Australia Day Weekend 2020 @ The Coorong

The Coorong SA – Australia Day Weekend 24th – 27th January 2020


Trip Leader: Warren and Shez Tedford
Tail End Charlie: Geoff Davey
Participants: Peter and Allison Searle, Mark Mensch, Mick and Jade Riley and their children Lucas, Piper and Xav. Andrew Smith and Tyler

This weekend we had planned a trip up into the High Country to continue our work on Kelly’s Hut. Unfortunately, the recent fire activity in the High Country prevented us from getting up there. We still wanted to run a trip and decided on the Coorong for something a bit different. Our Base camp for this weekend was 42 Mile Crossing campground within the Coorong National Park. This is a great campground, grassy and with amenities. It also has access to the beach.

Some of the members left early on Friday and made their way to camp. Warren and I arrived early Friday evening. Mick and Jade and family arrived early Saturday morning. Geoff had brought a mate with him, Peter, who was delightfully entertaining throughout the weekend. Campfires are not permitted in the NP over summer; however, we were still able to enjoy a relaxing evening.

We headed onto the beach reasonably early to begin our beach journey up to the Mouth of the Murray River. This is an iconic drive and loads of fun. It is approx. 100ks from our camp up to the mouth. It is a good idea to do this drive on an outgoing tide, just for safety. The sand was soft and so lowered tyre pressures were needed to make the trip. As we were heading along the beach Peter Searle called out to Mark that he needed his pies put in Marks oven. So, Mark just stopped, and this caused his vehicle to just sink into the sand. A recovery was needed to get him out. It was quite funny to watch. We had one more recovery along the way. A tourist had got into trouble and we winched him to safer ground.

“The sand was soft and so lowered tyre pressures were needed to make the trip.” - Shez

We arrived at the Murray mouth around 1pm. Time for lunch and a walk round. The day was perfect and there were plenty of people about in their 4bys. The locals told us that around this time of year is one of the better times to do this run as historically, the sand is slightly firmer due to very few high spring tides. We drove back down the beach stopping to watch two fisherman who were commercially harvesting Pipis. It was very interesting to watch their process. They showed us how to dig the pipis with our feet. This delighted the children and adults and we all had a go at it. Tyler bought some pipis back with him.

We continued and turned off the beach onto T Tree Crossing. We had a nice dune and the water crossing to do on this track before reaching the main road. At the end of the crossing just off the main road was a servo and we had planned to refuel there, however the servo as closed and looked like it had been for some time. With fuel low for a couple of members we headed back to camp via the main road (about 20ks). Tyler cooked up the pipis he had dug, and everyone got a taste. They are pretty good too. Good job Tyler. We again enjoyed a pleasant evening and created our own ambience. The social side of any trip is one of the things that really make a club weekend away.

We headed onto the beach around 9am, with the tide still on the way out. Our plan for today was to head to Cape Jaffa. As we began our drive Mark noticed that he had alternator problems. We drove the beach as far as Kingston. It is another good drive and the sand is still soft, but the beach does have some wide sections. We decided to have an early lunch at the pub. Mark called RACV, but they were unable to help on that day, so the decision was made to not continue on, choosing instead to get back to camp while Marks 4by was still going. We drove back up the beach and made it back to our camp. Back at camp the guys rigged a charging system to charge the batteries in Marks vehicle. To keep the batteries charged for the trip home on Monday they attached a solar panel to the roof of Marks car. It was all tied down with cable ties. This bush mechanics worked, and Mark was able to get home without a tow.

It was time to pack up and head for home. We had a great weekend. It was awesome to see all the children playing, discovering new things and having a good time. Thank you to everyone who came. It is the people who make the trip. It was a fun weekend.

Warren and Shez