Overnight Trip from Wally’s Landing, Finniss River to Currency Creek and Return — 9-10 July 2022


Winds south westerly 0-5knots predicted felt like 8knots. The small group comprised of Simon Langsford, Peter McLeod, Matthew Eldred as trip leader. We gathered at Wally’s landing for the overnight paddle to Currency Creek. Peter was unable to stay the night due to work commitments and would return to the cars after lunch at Clayton Bay. We set off with the new paddle plan in place making our way through the reeds and into the lagoons to disturb the 100s of black swans that call it home.
Wasn’t long before the water ways widened, and we were heading to the Goolwa channel where we would turn left for lunch at clayton bay.

After lunch the team followed the northern bank of Hindmarsh Island protecting us from the southern wind. As this was a small back track west to currency creek, we were able to line Peter up with the Finniss river and send him on his way under sail.

Now there was two. Simon and Matt followed Hindmarsh Island until we reached the eastern bank of Currency creek. Finding camp at around 3:00pm we decided to set up the tents unload the kayaks and have a late afternoon paddle further up Currency creek.

The night-time activities were dinner and telling stories around the camp fire under the cold winter’s night.


Winds Northly 5-10knots predicted and felt like it. A frosty start to the day and the fire was re-ignited to defrost us from the night’s sleep. Camp pack up was quick and on the water by 9am. Today’s route we followed the western banks of Currency creek and around the islands at Goolwa north. Not to trace to much of our path from the day before, we stuck to the opposite sides of the rivers.

The trip was success and Simon is keen to attend again and explore more of the lower lakes.

Matt Eldred

Camping in Finniss River

Coorong National Park Sign

Mundoo channel to Boundary Creek and the Coorong — 18 April 2022

Godfeys Landing

On Easter Monday, after a number of cancellations due to injury and the predicted weather conditions, 5 paddlers headed off from the end of Mundoo Channel Rd. (Shauna, Bruce, Michael, Treya, Abelardo)

Pelicans in Coorong

The first section looked to be the worst from the predictions, but in very mild winds we paddled into the Coorong in search of the Boundary Ck junction and only having to dodge the odd boat. In fact boating traffic was very light for an Easter weekend, (Yay). Presumably boaties were also put off by the possible winds.

We made quick time to the probable entrance to Boundary Ck (did I mention this was an exploratory trip..?). It looked little like it did a few years back, so we paddled on to the shacks. The shacks were the sure marker, so having pulled up on the beach we portaged over the bank to Boundary Ck. The creek was very beautiful, with reedy growth and an occasional tree, and with abundant water flowing through it.

Godfeys landing

Ocean south of Godfeys landing Coorong

It wasn’t long before we exited back into the Coorong and the group paddled across to the Young Husband peninsula and to Godfeys landing for lunch. The wind was low and it was a quiet, peaceful spot. After lunch we did the short walk over to the southern ocean, which true to form was rough and windy. No wonder those brave around Australia paddlers all had concerns about landing on that long stretch of coastline.

After a morning of light winds, a well above forecast tail wind became handy on the journey homeward reaching 20kn at its peak. This was some very fun sailing and an easy return paddle. It was a relatively easy day out for moderately experienced paddlers. We covered 16km over a leisurely 5 hrs, including break times.

Every time I go to the Coorong I feel like another plan is hatched. This vast inland river/sea/lake has much to offer paddlers. Stay tuned!

Shauna Ashewood

Goolwa Peer Paddle — 9 January 2022

Sunday 9th of January Peer paddle/sail inspired by Tresh. Four paddlers left Mundoo channel to take opportunity of the 8-10kt southerly to sail the 18km back in to Goolwa. The team launched by 11am where the winds were starting to pick up which made for good test of the sails as we left Mundoo Channel. Entering the Coorong across to barker knoll for quick look at the boat ramp and the shacks before the push to the Goolwa barrage. Winds were good and we quickly found ourselves traveling at 6-10kmh under sail. Before we knew it we were at the barrage ready for lunch. Tresh shared some Chi and freshly picked English mulberries which paired nicely with the cake Mark B bought along.

