Having grown up a river boy, born and bred on the Murray River, Corey has long wanted to follow the river out to where it meets the sea. So when planning our trip, we factored in the reverse and decided to follow the Murray River from its mouth back home to Mildura where we’d be stopping for a few weeks to attend Corey’s dad’s 70th birthday (and pick up some work to top up the bank account!).
So from Robe, we made our way to Goolwa on the South Australian south coast and decided to stay at Crabtree Farm, a little farm stay just out of town. It took us a while to get there after a fatal accident on the highway sent us detouring back roads that were not very well signed. We ended up having to turn back and ask the police officers on the road block for some advice on which road to take to get us to Goolwa, but we eventually pulled into Crabtree Farm on dusk.
We’d heard some great reviews about Crabtree, and although it wasn’t the cheapest accommodation we’ve stayed at, it oozed character and our hosts Mick and Vicky (who also own the local bakery) were just lovely. The girls loved feeding the pigs and chickens, and picking fresh strawberries from the patches throughout the garden.
The next day it was time to explore and we knew that to reach the mouth of the river, we needed to drive along the beach for a few kms. And before we knew it, we’d reached the point where the mighty Murray flows out into the sea.
We all jumped out to take in the view and even saw a seal that initially seemed to be in distress (floating on it’s side with one fin in the air and not moving) but thanks to good old google, we learnt that this is exactly how seals regulate their body temperatures… and that the local maritime authority gets hundreds of calls a year from tourists thinking the seals were in trouble.
We later found out from a local we got to talking to at the service station afterwards that there is quite a seal problem in Goolwa thanks to the dredging of the river opening. Fishermen are tearing their hair out trying to deal with the problem and of course, culling them is a societal no-no so they’re left with seals stealing fish from nets and killing off the local penguin populations.
As we explored the beach, we saw that there was also a shit-tonne (official measurement!!) of carp washed up on the shore line, also due to dredging and the lack of oxygen in water. Surprisingly it didn’t stink, but it was amazing how many fish were just lying dead on the shore.
Goolwa is a lot bigger and prettier than expected. We drove through the new marina development before heading over to the opposite side of the mouth opening to take in the view of the Coorong.
After heading back to Crabtree Farm, we sorted out dinner and got the girls to bed which meant it was time for a shower and five minutes peace! The shower at Crabtree was fabulous housed in a tin shed with a massive copper shower rose the size of a dinner place, and a wall-sized pane of glass looking out over a private garden making you feel as though you were in an outside shower.
The next day we spent some time relaxing down the beach where the girls had a swim and I sat with a magazine under the car awning.
And before long, our time in Goolwa was over. It was time to head over to Murray Bridge and head up into the Adelaide Hills to visit our fur-babies.
Have you ever travelled along the Murray River from the mouth? Did you know that seals regulate their temperature by lying on their sides with their fin in the air?