A nature-based tour past the Murray mouth and into Coorong National Park opens your eyes to a subtle, serene world.

Story + Photos Mark Muller

Spirit of the Coorong was purpose-built in 1998 to take guests onto the waterways of the Coorong. The 15m vessel can carry 50 passengers, plus two crew. It is powered by two 186kW Yamaha outboards that can propel it along at 20 knots. It has a bow loading facility, which means guests can easily walk off the front of the boat and onto land to go on exploratory guided walks. A viewing deck on the roof adds to the experience. 

“We’re right here on the edge of Coorong National Park – it’s world-class. Once you get past the Murray Mouth, it’s still wild,” says Jock Veenstra, who oversaw design and construction of the boat. “People like getting out and doing nature-based stuff. It’s happening all around the world, and we’ve got a lot of places in Australia that can offer that. There’s also a lot of interest in cultural tourism, and we’re working with a local Ngarrindjeri business to offer culture experience tours,” he says. 

Spirit of the Coorong’s design enables passengers to travel deep into the park, easily disembark, and explore areas largely inaccessible to others, to experience the area’s subtle beauty. Birds, seals, fish and the tall, everchanging dunescape and its flora and fauna feature throughout. The inland waterway is protected by the dunes, and juxtaposed to the wild Southern Ocean. Its significance was recognised in the modern era following the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, held in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971. 

This story excerpt is from Issue #130

Outback Magazine: Apr/May 2020