our site is a short walk to the protected waters of Pondalowie Bay where we watched the sun set after setting up camp. It was wonderful to fall asleep under a blanket of stars to the sound of rolling ocean.
We had fabulous weather clear blue skies and temperature reaching 21°C on the first day. In our time at Innes, we walked deserted beaches for hours mesmerised by the colour of the ocean waves crashing to shore, visited a couple of lighthouses and many heritage cottages dotted throughout the Park. Inland from the coast is a series of extensive wetland lagoons in various stages of drying out.
Much like Kangaroo Island the geology of the coastline is on display in the massive cliffs which can be seen from the beaches. The shoreline is so varied and fascinating, a geologists dream. But mostly people come here for the fishing and surfing at a couple of surf breaks.
The absolute highlight of Sunday morning was finding we had phone service and we could get the result of yesterdays Federal election. So happy, finally there is some hope of leadership to take the country into the 21st century.
Monday we started the day by visiting a historical and now abandoned township of Inneston, the site of a gypsum mine. Fascinating history, some of the houses have been restored and can be booked as holiday rentals. The pick of the bunch is the Engineers Cabin, the home of the mine manager – Mr Innes.
We followed the coastline dropping into a few beaches and then Stenhouse Bay jetty where the gypsum shipping occurred until 1974, a year before the National Park was declared.
We spent a most exhilarating afternoon walking the magnificent West Cape Beach. Thundering surf, amazing geology, shore birds and a pod of dolphins swimming up and down just behind the surf break. Occasionally they would catch the waves in. It was such a beautiful and wild sight, I thought my heart would burst with happiness. We were the only people on this extraordinarily beautiful beach. Hammer even went in for a swim. We got back to camp with grins on our faces. We had dinner and walked to Pandolowie Bay to watch the sunset on our last night here.
Tuesday morning dawned to a colourful sunrise. Sort of sad to be leaving, we left with the thought that it would be nice to return. The rest of the day was a long and not so interesting drive to Port Augusta following the west coast on the Peninsula. Largely flat and agricultural landscape with interesting looking trees dotting the barren landscape. Reminded me of an African plain. As we approached Port Augusta a mountain range was taking shape on our right. Excited to head north into the Flinders Ranges tomorrow.