Lead image: Josie Withers.
It’s that time of year where restless souls (and exhausted workers) are itching for some time to get away from the office and lost in nature - especially before getting dragged into all the madness of the silly season.
So if you’re ready for an escape from reality, take note in what we’re about to share – because it’s all about our beautiful Coorong.
Tracy and Glen Hill are one couple who want to take YOU on the ultimate up-close Coorong experience. The pair own Coorong Wild Seafood, an award-winning commercial fishing and processing business based in Meningie. They have also commissioned a new boat called ‘The Wildside’ and are now offering small group tours on the Coorong.
Above: Meet Glen and Tracy!
This passionate duo love to share the untamed side of the Coorong with visitors on their Catch and Cook tours, promising nothing but an authentic experience.
Ahead of setting up the business in the 1990s, the Coorong National Park became a nationally recognised Ramsar wetland, making it one of Australia’s most important waterways for its unique ecosystem. This influenced the low-impact approach Coorong Wild Seafood continue to pride themselves on to this day, carefully harvesting the best and freshest local mullet, mulloway and carp from the Coorong and Lower Lakes (and selling it to some of Australia’s best restaurants and chefs).
Above: Outside of the team's factory and cellar door in Meningie.
After spending so much time exploring the best fishing spots around the Coorong lagoons, the team knows exactly how to occupy prime position in the National Park – it’s like a mini adventure each time they hit the water, with Glen still excited to motor out at any chance he gets.
So why not make a trip up to Meningie and see what it’s like to spend a day on the Wildside? Keep reading to find out why you should book a tour with these guys as the weather warms up.
At their Meningie fish processing factory, you can book a behind-the-scenes tour and watch Glen delicately deliver a filleting demonstration, showing the tools and techniques on a freshly caught catch of the day.
Above: A group about to check out Glen's filleting demo.
But if you’re keen to prepare and cook your catch of the day yourself, then make sure you take note, because you can try your hand at preparing your own.
Above: Tracy cooking up a storm for her guests.
Afterwards, you’ll sit down under the verandah, for a fresher-than-ever tasting or meal. Here, you’ll quickly understand why the Coorong Wild Seafood’s daily catch has been making its way to some of the best restaurants, butchers, farmers markets and supermarkets in the country for decades.
Above: Small groups dining under the verandah of Coorong Wild Seafood's cellar door and processing factory in Meningie.
Be prepared, you probably won’t stop at tasting just one fish (which might be the favoured mullet), but we’d encourage you to also try the mulloway or carp prepared by Tracy. Yes – we said carp, but don’t be alarmed!
Tracy’s mission is to change perceptions of how consumers and recreational fishers see carp. She believes their reputation as a river pest is a huge mistake – and instead she wants people to see it a culinary delicacy with great eating potential (and one of the most eaten in the world). Think carp fish cakes, sausages, mince… the list goes on.
Tracy also offers simple cooking classes too, which you can add on to the tour experience or take up on its own. And before you leave for the day, make sure you grab a fresh, frozen or smoked pack of your favourite fish and bring the flavours of the Coorong home with you!
Above: Grab a fresh pack to take home!
Cruise the waters they call home
Otherwise, if you’re the type that would rather sit back on a sightseeing cruise with six of your best mates, then the ‘Coorong Wildside Tour’ might be more your thing.
Above: The team's latest vessel to take groups out on their Coorong Wildside Tours.
But don’t let the name fool you, this tour is a little more serene than it sounds. Glen and Tracy will take you on a personally-curated cruise through the Coorong and Lakes, sharing history and knowledge of the area and stopping at the most beautiful (and untouched) spots along the way. Many of these places are unreachable by reach by foot or car, making them extra-special and totally unique.
A trip out to the Coorong with Glen is an experience like no other. Watching this ‘wild man of the Coorong’ you can see why he was destined to be a fisherman. With decades of fishing expertise and environmental knowledge under his belt, his will share his wisdom about the ecosystem and sustainable fishing with on-board guests.
Above: Glen out on the water doing what he does best. Image: Josh Geelen.
On a typical day, you won’t just be sitting there like a stunned mullet (pun intended) watching Glen pull up his gillnet, you too can pull out a perfectly sized fish that will be cooked for your enjoyment. It’s a truly interactive experience.
They’ve even taken Chef Simon Bryant out on the water – and he regularly praises Glen’s fishing technique, noting the Coorong Mullet is one of the State’s most underrated fish, thanks to its unique environment making it sweet with good texture. This isn’t their only brush with fame – with Glen and his catch also featuring in the 2015 finale of Australian MasterChef!
Above: See Glen on set with the Masterchef contestants.
On this tour, you’ll come across Glen’s pelican pals, emus, kangaroos and other wildlife too – so keep your eyes peeled and remember to pack your camera!
If you’re planning for a big day out on the water or touring the area, then make sure you book in to stay for a night or two so you can kick back and relax afterwards instead of rushing back home. A couple of great nearby options are the (un)powered sites and cabins at Lake Albert Caravan Park, the gorgeous Coorong Waterfront Retreat or Coorong Cabins, or check out the range of holiday homes offered by Coorong Realty.
Now go on and get ready to make one of your best memories at the Coorong. Glen and Tracy invite you for some fun, food and adventure.