Coorong National Park, VKFF-0115, 13th October 2018

On Sunday 13th October 2018, while on our way home, we stopped at Salt Creek to look at the birds and to activate the Coorong National Park, VKFF-0115. I have previously activated this park on five occasions, but never achieved 44 contacts for the WWFF program. Here is a link to my previous activation:

I made 17 contacts.

05:30 7.144 VK2HHA  s59 r58

05:33 7.144 VK5ZK  59 54

05:36 7.144 VK5KGP  58 55

05:37 7.144 VK1DI  59 58

05:39 7.144 VK2IO  59 45

05:40 7.144 VK4TJ  57 55

05:41 7.144 VK4/AC8WN  57 55

05:42 7.144 VK4/VE6XT  57 55

05:43 7.144 VK7AN  58 57

05:46  7.090 VK3EQ/P 56 33 VK3/VE-026

05:51 7.144 VK3ANL 57 33

05:59 7.144 VK4AAC/3 59 55  VKFF-0742 Park to Park

06:33 7.095 VK7XDM/P 55 57 VK7/SC-001

and the following stations were worked using CW using my VK5PF/P call-sign:

05:56 7.032 CW VK3PF/P 579 559 VK3/VE-241

06:03 7.032 CW VK2IO 579 559

06:07 7.032 CW VK7CW 599 579


06:09 7.032 CW VK3BYD 579 559

Thanks, as always, to the chasers who made this tally of qsos possible.

My wife, Jenny, was able to identify 55 species of birds on our trip. About half of them were in the Coorong National Park and other nearby parks and on water/ponds on private property. This photo, by Jenny,  shows two species of ducks: Hard Head and Chesnut Teal and one, probably a juvenile Hard Head, (second duck in procession at the rear).


Salt Creek

Salt Creek in the Coorong National Park





The case of the ‘stolen’ Park with an apology to Agatha Christie!

To make sense of this post you will need to read or re-read my post on Scott Conservation Park. Here is a link to that post:

My objective was originally to activate the Coorong National Park near to the most westerly boundary. Those of you who watch Michael Portillo’s show on SBS, Great Railway Journeys, will know he used a Victorian era Guide Book called Bradshaw’s. My guide, on this occasion, was a brochure entitled Alexandrina Bird Trails published by the Alexandrina Council. The fold out brochure is pictured below and it is excellent and certainly not from the Victorian era!

Alexandrina Bird Trails

The particular trigger for our expedition is reproduced below and is called GW1.

GW1 Denver Road

The map, also from the brochure shows a one (1) on Hindmarsh Island and  Randell, Semaschko and Denver Roads are all clearly visible. You will also see that 1 is not near the Murray River but back a bit. The aerial photograph, courtesy of Google Maps, shows the location of the creek and the verges as described in the text above.

Goolwa Bird Trails


Hindmarsh Island location referred to in Bird Brochure

If you proceed further down Denver Road you come to a gated farming property. There were many signs either side of the gate and one indicated there was no river access. I decided at this point to turn around and not pursue our quest any further but travel to Scott Conservation Park for an activation. Despite the text in the brochure suggesting that the is within the Coorong National Park, I was not convinced. I checked out the coordinates suggested in the brochure and Google Maps placed the spot at Sugars Beach at 2.

The first photo below shows a typical park sign in the River at Beacon 19 from the boat ramp. The land at Beacon 19 is on the Younghusband Peninsula and is not within the Park boundary. The second photo shows a view of Hindmarsh Island looking across the Coorong from the Younghusband Peninsula. There were no such signs on Denver Road near the wetlands.

Since our visit in early March I have undertaken further research on this matter. This link suggests that the ‘private property’ I came to is now owned by the State of South Australia.

The South Australian Government received a grant from the Commonwealth to purchase the property called Wyndgate, which will eventually will be added to the Coorong National Park.

Coorong National Park, VKFF-0115 and 5NP-005 9th January 2017

After leaving Bendigo we drove to Ballarat. We decided to go back to that city and see our University friends for a second time on this trip. We had another really splendid evening discussing the past and the future. But before visiting our friends we travelled to the Ballarat Botanic Gardens. We used to visit the gardens back in 1970 to 1972 when we lived near Ballarat.


The photo above shows Lake Wendouree and Mt Warrenheip (SOTA summit VK3/VC-019) in the distance. I have previously activated Mt Warrenheip and I aim to go back there one day.


