Innes National Park
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Innes is a national park on the southwest tip of Yorke Peninsula in South Australia (Australia), 160 km west of Adelaide. Innes is the largest area of native vegetation remaining on the Yorke Peninsula, providing habitat for 115 species of conservation significance.
The Narungga people occupied the Yorke Peninsula for thousands of years. They consisted of four clans, the Kurnara of the north, the Windera of the east, the Wari of the West and the Dilpa of the south. European colonisation of the area began in 1846 with sheep grazing near Cape Spencer. Crops were grown on a small scale in the 19th and early 20th century. Innes National Park was named after William Innes, who discovered commercial quantities of gypsum in the early 1900s and founded the mining town of Inneston in 1913, which had a population of around 500 at its peak. Gypsum was mined until 1930 when the great depression made it uneconomical, and in 1970 the town and surrounding land was sold to the South Australian government, creating Innes National Park. Some gypsum mining still continues at nearby Marion Bay.
Some of the buildings at Inneston have been restored and are available as basic hire accommodation. A number of gypsum lakes are with the area of the park, but excluded so they can still be mined for gypsum if required. The park also contains a spectacular rugged coastline which contains the sites of several historic shipwrecks and two lighthouses. The sailing barque Ethel, which ran aground on 2 January 1904, was well-preserved on the beach for many years but little now remains.
Innes National Park was first proclaimed in 1970 when the first Ranger in Charge, Mr Bruce Macreth was assigned to manage the park. Since that time a number of rangers have served the area well including Mr Peter Tomlin (1973-77), Mr Pearce Dougherty (1977-89), Ms Katherine Stephens, Mr Ross Allen, Mr Colin Waters, Mr Bryn Troath, Ms Caroline Paterson and more recently Mr Aaron Smith.
The park headquarters are located in Stenhouse Bay and visitors can obtain information on the park and obtain entry and camping permits at this location.
Innes National Park has 9 camping ground in the park. Pondalowie Campground is the main campground and has fifty sites situated in coastal mallee and sheoak vegetation. Caravans and generators are permitted in the western end of the campground.
Casuarina Campground is a quiet, tranquil campground ideal for families. Eight sites located behind a locked gate require bookings and collection of the gate key from the visitor centre. Access to the beach.
Surfers Campground has ten sites located close to the Pondalowie boardwalk providing access to the popular surf beach and viewing platform.
Shell Beach Campground has eight sites in this shady campground. The lovely Shell Beach is only a short walk from this campsite.
Browns Beach Campground has ten sites nestled amongst natural vegetation and bordered by a steep sand dune. This site is popular with people who come to fish for Australian Salmon at nearby Browns Beach.
Gym Beach Campground, accessed from the Corny Point road, this campground at the northernmost boundary of the park has four sites offering solitude and beach access.
Jollys Beach Campground is a small coastal camping area with approximately four sites. There are no facilities provided.
Stenhouse Bay Campground has twenty-five sites in close proximity to the beach, visitor centre, Innes Trading Post.
Cable Bay Campground has eight sites with easy access to the beach and great views of the offshore islands.
Heritage accommodation is available at the historic lodges at Inneston. In addition, the Stenhouse Bay Hall is available for group bookings (up to 30) and Shepherds Hut at Shell Beach accommodates four people.
The main surf break at Pondalowie is a popular quality wave. It consists of a combination left and right peak that breaks over a reef and snad bottom. The left is good up to about 4'. The right starts to become good from between 3' to 8' plus.
A second smaller right hand reef break known as 'Richards Reef' is located 250 metres further north along the beach. It was named in honour of Mr Richard Thomas a long time local surfer and resident of the area.
Not far from Stenhouse Bay is a break known as 'Chinamans'. This is a powerful and hollow left hand reef break which breaks in shallow water and washes over a rock shelf. It is a high quality wave that is suitable only for skilled surfers and caution should be used when surfing here.
Looking west towards Cape Spencer
Salt lakes in Innes.
Cape Spencer lighthouse
West Cape Beach
Protected areas of South Australia
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