After conquering the Coonawarra Wine Region, we awoke early the next day and drove two hours from a rest area just north of Kingston SE to Narrung Jetty Reserve, a free camping area by the ferry that ushers cars over the water between Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert.
We arrived just before midday and set up camp. There were toilets, a tap that produced non-drinkable water, a sheltered picnic bench and fireplaces scattered around the area. We also had neighbours – a pair of grey nomads that had been travelling around the country for the last 18 months and still had another 18 months to go. They had the complete set up – caravan with griller and stove, double bed, TV and CD player, toilet and shower, and banana bread baking in their FlavourWave oven. Of course, all of this was powered by a noisy generator. They even had their cat with them – a gorgeous tortoiseshell kitty that lazed about in the hot sun.
It was a scorcher of a day but we were still curious to explore the area. The birdlife that surrounded the jetty and ferry was dynamic, with cormorants and silver gulls sunning and preening themselves and the giant pelicans soaring above or skimming the water of Lake Alexandrina in search of a tasty morsel.
There were a few boats moored by the ferry – fishing boats that would leave first thing in the morning and return in the afternoon. Apparently, all they would catch is carp. The ferry is a 24hr service that connects the northern and southern ends of Poltalloch Road. We hitched a ride to the other side to check out the lighthouse on the hill.
The Point Malcolm Lighthouse is the smallest lighthouse and only inland lighthouse in Australia. It was operational between 1878 and 1931 to mark the narrow passage between Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert, the passage that the ferry crosses. The area was used frequently in the 1800s by fishing boats, sailing vessels and paddle steamers from the Murray River. In 1931, the lighthouse was replaced with a light on a pole to guide commercial and recreational traffic on the lakes.
On the way back to camp, we purchased a huge bag of firewood from the ferry operator for only $5. We stayed in Narrung for two days, enjoying the lack of reception and the quiet, whist loathing the flies. One of the highlights of our lazy days was a visit from a shingleback lizard that decided that the best way to get from A to B was through our camp.
The nearest town is the aboriginal community of Raukkan. It was established in 1982 (before then, the area was called Port McLeay) and is administered by the Ngarrindjeri people, has a population of about 120 people and is the birthplace of David Unaipon, the guy who is on the $50 note. He was a preacher, inventor and was the first Aboriginal man to publish in English, writing for newspapers and magazines like the Sydney Daily Telegraph.