The Coorong is a series of salt water lagoons located at the mouth of the Murray River where it meets the Southern Ocean in South Australia. We just told you all about the Murray River and the region surrounding it. Now we want to tell you all about The Coorong and the national park that protects this incredible landscape. The Murray River carries water from the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales along the border of Victoria and through South Australia out into the ocean. It is protected from the Southern Ocean by the sand dunes that rise up on the Younghusband Peninsula. This area is one of Australia’s most important sources of water and it also lends itself to much geographical and wildlife diversity.
Coorong and Murray River Map Photo Credit: MurrayRiver.com.au
Coorong National Park Photo Credit: environment.sa.gov.au
Hiring a Car for Visiting The Coorong
Adelaide Car Rental Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au
Coorong National Park Map Photo Credit: Google Maps
If you are planning to tour The Coorong and surrounds, you can hire a car in Adelaide, South Australia. There are 3 car hire locations in and near Adelaide. You can rent a vehicle at the Adelaide airport, rent a car in Adelaide City, or if you are further south, you can choose to rent a car in Adelaide South Reynella. Adelaide also has a Budget Trucks location, so if you need to rent a heavy duty utility vehicle or ute type transport for all of your luggage and holiday fun, they will have a 4WD vehicle to accommodate your needs. You can go 4-wheel driving on the beaches and pathways within Coorong National Park. When you rent the vehicle of your choice, be sure to tell your car rental agent your holiday plans so that they can assist you with insider local’s details of touring The Coorong and Adelaide. They will also be able to help you with any safety restrictions or local driving tips you may need on your journey.
Aboriginal and Cultural Significance of The Coorong
Ngarrindjeri Photo Credit: Ngarrindjeri.org.au
Ngarrindjeri Photo Credit: Ngarrindjeri.org.au
Parts of the Murray River and the nearby lakes and lagoons of The Coorong are 40 million years old. The Coorang and surrounding lands is of extreme cultural and historical significance to the Aboriginal cultures of the area. The Ngarrindjeri people are the original land owners of The Coorang. Mounds of discarded shells indicate archaeological evidence of campsites dating back thousands of years ago. Other areas along the Murray River and South Australia are home to other Aboriginal people, some history of their cultures show evidence of their existence as far back as 40,000 years ago. Today, the Ngarrindjeri are South Australia’s largest Aboriginal community; they are the traditional custodians of this land for more than 6,000 years.
Things to do in The Coorong and Coorong National Park
Map of The Coorong Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Cruise the Coorong Photo Credit: TheCoorong.com
The Coorong is made up of a series of salt water lagoons, ocean beach, freshwater lakes, estuaries, and the Murray River’s mouth. There are so many ways to explore this ancient land including four-wheel driving, boating, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, trail walks, mountain biking, and bird watching. There are more than 240 species of birds; many of which migrate to the region annually from Siberia, Alaska, Japan, and China. The protection of the park and the natural sheltered area form an excellent sanctuary and breeding ground for shags, ibis, wild ducks, giant pelicans, and terns. You can also camp in Coorong National Park right on the beach. Camping facilities are available for beach tent camping or caravan camping.
Coorong Points of Interest
Entrance to The Coorong Photo Credit: Wikipedia
You can take a boat from Goolwa or Hindmarch Island to Godfrey’s Landing. There you can walk through the sand dunes of the Younghusband Peninsula and onto the ocean beach near the mouth of the Murray River.
Pelican Point is one of the top spots in Coorong National Park to witness the different birds.
This is a great fishing spot or a place to watch the sun set over the Coorong lagoon. Gain access through the jetty to explore Long Point by boat.
Banded Stilts on the sand flats at The Coorong Photo Credit: Wikipedia
This is also known as ‘Hell’s Gate’ because it is the narrowest point between the northern and southern Cooron lagoons. Watch for wading birds in the shallows and sheltered bays as well as magnificent views up and down the lagoon.
Bring your binoculars to Jack Point Observatory where you will see the largest breeding colony of the Australian Pelicans.
The longest walking trail in the Coorong starts here at Salt Creek and follows south to the 42 Mile Crossing. The trail in 27 km and links four other points of interest and shorter walks that feature different scenery, wildlife, sand dune systems and the early settlement of the Chinese. You will also find some fo the designated camping sites near here along Loop Road.
The Chinese passed through this area during the gold rush era. Evidence of their presence here can be found in the ruins, the intricate stone well, and associated quarries.
42 Mile Crossing
If you are in a 2WD vehicle, 42 Mile Crossing is the closest point to access the beach. You can park there and take the 20 minute walk through the sand dunes and walking trail to the Southern Ocean beach. Please note: beach access north of Tea Tree Crossing to the Murray Mouth is closed to vehicles yearly from 24 October to 24 December. This protects the breeding site of the hooded plover.