Experience the magic of the Coorong
The Coorong National Park is one of the most breathtaking national parks in Australia. It’s a place of wonderment and tremendous spiritual significance. It forces you to stop, breathe and soak in its magical energy and timeless landscapes that lure people back time and time again.
The Coorong was once one of the most densely populated areas in Australia prior to European settlement. The traditional custodians of the land and waters, the Ngarrindjeri people, lived here for many thousands of years and still hold a deep connection. The region’s rich waterways and ocean provided an abundance of varied food, clean water, medicines, shelter and warmth.
The spectacular stretch of saline lagoons that make up the Coorong is protected from the Southern Ocean by the sweeping sand dunes. It’s located at the end of the River Murray, where the river meets the Southern Ocean (near the Murray Mouth, Goolwa) and stretches 140km south-east to Kingston.
Left: Murray Mouth. Middle: Kangaroos spotted in the dunes on a tour. Right: Paddling into the sunset on a Sunset Tour.
The natural untamed beauty and dreamy sunsets were just a couple of reasons that left Brenton Carle feeling blown away after a fishing trip to the Coorong as an 18-year-old. Brenton constantly returned to the Coorong, travelling back-and-forth from Adelaide, until a project in his Eco-Tourism degree allowed him to stay a little longer. Brenton had no idea at the time, but that 12-month long uni project would morph into something that would change his life. It was the beginning of ‘Canoe the Coorong’.
The uni project that Brenton ran, along with 2 classmates, allowed them to create a mock company that ran a kayak tour through the Coorong. The tour was aimed at creating awareness around the detrimental practices that had, at one stage, left the Coorong on the brink of environmental collapse. Their project received the highest score across the degree. Brenton knew right then that this ‘mock’ company was something he would dedicate his life to.
In 2010, Canoe the Coorong (actually, there are no canoes – just kayaks - but it has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?) ran their first kayak tour as a real company.
Left: Local seafood cooked on the beach for lunch. Right: Paddling on the day tour.
Fast-forward and Canoe the Coorong now runs a selection of tours and multi-day/night expeditions, employs numerous knowledgeable guides and was recently inducted into the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame (5 consecutive years of Certificate of Excellence awards). They’ve appeared on a handful of national travel TV shows and world-wide on international TV shows. During the high season (September-April) they run a total of 7 day tours and 3 sunset tours every week. Custom overnight tours, school group tours and kayak hire also keep the staff busy each week. This incredible success is a testament to Brenton’s passion for the Coorong and love for sharing its beauty.
The remarkable journey from university project to award-winning tour company, Brenton admits, would not have happened without his family. “The whole business would not have been possible without the love and support of my family.... or the Nanna Biscuits”. On their very first mock tour during uni, Brenton’s Nanna sent him off with some of her homemade biscuits. Little did she know this was the start of a major biscuit operation that would last for the next 10+ years. The legendary ‘Nanna biscuits’ are now a highlight of every tour – grab a chocolate florentine if you can! An impressive couple of hundred biscuits of different varieties are baked each week for the guests, along with a dozen or so cakes. Although Nanna isn’t baking anymore (retiring at 88) she still keeps a close watch on the operation to make sure her daughter (Brenton’s mum) sticks to the recipe.
Brenton’s very first kayak trailer, made by his Dad and himself in 2010, was constructed to be the one and only trailer. Brenton remembers saying - “Don’t worry Dad, I’ll never need to fit more than 6 kayaks on it”. They now have over 70 kayaks and 5 trailers.
Left: Kayaks pulled up on the sand for morning tea. Right: Brenton (left), his Mum (right) and his Nanna (middle) making biscuits.
Canoe the Coorong offer an unforgettable experience that allows guests to connect with the Coorong. Guests learn about the rich history, the Ngarrindjeri traditions and the unique wildlife and native flora. The full day tour includes about three hours of slow paced kayaking, a bush tucker walk through the sand dunes to the wild Southern Ocean and a delicious lunch of local seafood cooked on the beach.
The Coorong is an internationally protected wetland, which makes gliding through its pristine waters past the unique wildlife something pretty special. The area is a breeding ground for thousands of Australian pelicans and a refuge for over 230 migratory birds that travel annually from the Northern Hemisphere (as far away as Siberia and Alaska!).
Experiencing this special place in a kayak is an extremely intimate way to see its wonders without impacting on the natural ecology. Brenton and his experienced guides pride Canoe the Coorong on their conservation efforts to keep the Coorong pristine for future generations to be able to enjoy this unique and precious resource.
Come and reconnect with nature and experience this environmental treasure in all of its untouched glory.
Book now with Canoe the Coorong
Published: March 2020
Contact us for information & bookings
Five Visitor Information Centres are spread across the Fleurieu Peninsula. Each has a dedicated team of locals and resources to support you during your stay.
For assistance in booking your trip, planning details for your visit, or to see what is happening in the region during your stay, the Visitor Information Centres are there to service you, the customer.
Fleurieu Peninsula Tourism Regional Office
6 George Main Road, Victor Harbor SA 5211 (appointments only)
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