Coorong Group Walks

Friends of the Coorong Group Walks

Friends of Coorong Walks

The Friends of the Coorong Walks Group was established in 2012 to provide a structure to existing walking events convened by the Friends. The aim of the group has been to provide walking based social events spread throughout the year that reinforce the overall objectives of the Friends of the Coorong, in particular:

  • Assist to protect the Park
  • Assist to enhance the Park
  • Provide cultural opportunities for members and the general public
  • Provide social opportunities for members and the general public
  • Build community responsibility through awareness and enjoyment.

Due to limited volunteer resources these walks are now in the process of being replaced by self guided walk sheets.

For further information contact Wendy Easson on 0424261740 or email Wendy at

2015 Coorong Walks

42 Mile Crossing short walk, Sunday 31st May 2015

On Sunday 31st May an enthusiastic group of people enjoyed a walk to the beach at 42 Mile Crossing. Organised by Friends of the Coorong to celebrate the culmination of Coorong National Park as Nature Play SA’s Park of the Month, the walk had a strong natural resources theme. Sarah Pearson of Salt Creek and her family, being very familiar with the area, took the lead in the walk while everyone present on the day played some part. Samantha Blight from Coorong Tatiara LAP and Chris Thompson from DEWNR provided valuable information on plants and wildlife to assist the group in completing the nature treasure hunt provided. Even though the weather was threatening all morning there was only one brief shower and taken as a whole the morning was ideal for walking. The Ocean Beach was spectacular with a high tide and breakers as far as the eye could see. On returning to the campground the group enjoyed a picnic lunch in the shelter including fabulous savoury and sweet shared platters and warm damper. Friends of the Coorong president Wendy Easson hopes that the group can make the treasure hunt available for general use to help visitors to the Park increase their enjoyment and understanding of our region. The walk was supported by Coorong Tatiara LAP, Coorong OPAL, Natural Resources SE and Shorebirds SE.

 Follow this link for more details on Nature Play SA .

28 Mile Crossing exploration weekend, June long weekend, 2015

The weekend was perfect for hiking through the dunes to the ocean beach and generally exploring the area around the 28 Mile Crossing Campground. Information to include in a planned Friends of the Coorong Trails information sheet was compiled for publication. A further walk at 32 Mile Crossing completed an enjoyable weekend.


Welcome Shorebirds! Bird Habitat Short Walk, Sunday 6th September 2015

Once again bird expert Jonathan Starks will lead us through the Coorong sharing his knowledge on the wide variety of bird species and habitats to be found. You can be sure that this year’s walk to be held at Long Point will be as interesting and enjoyable as the past 2 events. September sees the start of the bird migration season so we will be having a special welcome shorebirds celebration. Wear sturdy footwear and weather protection. BYO picnic lunch, drink, chair, sturdy footware, weather protection, bird book and binoculars. Bring a spotting scope if you have one! Meet at 10am for 10.30 start at the Long Point car park. RSVP Wendy 0424 261 740.

McDonald Downs drive and short walk, Sunday 25th October 2015

This drive/walk takes us out into the countryside adjacent to the Coorong to learn some local history and insights into farming in the district. Led by local Jim Pfeiffer, our first stop will be Mc Donald Downs to visit a disused stockmen’s hut built in the 20’s. From there we visit McDonald Downs Station to view an old Nissan hut and early shearing shed then on to Wandoo to view a more recent shearing shed and reverse osmosis (desalination) plant used for stock. Driving distance will be 15kms and you can choose the distance that you walk on the day. Wear sturdy footwear and weather protection. BYO picnic lunch and drink. We will meet at 10am for 10.30 start. Coming from Meningie the meeting point is 22kms north east along the Yumali Road from the Princes Highway. Coming from Yumali, it’s 7kms south west along the Yumali Road past Gordon Road. You will see our Friends of the Coorong sign on the roadside. RSVP Wendy 0424 261 740.


2014 Coorong Walks

Kangaroo Flat Short Walk, Sunday 29th June 2014

Despite the inclement weather an enthusiastic group turned up for the Friends of the Coorong short walk to the historic “Telegraph Station” at Kangaroo Flat on Sunday morning. The walk was organised by John and Irene Boundy. Whether or not the house on the rock was a part of the Adelaide Melbourne telegraph line of the 1850’s is uncertain; however the house does have a number of connections to the early development of South Australia.

