Coorong Cruise

Wednesday 24th March 2021

Today was the day that we got to go on the Spirit of the Coorong Adventure Cruise. After our plain dinner last night, we were down at the Goolwa wharf early to get a beautiful breakfast. We checked in with the office of the cruise and they suggested Hector’s on the wharf. We are so glad they did. The breakfast here was amazing and the service exceptional.

The day was grey and overcast, although most of the days have started like that. After a delicious breakfast, we boarded the boat for the day. Phil loves being on the water, so we had to go upstairs and enjoy panoramic views. We headed off down the river towards the barrage on this side of Lake Alexandrina. The barrages allow some water to flow into the mouth of the Murray and out into the sea through the Murray Mouth. To get out into the salt water section, we needed to go through a lock through the barrage. We discovered that the seals love hanging out here to catch the fish coming through from the fresh water side.

Checking out the tourists.
Great place for a snooze.

After getting through the lock, we headed past the Murray Mouth. They were dredging again as they had cleared the channel and it had been clear for a couple of years, and then a flood came through, so they had to start dredging again to ensure that the Murray can empty into the sea.

There were so many birds through here. The tour guides were telling us that it wasn’t the breeding season so there weren’t as many birds as at that time.

Just some of the pelicans in this massive group resting after feeding near another barrage out of Lake Alexandrina.

We then stopped in the Coorong National Park. Joel, one of our guides, showed us some of the bush tucker found in the short path through the sand dunes to an old middens. Cockles (pippis) are ‘fished’ commercially on 90 mile beach (on the other side of the sand dunes) in the way that my mother and aunty taught me. Stand in the waves and wriggle while the waves are coming up and then when they go out, you can collect the pippis. When ‘fishing’ commercially, they follow the same procedure but have a net to capture the pippis, before they go back into the waves.

We then went through to the beach with the Southern Ocean pounding on the shore. It was so beautiful but wild. The wind was up as well.

Southern Ocean pounding onto 90 mile beach.

After this, it was back onto the boat and heading deeper into the Coorong National Park.

Cormorant in the Coorong – looking for food.

After enjoying a delicious lunch on board (although we were still full from breakfast), we headed to another spot to stop and stretch our legs. As you can see, the sun has come out and it was a glorious day. This area was a little wilder and the dunes were much taller. We headed up into the dunes and could easily see another Indigenous middens, however this was untouched. It was quite eerie to see the importance of this site to previous generations of Aboriginal people.

The white shells are the sun-bleached shells of an old Aboriginal middens site.

After this, it was back onto the boat for the journey back to Goolwa.

Heading for Goolwa through the Coorong National Park
Mr Percival’s offspring – perhaps.
The Goolwa barrage from the boat in the lock.

When we got back to Goolwa we went for a wander around the town. There was a ‘Scottish’ area of the town where the houses were built to resemble houses back ‘home’, which was Scotland.

We went exploring throughout Goolwa and had a lovely time.


We ended up having a drink and dinner at the Corio Hotel, after shopping at a local art gallery. We really enjoyed the drinks and meal that we had here. We decided to go back down to the Goolwa Wharf and check it out in the evening.

Goolwa Wharf
Near the Goolwa wharf at sunset.

We headed back to ‘home’ at the Goolwa Boat Haven. Tomorrow we are exploring this area. Initially we had planned to explore Lake Alexandrina, however we felt that we had seen enough on our trip in, so instead we are heading to Port Elliott and Victor Harbor.

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