The Botantic Gardens are well worth a visit and the displays were excellent.

On the 10th we left Ballarat and took a new route via Skipton, Hamilton and Colleraine to Kingston SE for our last night away. We had an early night at Kingston SE and we thought we could reach the Coorong National Park in time for the local net at 08:00 hours SA time.

I was keen to have one final radio experience before travelling home and as we managed to get away from Kingston SE reasonably early I thought we could get to the southern end of the park before 08:00 South Australian time so I could join the net on 3.594 Mhz. I could not get all the way to Salt Creek and found a clearing just off the road not far past the southern boundary of the Park.It was just a mini activation as we wanted to do a walk at Salt Creek. I set up and tuned on 3.594 Mhz and called in at 21:38.

I worked the following stations:

VK5ZK, Garry 59 56

21:40 VK3LY, 59 59 Bill

21:43 VK5FD/5, Allan portable at Morgan 59 52

21:44 VK5KGP, Graham 59 55

21:45 VK5TW, Trevor 59 41

21:48 VK5KAA, Gordon 59 Gordon is plagued by noise and could not copy my signal.

21:48 VK5AWP, Peter 59 56

22:03 VK5ST, Steve 59 56


This photo shows the sun setting over the ocean at Kingston SE.


Looking over the Coorong from the walk at Salt Creek.


Memorial to Colin Thiele.


Salt Creek joining the Coorong Lagoon.


Crested Tern fishing.

I watched the Crested Tern fish. She made three runs over the water just on the seaward side of the bridge and on each occasion dived almost vertically on the up-stream side into the water and on the three occasions emerged with a small fish. As you can see from my photo the upstream water was clearer and calmer.


Half way point on the walk.

The name of the walk is Ngrugie Ngoppun meaning Good Walk. It leaves on the northern side of Salt Creek and proceeds to the Lagoon and returns on the southern side of the Creek. I estimate that the walk is about two kilometres is clearly marked and easy but very enjoyable. The memorial to Colin Thiele can be found on this walk. Thiele was an author and educator and wrote many books. Perhaps his best remembered is Storm Boy also made into a great film.


Salt Creek and the replica oil well in the distance.

We set off from Salt Creek where we had lunch and then home after some routine shopping at Stirling. We were away for 26 days and travelled 4,400 kilometres in our Patrol. While the prime purpose of the trip was to see our family in Sydney, we also saw friends, a relative in Bendigo, went bird-watching and played radio from nine different portable locations – all great locations. Unfortunately I was unable to access the two pre-programmed DMR repeaters in Sydney. That will have to wait until next time. Once again thanks to all of the chasers.

Coorong National Park, VKFF-115, 8th January 2015

This morning we left Kingston SE to travel home to the Adelaide Hills. The weather was hot, humid and cloudy and we drove through a number of heavy rain showers. As we got to Salt Creek the sun was shining and I decided it was a great opportunity to add to my earlier contacts and try, at least, to get ten contacts and thus qualify the Park for the VKFF award. I parked the 4×4 in a turn-out on the sea-ward side, that is, just in the Park. There is a notice board nearby which provides details of a walk. The walk is called Nukan Kungun Hike. It is 27k long and eventually reaches the sea at the 42 Mile Crossing.

Map of Coorong Walk from 'The Tatler'

Map of Coorong Walk from ‘The Tattler’

There is also a small lagoon popular with the birds and bird-watchers.

Lagoon near Salt Creek JCD photo

Lagoon near Salt Creek
JCD photo

The interlude with the sun was short-lived and after we left it started to rain and did so until we arrived home.

I have previously activated this park. Here is the link to my blog


My first contact was with VK3MCD/P2, Brian on VK2/SW-013 and also Mount Kosciusko National Park. This contact was at 22:30. Then in succession I had contacts with: VK3EK, Robbie, VK5WG, Nev; VK5IS, Ian; VK5JW, John at Cowell; VK3ARR, Andrew; VK3FCLS, Brett; VK5GJ/QRP, Greg running four watts; VK2UH, Andrew and VK3XL/P2, Mike on VK2/SM-081. After UTC rollover I had contacts with VK3FCLS, Brett; VK5GI, Norm and finally, VK5GJ, Greg, totalling 13 contacts. My first activation resulted in seven contacts. I was ambivalent about stopping in the Park. I had not posted an alert. But I am sure glad I stopped at the Park!

