Coorong National Park Guide | Everything You Need To Know

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If you’re up for a breathtaking adventure that’s suitable for all ages, Coorong National Park is the perfect place for you to visit. This environment-friendly park is a famous destination in Southern Australia that kids and adults alike will surely enjoy. So, what makes this sanctuary distinct among all of the parks in the area? 

Coorong National Park is an internationally important wetland and a park all in one place. It also has a bunch of recreational activities, nature-related amusements, attractions and the magnificent view of nature. So, bonding time with family and friends is undoubtedly more exciting here. 

Here is an overview of the campgrounds in Coorong National Park:

  • 28 Mile Crossing Campground
  • Tea Tree Crossing Campground
  • 42 Mile Crossing Campground 
  • Barker Knoll Campground 
  • Godfreys Landing Campground 
  • Kartoo Road 
  • Long Point Campground
  • Mark Point Campground 
  • Ocean Beach
  • Parnka Point Campgrounds 
  • Wreck Campground 

Are you interested in going to Coorong National Park? Take time to read this article before you go!

How Do I Get to Coorong National Park?

Coorong National Park is located 200 kilometres south-east of Adelaide. It is located at the many roads linking off the Princess Highway after the Meningie and Salt Creek. Regardless of the travel options, the estimated time is 2.5 hours of driving. There are two ways to get from Adelaide to Coorong National Park:

  • Bus or Cab: this is the recommended option in going to Coorong National Park. Approximately, 2hrs 31mins from Adelaide. Since there is no direct road linking Adelaide to Coorong, you must take a bus from Meningie then taka cab to Coorong National Park.
  • Drive: an alternative option if you want to go to Coorong National Park on your own. Approximately, 2hrs 21mins of driving from Adelaide. 

What Should I Know About Coorong National Park?

Coorong National Park was established in 1996 and was proclaimed on the 9th of November 1967. It is an enormous saline lagoon that’s 140 kilometres wide and separated from the southern ocean by dunes of the Younghusband Peninsula. The name “Coorong” was derived from a Native word “karungh” meaning narrow neck.

The traditional custodians of the land were the Ngarrindjeri people for thousands of years. The Coorong estuary, rivers and sea have sustained the tribe for ages. But after the European settlement, the Ngarrindjeri tribe were employed in seasonal work and continue hunting and gathering food to maintain their diet. The Elders taught their children about the land, stars, planets, medicinal plants, food, history, and their ways of hunting. 

Today, it is one of the most scenic parks in Australia. Since it was established in 1967, it has been home to different kinds of plants, fishes and animals. It also attracts migratory species of birds and provides shelter for animals during the drought season. The tranquillity, scenic view and the spectacular landscapes of the place are what makes this place so popular. 

How Are The Campgrounds At Coorong National Park? 

When you go to Coorong National Park, you’ll find that there are a lot of options when it comes to campgrounds, so here are the ones that we recommend:

28 Mile Crossing Campground

Coorong National Park is suitable for tents, camper trailers and caravans. It has facilitated toilets, and the campground is located in the dunes that provide protection. The camping trail nearby will lead you to Ocean Beach.

Tea Tree Crossing Campground

If you’re an adventurous one, Tea Tree is the most suitable for you. Only 4WD vehicles can reach it, and there are no toilets and other facilities available in this area. There’s a portion in Tea Tree that is covered by tall grasses which have some shelter provided by vegetation. This area in Coorong is only accessible during summer due to high levels of water during winter.  

42 Mile Crossing Campground 

This campground is suitable for camper trailers, tents, and caravans so that it can accommodate a lot of visitors. But do note that there are toilets, non-portable water, picnic table and walking trails available in this area. Also, some portion of the area has large grasses and semi-sheltered by vegetation. But the nice thing about this campground is that the walking trails will lead you to Ocean Beach. 

Barker Knoll Campground 

This campground is found at the edge of Coorong Lagoon and only accessible via boat and canoe. It is suitable for pitching tents and has walking trails nearby.

Godfreys Landing Campground 

This area is also located on the edge of Coorong Lagoon and only accessible via boats and canoe. There are shelter, toilets, water tanks,  a small boat ramp, and a walking trail available in the area.

Kartoo Road 

This place has seven camping sites in the area which are only accessible by 4WD. It is best for tents and camper trailers. However, there are no facilities here because it is located on the edge of the Coorong Lagoon.

Long Point Campground

This campground has five campsites available and magnificent view of the lagoon. Suitable for tents, camper trails and caravans. There are facilities also offered in this area like toilets, picnic tables, small jetty and a small boat ramp. 