The house was on the route of Alexander Tolmer’s gold escort as well as the stage coach route from Adelaide to Melbourne. It was fascinating to learn that the Boundy family were involved in the Victorian gold rush and that “Boundy gold’ was transported by the gold escort across land more recently owned by the family.

The house on the rock is now in a parlous and unsafe condition. Without serious conservation work, which is unlikely, the house will cease to exist before very much longer and a unique heritage item will disappear. Curiously it will be survived by the stone walls built to store water in a nearby granite outcrop. These outcrops are spread over a considerable area and are a defining feature of this location and a wonderful visual element of the landscape.

Following the walk to the house on the rock the group drove to the wonderfully named and nearby “Cold and Wet Station”, living up to its name on the day. We were met there by Neville Kernick, who talked to us about the history of the station, originally a part of the massive Coonalpyn Station. The old shed, which operated year round, was capable of shearing up to 90,000 sheep a year. Very early buildings are still a part of “Cold and Wet” and adjoining properties. We inspected the original shearing shed and its associated buildings, a bakery, a school and other outbuildings. Once again these beautiful and significant vernacular buildings are suffering from the extreme affects of time and weather and without conservation work will soon be beyond preservation.

Many of the people on the walk had strong family connections with the area and together we enjoyed a picnic lunch in the new Cold and Wet shearing shed.

Parnka Point Bird Habitat Short Walk,  Sunday 19th October 2014

In the final short walk for 2014 the Friends of the Coorong met at Parnka Point under the able guidance of bird expert Jonathan Starks. The walk took in part of the eastern shore of the point and proceeded to one of the campsites on the western shore. A wide selection of bush birds, waterbirds and shorebirds were identified with detailed explanation of their habitats by Jonathan. In total, 32 different species were seen, or in some cases heard, a good number considering the warm summery conditions. Several members of the group were familiar with the previous history of the location and talked about its use as a dairy prior to conversion to a national park. The event concluded with a very enjoyable picnic lunch celebrating the commencement of the migratory bird season. Jonathan provided members with the following very informative background:

Parnka Point is a significant yet much under-recognised part of Coorong National Park. Also known as “Hell’s Gate”, it forms the narrowest point in the Coorong and separates the northern and southern lagoons. The Point is well known for its birdlife. The critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot has been seen here on numerous occasions. The shallow and sheltered bays along the point are attractive habitat for shorebirds, including the migratory Red-necked Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and Common Greenshank.

Resident shorebirds worth watching out for include the Banded Stilt and Red-necked Avocet. Many species of waterbirds and waterfowl also inhabit the shallows around Parnka Point. Other birds of note are Emus, which can be found along the point and seen striding across the lagoon. Honeyeaters, fairy-wrens, scrubwrens, whistlers and cuckoos can also be found in the vegetation on the point.

In the early 1990s, a large-scale revegetation project was initiated on Parnka Point. This aimed to restore the native vegetation and increase habitat for wildlife, and the success of this huge effort can be seen in the lush plantings along the point. This walk explored some of the natural history stories of Parnka Point as told through its rich and diverse birdlife.

Aboriginal Heritage Walk,  Sunday 16th March 2014

The opportunity to learn something of the 1983 discovery of Diprotodon bones at Loveday Bay and also to hear Aboriginal pre-settlement stories brought together a group of Friends of the Coorong members and friends. The “walking” tour involved a lot of driving but not actually much walking and was led by Peter and Meryl Mansfield. The first stop was a site close to Loveday Bay. The site of the original fossil discovery is now under water and any further exploration will have to wait until water levels recede. No-one is in any hurry for that to happen. Next stop was Wyungars Hill where Peter and Meryl talked of the tale of Waiyungari. Then followed a short drive to Raukkan where we spent time admiring the now famous “$50 note” church and the adjacent Raukkan Gallery. A short walk to the site of the original jetty completed the visit to Raukkan. The attendance for the day was the largest for any of the group’s events. A picnic lunch at the Narrung campsite completed the event.