VK5BJE at work in the Coorong NP

VK5BJE at work in the Coorong NP

In Search of Gold?

Coorong National Park, 4th September 2013

On 3rd September we travelled to the South East to visit some parks, activate some, but not all and make our way to Victoria. On the way we stopped in the Coorong National Park and took the loop road leaving the highway at Salt Creek and found a spot overlooking a large basin and within hearing distance of the sea breaking on to the shore on the other side of the sand dunes.

The Coorong National Park protects a magnificent strip of coastal scenery, a large salt water lagoon, in two large basins and significant wildlife, including migratory birds. As well there are monuments to Chinese immigrants, an earlier wave of boat people, who landed in South Australia at Robe before making their way overland to the Victorian goldfields and avoid Melbourne and the authorities. The reason for this was the ineffective head tax imposed in Victoria to try and stop such immigration. The Victorian Government eventually repealed the tax. The Chinese men became a labour force in the Victorian gold ‘diggings’. The Victorian gold was largely exported through South Australia.

I set up my portable station and soon discovered a ‘technical problem’. One of my coaxial feeders had developed a fault. The wind had taken its toll on the connector at the end where the dipole centre is located. When I get home I will replace the soldered PL259 with a crimped one. I reckon that holding the coax against the squid pole with some Velcro might also be good preventive medicine! The 40 metre band was very quiet! I struggled to make a few contacts and decided to bring down the squid pole and replace the feeder.

The following contacts were made:VK5HCF, Col; VK5ZAI, Tony; VK5PAS, Paul; VK5LY, Larry; VK5UG, David; VK5CZ, Ian and Tony, VK5ZAI.

In the Coorong National Park

In the Coorong National Park

While in the park VK5ZAI, Tony called me on the local repeater, and my planned visit to Butcher Gap Conservation Park was replaced by afternoon tea and a relaxing hour or so. I did promise to activate it the next day so Col could add this park to his list and I was really pleased that this eventuated.

Butcher Gap Conservation Park, 5th September 2013

Tony inspecting my gear.

Tony, VK5ZAI, lives next door to Butcher Park Conservation Park. Only two contacts were had: VK5LY, Larry in Bakara Conservation Park and with VK5HCF, Col at Mount Gambier. Tony assisted my in sorting out a dry joint and I am greatly appreciative of his efforts. It was as a result of doing some tests and repairs that only two contacts were made. Tony has previously activated the park: it is a great park.

Mount Scott Conservation Park, 5th September 2013

Thirteen contacts were made: VK5PAS/p QRP, Paul in Messent Conservation Park; VK5KC, David; VK5ZAI, David; VK5DJ, John; VK5HCF, Col; VK5LY/m, Larry; VK3FTTK, Peter; VK3AFW, Ron; VK3JP, Ron; VK5FMID, Brian; VK3PF, QRP, Peter at home; VK3UBY, Col and VK5HCF, Col.

Mount Scott Conservation Park

Mount Scott Conservation Park

Fairview Conservation Park, 5th September 2013

Ten contacts were made: VK5LY/p QRP, Larry at Hogwash Bend Conservation Park; VK5PAS/p QRP, Paul at Reedy Creek Conservation Park; VK5HCF QRP, Col; VK3UBY, Col; VK5FBAC, Charles; VK3AFW, Ron; VK5FMID, Brian; VK5FMMC, Mick; VK5HOS, Owen and VK5PAS/p QRP, Paul at Reedy Creek advising me that he was setting off for Ferner Conservation Park.

Fairview CP boundary track and wild flowers.

Fairview CP boundary track and wild flowers.

Fairview CP wild flowers

Fairview CP wild flowers

Naracoorte Caves National Park, 5th September 2013

My last stop on the 5th was the Naracoorte Caves National Park, a World Heritage Area which contains a number of limestone caves, one of many such cave systems in the South East of the State. It was getting late and was my fourth activation of the day. There were plenty of chasers about: 07:08 VK5LY, Larry; VK5PAS/p, Paul at Furner CP; VK5FMMC, Mick; VK3UBY, Col; VK1MA, Matt; VK5KGP, Graham; VK5FMID, Brian; VK5ZAI, Tony; VK3MQ, Rob; VK3PF QRP, Peter; VK5NRG, Roy; VK5FBAC, Charles; VK5ZAI, Tony and VK3AFW, Ron.

AT Naracoorte Caves National Park

At Naracoorte Caves National Park