Coorong National Park

  • Information Office
  • Picnic Areas
  • Caravan Sites
  • Toilets
  • Camping
  • Disabled Toilets
  • 4WD
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Fishing
  • Walking Trails
  • Bird Watching
  • Boating
PDF Park Brochure
Alerts 1

Partial park closure

Part of the Coorong National Park will be closed from 19 December 2014 until further notice.
Details >

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Coorong SA map

Bird watching, boating, kayaking, fishing, camping, walking, 4WDriving and cultural history are just some of the draw cards of this internationally important wetland.

Tag your Instagram pics with #coorongnationalpark to see them displayed on this page.

Coorong SA map

Bird watching, boating, kayaking, fishing, camping, walking, 4WDriving and cultural history are just some of the draw cards of this internationally important wetland.

Tag your Instagram pics with #coorongnationalpark to see them displayed on this page.

About

There is something for all ages and interests in the Coorong. The serenity, the sheer diversity, and the proximity to Adelaide make it an immensely popular park. Visitors come for bird watching, boating, kayaking, fishing, camping, walking, four-wheel driving and European and cultural history.

The Coorong is also a wetland of international importance, supporting many significant and endangered flora and fauna.

Both Encounter and Upper South East Marine Parks border Coorong National Park.

Opening hours

Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

This park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.

Listen to the local area radio station for the latest updates and information on fire safety. 

Contact details

Coorong National Park Information Office

Phone: (+61 8) 8575 1200

Natural Resources Centre - Mount Gambier

Phone: (+61 8) 8735 1177

When to visit

The weather is mostly warm and dry during summer and autumn – it’s easy to travel on the roads, great for camping and perfect for beach lovers.

Getting there

The park is located 200km south east of Adelaide. The park is accessible via Meningie and Kingston off the Princes Highway. If you are arriving from the south, enter the park via Kingston. The Coorong Northern Lagoon can be accessed by boat via the Murray Mouth or by road via the Princes Highway to Narrung or Meningie.

Pets in parks

Dogs are permitted at below the high water mark at Ocean Beach only. Your dog must be transported directly to and from the beach inside a vehicle. Dogs are not permitted in the waters of the Coorong Lagoon, including the area between the Murray Mouth and the Goolwa Lock.

You must keep your dog on a lead and under your control at all times. Don't forget to bring your disposable 'doggie-doo' bag to clean up after your dog.

Pets are not permitted in other areas of the park.

Facilities

Campground facilities

There are a variety of facilities available at the campgrounds within the park. Look at the facilities table below and pick the site which suits you best.

There are campgrounds with designated sites and toilets along the Loop Road, 42 Mile Crossing, 28 Mile Crossing and at Parnka Point.

Camping Water
(not for drinking)
2WD access Caravan access Toilets Boat access Walking trails
Barker Knoll Y N N N N Y Y
Godfrey's Landing Y N N N Y Y Y
Pelican Point N N Y Y N Y N
Mark Point Y N Y Y N Y N
Long Point Y N Y Y Y Y N
Parnka Point Y N Y Y Y Y N
Jack Point N N Y Y N N Y
Loop Road Y N Y Y Y N Y
Tea Tree Crossing Y N N N N N N
Chinaman's Well N N Y Y N N Y
42 Mile Crossing Y Y Y Y Y N Y
32 Mile Crossing Y N N N N N N
28 Mile Crossing Y N Y Y Y N N
Kartoo Track Y N N N N N N

Useful information

  • Mobile phone coverage can be patchy and unreliable in this park, especially if you are in low-lying areas.

Outback Road Report

1300 361 033 (24-hour automated service)
Northern and Western South Australian Outback Roads Temporary Closures, Restrictions and Warnings Report

  • Important: Collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited.

Pests and diseases

Phytophthora (fy-TOFF-thora), otherwise known as root-rot fungus, is killing our native plants and threatens the survival of animals depending on plants for food and shelter.

This introduced fungus can be found in plant roots, soil and water. Help stop the spread by using hygiene stations, staying on tracks and trails and by complying with all Phytophthora management signs.

Traditional owners

The Coorong is of enormous cultural significance to the Ngarrindjeri people, with ancient mounds of discarded shells revealing archaeological evidence of Aboriginal campsites over thousands of years. ‘Kurangk’ (meaning ‘long narrow neck’) is the name given to the area by the Ngarrindjeri people. Ngarrindjeri involvement in cultural heritage is linked with current management of the park.