Loop Road Campgrounds 

The Loop Road has twenty campgrounds that are spread along the Loop Road. This area offers a good bush camping experience in a natural setting. It is suitable for tents, camper trailers and caravans and facilities like toilets and walking trails are also available.

Mark Point Campground 

This camp offers two campsites that have a scenic view of the lagoon. Perfect for setting up your tents, camper trailers and caravans. There is a boat ramp but no toilets available for campers.

Ocean Beach

This campground is only accessible via 4WD and no facilities. Nonetheless, it is suitable for tents. Camping is permitted along the beach between the watermarks within the designated campsites. Also, visitors with off-roading experience is highly recommended to reach this area.

Parnka Point Campgrounds 

Parnka Point has 13 campsites across two campgrounds. Campsites are overlooking the whole Coorong Lagoon, and some trees provide shelter. It is perfect for tents and camper trailers. Facilities in this area are available like toilets, water tanks, boat ramp, and sheltered picnic tables. 

Wreck Campground 

This area is only available during the summer season. There are five camping sites and shelters provided by tall trees. There are no facilities available in the campground, but it is perfect for tents and camper trailers. 

If you want to know more about the campgrounds in the park, you can visit their website.

Where Can I Take Bush Walk at Coorong National Park?

Bushwalking is always an excellent way to connect with the environment. It is still a fantastic idea to bond together with friends and family. There are easy to moderate walks in the Coorong National Park. 

Easy walks

Chinaman’s Well to Gold Walk (1-hour return, 1.3km) 

Wander the Chinaman’s Well historic site to find the stone well and associated excavations, learning the history of the gold rush.

Godfrey’s Landing Walk – only available via boat (1-hour return, 3km)

An excellent wildlife trek, this trail takes you through the dunes from the Coorong Lagoon to the ocean.

Jack Point Pelican Observatory Walk (20 mins return, 1.2km)

This is a great walking trail for families wandering through the dunes to a watching area overlooking pelican breeding islands.

Lakes Nature Walk Trail (1-hour loop, 3km)

A mild, satisfying walk past ephemeral lakes, through mallee scrub and over low dunes.

Ngrugie Ngoppun Walk (1 hour 15 mins loop, 2.5km)

Ngrugie means ‘good walk’ in the Ngarrindjeri language. This short round offers views of the local wildlife and access to some local history.

Moderate hikes

Nukan Kungun Hike (2 days one way, 25km)

This 25km trail is excellent for school and walking groups. It starts from Salt Creek and connects some of the more famous trails in the area, ending at the 42 Mile Crossing campground. Right from the campground, you can continue to walk over the dunes to the beach, but you’ll have to a further 1.3km. Secluded bush campsites are also found along the trail.

What Are The Other Things I Can Do At Coorong National Park?

There is a range of activities that you can do in Coorong National Park.  

  • Mountain Biking: there are no specific biking trails inside the park. However, you can bike outside the public roads within the park.
  • Bird Watching: this is a birdwatcher’s paradise. There are over 200 species of birds have been recorded at the park, including two rare species. The extraordinary landscape of the park is served as a breeding ground for the Australian Pelican and a habitat for swans, ducks, cormorants, terns, grebes and numerous species of migratory birds.
  • Boating, kayaking, and canoeing: this is the best way to explore the saline waters of Coorong National Park. There are two distinct bodies of water in the park. These are the Northern Lagoon (from Goolwa Barrage to Parnka Point) and the Southern Lagoon (Parnka Point to salt Creek). The boat launching areas are located at Goolwa, Marina, Hindmarsh Island, No 19 Beacon, Sugars Beach, Mundoo Channel Drive, Mark point, Long Point, Parnka Point, and Policemans Point.
  • Fishing: there are excellent fishing spots along the Coorong Ocean Beach. The steep beach offers good access along the shore where fish hunt their food. Between the Long Point and Murray Mouth are ideal spots for boat fishing as well. However, fishing is strongly prohibited in marine park sanctuary zones. The Authorities of the national park strictly implements rules for fishers. Must have recreational licenses, Must observe bag sizes and limits, cockles should not be collected (regulations are subject to change), and fishing is not allowed within 150m of the barrages.
  • 4WDing: the national park is also perfect for four-wheel driving within its long and challenging beach drive. Standard rules of driving and speed restrictions anywhere within Coorong National Park should always be observed. Also, registered motorbikes are permitted in the park while quad bikes are not allowed.
  • Camping: You can set up your camp on camping sites that are well marked and tracked. You can pitch your tents in the available areas close to the beach, which is a better area for the family. All of these are accessible via 2WD, but if you’re more adventurous, you are welcome to try camping at Tea Tree that is only reachable through a 4WD. However, permits from the local government of Coorong are necessary whenever you camp anywhere at Coorong and must be bought before setting up camp. The bookings are available online. 
  • Visit the attractions inside the National Park.