Pangarinda Spring Wildflower Short Walk, Sunday 21th September 2014

Beautiful spring weather and the amazing Pangarinda Arboretum combined to make the Friends of the Coorong short walk last Sunday highly successful and enjoyable. Pam Gillen of the Friends arranged for John and Julie Barrie to talk about the development of the Arboretum. John described the successful collaboration of Coorong District Council, local businesses and importantly, volunteer support under the guidance of strong horticultural expertise. After the introductory talk members walked through the garden while John and Julie described the characteristics of numerous native species, many of which were in full flower. The event was completed with a BBQ kindly organised and prepared by Steve and Beryl Greig. The Friends showed their appreciation to the Barries with a gift of Leta Padman books, especially appropriate as Leta herself was one of those enjoying the event. Anybody driving through the Wellington Ferry Road area in the next few weeks would do well to visit the Arboretum while the plants are still in flower.

2013 Coorong Walks

Martin Washpool Walk 24 November 2013

The Friends of the Coorong Walks Group completed their program for 2013 with a bird-watching walk in Martin Washpool Conservation Park. The Conservation Park together with the Morella basin and the Coorong National Park form a vital element in the overall district conservation scheme.  Controlled release of water from the Tilley Swamp drain into the South Lagoon is another element of local environmental planning.

The group was fortunate to have the expertise of Jonathan Starks in locating and identifying a total of 41 species, ranging from emus to swans to migratory shorebirds and including a Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike with a newly fledged baby. Jonathan has recently joined the Coorong Tatiara LAP team. The walk got off to a good start when the group was joined by German tourists Bernd and Heidrun Keppel who happened to be in Salt Creek as the group was getting together. Also joining in Salt Creek were locals Harrison Tiver and Sarah Pearson. Harrison knows the park well from numerous explorations and helped us in navigating our way around this surprisingly large area.

After spending some time around the shore of the pool we treated ourselves to an early Christmas drink and a picnic lunch. After lunch the tourists continued on in their motorhome while the rest of us headed by 4WD to the eastern boundary of the park. A hand-drawn map provided by Adam Stewart of the Salt Creek Roadhouse was put to good use on this section of the walk. Highlights of this portion of the walk included the discovery of a Malleefowl nest, already well known to Parks staff and protected by bollards from stray vehicles, and the sight of a family of Wedgetail eagles soaring above.

The walk was once again a good opportunity to get together in a rewarding environment, enjoy common interests and learn a little more about our unique district.

Full List of Birds identified by Jonathan Starks on the walk

Martin Washpool Walk 24 November 2013


Black Swan

Australian Shelduck

Grey Teal

Chestnut Teal

Red-necked Stint

Curlew Sandpiper

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper


Musk Lorikeet

Red-rumped Parrot


Whiskered Tern

Silver Gull

Peaceful Dove

Little Black Cormorant

Wedge-tailed Eagle

Malleefowl (mound)

Brown Thornbill

White-browed Scrubwren

Superb Fairy-wren

Striated Pardalote

Grey Fantail

Willie Wagtail

Red Wattlebird

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater

New Holland Honeyeater

Brown-headed Honeyeater

White-fronted Chat

Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike

Rufous Whistler

Southern Yellow Robin

Southern Scrub-Robin

White-browed Woodswallow


Grey Currawong

Australian Magpie

Welcome Swallow

Tree Martin

Little Grassbird

Stony Well Walk 22 September 2013

This informative walk was hosted by Josie and Brian Lord at their Stony Well property. The walk was fortunate in having fine weather and began with Josie providing a brief history of the area followed by a visit to Stony Well itself, a companion to the much better known and more easily accessible Chinaman’s Well. We saw the remnants of the road-makers’ campsite from the 60’s while Josie talked about the botany of the area and the connection between various types of plants and natural water sources. Peter and Meryl Mansfield expanded on the botanical information and provided aboriginal names of plants and their use as bush tucker as well as information which greatly contributed to the group’s understanding of aboriginal culture in early times. Following a picnic lunch the group crossed the highway for an insight into some local Coorong features. We were shown fresh water soaks along the shoreline, the remnants of the Old Melbourne Road and the easy to miss carved stone indicating to early travellers the presence of “Very Good Water”. To complete the walk we again crossed the highway and re-entered Stony Well. On this section of the walk we saw how early fishermen had cleared areas of scrub to hang and dry their nets and heard snippets of early folklore. The scrub itself was full of wild flowers with many orchids in bloom. In crossing through working paddocks to the homestead it was evident that patches of native trees had been retained to provide shelter for cattle and that by doing so the property as a whole retained a high level of natural beauty unusual in a working property. The walk concluded with afternoon tea at the homestead and thanks to Josie’s knowledge and passion for the region everyone, including the visitors from Adelaide and overseas, went home with a better knowledge of the Coorong. 


