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Published February 13th 2017
Tuck into this iconic South Australia treat
South Australia's Coorong National Park is one of Australia's great natural environments complete with various forms of unique wildlife, birdlife and fish, all dining on a carefully crafted menu of saltwater and salt infested plantlife. And what better way to see this natural ecosystem at play than by sea kayak courtesy of Canoe the Coorong.
It's Saturday morning and we are all gathered at the car park near Mundoo Channel for a six hour kayak journey in to the Coorong with our guide Brenton. We select our vessel for the day and put the life jacket on, and then we are off across the morning calm waters of the Mundoo Channel with Brenton offering directions and destination markers in order for us to avoid the shallow sections.
Heading east initially and then southeast, we pass the appropriately named Bird Island before we see the partially drowned Coorong National Park sign, the first clear indicator that we are in this National Park. We gather together around a beacon at Point Blenkinsop and Brenton provides a short history lesson before we depart across the waters to Barkers Knoll on the southern side where we gladly steer our kayaks aboard the small beach.
Morning tea is served, and Brenton offers some of Nana's freshly made cookies, all of which look and taste good and the eager eyes keep an eye out for seconds, and thirds. After this unexpected morning delight, it is time to wear off the extra calories by going on the quick stroll across the dunes to Ocean Beach.
But it is on the way that we learn a bit more about this unique ecosystem, and in particular how healthy and tasty Australian bush tucker is. We wander past some random bushes, and without blinking an eye lid, Brenton is down grabbing leaves, berries, seeds and various fruits from the bushes and offering them to us all to try. Not sure what to expect, we are all pleasantly surprised by the taste of a number of these delicacies noting their growth in some of the harshest climes around.
Our walk to Ocean Beach continues past the age old middens and weed ball alley before we reach this glorious beach where few people visit and pip / cockles are buried just beneath the water line. We try our hand at cockling, with some limited success, while admiring the view and the warmth of the waters.
Back at our kayaks we are greeted by the glorious smells of fresh barramundi being cooked on the makeshift BBQ, and we all clamour for a piece of fish to put on our salad rolls, and to complement it with some freshly blanched native spinach and samphire, two items of Australian bush tucker that was growing on a nearby bush some 30 minutes earlier. And again, they tasted good resulting in some of us heading back for seconds.
Back in the kayaks we now head northwest with full stomachs, and head past the last remaining fishermen's shacks at the northern point of the Younghusband Peninsula, all of which are looking tired but whose lives make them an interesting contender for a heritage listing.
A bit further on, and the Murray Mouth appears. Again we land our boats on a small beach, and walk the short distance to the Mouth to see what it looks like from this other side, which while it looks similar, it is a lot less crowded and has plenty of migratory birds nearby.
The final part of the journey takes us from the Murray Mouth to the Sugars Beach Boat ramp where our journey ends. For further details refer to the Canoe the Coorong website or the facebook page, or just give Brenton a call and he'll be sure to answer any questions you may have.
Just wondering if plant matter should be picked within a National Park, or is the place you are picking vegetation outside the Park? Not trying to dampen the experience for anybody, but if you are in the Park, you should be aware of the rules and regulations governing the area. Otherwise sends a poor message about conservation. Maybe worth checking? Apologies if you have permission to collect the bush tucker. Thanks for reading this comment.
It is indeed a special place..I have seen a fair bit of the area on boat and 4wd. over many years and canoeing the Coorong would be magical....although one would need many days to paddle the length and breadth of it.I wonder why they cooked a N.T. fish rather than the local mullet...the bush tucker...this makes the meal tasty and for most of us a new treat.A 6 hour effort could be tiring for many,but for the healthy and fit no problem.By the way.are there toilets along the way.