Aboriginal South Australians are the first peoples of our State and have occupied, enjoyed and managed these lands and waters since the creation. For SA's First Peoples, creation ancestors laid down the laws of the Country and bestowed a range of customary rights and obligations to the many Aboriginal Nations across our state. 

Aboriginal peoples' oral histories and creation stories traverse the length and breadth of Australia’s lands and waters, including South Australian Parks. These stories interconnect land and waters with complex meaning and values and hold great cultural significance. We recognise and respect Aboriginal people's ownership of their stories and that they hold rights and obligations to care for Country. It is through these rights and cultural obligations and a shared goal to protect the environment for generations to come that DEWNR is committed to meaningful collaboration and involvement with Aboriginal peoples in the management of our shared parks.

See and do

Rangers recommend

We have picked the brains of our park rangers to find out what they would recommend you see and do whilst visiting this park.

  • Joining a boat tour and cruising from Goolwa to the mouth of the Murray River and the Coorong.
  • Viewing the pelican breeding grounds from the Jack Point Observatory between August and February. Pelican Point and Mark Point are also great viewing spots for these majestic birds. Take your binoculars with you.
  • Camping among the Pink Gum forests at Salt Creek from where you can visit the historical salt lakes and take the Ngrugie Ngoppun Walk.

Bushwalking

Bushwalking is a fantastic way to connect with nature, keep fit and spend time with family and friends. 

South Australia's national parks feature a range of trails that let you experience a diversity of landscapes. Our trails cater for all levels of fitness and adventure and our classification system makes it easy to select an experience suitable for you.

Easy walks

  • Chinaman’s Well Historic Site Journey to Gold Walk (1 hour return, 1.3km)

    Explore the Chinaman’s Well historic site to find the stone well and associated quarries, learning the history of the gold rush.

  • Godfrey’s Landing Walk - only accessible by boat (1 hour return, 3km)

    A great wildlife walk, this trail takes you through the sand dunes from the Coorong Lagoon to the ocean beach.

  • Jack Point Pelican Observatory Walk (20 mins return, 1.2km)

    A great walk for families winding through the dunes to a viewing area overlooking pelican breeding islands.

  • Lakes Nature Walk Trail (1 hour loop, 3km)

    A gentle, pleasant walk past ephemeral lakes, through mallee scrub and over low sand dunes.

  • Ngrugie Ngoppun Walk (1 hour 15 mins loop, 2.5km)

    This means ‘good walk’ in the Ngarrindjeri language. This short loop offers wildlife viewing and access to some local history.

Moderate hikes

  • Nukan Kungun Hike (2 days one way, 25km)

    This 25km trail is great for school and walking groups. It starts from Salt Creek and links some of the more popular trails in the park, concluding at the 42 Mile Crossing campground. From the campground you may continue over the sand dunes to the ocean beach, a further 1.3km. Secluded bush campsites are also dotted along the trail.

Mountain biking

Mountain biking is currently not permitted in this park. 

Stay in the park

Experience camping under the night sky alongside salt lagoons and white sandy beaches at one of the park’s campgrounds. From the spacious, family-friendly 42 Mile Crossing campground to the secluded campsites along the Younghusband Peninsula, which are only accessible by boat, there are plenty of camping options.

Tent camping

The campgrounds at the southern end of the Coorong provide the best shelter for tent camping. There are campgrounds with designated sites and toilets along the Loop Road, 42 Mile Crossing, 28 Mile Crossing and at Parnka Point.

If travelling on the beach, you can camp behind the fore dune with a 4WD vehicle in the designated campsites that are indicated with a wooden post and poly fencing. Driving into the dunes is not permitted. Vehicles and tents must stay within the fenced area - there are heavy penalties for driving and camping on the vegetation or in the dunes.

Camping on the beach is allowed anywhere between the high and low water mark. Please choose where you sleep carefully, remember you might not be visible to other 4WD vehicles. When beach camping, take care not to disrupt the flow of traffic and be aware of tides.

Boat access only campsites

The Godfrey’s Landing camping area is accessible only by boat, and you will find other secluded campsites along the Younghusband Peninsula. Remember that navigating boats in the Coorong can be hazardous because of changing weather conditions, shallow water and rocky reefs.

