Discover the iconic landscapes and environment captured in the new Storm Boy film by cruising through places you can only access by boat. There’s a range of long and short cruising tours inspired by the film, and being run by the innovative and adventurous teams from Spirit of the Coorong and Cruise the Coorong. Enjoy the spectacular scenery as you visit 90 Mile Beach, go on guided walks into the Coorong National Park’s lagoons and sandhills, dig for Pipis on the beach, try native bushtucker and more. PLUS – while you’re taking it all in, the crew will give insights on the rich history, ecology and wildlife of the area (and you might even be able to convince them to spill a few beans on the making of Storm Boy – we hear they helped transport the crew to ‘secret’ locations throughout filming!). OR – alternatively, if you prefer to paddle yourself, get active and explore the Coorong by kayak with the award-winning team from Canoe the Coorong – here’s a preview of what you could be doing.
The team from Coorong Wild Seafood are now offering a ‘Catch and Eat’ experience with their own ‘Wild Man of the Coorong’. Owners Glen and Tracy are offering up an immersive experience with the freshest Coorong seafood – and you don’t need to be an expert fisher to get involved! Glen (who has featured on shows like MasterChef with his sustainable fishing expertise) will even take you out in his boat, to some of the lesser-known Coorong lagoon locations. These are places you never knew existed, with some of the most spectacular scenery (and incredible stories from Glen’s history in the area). So make sure you pack the camera, and get ready for a wild experience and gastronomic delight!
Enjoy the cool salty breeze as you venture 10 kilometres along a stretch of Goolwa beach to the Murray Mouth in your 4WD. Stop along the way and dig for some Goolwa Pipis (check seasonal fishing regulations), or if you’re really keen, try your luck at fishing for salmon and mulloway! Remember to let some air out of your tyres before you start the beach-driving journey (20psi is recommended), don’t go faster than 40km/h, and check the tides before you start (and signage as you go). Once you make it to the mouth, you’ll be amazed at the scenery looking back to where the Murray River meets the sea – it really is a national treasure.
Pack the binoculars and head out either side of the Coorong to catch glimpses of some of the most spectacular native birdlife in Australia. If you’re after a specialised experience, why not sightsee on Mundoo Island Station (via Hindmarsh Island, Goolwa). This privately-owned cattle and sheep station is home to a huge variety of birdlife within the diverse saltwater and freshwater environment – it’s a twitchers dream! Pack the camera and see what you can find on a birdwatching or photography tour. You can also stay on the Station if you’re keen for a sleepover (they also offer a historic station tour, artist tour, native animals, fishing and kayaking – available for hire). Or, if you’re keen to make your own way around Hindmarsh Island, there’s plenty of deluxe waterfront rentals in and around the marina (Coorong Quays). You can simply use this as your home base around the island from here. Seriously though – the Coorong birdlife are seen everywhere when you start to make your way around the edges of the Coorong, so keep your eyes peeled for some spectacular sights!
Spend a day chauffeured around in a 10-seater limo bus with your friends, sipping champagne while you visit some of the Coorong’s key iconic spots! That’s right, the team from Juggle House Experiences’ now provide this uniquely awesome ‘Coorong Seafood and Silos’ tour. The luxury tour includes a tasty seafood lunch at Coorong Wild Seafood in Meningie, a visit to The Bend Motorsport Park, discovering Aboriginal culture and history at Raukkan (birthplace of David Unaipon and the church on the $50 note), sight-seeing the Creating Coonalpyn artworks, a quick visit to The Big Olive, history of Wellington Courthouse Café and of course, a taste the famous waffles at Coonalpyn’s Waffles and Jaffles cool highway market stall. Your minds, stomachs and cameras will be full by the end of it – and the best part, you can travel in style with your friends (no designated driver required). Get in touch with Kelly from Juggle House to find out more.
If you love keeping fit and exploring at the same time, then we’ve got good news – the Coorong lends itself to some of the most beautiful and rugged walking and mountain biking tracks in the region. Of course there’s the Jack’s Point Pelican Observatory Walk near Salt Creek. Plus, we also now have a (soon-to-be-complete) section of the Murray Coorong Trail, which connects the township of Meningie to the edge of the Coorong at Noonameena. This 10km stretch starts in the centre of Meningie township along the Pelican Path. It takes you along the edge of Lake Albert and past interpretive signage (detailing information on local Ngarrindjeri culture). From here, it walks you past the bird watching platform and the Lake Albert Caravan Park, past the historic Woolshed Road Reserve (with immaculate views across the Lake) and onwards to the edge of the Coorong lagoons where you can dip your toes in the water, watch the wildlife or marvel at the rugged beauty of our Coorong. [As a side note – once the Murray Coorong Trail is complete, it will run 450km from Salt Creek, all the way along the edge of the Lower Lakes, and upstream of the Murray River to Cadell – connecting major towns and icons along the way. It will also soon include a section within the Raukkan Aboriginal community, and a loop around the Narrung Peninsula, taking you past the magnificent Point Malcom Lighthouse – the only freshwater inland lighthouse in the Southern Hemisphere. Keep your eyes on this nature trail project by following the Facebook page here.] While we’re talking Coorong trails, there’s also the beautiful and well-established Encounter Bikeway which starts at the River end of Goolwa and runs throughout the township, to the Barrage and beyond. If you want a walking/cycling adventure all in one – then why not cycle the trail along the Goolwa river’s edge down the barrage – then tie up the bike and walk across the dunes (follow the paths) to the Murray Mouth! Now that’s an experience!
