Lower Yorke Peninsula, Part One: Dolphins at stunning dog-friendly beach

Hey there, friend!

Explore the Lower Yorke Peninsula with me

This leg of our travels in the lower end of the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia was very restorative and calming. Moving away from the rural country setting of Minlaton, our daily bush walks turned into daily beach walks.

I love the sight and sound of ocean waves, smelling the salty sea air and walking barefoot—feeling the sand between my toes. Even though most days were chilly and windy, I still got tempted into wetting my feet and walking along the water.

I find the ocean very cleansing and there’s just something healing about it. Do you find the same?

Dolphins at Berry Bay

For those of you who clicked on the title because of dolphins, you can click here to jump to that section, haha. I get it.

Beach life simplicity

There aren’t many places in the lower end of the peninsula to eat which actually simplified our weekends and we didn’t really eat out midweek!

Our time was really just about soaking in the marvellous coastline and being close to nature.

Beach access path from Marion Bay Caravan Park
Beach access path from Marion Bay Caravan Park
Dog-friendly Yorke Peninsula

If like us, you’re travelling with your precious pooch, you’ll be relieved to know that the whole of the Yorke Peninsula is very dog friendly!

Dogs are allowed to roam off-leash at all beaches, apart from the ones in national parks.

Before delving in, you might be interested in reading these two journal entries first, if you haven’t already:

Yorke Peninsula Map

  • Purple pins: Upper Yorke Peninsula
  • Red pins: Central Yorke Peninsula
  • Blue pins: Lower Yorke Peninsula, Part One
  • Orange pins: Dhilba Guuranda – Innes National Park (Lower Yorke Peninsula, Part Two)
Marion Bay Tavern,  within the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia
Marion Bay Tavern, within the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia

While in the Lower Yorke Peninsula, we stayed in the peaceful township of Marion Bay, visited the delightful coastal town of Corny Point and ventured into the fascinating Dhilba Guuranda – Innes National Park.

Yes, we ventured into a national park!

If you’re travelling with your dog to the Lower Yorke Peninsula, you don’t have to miss out on the Dhilba Guuranda – Innes National Park. I’ll share what we did with Charlie in this entry.

We had an amazing few weeks and I can’t wait to share with you all of the wonderful attractions the southern part of the Yorke has to offer.

Marion Bay, Yorke Peninsula

This quiet and idyllic seaside town is situated in the Lower Yorke Peninsula, just above the Dhilba Guuranda – Innes National Park.

If you like the idea of visiting the national park but want your creature comforts, Marion Bay is a wonderful location to base yourself because it’s only a short 10 minute drive away with plenty of accommodation options available.

We stayed at the local caravan park, which we liked, you can read more about it below. But we also saw heaps of holiday houses throughout the township that are just minutes from the beach.

Section closer to the beach at Marion Bay Caravan Park
Section closer to the beach at Marion Bay Caravan Park

It’s a popular tourist destination not only for the nearness of the national park but also because of the magnificent beaches all around the lower peninsula. There’s no shortage of locations for swimming, surfing or fishing!

Speaking of the town, I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s tiny – there’s literally only a tavern and general store available in what you would call the “centre”.

I did see a gallery/cafe near Willyama Beach, called Studio Surf, on Google Maps but it didn’t look like it was open when we walked past it.

Marion Bay isn’t actually too far from Adelaide, it’s roughly 280km, just under a 3.5 hour drive. Minlaton and Yorketown are your bigger service towns in the lower half of the Yorke Peninsula and both are about 50-55 minutes drive north.

Marion Bay Caravan Park Map (from their website)
Marion Bay Caravan Park Map (from their website)

Marion Bay Caravan Park

Dog-friendly caravan park
  • Website: www.marionbaycp.com.au
  • Length of our stay: 21 nights
  • Time of year: September
  • Type of site: Powered site (gravel)
  • Site number: 17
  • Pricing: $35/night
  • Rewards Card: None
  • Total site costs: $735
  • Online booking form: Yes
  • Deposit: Amount of 2 nights, the balance paid on check-in
  • Grocery shopping: Marion Bay General Store – this is tiny, has a good range of essentials for its size though, much more expensive than usual
  • Phone and internet reception: No issues with Telstra phones and Nighthawk wifi router.
Our site (17) at Marion Bay Caravan Park close to the beach
Our site (17) at Marion Bay Caravan Park close to the beach