Going upstream through the lock was interesting as we hit rush hour after our long lunch. We crammed in the lock with 2 power boats one being the spirit of the Coorong. This of course was under guidance of the lock master. It made for a cozy passage. Once through we pushed the western bank to make our trip last that little bit longer. Not long after we passed the jet-ski landing one of the sails decided to malfunction. This led to Tresh becoming the human support for said sails. It worked quit well and before we knew it the day was done and it was time to wash and pack.

Special thanks to Tresh for being the coordinator, gear supplier, Caterer and Sail stay.

Kayaks with birds in the bckground

Tolderol Bird Sanctuary: Lake Alexandrina, Coorong — 5 December 2021

Twelve paddlers took advantage of the gentle winds forecast for Sunday morning to go for a gentle paddle amongst the reed beds of Tolderol Bird Sanctuary on Lake Alexandrina.

Tolderol is a well-regarded bird watching location, reed beds along the lake shore, grassy banks and shallow basins attract a wide variety of water fowl and migratory wader bird species. Late spring and summer are the best times to see the migratory birds which flock to this area. It is not a very well used park, with few amenities, and is not very well signposted.Birds starting to fly

On the water

Despite this everyone managed to find the designated meeting point, and we were on the water by 9:30. At the first opportunity we turned off the lake and entered the maze of the reed beds. Having a GPS with a track showing the route from our last visit should have made things easier, but trying to figure out how to work a brand new GPS on its first outing, along with finding some of the previously navigable routes now reeded over, made for some anxious moments. Aided by Bernard volunteering to stand up in his kayak to try and find us a route to open water (he didn’t capsize, ruining a good photo opportunity), we didn’t have too many dead ends, although we did have to push through some thick reeds a few times. All part of the fun.

We took advantage of the only dry(ish) ground around to have an early lunch stop. Peter Drewry showed some great foresight by bringing along a camp chair, the rest of us had to make do with sitting on the grass, carefully avoiding the sheep droppings. The nearby fence made a great place to hang up wet paddling gear, until somebody pointed out that it was an electric fence! We are still not sure if it was active or not, as nobody was brave enough to test it.

The return

Stretching the legsBy now the wind was starting to pick up so, with discretion being the better part of valour, we packed up and headed back to the launch spot by a more direct route staying to the outside of the reed beds, getting back to the cars by early afternoon. The winds in the Coorong have a habit of blowing up unexpectedly, and with the shallow waters things can become tricky very quickly.

Oh, and by the way we did see birds, lots of birds. See the pictures.

National Park Sign

Beacon 19 to Barkers Knoll 16 October 2021

Perfect paddling conditions for the Beacon 19 to Barkers Knoll paddle on Sunday October 17. A lovely sunny day and a good sailing opportunity on the return leg.

It was great to see the large number of paddlers, especially considering that some had attended the Training Day at West Lakes the previous day.  Also, good to see  Greg Watts making the most of his drive down from Port Augusta for the weekend.

This was Shauna’s assessment day for Enclosed Sea Guide under the watchful eyes of Phil Doddridge. Shauna’s lead-up emails and briefings showed the considerable amount of work preparing for the trip. Under her leadership, paddlers were: Bernard and Frances Goble, Anne Langsford, Phil Doddridge, Mark Loram, Charlie and Marina Walker, Jo Molsher, Matt Eldred, and Greg Watts.

Paddling Upwind

Paddling Upwind

After 10am we set off from the Beacon 19 Boat Ramp on a nice leisurely paddle hoping to see plenty of bird life. We were not disappointed as we paddled towards the Murray Mouth. We saw numerous Black Swans as we navigated our way between the excitable cygnets rounded up by anxious looking parents.

As we progressed down the channel, those of us who hadn’t stopped for coffee looked longingly at the Coorong Café as we paddled past. Then the Spirit of the Coorong passed by heading towards the Murray Mouth. Some passengers raised their champagne glasses towards our group as they passed. Pretty sure they were heading further up the Coorong to Godfrey’s Landing for a lunch stop and walk through the dunes.

