During 1802 and 1803, the European explorers, Matthew Flinders and Nicholas Baudin charted the coastline of Yorke Peninsula and their skill and accuracy in recording the coastline meant their charts were used well into the 20th century. From the 1840s through to the 1940s ships of various types and sizes were the major means of transport of cargo and people to and from Yorke Peninsula. It is not surprising then to find a total of 85 shipwrecks scattered around the coastline. Explore it for yourself and discover the stories of the many wrecks in this region.

Some of the best shipwrecks to dive in South Australia are located in this stretch of clearer water, beginning with the SS Clan Ranald located near Troubridge Hill. The Clan Ranald was a turret deck steam ship, which was a design specifically used to reduce the amount of charges paid for going through the Suez Canal.  Tragic ends can lead to new beginnings, and the wreck now provides shelter for many of our marine creatures.

There are two maritime trails on Yorke Peninsula.  The eight shipwrecks forming the basis of the Investigator Strait Shipwreck Trail were selected for a variety of reasons - the strange and tragic circumstances surrounding their loss, their historical significance, and because they provide an enjoyable underwater experience for beginners and advanced divers alike.

There are eight shipwrecks located around the low-lying Wardang Island, also known as Wauraltee Island, located off Port Victoria. The Wardang Island Maritime Heritage Trail includes the once spectacular 'wind jammers' such as the Songvaar and the Notre Dame D'Arvor.  These vessels came to Port Victoria to load grain and were wrecked here in 1912 and 1920 respectively. Permission is needed to land on Wardang Island.  Please contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (phone 08 8836 7298).

The Zanoni shipwreck can be found ten nautical miles south east of Ardrossan. It is one of the best preserved sailing shipwrecks in Australia, and one of the most complete 19th century shipwrecks in South Australia. The 338 ton barque was built in England in 1865, arriving at Port Adelaide in January 1867. Heavily laden with wheat, she set sail for London almost a month later but sank after running into a violent storm. All aboard were rescued and taken back to Adelaide.  There were a number of unsuccessful searches and despite the offer of a reward, the wreck remained undiscovered until 1983. The location of the shipwreck has now been fixed and buoyed. Permits for diving on the wreck can be obtained from the Maritime Heritage Branch of the Department for Environment and Heritage.

Please dive, photograph and explore these shipwrecks if you wish, but do not interfere with them by disturbing or removing anything from them, or by anchoring into the remains.  

Shipwrecks provide fragile marine environments and are treasurred pieces of maritime history. They are protected under Historic Shipwrecks legislation, which aims to ensure that historic shipwrecks are protected for their heritage values and maintained for recreational, scientific and educational purposes. It also seeks to control actions which may result in damage, interference, removal or destruction of an historic shipwreck or associated relic. Divers can use wreck sites for recreational purposes but relics must not be removed from the wreck site and the physical fabric of the wreck must not be disturbed, unless a permit has been obtained.

Visitor Information

Yorke Peninsula Council acknowledges the Narungga (traditionally spelled Nharangga) people, the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Yorke Peninsula and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.
Yorke Peninsula Visitor Information
8 Elizabeth Street, Maitland, South Australia 5573
T: 1800 202 445   E: info@visityorkepeninsula.com.au


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