Coorong National Park is the National Parks and Wildlife Service SA Park of the Month for March 2019.
We’ve outlined 11 walking trails that are scattered along the 130km long Coorong, both in the national park but also in small reserves and in the nearby Coorong gateway town of Meningie.
Located about a 2 hour drive south-east of Adelaide, the Coorong is a wetland of international importance. It is where Australia’s largest river system, the Murray-Darling flows out to the Southern Ocean and is home to over 200 species of birds as well as many migratory birds that arrive each summer.
There’s plenty to do: hiking, bird watching, boating, kayaking, fishing, camping, four-wheel driving and European and cultural history.
Trails along the Coorong and nearby gateway town Meningie
Chinaman’s Well Historic Site Journey to Gold Walk
900m, 1 hour, Easy walk
Follow the Journey to Gold Walk to the Chinaman’s Well historic site to find the stone well and associated quarries, natural waterhole and learn about the history of the gold rush.
How would you move an 1,000kg slab of sandstone 900 metres and then lift it 1.5m off the ground to place it on top of the well? Today we would use a forklift, but in 1850 this was one of the problems faced by the Chinese.
Jack Point Pelican Observatory Walk
1.2km, 20 mins return, Easy walk
A great walk for families winding through the dunes to a viewing area overlooking pelican breeding islands. At the end of the trail there is a viewing platform looking out to the Coorong’s pelican breeding islands. The breeding rookery here in the Coorong is the largest Australian Pelican breeding colony in Australia.
Bonney Reserve Nature Trail
4.8km, 1.5 hours return
In this little-known reserve which is not part of the Coorong National Park, but still on the Coorong on Seven Mile Road near Meningie, take a walk along the Nature Trail through Bonney Reserve.
Along the trail learn about the Ngarrindjeri names of plants and how they were used for dietary or medical treatments, until you reach the lookout over the Coorong or the water’s edge.
Ngrugie Ngoppun Walk
2.7km, 1 hour 15 mins, Easy walk
Ngrugie Ngoppun means ‘good walk’ in the Ngarrindjeri language. This short loop offers wildlife viewing and access to some local history. This easy short walk commences in the heart of Salt Creek and follows a path through low scrub to the point at which the Salt Creek enters the Coorong.
Ocean Beach Hike
3.4km, 1 hour return
The Ocean Beach Hike provides a safe and direct link for walkers from the 42 Mile Campground to the ocean beach. The short hike to the ocean takes visitors across coastal sand dunes providing vast views of the Coorong and Southern Ocean.
Pelican Path – Yunti Ngopun Ngami, Meningie
400m, 10 mins, Easy walk
The Pelican Path, or Yunti Ngopun Ngami, in the Coorong gateway town of Meningie follows the foreshore of Lake Albert in Meningie and is suitable for wheelchair users, dog walking and kids bicycles. The trail is a sealed path.
And with a playground this awesome it’s a winner with kids.
Lions Walking Trail, Meningie
3.5km, 1 hour
The Lions Walking Trail in the Coorong gateway town of Meningie wanders through a diverse flora that exist in a Mallee environment, from Bowman Street in the south to the Lookout and cemetery in the north.
Lakes Nature Walk Trail
2.9km, 1 hour circuit, Easy walk
A gentle, pleasant walk past ephemeral lakes, through mallee scrub and over low sand dunes. The Lakes Nature Walk Trail begins from a carpark on the Loop Road.
Godfrey’s Landing Walk
1.8km, 1 hour return, Easy walk
A great wildlife walk, this trail takes you through the sand dunes from the Coorong Lagoon to the ocean beach. There are interpretive signs along the way.
The trail is only accessible by boat. Spirit of the Coorong offers cruises that include Godfreys Landing and the walking trail. Cruises depart Goolwa. Canoe the Coorong hires out kayaks and offers kayak tours which include Godfreys Landing and the walking trail.
Barkers Knoll Ocean Beach walk
1.2km, 30 mins
An easy trail that departs from the Barkers Knoll landing and headings over the dunes to the Southern Ocean.
The trail is only accessible by boat. Spirit of the Coorong offers cruises that include Barkers Knoll and the walking trail. Cruises depart Goolwa. Canoe the Coorong hires out kayaks and offers kayak tours which include Barkers Knoll and the walking trail.
Nukan Kungun Hike, Salt Creek to 42 Mile Crossing, Coorong National Park
25km, 2 days return, Moderate hike
A two-day walking trail with camping options – explores coastal dunes, inland lakes, historic sites and the Coorong beach. Nakun Kungun, pronounced ‘Nackan Koon-nun’, is Ngarrindjeri for ‘Looking and Listening’. The trail passes through several different plant communities including mallee woodlands, tall tea-tree shrublands and spinifex grasslands. It also passes numerous ephemeral sale lakes. Encounters with wildlife, particularly kangaroos, wombats and emus are common. If you are lucky you may even see an endangered malleefowl.