There were even more birds as we approached the Murray Mouth. I recognised (with help from Google!) a flock of Red Necked Avocet and Curlew Sandpiper on the sandbars. We missed our resident bird enthusiast – Peter Vincent on this trip. Also, numerous pelicans, but outnumbered by the black swans.

We could see the dredging barges at work as we approached the entrance to the Mouth.  Hopefully with more water coming down the Murray now and snow melt still ahead, dredging is reduced over the summer.

Taking a break

Taking a break

We stopped at the northern side and stretched our legs over the sandbars down to the Mouth. There were several 4WDs with families enjoying the setting. Some hoping to catch dinner while others just enjoying the view of the Mouth at the larger breaking waves.

After deciding on the safest track past the dredges we were on our way again passing the fishing shacks and making our way towards Barkers Knoll and our lunch stop. The wind picked up over lunch so several of the group were keen to be on our way for the return leg.

Wind was from the SE, making good conditions for the return run. Nothing like our usual 15kn runs, but still, lots of fun!  We were soon arriving at the Boat Ramp after covering 16km in just under 6 hours.

Phil conducted the debrief on our return and passed on the good news that Shauna had ticked all the boxes and he will be submitting the paperwork for Enclosed Sea Guide. Good work Shauna!, and we look forward to your next trip.

Launch at Panka Point

Paddling the Coorong – Parnka Point to Goolwa Sun 31 October – Tue 2 November 2021

I had been very keen to paddle the Coorong after reading about Mike and Tresh’s paddle in January 2021. We replicated their Salt Creek to Goolwa trip as a three-day trip in the club calendar for late October. Just when we were about to cancel the trip due to lack of bookings Matt Eldred booked. After a phone call we agreed on a plan to paddle the northern lagoon from Parnka Point to Goolwa (approximately 80km). Neither of us had paddled this part of the Coorong. After my paddle to Cattle Point with Mike, Tresh and Peter McLeod on the recent Snake Pit trip, I was keen to explore more, hopefully without the 35kn winds!

Getting there

Sailing in the Coorong

Kayak with a sail in the Coorong with the dunes in the background

We had transport (kindly arranged by Matt) from Strathalbyn to Parnka Point at 7:30am on Sunday 31 Oct. The countryside on my early morning drive looked great and judging by the crops, appeared to have had good rainfall. I arrived to Strathalbyn just after 7.30am, and we were soon on our way via the scenic route and a ferry crossing at Wellington. Coorong Park Rangers Chris Hannocks and John Gitchem (thanks to our Meningie member, Julie Palmer for the suggestion) advised that the water levels were the highest they had ever seen. Didn’t take long to get everything transferred and we were soon on our way. Our confidence increased as we observed more water in Pink Lake as we approached Meningie, so hopefully Coorong levels would be good as well.

Day One: Sunday 31 October

Arrived at Parnka Point about 9.30am ready for our first challenge – would everything fit into the kayaks?! Maybe we were not travelling so light after all, good to have a bit of contingency! Yes Tresh, I took some chai tea along as well as a nice slab of home-made focaccia to go with the cheese, and Matt brought some Green Ginger wine.

Looked a lovely day ahead of us, with only a hint of breeze, unfortunately from the north. Launching was easy, we set off about 10.30am just south of the Parnka Point Boat Ramp. Couldn’t resist getting a photo of the sign warning that cars were not to proceed any further. Yep, the Rangers were correct; plenty of water in the Coorong.

Shed in the Coorong

Shed in the Coorong

We spotted a couple of fishermen launching from the boat ramp, so Matt took the opportunity to ask about conditions. They were headed further south but confirmed we wouldn’t have a problem navigating The Needles. We paddled towards the Parnka Point Campground (discussing car camping opportunities on future trips) until we spotted what we thought was Needles Island. We had a perfect paddling day with a clear sky and calm water, great for paddling unknown waters with the channel clearly defined and easy to follow. There were sandbars, but easily spotted and avoided. The shallower water was covered in algae which did slow our progress somewhat and had to be occasionally cleared from paddles and kayak decks.