Boothby Rocks Walk 23 June 2013

Commencing at the entrance to Boothby Rocks the Friends group walked along a 4WD track to the escarpent. This was one of our shorter walks  and likely just as well as sightings of orchids and other native flowers brought the group to a standstill on many occasions. A scramble over moss covered rocks at either end gave the walkers an oportunity to take in the magnificent views of the surrounding park and farmland. 

A picnic lunch and lively discussion followed. After lunch the group drove on to explore Tolmer Rocks before the drive home. A paricularly enjoyable day with great company.

2012 Coorong Walks

Cantara Dune Walk 2012

Twenty five years ago the desire to protect nesting Hooded Plovers on the Coorong Ocean Beach was one of the driving forces behind the formation of the Friends of the Coorong. To celebrate the continuing work of the Friends a walk to the beach was arranged for Sunday 4th November followed by a BBQ lunch at the homestead. Built by the Gall family and first occupied around 1880 the homestead is a very valuable item of built heritage. The major restoration and conservation work carried out in recent years reflects well on all involved.

The walk commenced immediately behind Cantara Homestead and proceeded across a mixture of open grassland, low scrub and sand dunes to the ocean beach, a distance of just under  two kilometres each way. Apart from vehicle tracks along the high-water line the beach is little changed from the way it was in April 1802 when Flinders and Baudin sailed past. The walk provided great views of the homestead and the adjoining land giving a vivid impression of the property as it would have been in pioneering days. Slashing by DEWNR made the walk a lot easier and safer. A group of about 14 made it across to the beach with a few opting to get a lift back in the DEWNR 4 wheel drive.

Woods Well Walk 2012

In June 2012 Friends of the Coorong enjoyed a walk at Woods Well. The weather was cool but fine, just right for the 6km outing. The walk began along a track just south of the Tintinara turnoff on what was part of the old Melbourne Road. Quite a lot of the original paving is still visible there. Walkers then returned to Woods Well and visited the grave of Jane Macmenimen on the 150th anniversary year of her murder. A visit was also made to the still occupied residence, formerly the Woods Well Inn, where the inquest into her death was held in May 1862. Walkers then enjoyed a soup lunch at Pam Gillen’s house while watching a video which incorporated some more contemporary scenes of the Inn and some recollections of events as told by Dot Cameron.

The spelling used here for Jane’s surname is one of several in use. This spelling is the one favoured by Tom McCourt and Hans Mincham in their book on the Coorong. It is quite different from the spelling used on Jane’s gravestone.

Messent Orchid Walk 2012

Friends of the Coorong organised a Sunday morning walk in Messent Conservation Park to take a quick overview of the native orchid population. The park was surveyed at the same time in 2011 by NOSSA, the Native Orchid Society of South Australia. That survey showed strong orchid regrowth following a burnoff the previous year. The 2012 walk again found good populations of a number of different species in a variety of locations. Greenhoods, donkeys, spiders and sun orchids (to the amateur observer) were seen. The park as a whole was in good condition following the strong winter rains and quite a lot of wildlife was seen. The Friends organised the walk to underline the importance of Messent as a venue for flora and wildlife.

Ration Station Walk 2012

Friends of the Coorong members and friends undertook a walk to the ruins of the old ration station built in 1877 at Millarouan.

The walk commenced in Bonney Reserve and proceeded along old tracks through open scrub to the fascinating and historically important buildings. The site is listed under teh South Australian Heritage Act on the register of State Heritage Items. Situated close to the Coorong shore the buildings enjoy a marvelous view of the lagoon and peninsula. At just under 6kms the walk was just long enough to build up a good lunch appetite.

The group is thankfull to the Millarouan Association Inc. for allowing access to the ruins and Camp Coorong for access through Bonney Reserve.