The Coorong

We wanted to drive to Goolwa, across Hindmarsh Island, travelling across a bridge or barrage till we reached the Coorong. The maps looked like it may be possible, but when we reached it we found that it was not. Everyone was a bit irritated, as we were sick of driving after having travelled from Belair to Hindmarsh Island.

We headed for a Conservation Reserve near the northern tip of Lake Alexandrina to camp. We passed more wineries, and farmlands on the picturesque Fleurieu Peninsula. About 20km before we reached our intended destination, I noticed a group of campervans and motorhomes camped in a reserve. Frank Potts Reserve in Langhorne Creek was a beautiful, green shaded campground nestled between wineries. We camped there for two nights, while the kids delighted in riding their bikes on the flat ground all around.

We kept going down to the Young Husband Peninsula and camped in at the 42 Mile Crossing campground. It was ridiculously crowded when we got in that evening. We found a grassy spot to set up, had dinner and went to bed.

Jarrad got up in the morning grumpy that we’d all slept in till 9.30. He worked hard to get everything and everyone ready, including putting coffee in a thermos for us, cooking a lovely bean and bacon sauce over rice for lunch, and remembering tins of fruit and the farm cherries we had bought earlier. He even remembered his still and video camera, and Peter and Susan’s cameras.

Peter helped Jarrad get the car ready. The boys together let down the air pressure in the tyres. Jarrad locked the hub on one side and Peter offered to do the other side. We buckled everyone in the car and headed up over the first sand dune to the beach. Everyone was looking forward to our first beach sand driving, as we had all enjoyed sand driving at Big Desert.

 

 

Sand Driving

We managed to get bogged three-quarters of the way up the track over the sand dune towards the beach. Jarrad had to reverse a few times to get a better run-up so we made it up. Someone drove past much faster and yelled out the window, “Put it in four-wheel drive!”

“Why would he say that?” Jarrad asked, and we kept going. We got to the beach and saw the choppy waves. The waves were big and choppy, and were just as likely to crash into each other as the beach. There were people and fishing rods everywhere; we found out a little bit later that the annual Lions Club surf fishing competition was held that day. Every ten meters or so another huge surf fishing rod would be standing upright in the sand.

We hadn’t gone very far before the car became well and truly stuck in the sand. Jarrad got out of the car to start digging the car out of the sand. He stuck his head back in the car and said to me, “Peter didn’t lock the hub. It hasn’t been in four-wheel drive at all!”

 

Once Jarrad had locked the other hub, dug us out with some help from a passing car, and engaged the car into low-four we drove out easily. It was much easier going after that, but the corregations were terrible along the first 10km or so where the fishing competition was being held.

We passed through a gate near Tea Tree Crossing that told us the track was closed between 24th October and 24th December due to it being a breeding ground for plovers. It was much quieter beyond there, and we enjoyed driving, watching the waves crashing fiercely on the beach.

 

We continued to drive along for quite a while listening to ‘Five Children and It’ by Edith Nesbit that we had downloaded from www.Librivox.org. We still had about 50km till the Murray Mouth by the GPS when the sand started to become really soft. We saw another car that had just finished digging their way out and took off, and a group of young men heading towards another car that had been helping them.

“The beach just gets softer and softer as you keep going,” they told Jarrad as he stopped and wound down the window. “We’re going to camp here tonight rather than go any further by ourselves.” We all came to the same conclusion that we didn’t want to risk continuing. Jarrad tried to turn around but became bogged and we all spent awhile digging sand away from the car. It took us a while to get momentum up again, but then we were able to continue on without trouble.

“What’s that?” I asked after a while, pointing at something sitting up straight on the beach. It took everyone a few seconds to realize that we were looking at what we thought might be a sea lion. Peter, Jarrad, and I tumbled out of the car to get closer and take a few photos. It paused and considered us before heading closer to the water’s edge, considered us again, and then headed into the waves. We watched it heading out, jumping out and diving into the water.

The excitement at having seen the sea lion kept everyone cheerful as we listened to the adventures of the children trying to spend defend their house-turned-to-besieged castle. There was a turnoff that we headed up over the dunes, and were stunned to find a secluded little area with pristine sandy dunes. In some places, the sand looked like it was slowly becoming rocky sandstone. Jarrad and Peter were disappointed we couldn’t get across to the Murray side of the peninsula.

A little further on, there was another turnoff up to a sandy dune.  Susan, Lucy and I panicked as Jarrad went up a steep embankment. Continuing on a little we came to a part where the sand dunes dropped steeply away. At this point, we could see the ocean and river at the same time. We bundled out of the car, and either ran or rolled down the steep sand dune. The sand was white, and the wind was skimming it along the surface.  Definitely something to inspire travel!

We spent quite a long time playing in the sand and water. We all made footprints and compared feet sizes.

 

Travelling Australia in a campervan since 2009 with our four children aged 4, 7, 10, and 11. We are a family living on the road. Stopping to work in rural and remote towns as we need more money, we love this lifestyle. The four kids are homeschooled as we work our way slowly around Australia.

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About Amy and Jarrad

Travelling Australia in a campervan since 2009 with our four children aged 4, 7, 10, and 11. We are a family living on the road.
Stopping to work in rural and remote towns as we need more money, we love this lifestyle. The four kids are homeschooled as we work our way slowly around Australia.

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