I kept having flashbacks from Mike and Tresh’s report, dreading having to drag our kayaks through the limestone reef around The Needles. We brought Matt’s Delta and my Prijon, so the last thing we wanted was a sharp limestone reef. The Kayak Gods must have been on our side as we paddled over the narrow channel with at least 0.5m of water. The Needles is well marked with a pole on the SW corner of Needles Island, and sections of the reef were clearly visible during our transit. We spotted several small birds foraging on the algae weed mat formed around the narrow channel. We became mesmerised by the scenery and calm conditions until the paddle blades encountered numerous limestone bommies.

The channel continued to be very pronounced and easily navigated, a stark contrast from Mike and Tresh’s experience. Aside from the waterbirds, we had the Coorong to ourselves, having left the one and only boat we encountered at the boat ramp. Wind was from NW around 5 to 6kn, so my sail remained stowed, however Matt managed to get some assistance at times after we cleared The Needles. The wind dropped mid-afternoon and changed to SSW from about 3pm, so we set the sails and sat back to enjoy the sand dunes rolling past. Only had about 5-6 kn from SSW but getting along at 6 to 7 km/hr. I said to Matt, with the sand dunes rolling by, it reminded me of a trip down the Nile River, just didn’t see any feluccas.

Around 1pm we spotted Camp Coorong, with several shacks visible from our mid channel position. Also passed a few well-established homesteads around the area. We had considered this as a start point, but after confirming water levels we opted for Parnka Point to check out the islands of North Lagoon – Rabbit Is, Snake Is and Needles Is. The scenery continued to improve, if this was at all possible as we paddled and sailed further north. The vegetation looked very healthy from the water, especially around some of the little bays we passed. Judging by the number of reedbeds, and bird populations these were freshwater soaks.

Setting camp

Our plan was to overnight opposite Long Point, which we reached around 5pm, so we selected a nice sandy beach and headed for shore. Not much room for tents so decided to continue north. Good decision as we would have had to share the beach with mozzies and an echidna that eagle eyed Matt spotted trying to escape our presence.

We were now north of Long Point and heading towards Nine Mile Point when we spotted what looked like a clearing behind a perfect beach, so in we went to explore! Discovered a perfect campsite area with plenty of room for several tents (noted for future trip!). Looking further we stumbled on a couple of old footings, signs of previous habitation, so continued exploring back into the clearing. We were blown away when we spotted an old shack nestled in the sand dune vegetation. Judging by the etching in the concrete footings (followed up with information from National Library), it was owned by George and Andy Ross, mulloway fishermen in the Coorong during the Great Depression years of the 1930’s. From a diary left in the shack it seems that it is gradually being restored by a group called the “Secret Shack Society”. Very important to retain these old buildings that depict early life on the Coorong.

The GPS showed that distance from Parnka Point was 37km, so not a bad day’s paddling with good assistance from our sails.

Still plenty of daylight so unpacked kayaks and set up camp, feeling very elated that we had discovered this little hideaway and a piece of SA history. Spent the evening talking about the highlights of the day and all the paddle options such as Car Camping at Parka Point or Long Point and exploring the section of the Coorong in more detail. Some of the dunes we passed were just stunning I will let the pictures speak for themselves. A very enjoyable evening, made even better with some cheese, focaccia bread, glass or two of red and some of Matt’s Green Ginger Wine. A very clear sky, so plenty of stars and satellites, much better than watching television.

Day Two: Monday 1 November

Woken up by sunrise just before 6am then got the day going with a nice cup of chai! No sign of wildlife around the campsite but plenty of fresh droppings around, so wallabies must have been grazing during the night. We did notice plenty of the small white snails glued to the tents and also on our PFDs. Also, Matt is now a bit more careful about putting his PFD on after discovering an interesting centipede who found a new home overnight. On the water about 9am, looking forward to another great day and wondering what we were going to see. The original plan was to make for Snake Pit, about 20km paddle, but opted for a shorter paddle to Lousy Jacks and enjoy the afternoon.