Caravans

The camping areas best suited for caravans are 42 Mile Crossing, Parnka Point, Long Point and Mark Point. Sites in the park are not powered. Taking a caravan below 42 Mile Crossing is not recommended because of unpredictable terrain. Tea Tree Crossing is also not recommended for caravans – there’s a high risk of getting bogged and the water levels at the crossing are unpredictable.

Campground facilities

There are a variety of facilities available at the campgrounds within the park. Look at the facilities table below and pick the site which suits you best.

There are campgrounds with designated sites and toilets along the Loop Road, 42 Mile Crossing, 28 Mile Crossing and at Parnka Point.

Camping Water
(not for drinking)
2WD access Caravan access Toilets Boat access Walking trails
Barker Knoll Y N N N N Y Y
Godfrey's Landing Y N N N Y Y Y
Pelican Point N N Y Y N Y N
Mark Point Y N Y Y N Y N
Long Point Y N Y Y Y Y N
Parnka Point Y N Y Y Y Y N
Jack Point N N Y Y N N Y
Loop Road Y N Y Y Y N Y
Tea Tree Crossing Y N N N N N N
Chinaman's Well N N Y Y N N Y
42 Mile Crossing Y Y Y Y Y N Y
32 Mile Crossing Y N N N N N N
28 Mile Crossing Y N Y Y Y N N
Kartoo Track Y N N N N N N

Attractions

Chainman's Well

A walk around the intricate stone well, associated quarries and eating house ruins provides an insight into the history of the area when the Chinese passed through the Coorong during the gold rush era.

Godfrey's Landing

Accessible by boat from Goolwa and Hindmarsh Island, Godfrey's Landing offers a fascinating walk through the sand dunes of the Younghusband Peninsula to the ocean beach near the Murray Mouth.

Jack Point

Home of the largest breeding colony of the Australian Pelican, Jack's Point Observatory allows visitors to observe numerous birds flying back and forth to visit and breed on the nearby islands. Don't forget your binoculars!

Long Point

A jetty provides visitors with easy access to their boat to explore the Coorong. Long Point is also a great spot to go fishing as the sun sets over the Coorong lagoon on a calm evening.

Parnka Point

Parnka Point or 'Hells Gate' is the narrowest point between the northern and southern Coorong lagoon. It is noted for excellent views up and down the lagoon, and wading birds are commonly seen fossicking in the shallow and sheltered bays nearby.

Pelican Point

Pelican Point offers a great vantage point to see some of the wide variety of birdlife in the park. It is also where Lake Alexandrina enters the Coorong through the Tauwitchere barrage. There is no public access to the barrage.

Salt Creek

The longest walking trail in the Coorong (27km) starts at Salt Creek and extends south to the 42 Mile Crossing. This trail links four other interesting but shorter walks focusing on wildlife, scenery, sand dune systems and the early settlement of the Chinese. Designated camp sites are available along the nearby Loop Road.

42 Mile Crossing

42 Mile Crossing is the closest point for 2WD vehicles to access the beach. A pleasant 20 minute walk through the sand dunes along an easily accessible walking trail from the campground rewards you with the sight and sound of the endless Southern Ocean waves rolling onto the beach. To protect the breeding site of the hooded plover, access to the beach north of Tea Tree Crossing to the Murray Mouth is closed to vehicles from 24 October to 24 December each year.

Boating, kayaking and canoeing

With over 150km of lagoon and coastline to explore, the waters of the Coorong are ideal for boating, kayaking and canoeing. There are two separate bodies of water in the park – the Northern Lagoon (from Goolwa Barrage to Parnka Point) and the Southern Lagoon (Parnka Point to Salt Creek).

Boat launch Type Jetty Draught
Deep > 1m
Shallow < 1m
Affected by
tide/wind
Goolwa Concrete ramp Y Deep N
Marina, Hindmarsh Island Concrete ramp Y Deep N
No 19 Beacon Concrete ramp Y Deep N
Sugars Beach Sand N Shallow Y
Mundoo Channel Drive Concrete ramp N Shallow N
Mark Point Concrete ramp Y Deep N
Long Point Sand Y Shallow Y
Parnka Point Clay N Deep N
Policemans Point Clay N Shallow Y

Fishing

There is excellent surf fishing along the Coorong Ocean Beach. The steep beach offers good access to deep gutters along the shore where fish hunt for food. Between the Murray Mouth and Long Point are good spots for boat fishing – try casting a line in the lagoon for the famous Coorong Mullet and Mulloway.

