Depending on which route it taken the distance from Langhorne Creek to Goolwa is around 50 kilometres; the scenery is beautiful, but the roads quite are quite dreadful. We arrived way too early to book into the Hindmarsh Island Caravan Park so found some caravan parking and went food shopping. Eventually booking into the caravan park around lunch time, we started catching up with the domestics:).
During the afternoon we drove Goolwa, checking out landmarks and especially the Main Wharf, where out Coorong Adventure Cruise would depart Sunday morning.
Sunday we woke to grey skies, drizzly rain, some wind and quite cool temperatures (maximum of 18° C expected). Dressing appropriately we headed to the Main Wharf for our 10 am departure. The boat carried about 40 passengers and was probably ¾ full. The first experience was navigating the lock at the Goolwa Barrage. Very interesting experience, as the salt and fresh water levels were almost the same there wasn’t much movement in the water level when inside the lock. On the ocean side, there were many, many New Zealand Fur Seals, resting on the wooden structures around the lock itself, more rolling around in the water, swimming and playing. Was great to be able to see them up close from a safe vantage point.
The commentary from the driver of the boat was fantastic, very informative without being over the top. We heard about the farming and fishing industry history and how these two industries are working today. The abundant bird life on the on and about the Coorong, identifying the flocks or groups as we passed by or stopped for a closer look or a photo opportunity.
By the time we reached the Murray mouth the seas were very rough and pounding though to the Coorong. We ventured as far into the mouth as safety would allow and then continued to our first stop Barkers Knoll. Most of disembarked with Nathan our guide, to led us through the sand dunes and bush to the Southern Ocean. Along the way we learned of the bush tucker favoured by the Ngarrindjeri People, how they built their shelters, caught the fish and generally lived on the peninsular.
Back on board we were treated to an entrée on Pipi’s sautéed in garlic, wine and cream. Derick said they were delicious. Next came main course; bread roll, a variety of cold meat, 3 salads (lettuce, coleslaw and pasta), cheese and biscuits, with chocolate and coffee to finish. Absolutely delicious!
While eating we cruised along the Coorong, past Bird Island, Mundoo Island, Ewe Island and Ewe Island barrage. Tauwitchere Island and Tauwithcere barrage, Pelican Point and Rumbelow’s Landing. On the ocean side Godfrey’s Landing, the Snake Pit, and along the Younghusband Peninsular. Our second stop was Cattle Point where we disembarked once again, this time our driver was our guide. The wind was howling, whipping sand into our faces, some of us looking like Scott of the Antarctic with our faces covered and hoodies pulled on tight. We walked through the bush and sand to ancient Ngarrindjeri middens. A huge area covered in broken seafood shells where the Ngarrindjeri People would camp for months at a time. We dug for fresh water and found it about ½ a metre from the surface!
Back on board, the cosy warmth of the boat was very niceJ. It was now time to turn back toward Goolwa, the Coorong waters were quite choppy in this open section of water, and so we stayed seated until we passed through the narrow channel at the Snake Pit. The tour gave us a closer look at some of the other sites along the banks, more photo opportunities along with the very interesting and informative commentary.
Afternoon tea was served; coffee or tea with a slice of cockies joy, otherwise known as coconut jam slice. Yum!
The Murray mouth was still quite rough, although the tide had dropped considerably exposing more of the sand bank along the sides. Back through the lock the many seals were still swimming or lolling about on the wooden structures, what a life!
We arrive back at the Main Wharf in Goolwa about 4ish, exhilarated from our fabulous 6 hour adventure, 2 one hour walks, a magnificent meal and afternoon tea. An amazing day:).
With still one more day to enjoy in Goolwa we walked the main street, visited Goolwa Beach, the Sturt Memorial and drove the scenic route around the waterways. We very much enjoyed our time in Goolwa and cruising the Coorong.
We said our goodbyes to Goolwa under grey, cloudy skies. Our next stop Black Cockatoo Campground in McLaren Vale for two nights. The surroundings along the way were quite diverse; farms with sheep, alpacas, cows and horses in amongst the vineyards, fruit and olive trees. We drove through Mount Compass then down Willunga Hill which is very, very steep, stopping halfway for a photo opportunity.
Arriving about 11.30am we set up and settled in, relaxing for the remainder of the day.
Day 2 we spent exploring the McLaren Vale Wine Region! First D’Arenberg Wines, tasting for Derick, coffee for me. What a beautiful setting on the top of a hill with the restaurant, tasting room and gardens overlooking the vineyards and properties in the valley below. D’arenberg have also established the Cenosilicaphobic Club to assist local sufferers. ‘An exclusive club for the support of cenosilicaphobia, the fear of an empty glass’!
Next stop Port Willunga; the beach stretches along the base of some limestone cliffs, and where only the support posts remain of the once popular fishing jetty. The ocean of the St Vincent Gulf is the most stunning azure blue, almost difficult to tell where sky and ocean meet.
Back in the town of Willunga we walked the main street stopping to browse in the Willunga Glass Studio. They have some beautiful pieces of glass pictures, hangings, bowls, plates and jewellery. Yes, I succumbed, and bought some butterfly earrings and a fish mobileJ. We ate a delicious lunch at the ‘middle’ pub; Derick, a beef curry, which he enjoyed for the rest of the day! Me the roast of the day which was lamb and cooked to perfection.
Last stop for day was Hugh Hamilton Wines, another well laid out vineyard and winery, but a bit expensive for Derick’s tastes. Beautiful surroundings just the same.
Easter is just a day away, school holidays start in South Australia and we’re booked into the Brownhill Creek Caravan Park in Adelaide for the entire Easter weekend. Looking forward to meeting up with Jan and Ross, some sight-seeing and catching up with family.