Coorong coast line

Coorong coast line

Managed to get some benefit from the sails with the 4 to 5kn NE winds – all good practice, especially with the Pacific Action sail. With the 28°C day and light breeze it was perfect for paddling the Coorong, the dunes were getting higher and more stunning as we approached Cattle Point. With the sails doing most of the work we were just mesmerised by the scenery – calm turquoise water, contrasted by green reeds from the freshwater soaks with a backdrop of golden sand dunes against the rich blue sky – wow! Landed at Cattle Point about 10.30am, while telling Matt about my last visit with Mike, Tresh and Peter McLeod – no 35kn winds this time. Just like last visit we were welcomed by a large flock of pelicans and smaller birds on the Point.

While Matt went climbing the dunes, I spent time recording this stunning location in a few photos and watching three fishermen on the point pulling in their nets, I assume for Coorong mullet. Unfortunately, they left before I had an opportunity to beg for dinner.

Matt returned after an interesting walk, all excited after discovering a large soak in between the dunes, dug down about 0.3m and found fresh water – good to remember if doing a solitary walk on the Coorong. Lousy Jacks was only around the point so back on water for leisurely paddle having a good close look at the shoreline around Cattle Point.

Soon had the tuart gums at Lousy Jacks in sight and made a beeline for the beach. We arrived before midday and just after fishermen had left – campfire was still warm and fish scales left around unfortunately. We selected our campsites either side of the tuart gums and set up camp. And then the mozzies arrived, not unexpected at Lousy Jacks, luckily we came prepared!

Setting camp

After getting settled, Matt decided on a walk across Younghusband Peninsula in search of cockles – about 1.6km across at this point. After making sure Matt had his phone, I settled into our lovely campsite enjoying the view while I read the “European Heritage of the Coorong” that Matt had brought along.

I breathed a sigh of relief when he returned safely. Looking very proud of himself with a small container with large Coorong cockles. I thought that was our dinner, but as we didn’t come prepared to cook cockles Matt tried to catch us a Coorong Mullet – we must have picked the wrong spot for fishing, although the pelicans seemed to be doing OK. Back to the dehydrated dinner again!

Another great evening under the stars and counting satellites, but turned in earlier on our second night as we knew the last day could be a challenging paddle, depending on the wind assistance.

Up early, at least I was! Matt took a bit longer as he didn’t get much sleep. He was visited by a Bull Seal during the night calling out for a mate. He tried getting up shouting and shinning his torch but to no avail! Check out the pics, the seal can be seen near Matt’s kayak. As if that wasn’t enough, apparently, we also had a fishing boat shining spotlights looking for a spot to cook their midnight snack. I obviously slept well, didn’t hear a thing!

Day Three: Tuesday 2 November

Back on water about 8.30am for our final day’s paddle to Goolwa, about 30km. Wind was forecast from NE to 18kn and again on our beam so would have to work hard with the sails. Needed to make the Barrage Lock by 4pm, so had a bit of flexibility depending on winds.

Real contrast on the water compared to last two days, overcast day, windier and gusty which made sailing a lot more challenging with the Pacific Action. Matt managed much better and I used the sail conservatively, not wanting to capsize.

Ended up getting more assistance from wind than expected, although we pretty well used the full width of the Coorong to get the best wind advantage. Bit of fun with the sandbars but no major problems.

We made good time and reached the Barrage Lock with 10 minutes to spare before it closed for lunch at 12.30pm, had to do a sprint on the final leg to get there! Short wait for a boat to come down from upstream, but wasn’t long before we cleared the Lock and made our way up towards Goolwa. Matt was on his phone arranging for his Dad to meet us at the Goolwa Wharf. It was about 1.30pm when we reached the small sandy beach just before the Wharf.

Over the three days we paddled 78km and managed to explore the northern lagoon of the Coorong in perfect days to see the Coorong at its best. Average speed was around 6km/hr with max run at 12km/hr. Not bad considering winds weren’t the most favourable. Hopefully with the Hume Dam currently being at capacity, we will have more water coming downstream with good opportunities for conducting a Salt Creek to Goolwa paddle in the new year.

Many thanks to Matt for keeping me company and organising the car shuttles, and particular thanks to Robert and Don for helping out. Enjoy the photos and keep an eye on the calendar for the next Coorong Trip.