Please note:

  • net fishers must have recreational licences
  • you must observe bag sizes and limits
  • there is currently no recreational collection of cockles allowed in the Coorong (regulations are subject to change).
  • no fishing is allowed within 150m of the barrages.

Fishing is not allowed in marine park sanctuary zones. Coorong Beach South and Coorong Beach North sanctuary zones border Coorong National Park.

Bird watching

The Coorong is a birdwatchers’ paradise. Over 200 species of birds have been recorded in the park, including two rare species. Many different water birds visit the wetland, particularly in summer. The distinctive landscape is an internationally renowned breeding area for the Australian pelican and a refuge for ducks, swans, cormorants, terns, grebes and numerous species of migratory birds.

When bird watching, carry binoculars and a field guide to help with bird identification. Wear clothes that blend in with the surrounds and be quiet, particularly if birds are nesting. Do not approach or interfere with nests – this can cause birds to abandon them.

4WD

With its long and challenging beach drive, narrow crossings, and secluded campsites, the Coorong is one of Australia’s favourite four-wheel driving destinations.

From Goolwa it is possible to access the very top end of the Coorong, but there is no vehicle access across the barrages or the mouth of the River Murray into the main areas of the park. Primary access into the park is via the Princes Highway from Tailem Bend.

The ocean beach is a gazetted road so speed restrictions apply. Standard road rules apply when driving anywhere in the Coorong, including the laws for speed limits, drink driving, vehicle registration, drivers licences and seat belts.

Be careful if driving on the beach, and only do so at low tide. Remember tides are unpredictable and can turn quickly. You may only drive on the beach between the high and low water mark. Do not take your vehicle off the designated tracks. Precious Indigenous sites can be damaged and wildlife threatened by off track driving, and fines apply.

Only registered motorbikes are permitted in the park. Quad bikes are not permitted.

To protect the hooded plover, the ocean beach track north of Tea Tree Crossing is closed to vehicles from 24 October to 24 December every year. This closure applies to the beach from Tea Tree Crossing to the Murray Mouth.

Volunteering

Become a Campground Host

Combine your love of camping with doing a good deed by becoming a volunteer campground host in this park.

A campground host is a volunteer who stays at the park either for a specific peak period, like the Easter break or a long weekend, or an extended period of time (up to a few months) to support park rangers. 

If you are passionate about the environment, a keen camper, like to meet people from all around the world, and are a happy to help, then hosting could be right up your alley. 

The Friends of the Coorong

The Friends of the Coorong is a community-based group of volunteers who work to protect and develop the natural and cultural heritage in the park.

If you think you might be interested in volunteering opportunities within this park please contact our Volunteer Support Unit.

Video

Take a virtual tour of this park. Get a taste for the beauty of the Coorong at sunrise, the walking trails, the Jacks Point pelican observatory and more.

Safety

Bushwalking

The international Trail Users Code of Conduct is to show respect and courtesy towards other trail users at all times.

Ensure that you:

  • when hiking, wear sturdy shoes, a hat and sunscreen
  • make sure you have appropriate weather proof clothing
  • carry enough water to be self-sufficient
  • please be respectful of other users at all times
  • stay on the designated trails and connector tracks for your own safety, and prevent the spread of declared weeds to other areas in the park
  • ensure someone knows your approximate location and expected time of return
  • take appropriate maps.
  • Walk, hike or trek - what's the difference?

Camping

When camping in a National Park, it's important to remember the following:

  • Always let someone responsible know your travel plans, especially when travelling in remote areas. It's a good idea to let them know when you expect to return.
  • Check the weather forecast before you leave, including overnight temperatures on the Bureau of Meteorology. Even during very mild weather, the nights can get very cold. 
  • The quality and quantity of water cannot be guaranteed within parks. Please bring plenty of water and food to be self-sufficient.
  • Always camp in designated sites (where applicable) - do not camp beneath trees with overhanging branches, as they can drop without warning. It's also a good idea to check that there no insect nests nearby.
  • Check to make sure you're not camping in a natural waterway, flash floods can happen anytime.
  • If camp fires are permitted, you must bring your own firewood, as the collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited. Extinguish your camp fire with water (not sand or dirt) until the hissing sound stops.
  • Ensure that you are familiar with the fire restrictions for this park.