The pros of staying at Marion Bay Caravan Park

  • Marion Bay is a gorgeous, quiet and calm beachside location.
  • Dogs are welcome on sites and I do believe that the caravan park has dog-friendly cabins as an option.
  • The caravan park is quite large. I feel like they’ve spaced out sites enough where it doesn’t feel as filled or cramped as some places we’ve stayed at.
  • It’s an excellent base for exploring the Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park, if you don’t want to camp at the NP grounds. It’s less than 10 minutes to drive there!
  • The site we were on was very roomy – we had room for our caravan, awning and car to be side by side. Most sites had a cement pad, artificial turf and gravel for your caravan, awning and car. Some sites didn’t have as much room, I think ours was the largest.
  • They have a few areas around the caravan park: you can have more of a bushland setting or the area where we were and be closer to the beach.
  • The caravan park is right on the beach but is separated by a dense patch of bushes and scrub. You can’t see the beach from your caravan but it does mean you’re protected from the crazy winds! Which you still get a bit of, we had moments where it felt like we were on a ship.
  • You can hear the sounds of the waves which I liked as ambient noise!
  • You have your pick of Marion Bay Beach right in front of the caravan park or if you don’t mind walking slightly further, you can walk to Willyama Beach.
  • Around September, it’s not extremely busy. We had a lot of time where it was just us and maybe another two or three caravans. It came in waves, a couple of weekends it got busier.
  • It’s very family-friendly, the park has a large playground with bouncy castles and you can hire out pedal carts and bikes.
  • Being near the beach, they have fish cleaning areas and sell bait/tackle at the office. The office also doubles as a small kiosk where you can buy ice-cream, drinks and ice.
  • The caravan park has a large amenities block with plenty of toilets, showers and the laundry room has plenty of machines. They have a large camp kitchen with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. In winter weather, they also light the campfire next to the camp kitchen most Fridays/weekends. They also have BBQs and picnic shelters and benches dotted around.
  • It’s a walkable distance to the jetty, tavern and general store.
  • We didn’t do any around the caravan park but there are plenty of Walk the Yorke trails nearby.
Kids playground with the popular bouncy pillow at Marion Caravan Park
Kids playground with the popular bouncy pillow at Marion Caravan Park

The cons of staying at Marion Bay Caravan Park

  • When we were there, Marion Bay Beach was really seaweedy, it was actually hard to walk on because there were just mounds of it everywhere.
  • This could be a con for some – Marion Bay is tiny and there’s not much choice when it comes to eating out. Shopping at the general store is pricey. I would highly recommend stocking up as much as you can for your stay.
  • I would imagine that in peak season, the caravan park and the town would be chockers!
  • The shower pressure wasn’t the best at the amenities and the temperature didn’t really get hot.
Laundry room at Marion Bay Caravan Park
Laundry room at Marion Bay Caravan Park

Other things to note about Marion Bay Caravan Park

  • If I remember correctly, you can choose the site you want upon booking. Researching on Wikicamp, I noticed a lot of people saying they stayed at site 17 and liked it. It also seems like we were at the quieter end of the caravan park.
  • Be careful of snakes in warmer weather when they come out! Until the Yorke Peninsula, my hubby and I had never really seen a live snake. We saw quite a few snakes on the peninsula roads, dead and alive. The snippet below is one we saw at the caravan park! My hubby came face to face with it and told me afterwards, I just caught it slithering away towards the scrub. Eeeeh! I filmed it from inside the caravan.

Would we stay at Marion Bay Caravan Park again?

Yes, we would stay here again. We thought the sites were quite spacious and the caravan park had a welcoming and relaxing feel, with plenty of amenities. The beaches nearby were beautiful and we enjoyed the food at the local tavern. It’s the perfect place to get away and unwind!

Pretty beach access path for Marion Bay Beach
Pretty beach access path for Marion Bay Beach

Marion Bay Beach

Dog-friendly Beach

The caravan park is right next to the beach and has direct access to it. There’s little pathways in between the scrubs.

