A day is all you need in the idyllic coastal town of Marion Bay – the gateway to the Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park and the beating heart of the Yorke Peninsula. A popular seaside town rich in leisure, here you can enjoy the spoils of the great outdoors with a plethora of epic scenery and outdoor adventure on hand, which will be certain to have you coming back for more. A great place for a swim, fish, surf or hike, the Marion Bay region features the pristine surrounds of the Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park and a wonderfully wild and unspoilt coastline. Explore the Peninsula’s stunning beaches, pristine countryside, an abandoned ghost town and some of South Australia’s most famous shipwrecks. All visible within the day. Join us as we run you through the best things to do and see on a day at Marion Bay.
Sparkling turquoise waters and radiant white sandy beaches are staples of the breath-taking seascape that encompass the large expanses of the Yorke Peninsula coastline. Blessed with some of the most pristine beaches in South Australia, the peninsula offers the best of both worlds, with an assembly of beautiful beaches catering for all walks of life. From secluded bays to sheltered beaches, soaring waves and Marion Bay’s annual autumn mullet run. The region is a major drawcard for beachgoers, surfers, holidaymakers, and keen anglers seeking respite from the rigours of everyday life. Soak up the sunshine on the tranquil shores of Marion Bay, bathe in a secret rock pool nestled within the rocky headlands at Shell Beach, bask in the serene surrounds of Butlers Beach or soothe the soul with a relaxing walk along the coast between Browns and Gym Beach. Marion Bay is a versatile destination the whole family can enjoy and one place you cannot miss on your next adventures through South Australia.
One of South Australia’s most raw and revered natural wonders resides at the southern-west tip of the Yorke Peninsula. A place of peace and tranquillity, a solacing ambience awaits those daring enough to venture through its weathered doors. Comprising over 9,400 hectares of pristine countryside, the Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park is famed for its sparkling rugged coastline, soaring coastal cliffs, white sandy beaches, array of local wildlife and superior outdoor recreation. A great place to spend the day during your time in Marion Bay, visitors will be treated to a wealth of incredible scenery, history, surfing, fishing, and various short hiking trails linking up with all the park’s premier attractions. Spy the breath-taking scenery from atop the Stenhouse Bay lookout, uncover the eerie stories surrounding the ruins of an abandoned gypsum mining town, explore the captivating remnants of century-old shipwrecks, tackle the epic main surf break at Pondalowie Bay or bathe in the tranquil azure waters of the natural outdoor rock pool bordering Shell Beach. A haven for ardent beachgoers and outdoor explorers, the majority of the park is easily accessible by 2WD, with various camping grounds on-site to accommodate those itching to stay a little while longer.
One of the region’s most popular short walks takes visitors on an interpretive journey through the heart of the early 20th-century Inneston Village. Once a prospering mining town almost 200 strong chasing the riches of the gypsum-era boom is now a barren wasteland of rundown houses and unstable ruins. A chilling ghost town abandoned after the completion of the Lake Inneston leasehold in 1930, the community slowly perished as operations were shipped up the coast to Stenhouse Bay. The remnants of a once thriving and self-sufficient community remain, with several old buildings still intact. The 2km loop Inneston Historic Walk provides a fantastic insight into the history of the town and its close-knit community sharing stories of a time bygone. Encompassed within the surroundings of the Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park, the town of Inneston is now protected, with efforts in place to preserve the town’s heritage buildings and conserve important habitats for native flora and fauna within the area. A great change of pace and scenery, explore the town by day on foot or brave the night in one of the town’s seven renovated heritage lodges.
A prominent landmark since its untimely demise back in 1904, the Ethel has since shot to fame as one of South Australia’s most enigmatic shipwrecks. Harrowing weather conditions led to poor visibility while navigating the Investigator Strait on what was to become the ship’s final swansong, falling victim at the hands of a jutting reef not far off the coast of Cape Spencer. The collision with the reef damaged the ship’s rudder leaving the vessel at the mercy of the roaring seas, slowly drifting ashore to its final resting place on Ethel Beach. To this day, this incredible wreck continues to lie dormant, abandoned after numerous salvation efforts collapsed causing further damage to the ship’s exterior. Often engulfed by large sand deposits, recent bad weather has stripped away its sandy facade, giving life to this once formidable barque trade ship. A steep staircase takes visitors from the carpark to the base where the Ethel lies, slowly eroding due to the unprotected nature of the open beach on which it resides. The hull remained almost completely intact until the mid-1980s before a rigorous storm shattered the tenuous hull into a million little pieces. Ironically, the first ship (SS Ferret) to sound the alarm and aid in various recovery efforts, met a similar fate, wrecking only 50m up the coast of the Ethel site 16 years later. A spine-tingling story with a tragic end, a ragged metal skeleton is all that remains of one of South Australia’s most famous shipwrecks.