Who doesn’t love a good road trip? Especially ones packing the double whammy – they take less than a day and have cool stuff to see. We’ve rounded up our pick of short drives in the Coorong, and included all the highlights – Coorong National Park, two huge lakes, the Murray River, Raukkan lookout, towering silo art, sunsets and wineries.
This is where you can get up close and personal with the Coorong, even if you don’t want to get out of the car. Most of the drive along Seven Mile Road, and parts of the Princes Highway to Salt Creek delivers incredible lagoon views, with the sandunes soaring in the background.
Stop at the lookouts along the way, including Noonameena, Parnka Point and Jack’s Point Observatory Deck for some great photo ops. And the secret spot to buy some local Coorong Mullet or Mulloway is direct from the fisherman in the little red caravan on the way through.
Treat yourself to great views and see lots of cool stuff on this round trip around the lake. Turn off the Princes Highway and head to the Point Malcolm lighthouse at Narrung – it’s the only inland lighthouse in the Southern Hemisphere. Hard to believe there was so much lake/river traffic in the day that they actually needed one.
Cross the ferry at the Narrows and visit Raukkan, the only place in the Coorong where you get elevated views of the entire Coorong ecosystem – both lakes, the Murray Mouth, the lagoons and barrages, the sandunes and the wetlands. I’m struggling to find a word big enough for it. The scale of this inland sea will blow your mind. It’s spiritual. Meander through the Narrung Peninsula (some of SA’s most productive agricultural land) and stop off at Long Point and the wetlands, then back through to Meningie to spend some time in the Lions Park. Try and time it so you can watch the sunset on the lake.
Head to Wellington to cross the Murray River on a car ferry, and make your way to the emerging wine region of the moment, Langhorne Creek. This is where you will leave the tourist trap behind, because this place is as authentic a wine experience as it gets. Small, boutique wineries showcase wines grown in a cool climate due to the unique Lake Doctor that blows off Lake Alexandrina. It’s beautiful, small and not overrun with tourists.
Spend the day and you will get to most of the wineries – try Lake Breeze, Bremerton, Bleasdale and the brand new Kimbolton. Lunch and light options are available just about every place you go.
Before you head home, take a detour to Milang, where you can see stunning lake vistas and just hang on the jetty.
Did you know that silo art is a thing? Coonalpyn was early to jump on board, and it has injected a shot of energy into the small town. This is a canvas on an epic scale, and you can’t help but wonder how artist Guido van Helten even knew where to begin.
Depicting local school children, the black and white mural represents the future of a small farming community. You can admire it over some fabulous food too – Waffles and Jaffles is the home of authentic Liege waffles, and the Silo Café has great coffee and home made goodies.
Then head across to Meningie and wander along the lake on the Pelican Path – Yunti Ngopun Ngami (the Ngarrindjeri phrase for ‘together we walk’). The lakeside interpretive trail is full of interesting facts and the best place to finish the day, watching the sunset over Lake Albert. There is nowhere better in the Coorong to settle in for a sunset.