Embrace your wild side in the Coorong

Dreaming of wilderness that stretches as far as the eye can see, setting up camp without a soul around, or being out on the water with a rod or a paddle in hand?

The Coorong is a dream destination for nature lovers – the ultimate place to embrace your wild side and immerse yourself in untapped wilderness, rugged clifftops and secluded coastlines.

So get ready for an adventure to remember and follow our guide to discovering hidden natural wonders and outdoor fun for everyone.

Coorong National Park: where adventure lives

You can almost feel time slow to a standstill when you enter the Coorong National Park. The untouched coastline, wild natural bush and glassy lakes is a favourite with visitors looking for the perfect combination of relaxation, escape and adventure.

Try your hand at fishing, 4WDing, canoeing, wildlife photography or hiking here – the opportunities are as endless as the blue skies and postcard views surrounding you.

Search for pelicans on the 20-minute Jack Point Pelican Observatory Walk through the sand dunes to a viewing area overlooking pelican hot spots and permanent breeding grounds.

After something fast-paced? Strap on your helmet and mountain bike the trails, or take the 4WD over the Salt Creek dunes and onto 90 Mile Beach (find tips on navigating the 4WD trails here).

Put the boat in and head between the Murray Mouth and Mark Point to cast a line and catch some Coorong mullet or Mulloway.

Cruise the Coorong

If you want to discover the best the Coorong has to offer, our local cruise operators will take you to their favourite spots. The crew at Spirit of the Coorong have tours to suit everyone, from full-day experiences to a 90-minute sojourn to the iconic Murray Mouth.

For something very special, hop aboard their new Gin Flight Cruise on the fully-restored 1897 fantail wooden tiller launch, M.V. Marunui. Sit back and soak up this serene cruising experience while tasting local gins and an indulgent platter as you quietly meander through the picturesque lagoons of the Coorong and waters of the lower River Murray.

For a more intimate experience, Coorong Wildside Tours specialises in small boat tours. Their wildlife tours will have you spotting seals and seabirds, or discover the secrets of the Coorong and learn about this area’s unique ecology. Fancy a taste of the Coorong? Take a seafood tour and dine on local delicacies overlooking this magical place.

Relax lakeside

Head further inland from the Coorong and you’ll be rewarded with the natural wonders of Lake Albert and Lake Alexandrina.

Meningie is a quiet town on the shores of Lake Albert that’s a popular stopping point for travellers. Stay long enough and you’ll discover what the locals know – that it’s worth exploring here for much longer. The grassy foreshore area is ideal for picnics, and boasts an impressive playground and walking trail that winds along the lake’s edge.

There are plenty of fishing spots and places to launch your kayak, canoe or paddleboard.

Stop for a bite at Freshies Café and Bar on the edge of the lake and adjoining the historic cheese factory building now containing the Meningie Museum, then check out Coorong Cottage Industries for local art, craft and produce.

For a scenic drive, follow the loop along Lake Albert’s edge toward the Narrung Peninsula. Home to the Ngarrindjeri people, a great way to learn more about their culture is to stop in at Raukkan.

Uncover the story of local author and inventor David Unaipon (the face on Australia’s $50 note) at the local museum, and spot the famous Raukkan Church (appearing on the other side of the $50).

Not far from the Narrung ferry is Australia’s only inland lighthouse. Point Malcolm divides Lake Albert and Lake Alexandrina, and was used to mark the narrow passage for boats between 1878 and 1931.

Expand your horizons

While the Coorong and Lower Lakes are an adventurer’s playground, there’s so much more to discover right on their doorstep.

Experience the area’s rich riverboat history with a cruise on the PS Oscar W in Goolwa – watching the steam engine firing and turning the huge paddle wheel is a sight not to be missed. Head out on the water and paddle your own way along the 21km Lower Murray Canoe Trail from Tailem Bend to Wellington.

If exploring on foot is more your style, the River Bend Heritage Trail linking Tailem Bend and Wellington in a moderate 25km circuit will bring you closer to nature through the bushland and clifftop scenery. Just note that the Jervois to Wellington levy banks are currently closed until repairs can be made. Otherwise, discover 30ha of rare and threatened native flora at the Pangarinda Botanic Garden in Wellington (see if you can spot the secretive quails who call this park home).

One of the highlights of the 450-kilometre Murray Coorong Trail stretching from Cadell to Salt Creek is the Mowantjie Willauwar Conservation Park, a beautiful native pine forest home to threatened native orchids and rare birds.

Further south, discover Tintinara – known as the ‘heart of the parks’. Search for the elusive Mallee fowl at Messent Conservation Park and kangaroos and echidnas at Mount Boothby (also home to the famous Tolmer Rocks). With free camping at Lake Indawarra, plus a disc golf course and nature play space, Tintinara is a great stopping point for families as well.

Where to stay

Staying within the Coorong National Park puts you in the heart of the wilderness, with the comfort of designated campsites. The 42 Mile Crossing campground is ideal for families with lawned areas and a walking trail from the campground to the beach.

Upgrade your stay in waterfront accommodation inside the national park at Coorong Waterfront Retreat or the eco-friendly Coorong Cabins. The Lake Albert Caravan Park in Meningie is also fully serviced, with powered sites and cabins.

For families and larger groups, River Shack Rentals has riverfront holiday homes in Tailem Bend and Wellington.

What are you waiting for? Uncover your wild side and get back to nature in the Coorong.