Ok – so it’s not technically an authentic ‘Storm Boy’ experience, but you can’t come to the Coorong without stopping in to the Langhorne Creek Wine Region. The wineries here are our closest to the Coorong, nestled at the half way mark (along the drive) between Goolwa and Meningie – our two Coorong towns. If you take the drive around, you’ll also pass through the scenic Lake Alexandrina townships of Milang and Clayton Bay, plus the riverside township of Wellington. But – we’re talking wine – so let’s get back to it. Langhorne Creek has an exceptional bunch of cellar doors, where the award-winning wines are only matched by the friendly hospitality and beautiful buildings. Here you’ll find names like Bremerton, Bleasdale, Lake Breeze, Kimbolton, Angas Plains and more. Plus there’s a little-known craft beer tasting opportunity too (for those less interested in wine) and you can pop in to The Winehouse to taste Meechi Brewing Co beers, or a variety of other local boutique wines.
Just because you want to experience the wild-side of the Coorong, doesn’t mean you have to ‘rough it’. If you prefer the finer things in life, why not enjoy a couple’s retreat at the historic Australasian in Goolwa. This boutique hotel mixes classic Australian style with Asian qualities. Or Birk’s Harbour in Goolwa offers a boathouse, river view or captain’s retreat – taking you to another level of relaxed luxury on the edge of the Murray River – here you can soak up the peace and tranquillity of maritime ambience. For bigger groups looking for a premium holiday home, Coorong Realty offer stylish options with waterfront properties to take advantage of. Or depending on where you want to base your Coorong experience, try a search online (HomeAway, Airbnb or Booking.com) for places at Hindmarsh Island, Wellington or Meningie. For a more immersive Coorong experience, you could also try Coorong Cabins or the Coorong Waterfront Retreat on the edge of the lagoons at Noonameena; or depending on your taste, simply look up local accommodation options at Sugars Beach, Goolwa or Meningie (there’s plenty around!).
If you’re heading to Goolwa, then you’ll be amazed by the number of charming cafes and restaurants around the town. Our favourite of course, are those with a view of the water. For this – you can’t go past Hector’s on the Wharf, which boasts charming riverside appeal and always has some of the freshest Coorong seafood ready to serve up. A little further down the River is Aquacaf, perched right on the edge of the River, serving up beautiful breakfasts and taking in breathtaking 180 degree views of the Murray River’s end point. Or enjoy fresh local seafood right near the Murray Mouth at Bombora Café – these guys are literally perched on the sandhills at Goolwa Beach and offer up some of the tastiest (and freshest) seafood around! There’s also the Wharf Barrel Shed with live music, food and wine (and views over Hindmarsh Bridge). Or if you’re after a pub/club meal then try Coorong Quays Marina Hotel or the Goolwa Aquatic Club – both have great food and views towards the barrage. If you’re on the other side of the Coorong, then the Meningie Cheese Factory Restaurant hosts incredible views of Lake Albert and serves up delicious meals. Before you leave, you must try the local Coorong Mullet from one of the takeaway shops – grab something fresh (or pack a picnic) and head to the edge of Lake to soak in the view with your dish of fresh fish.
Perhaps we should’ve had this at number one, because seriously, you can’t take a trip to the Coorong without experiencing one of its sunsets over the water. Whatever side of the Coorong, Lower Lakes or Murray River you’re on, find a spot to take in the views as the sun goes down over the water. We love watching it from within the Coorong National Park, taking in the dreamy colours of the sky against the luminous sandhills. Or, if you’re in Meningie, you won’t want to miss the sunsetting across Lake Albert with pelicans drifting across the water (if per change you have a kayak, then you can even head out for a paddle on dusk and capture it on the water). You can also take it on from the Goolwa Beach lookout, with 360 views of the River, Mouth and Beach while standing in one place! Or, if you’re looking for a guided experience with local – chat with Brenton from Canoe the Coorong to book in for the sunset paddle experience – it’s one you won’t forget.
If you want to know more about this magical part of our State, shoot on over to our blog about some of the best things to do and see while you’re visit! Here we’ll give you a local’s insight in to camping tips, places to stay, things to see and experiences to have.