As mentioned, I’m not sure if the seaweed situation is a seasonal thing but we found there were mounds and mounds of it along the beach. The water was so nice though, it was crystal clear and quite shallow for a good distance.

If you’re keen on fishing, the jetty is not too far from the caravan park and we noticed a few people fishing off the beach.

Charlie at Marion Bay Beach
Charlie at Marion Bay Beach

Marion Bay Tavern

Dog-friendly outdoor beer garden

Located next door to the general store, this seaside tavern is only a 10 minute walk up the road from the caravan park.

Dog-friendly outdoor beer garden
Dog-friendly outdoor beer garden

We went to Marion Bay Tavern a few times during our stay and each time, we found the quality of the food fantastic. They also serve delicious cocktails!

The tavern has a small shady beer garden which was relaxing and peaceful to sit at. It wasn’t particularly busy at this time of year (September) and most people chose to sit inside.

Beautiful grilled chicken with creamy garlic sauce
Beautiful grilled chicken with creamy garlic sauce

They have set times for serving lunch and dinner but offer pizzas all day. I recommend popping into this place if you’re in Marion Bay, not just because it’s pretty much the only place to eat but because it has a great atmosphere and serves delicious food!

Yummy all-day pizzas available at Marion Bay Tavern
Yummy all-day pizzas available at Marion Bay Tavern

Marion Bay General Store

Next to the tavern and along the Yorke Highway, the Marion Bay General Store serves as a fuel station, grocery store and cafe/takeaway.

Marion Bay General Store
Marion Bay General Store

For how small the store is, they actually carry a wide range of different products – from fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy, meats, pantry goods, household products, toys, fishing gear etc. However, bear in mind that you’re still limited in your choices.

You do pay a premium by shopping here, things are priced much higher. I bought just over half a kilo of chicken breasts and it was nearly $20.

Another thing I found is that you have to check “Use By” dates, I bought some cream cheese that was discounted but priced at like nearly $5 – it was off by 2 months. It was my fault, I should’ve checked.

Cold cabinet and fresh fruit/vegetable section
Cold cabinet and fresh fruit/vegetable section

When it comes to fresh fruit and vegetables, they carry most of the basics to cook with. If you’re staying for more than a week, fresh produce gets replenished every Monday and Thursday.

I didn’t stock up beforehand for our stay and didn’t really have much in our fridge, thinking, of course they’ll have meat and vegetables.

When I went in the first time, they only had a handful of tomatoes, a couple of cucumbers, one capsicum, a bag of carrots and a bag of spinach – most looked limp, sad and on their way out.

Freezer cabinet with meats and frozen vegetables
Freezer cabinet with meats and frozen vegetables

Fuel is available 24/7. We didn’t eat at the general store but they serve breakfast plus hotdogs, burgers, seafood and more. They have a small patio area, I’m just not sure if dogs are allowed.

A little tip

While I wholeheartedly support going local and encourage you to shop at the general store for bits and pieces, I would highly suggest stocking up on meat before you go. Same deal with pantry goods, cold or frozen items, and any specific brands/products you use and might need during your stay. On the way down, there’s Foodworks in Warooka or Foodland at either Minlaton or Yorketown.

Willyama Beach

Dog-friendly beach

Willyama Beach is a lovely secluded stretch of beach that runs parallel to Whipbird Way and is at the bottom of cliffs. It’s not too far away from the caravan park, just follow Willyama Drive until the end where you see walking trail signs.

Penguin Point Lookout
Penguin Point Lookout

There’s a short walk to get to the beach, maybe about 10 minutes. There’s a lookout along the way for Penguin Point (I think that’s what it is?!) – a pleasant place to stop and admire the stunning coastline.

Willyama Beach didn’t seem particularly safe for swimming as the waves were rough. We saw a couple of surfers riding the waves, so to speak lol, on one of our evening beach walks.

Charlie having fun at Willyama Beach
Charlie having fun at Willyama Beach
Daily beach walks at Willyama Beach
Daily beach walks at Willyama Beach

Meehan Hill Lookout & Kangaroo Island Lookout

Dog-friendly scenic lookouts

We went for a bit of a drive to visit a couple of lookouts along South Coast Road. This area of Marion Bay is pretty much all gravel roads so take it easy while you’re driving around here.