Attractions In Coorong National Park

There are tons of attractions you can choose from at Coorong National Park. Some of it reveals the scenic view and the fascinating history of Coorong.

  • Chinamans Well: This is a walk all that will lead you to the intricately carved limestone. These carvings showed the history of Chinese people when they passed through the gold rush era of Coorong.
  • Godfrey’s Landing: The trail is accessible only by boat from Goolwa and Hindmarsh Island. Also, it offers a scenic walk through the Younghusband Peninsula’s dunes up to the estuary close to the Murray beach.
  • Jack Point: This place is home to the largest breeding community of Australian Pelican. This area allows you to observe different species of flying birds and breed on the nearby islands. It is perfect for birdwatchers so don’t forget to bring your binoculars!
  • Long Point: the admin of Coorong will provide you with a jetty to explore the national park. It is also a great spot to fish and watch the sunset over the calm waters of Coorong.
  • Parnka Point: also called the “Hells gate” because of its narrow point between the northern and southern part of the Coorong Lagoon. It is known for excellent views up and down the lagoon. Wading birds are commonly seen in this area.
  • Pelican Point: offers a great view and a wide variety of birdlife in the park. It is also where Lake Alexandra enters the Coorong through the Tauwitchere barrage. However, there is no access to this area.
  • Salt Creek: it is the longest walking trail (27km) among all paths in the National Park. It starts at the salt creek and spreads south to the 42 Mile Crossing. This trail connects four other shorter walks that focus on the wildlife, scenery and dunes.
  • 42 Mile Crossing: provides a pleasant 20-minute walk going to the dunes. An accessible walking trail with a beautiful view of Coorong and the soothing sound of ocean waves. The accessibility of this site is limited due to protection of the breeding site of hooded plover.

What Is The Best Time To Visit Coorong National Park?

December to January, when then the lakes are filled with migratory birds from out of the country. But then, all year round, you can spot different species of birds in the National Park. Binoculars and patience are highly suggested when birdwatching. 

What Do Other Tourists Say About Coorong National Park?

“I wish I had a long time to explore the Coorong. What an incredible place and I am so glad it is protected as a national park it is a habitat for a lot of wildlife if you are a bird watcher, this place is a must-visit. I was excited to explore the Murray Mouth and the vegetation. The place looks unspoiled and healthy. I can only hope that this place stays the same. Will be back.” –Vicki J (TripAdvisor)

Related Questions

Can You Swim In The Coorong?

Yes, you can swim in the Coorong. Swimming conditions in Coorong are safe. However, taking a swim is entirely at your own risk, and the authorities do not recommend swimming in the ocean.

What Can You Do At The Coorong?

There are a lot of activities that you can do in Coorong, these are:

  • Canoe the Coorong.
  • Coorong Bird watching and Coorong Birdwatcher’s Trail.
  • 4WDriving.
  • Walking Trails.
  • Local Drives.

Why Is Coorong Important?

Coorong National Park is a protected area and a national treasure much like lakes Albert and Alexandrina. It is well known under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance. The area’s wetlands provide habitat for local species as well as migratory wading birds. 

What Does Coorong Mean? 

The word Coorong is derived from an aboriginal word karangk meaning “narrow neck”. For over 6000 years, the traditional Ngarrindjeri people are the custodians of Coorong. They preserved Coorong very well and taught their children the traits, history, and their ways of living. Right now, Coorong is a Protected Area in Southern Australia.

Where Does The Coorong Start?

The Coorong starts at the salt creek, a 27-kilometre trail which typically takes two days to trek. It heads to the central portion of the Coorong Lagoon until it reaches 42 Mile Crossing where it links to the beach which goes down the ocean side of Younghusband Peninsula

Can You Drive From Goolwa To Narrung?

Yes, you can drive from Goolwa To Narrung. But it would be quite far. There are 15.57 miles from Goolwa to Narrung in south-east direction. Ninety miles (144.84 kilometres) via car and ferryboat, following the Loveday Bay Road route. Goolwa and Narrung are 2 hours 48 mins far away from each other if you drive non-stop for about 2 hours and 45 mins and ride the ferry for 2 minutes.

When Was Coorong Discovered?

Coorong was discovered by two men, Strangways and Hutchinson in 1837. They found the narrow lake behind the dunes. A year after in 1838, a man named Captain Gill, having been exhausted near the gateway of Murray River and rowed until he reached Coorong. Today, Coorong is one of the most famous go to park in the Southern part of Australia.  

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