Less celebrated than its neighbours on either side, Yorke Peninsula is more accessible than Eyre Peninsula but less crowded than the Fleurieu. From the former copper mining towns at its northern end to the rugged National Park near its tip, the boot-shaped peninsula is lined with shipwrecks, sandy beaches and cute coastal towns that swell every summer. With beaches facing in every direction, there’s always a good spot to swim and in recent years the region’s food and drink scene has finally come of age.
There’s not much to see in tiny Alford (population 158), which makes Karimi's Kitchen all the more impressive. Kenyan born chef Karimi Manners makes lightly spiced pies, wraps and burgers but the real reason to visit is the African-style curries, which are more likely to use cumin and coriander than chilli, and change daily.
Located just across from the foreshore, Stansbury’s Dalrymple Hotel is low key enough that you’ll find farmers drinking in the front bar most nights. But alongside pub classics, the menu also features supersized local oysters and elegant Asian dishes worth crossing the peninsula for.
When Cornish miners flocked to the Copper Triangle of Kadina, Moonta and Wallaroo during the 19th century, they brought Cornwall’s most famous culinary product to sate their appetites. Moonta’s Cornish Kitchen still makes several hundred well-seasoned Cornish pasties from scratch every day, while nearby Taste The Yorke’s “oggie” includes a mouthful of apple pie for dessert at either end.
Originally a cafe attached to a fish & chip shop, Wallaroo’s The Smelter quickly became so popular it took over the entire premises. Now you can order machine, nitro or cold drip coffee made with a custom blend of Colombian and Ethiopian beans from Soho Coffee Roasters alongside flavoured sodas, over the top shakes and brunch.
Right next door, the Bond Store houses a restaurant, microbrewery and distillery in a lovingly restored 1865 building. The 12 taps encompass easy-drinking numbers and hazy hop bombs, while the downstairs cocktail bar is built around a gleaming 500 litre copper still that produces a rainbow of blue, pink and orange spirits and liqueurs.
In a cavernous old highway department maintenance shed filled with reclaimed materials, Watsacowie Brewing Company has a dozen taps ranging from a simple pilsener to more experimental drops like the ultra refreshing Pink Peesey gose with raspberry and cucumber. On weekends you’ll find food trucks (and often live music from local bands) and Jazz the friendly resident red kelpie is always around.
Life moves slowly in beautiful Marion Bay, and Bayside Glamping’s two options are the perfect way to adapt to the pace. Listen to the waves from a surprisingly roomy bell tent hidden behind a driftwood fence on a small cul de sac, or watch roos grazing from the loft bed of a cute tiny house just outside of town.
On a clear night you can spot car headlights on Kangaroo Island, directly across the water from Seafire Beach House. They might be the only signs of life you see from the peninsula’s most comfortable accommodation, where two residential wings fan out from an open living area with floor to ceiling windows that maximise the ocean views. Each has an en suite, as well as a private deck and outdoor shower for when you return from the private cove full of rockpools at the bottom of a steep access path.
You can find Pacific Estate’s creamy, vegetal oysters at the Summertown Aristologist, but they taste even better on the hands-on Deckie For A Day tours. Learn how they’re farmed on a sandbar off the coast of Stansbury, then taste pacific and native angasi oysters plucked straight from the ocean After a quick lesson in shucking, take a dozen home to keep practicing.
At the very end of the peninsula, Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park has some of the region’s best beaches. Pick your way between emu tracks, shipwrecks and rockpools before walking through a “fisherman’s village” of shacks to Pondalowie Bay. There, Marion Bay Ocean Safari takes boat trips to see pods of up to 70 dolphins surfing the waves, as well as majestic white-bellied sea eagles and ospreys that nest on the small islands nearby.