Meehan Hill

The closest one was Meehan Hill, we stopped at a small car park but there wasn’t really any signage for the actual lookout point.

We kind of just wandered around the area, the views of the beach and ocean were very pretty from the top of the cliffs. We didn’t go all the way down to the beach but it looked beautiful with hardly any seaweed!

Beautiful ocean and beach views at Meehan Hill Lookout
Beautiful ocean and beach views at Meehan Hill Lookout

Kangaroo Island Lookout

Kangaroo Island Lookout is a bit further up north, about 20km from the town.

This viewing point offered beautiful scenery of the ocean, green sloping cliffs with lots of rock formations. I think when you visit at lower tide, you can see more of the boulders and rockpools down the bottom of the cliffs.

We could see the faint shape of KI in the distance, it’s a very thin strip in the photo and probably best seen on a bigger screen. Measuring on Google Maps, the distance from the KI lookout straight across to the coast of KI is about 45-50km. So not that far!

Gorgeous green cliffs at Kangaroo Island Lookout
Gorgeous green cliffs at Kangaroo Island Lookout
Faint line of Kangaroo Island from the Lookout
Faint line of Kangaroo Island from the Lookout

Corny Point, Yorke Peninsula

On one of our exploration days we headed to Corny Point on the other side of the peninsula. From Marion Bay, it was about a half hour drive.

We turned left onto Point Annie Road as we noticed a sign that said “Corny Point Lighthouse, Scenic Drive via Berry Bay” which sounded like a fun way to get there.

Rocks at Berry Bay in Corny Point
Rocks at Berry Bay in Corny Point

This road and Lighthouse Road are all gravel so take it easy when driving down them. Although it was windy, we had a beautiful sunny day. It was lovely following the coastline and seeing the ocean the whole way.

Corny Point seemed like an even smaller town than Marion Bay, it only really had a general store from what we could see. Being slightly north more, it’s a tad nearer to the bigger service towns of Minlaton and Yorketown.

Berry Bay, Corny Point

Dog-friendly beach

We stopped by Berry Bay, a stretch of beach near the Corny Point Lighthouse. There’s a couple of entrances and we chose the South Entrance to park at.

View of Berry Bay
View of Berry Bay

A lot of the beaches in the peninsula are at the bottom of cliffs, this one was no different and there’s long staircases to walk down.

At the top of the car park, we were in awe of the colour of the water and how stunning the beach was. There was hardly any seaweed! We walked the length of the beach return, and there were a couple of fun things we saw along the way.

Gorgeous stretch of sand and stunning water
Gorgeous stretch of sand and stunning water

We came across a surf school, it was fun seeing them learn to ride the waves. It seemed like a good day for it, there were heaps of barrel looking waves.

Dolphins Spotted!

We also spotted a large pod of dolphins, which made my day. There were probably 8-10 dolphins, not too far from the shore, maybe 10m or so?

If you’re visiting the lower region of the Yorke Peninsula, Berry Bay is a ripper beach to visit with your furry mate, especially if you’re there in summer!

It rivals any of the beaches at the national park in my personal opinion AND you can take your precious pup with you! I think it might be my fave beach in the Yorke Peninsula.

Berry Bay is dog-friendly!
Berry Bay is dog-friendly!

Corny Point Lighthouse

Dog-friendly attraction

Just north of Berry Bay is the bright white Corny Point Lighthouse. Popping out to see different lighthouses has become a thing while exploring the peninsulas and coastline.

The lighthouse has a small car park with some information boards. There’s also some walking trails nearby but we were pretty tuckered out from walking the length of Berry Bay and back so can’t report much about these.

Corny Point Lighthouse in the Lower Yorke Peninsula
Corny Point Lighthouse in the Lower Yorke Peninsula

Corny Point General Store

Dog-friendly cafe, outdoor seating

We decided to stop by the Corny Point General Store for some lunch, this is pretty much the only place to eat at Corny Point!

We did drive past Howling Dog Tavern just down the road but this was closed and it looked like it was on the market.

