As the song lyric says, I do like to be beside the seaside, and Yorke Peninsula has seasides and seafoods for all tastes, along with lots of other great produce, from olive oil to fantastic local snags, olives, lamb and more.
Here’s the thing: Yorke Peninsula is the source of seafood so fresh it makes chefs interstate and overseas weak with envy. And the townships, national parks and wild beaches of Yorke Peninsula are among South Australia’s most loved holiday destinations for generations of Adelaide families. Which means it’s time to hit the road north of Adelaide and check this out for ourselves.
It’s almost summer, and the wide South Aussie vistas are calling. You’ll find lots more places to eat, stay and play at Eat Local SA in the Yorke Peninsula.
Salt of the Earth Café and Gallery
A great way to change down to holiday gear on your way to Yorke Peninsula is a pit stop at Salt of the Earth Café and Gallery in Port Wakefield. You can just feel the air gently settling around you, and the need to speed fading away. Proper high tea is a speciality here, complete with a glass of non-alcoholic bubbly from Grubb Drinks of Gladstone and a delectable array of delicate sandwiches, bruschetta with the house pesto, mini jelly cakes, house scones and slices. Yes, it does seem about the right time to declare ourselves officially off duty I think, don’t you?
If you’re stopping by on the weekend, you may also be able to watch an artist in residence at work, a treat that goes nicely with a plate of locally caught garfish, pan fried in Dad’s Olive Oil from nearby Balaklava, or one of the Café’s homemade pies, pasties or sausage rolls.
Copper Coast Visitor Information Centre
There’s also an array of local produce to pack in your holiday kit, including Elia olives, oils and tapenade from Bowman’s, Astech Estates quandong goodies from along the Warooka Road, Jen’s Jams, and even proper locally pickled onions and eggs. Or try an energy top up with a raw food treat made by Beth of Balaklava, and maybe a bottle of Dad’s water, bottled from the local spring.
It’s always a good idea to get the local lowdown (and a good coffee) when you’re in new territory, so a visit to the Copper Coast Visitor Information Centre at the Farm Shed Museum and Tourism Centre in Kadina, at the top of the peninsula is definitely in order. What better way to get our ‘eye’ in, than gazing and grazing over shelves showcasing local produce?
Some local olive oil from Goryan Olive Estate and Bee Licious honey might be handy on our travels, chocolate from Moonta Chocolates Sweets and Treats would never go astray, and there are olives, sauces and more to consider over a proper espresso before we hit the road. Now we’re really ready for some foodie fun.
Around halfway down the peninsula, on the edge of Spencer Gulf, lies Port Victoria and some of South Australia’s most famed fishing waters. Gill Fisheries, a family business specialising in sustainable fishing, calls Port Victoria home. From here they sell the bounty of the gulf, retail and wholesale. Chances are, if you’ve eaten fish as you’ve travelled around the peninsula, it was caught by this family, and buying here means you can be absolutely certain you will be eating local. Trust me, not one single imported pipsqueak of a foreign fish ever gets through this door.
Think Australian salmon trout, King George whiting, shark, snapper, southern calamari, snook and Australian herring (not actually a herring by the way, and better known to fish fans of a certain age as the very delicious tommy ruff). Gill’s retail range also includes premium rock lobster caught in nearby Pondalowie Bay, oysters, blue swimmer crabs (a big feed of fresh crab is another rite of passage for South Aussie kids), scallops, a selection of smoked fish and pickled seafoods, and the world famous Spencer Gulf King prawns. So yes, you could take your own line, and yes, you could catch your own dinner, or you could just nip into Gill’s and make a quick catch there, without so much as getting your feet wet. Job done.
The Inland Sea
The Inland Sea, located in farming country between Point Turton and Warooka, has the feel of a restaurant oasis suddenly looming up out of the landscape. This friendly country restaurant offers a surprisingly diverse range of dining options, including a beer garden complete with tropical waterfall, a garden pavilion, and the more formal restaurant.
The seafood platter to share here is a serious business, with fresh prawns, grilled slipper lobster, oysters natural, salt and pepper squid, scallops with salsa verde, crumbed King George whiting, pickled and smoked fish, plus sides of salad and fresh fruit. For something simpler, there’s a kilo of local King prawns on offer too, and many other ways to choose to have your oysters, scallops or prawns, along with chicken, beef, pork and vegetarian options. On the specials board right now is sautéed squid with bok choy, sparked with as much or as little chilli as you like.
Yorketown Quality Meats
The fresh air breezing in from the coast also wafts over some great country for raising livestock. So a stop at Yorketown Quality Meats in Yorketown is a must for anyone who loves a tender, tasty cut of meat or hankers after the taste of real ham and bacon. The local pork, lamb and beef farmers send their best to this butcher, happy in the knowledge that the shop-smoked hams, bacon and mettwurst made here will also make the most of their great produce.
No proper Aussie barbecue held in these parts would be without Yorketown’s own sausages, made right here in flavours including BBQ, steak and onion, herb and garlic, and cracked pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Need to tempt a tot or feed a horde of famished surfers? Look no further.
Right down at the tippy toe of Yorke Peninsula is Marion Bay, where the blue ocean views give any tropical resort a run for its money, and the famed surfing beaches and bushwalks of Innes National Park are just a stone’s throw away. More ocean, more seafood, right? Well, here’s a twist on seafood for you. Marion Bay is also home to MBC Foods – as in Marion Bay sea (C) foods – but we’re not talking snapper or crayfish here, we’re talking sea spices.
Naturally evaporated sea salt from the local waters is the basis for MBC’s Salt Flakes and Grinder Salts. They also locally package pepper and they’re so famous for the house salt and pepper squid recipe used by their catering arm of the business, that they sell not only the salt and pepper coating to make it, but also the recipe itself in the pack. Drop in at for a chat about the region and pick up a few tips to help you make your best Salt and Pepper squid ever when you get back home.