Overnight stays: Rapid Bay Campground, Rapid Bay; Hindmarsh Island Caravan Park, Hindmarsh Island
As darkness fell on the ferry from The Roo, we wound our way through unknown roads, with all our faith in Google, bound for Rapid Bay, a place recommended by a former travelling family’s blog. Loz had her roo-spotting eyes on maximum concentration, with night driving a foreign concept to The WomBatmobile, but, despite almost knocking off a cow, we made it into the shadows of the campground, pulling in wherever was convenient, knowing nothing of our surroundings.
It wasn’t until morning that we realised we had picked an absolute beauty of a spot, right on the water of the pretty protected bay, apparently swifter than its’ opponents.
I dusted months of cobwebs and dust off the fishing rod and wandered down to the sleepy town’s jetty, while the girls played in the sunshine. The lack of beach weather since Cape Range had pretty much turned me off fishing, but the weather here was spot on and conditions, calm. I returned with nothing but nice memories of a gentle nibble and dolphin spotting – not a terrible way to pass an hour really.
With time sadly against us, we moved on for a cuppa at the neighbouring cute town of Second Bay (obviously not as quick as Rapid Bay, but not far off), before venturing through the fantastic Victor Harbour for a bit of shopping and reality checks.
The ending dream
With only about six weeks left we at this point started to find normal life realities starting to creep into our sabbatical. We are starting to make contact with real estate, work, utilities and real life all too quickly. But I guess that’s what semi-retirement is about, with the operative word being ‘semi’ 😔.
When we were in Tamworth at the beginning of the trip, dad made one single recommendation for the entire country, and that was to canoe the Coorong. At that stage I had no idea what The Coorong was, but I plotted it as a place of interest on our map, assuming I’d do a bit more research down the line.
That moment came as we cruised towards the town of Goolwa, and I did a bit of Googling to see what this canoeing business was all about. Turns out it’s a dude who runs a variety of canoe tours along the Coorong Wetlands, which is where the Murray River runs into the Southern Ocean.
He runs sunset tours on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Today was a Tuesday, and we were only around for a night, so it looked at that point like we were going to miss the single thing dad recommended.
But I had significantly underestimated South Australians. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but South Aussies are the friendliest people in the world.
I rang the number on the website, to which a fella who was out fishing somewhere happily answered. When I questioned the days he runs tours, thought for a small moment, and then, because he is an SA legend, said, “argh bugger it, it’s a nice day, let’s do it!”. You little ripper. We were booked in that evening for a private paddle on The Coorong, which we later found out is one of the most significant wetlands in the world.
Canoeing The Coorong
You couldn’t ask for a more relaxed and helpful tour guide than Brenton, the bloke to runs the canoeing business. He helped us into the vessels promptly and we were on the water in no time, paddling across the calm Coorong towards the sand dunes on the other side. Being keener on fishing than a Monkey Mia dolphin, he threw a trawling line in en-route, boasting that he bagged a dozen or so salmon the day prior. And low and behold, he was on within minutes, kindly letting Liv reel in her first fish for months, adding Australian Salmon to her trophy cabinet.
As we crossed the mouth of the Murray, the only place where it meets the ocean, we spotted egrets, pelicans, dredges, and even a seal sitting on the sand, while Brenton passionately taught us about the significance and history of this body of water.
When pulled up on the beach, with the sun starting to magnetise to the edge of the world, Brenton pulled out a bocce set for us to entertain ourselves while he setup a private picnic in the sand dunes. Cheese, fruit and wine in private isolation – not a bad way to run the clock down really.
Back on the canoes, now with the the daylight aggressively diminishing, we watched an absolute banger of a sunset in the middle of The Coorong, which is an incredibly memorable experience.
Flying through Fleurieu
We would’ve loved to have spent longer in the Peninsula, but with such little time left, some prior commitments made, and so many things left to see, we moved on, through the beautiful countryside, past pink lakes (we still reckon they’re pretty shit, unless you’re looking at them from a jet pack), towards Coonawarra, for our final night in Australia’s most underrated state.