Corny Point General Store offers very affordable fast food and the staff provide a friendly service. I ordered a chicken burger and my hubby grabbed a hotdog, both were simple but tasty.

We also ordered a small serving of chips to share and it was massive, more than enough for two! They were the chunky sort with a good amount of chippie salt. I took a photo of my burger but I’m not sure what my camera was focused on because it was all blurry.

There is plenty of outdoor seating out the front, tables around the edges had umbrellas but a lot of the tables were just out in the full sun.

Corny Point General Store
Corny Point General Store

Big Nose Doggy Daycare in Marion Bay

I wanted to visit the Dhilba Guuranda – Innes National Park after watching videos and reading blogs about its picturesque coastal scenery, beaches and walking trails.

Of course, visiting a national park isn’t as straightforward for a pawrent since dogs aren’t permitted, there’s extra planning involved.

However, in our travels so far, I’ve found that when it comes to national parks and other touristy places where dogs aren’t allowed, there’s usually sitters, boarding or vets nearby that can look after them for the day.

At Marion Bay, you can contact Ana from Big Nose who is a dog behaviour specialist offering doggy daycare and boarding. You can even combine it with behavioural training while your furkid is there!

Charlie at Big Nose Doggy Daycare in Marion Bay
Charlie at Big Nose Doggy Daycare in Marion Bay (Photo taken by Ana)

Ana from Big Nose is friendly and accommodating, I was more than happy to leave Charlie in her care when I met her.

Charlie had the best time by the looks of it, I was sent update photos during the day to see how he was going. He seemed to be having a wonderful time playing with his new furry friends!

It was $60/day for the doggy daycare service (start of September) but please check out their website to get the latest pricing. Drop-off was around 9am and pick-up was around 5pm latest.

Check it out

I’ve decided to create a separate journal post for our time at the Dhilba Guuranda – Innes National Park, you can read it here!

Stenhouse Bay in Dhilba Guuranda – Innes National Park
Stenhouse Bay in Dhilba Guuranda – Innes National Park
Royston Head Hike in Dhilba Guuranda – Innes National Park
Royston Head Hike in Dhilba Guuranda – Innes National Park

And that’s a wrap!

I hope you’ve had a great time exploring the Lower Yorke Peninsula through this read. It’s a fantastic part of South Australia, and I hope it has sparked your interest in planning a visit soon.

Have you been to any of these places before? Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments or pop in any questions you might have; I’d love to hear from you.

Safe travels and happy exploring! Thanks for joining me, hope to see you again!


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Hey Pawrents,

Planning your dog-friendly Aussie Adventure?

Check out my interactive map full of amazing dog-friendly breweries, cafes, restaurants, pubs, walking trails, beaches and more.


  1. I love how you find dog-friendly places on all your adventures! I found this really helpful as a dog owner especially with your additional tips on finding a doggy daycare! Thanks for sharing this!

    1. I’m so glad it’s helpful! We’re living in our caravan full-time and travelling around Australia very slowly with no end date, so there was no way we were leaving my precious furbaby behind 😅

  2. Same as you, Sheryl! My favorite beach is Berry Bay! I’ve watched the dolphins and I really love them. I hope I can see those too in my visit.

    1. Yes! It’s so cool that you’ve visited Berry Bay, it’s such a beautiful beach and I love that it’s dog-friendly. Aren’t dolphins the cutest creatures?! There’s a lot of stunning coastal towns in Australia where you can feed them and get close, I’m hoping to visit them all 😀

    1. Oooh February would be the perfect time to visit weather wise, I would think! We actually visited the Yorke around August/September so despite the sun being out in the photos, it was really chilly and windy. Way too cold to swim and rough waves! Some of the beaches I would go back for swimming would probably be Port Hughes, Berry Bay, Flahertys beach and some of the ones in the national park.

  3. What a rejuvenating looking spot! The beaches are beautiful and the option to dine out fantastic (the food pics look amazing)! I love to camp in September in North America too – different season but love fewer crowds!

    1. Amazing, I’m sure you’ve camped at some stunning locations there. I do love less busy, that was one advantage of travelling through the coastal towns in this region during winter/early spring!

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