Fire

This park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.

Listen to the local area radio station for the latest updates and information on fire safety. 

Fire restrictions

  • Wood fires and solid fuel fires are prohibited throughout the year.
  • Gas fires are permitted, other than on days of total fire ban.
  • Ensure you are familiar with the fire restrictions for this park.

Please note: Wood fires are allowed between the high and low water mark at the Ocean Beach foreshore all year round (except on days of total fire ban). You must bring your own firewood, as gathering firewood in the park is prohibited.

Water

Before setting out, check the weather forecast. Weather conditions can change rapidly.

  • Make sure your boat registration and your boat operator’s license are current.
  • Check your boat – make sure it is seaworthy and that you have enough fuel for the return trip.
  • Check that all the required safety equipment is on board and in good condition.
  • Know your boating regulations and respect the right of others to enjoy the Coorong.
  • No jet skis or hovercraft are allowed in the Coorong.

Be cautious when navigating the lagoon - it can be hazardous because of currents, choppy water, shifting sands, rocky reefs and shallow water. 

Strong currents and rips can make swimming dangerous in this area.

Do not climb on, or fish from slippery rocks. 

4WD

  • Take extreme care when driving in the park – be aware of soft, shifting sands, blowouts and drop offs.
  • Driving on the ocean beach is only permitted between the high and low water mark.
  • When driving on the beach, it is best to do so at low tide. High tides and storms can cause sections of the beach to become treacherous. Check the tide times for your forward and return journey.
  • When driving on sand, deflate your tyres to 105kPa (15psi) – or as appropriate for your vehicle. Take care when lowering tyre pressure as there is a risk you could roll a tyre off a rim. Also, remember that lower tyre pressure can mean a change in how the vehicle handles. Don’t forget to reinflate your tyres to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure before leaving the park.
  • Please consider other drivers by not obstructing the flow of traffic.

Know before you go

Every national park is different, each has its own unique environment, it is important to be responsible while enjoying all the park has to offer.

Please ensure that you:

  • leave your pets at home
  • do not feed birds or other animals, it promotes aggressive behaviour and an unbalanced ecology
  • do not bring generators (except where permitted), chainsaws or firearms into the park
  • leave the park as you found it - place rubbish in the bins provided or take it with you
  • abide by the road rules (maintain the speed limit)
  • respect geological and heritage sites
  • do not remove native plants
  • are considerate of other park users.

  • Important: Collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited.

Maps

Park maps

Campground maps

Maps on your mobile

If you have a smartphone or tablet you can download the Avenza PDF Map app to get the most out of our maps.

The app displays park maps and interact with GPS signals. It will show your location on a park map and calculate distances even if there is no internet access in the park.

How to get it working on your device:

1. Download the Avenza PDF maps app from the app store whilst you are still in range (its free!).
2. Open up the app and click the shopping cart icon.
3. Click ‘Find’ and type the name of the national park or reserve you are looking for.
4. Click on the map you are after and install it (all our maps are free).
5. You will now find a list of your installed maps on the home page of the Avenza app.
6. Use our maps through the Avenza PDF map app while in the park and never take a wrong turn again.

Fees

Entry fees

Vehicle entry to this park is free, however fees apply for camping.

Park pass

Holiday Park Pass and Multi Park Pass

Want to explore SA’s parks all year round? Purchase a Multi Park Pass (12 months), or a Holiday Park Pass (for 2 months) which entitles you to vehicle entry and optional camping not just for this park, but up to an additional 58 parks as well!

Camping and accommodation

Fees apply to camp in this park.

You must pay for your camping permit before you arrive, as cash self-registration stations are no longer in use in this park. 

The fees for camping vary from campground to campground, check the online booking page for more details about individual campgrounds and fees.

Fees collected are used for conservation and to maintain and improve park facilities for your ongoing enjoyment.

Camping and accommodation information

If you experience any problems while booking online, please contact:

Natural Resources Centre - Mount Gambier
Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm  
Phone: (+61 8) 8735 1177
Email: DEWNR.SEOnlineBookings@sa.gov.au

Alternative booking and payment options

Cash payments for Limestone Coast Parks can be made at the following agents:

Other fees and permits

There are no other fees or permits associated with this park.