One of the things I told myself on this trip is that I would try and stop at all the roadside stalls selling local produce. So by the time we got to the Coorong we had delicious peaches and cherries to enjoy. This was just as well as it gave us something to nibble on while we took a rather long detour to the Coorong via Victor Harbour and Hindmarsh Island.
Last time I was in Victor Harbour it was a sleepy seaside town, but it is a bustling seaside suburb these days. It even had its own summer carnival.
The detour via Hindmarsh island was due to the fact Andrew and I did not realise the road marked on Hema actually consisted of several barrages connecting islands in this area which no-one, even locals, can access.
That was OK though as we are in holiday mode and happily listened to audio books while making the most of the free car ferry over the Murray all while while asking ourselves what is the most we have paid to cross a river on this trip? We decided the most expensive in relation to the amount of water to cross would be the barge over the Jardine River on Cape York but this actually covers the cost of roads and much of the free camping on the way so hard to compare really.
The Coorong is a long, narrow stretch of coastline that runs for about 200km from the mouth of the Murray in the north-west to the town of Kingston in the south-east between the ocean and a long series of lagoons. At least our detour meant we got to see the mouth of the Murray.
We camped at 28 Mile Crossing for four nights. It’s a large campsite with five secluded sites. The first night two other camps were taken but for the rest of our stay only one other camp was booked each night. Everyone else stayed only one night making this a very secluded spot to access the dunes and beach. There is not a lot of shade being so close to the coast but the low scrub provided relief from the wind. The parks website for the coastal areas of SA are great as each site has dimensions and pictures making it easy to pick a suitable site for your needs.
It is about a 1km walk across the dunes to get to the long stretch of beach. We spent our days relaxing and exploring the dunes. The kids loved boarding the dunes and flying kites.
It is possible the drive along the beach all the way from Kingston to the mouth of the Murray, about 200kms. We didn’t end up driving on the beach at all, although there were plenty of cars driving at least part of it. Yet another adventure we will have to save for another time (maybe).
One afternoon Izzy braved the choppy conditions for a board and while spotting her I dug my feet in the sand and found a pipi. This part of the coast is known for them and the info board at camp has a whole board dedicated to them clearly stating only 300 pipis per person per day, or 900 per car … so there must be heaps! Izzy abandoned the board and we all dug out feet in the sand and started collecting an amount suitable to taste.
Once back at camp I cooked them up with butter, garlic onion and wine. Matthew was happy to watch, Andrew tried one and Izzy and I feasted on the rest. They were delicious and by the end I did say to Andrew maybe one day if he did want to drive along the coast here I would come just to cook the pipis. I confess that beach driving is not my favourite activity on this trip. I find it rather boring on long stretches of sand and open coastline where the only excitement it getting stuck and digging yourself out, all while watching the waves lap menacingly closer. Short doses are fine but 200kms seems a bit much for me with a trailer that slows us down and likes digging its heels into the sand in protest.
Our camp was littered with pipi shells and one morning I reorganised one pile to make it a little more artistic.
We enjoyed our time here, relaxing and slowing down. There are loads of dunes and salt plains to explore and loads of bird life.
We even had a daily visitor at our camp.