On Sunday I left Kingston SE1, passing the 30 ft model of Larry the Lobster on the way out, and headed north to a little coastal town called Port Elliot, via the Coorong.
The Coorong is completely strange. It's a National Park that goes along the coast below the Fleurieu Peninsula, just south of Adelaide. Essentially the coast goes north-south, with the sea on the west; running parallel to the coast, in the sea, is this huge sand dune called the Younghusband Peninsula, which meets the coast at its southern end, but leaves a gap to the sea at the north tip. The dune stretches for 145km, and if you've followed this so far, you'll understand why the long, thin 'lake' between the coast and the sand dune dries out in the summer, and fills up in the winter. Imagine a 145km-long lake that is very shallow and quite thin (compared to its length, anyway) and you'll get the picture.
I caught the lake when it was dry, and you've never seen anything like it. I drove for miles along this awful unsealed road on the west side of this lake – imagine driving over corrugated iron for ages, and you'll k-k-know w-w-what it-t-t f-f-feels lik-k-ke – and it was quite amazing, with dune on the left and flat wetland on the right. But nothing prepared me for the vastness of the lake near the Chinaman's Well, a well dug by the Chinese some years ago. I walked to the well, decided to head into the bush for a little wander and suddenly – wham! – there was nothing but flat, white ground for miles to the right and to the left, with the sand dune a considerable walk straight ahead. It was so big that it melted into heat haze at each end; it's the sort of place that you can imagine someone trying to break the land speed record... and it's so big it makes you dizzy. I walked out into the middle of it and just danced around; if anyone saw me they'd have thought I was quite mad. Perhaps I was...
1 I never found out what the SE stood for when I was in Australia, but Cassie Blatchford emailed me to say, 'In South Australia there are two towns called Kingston. To distinguish between the two, one is called Kingston SE (because it's in the southeast of South Australia), and the other one, a little town on the Murray River, is called Kingston on Murray.' Thanks Cassie – that's another mystery cleared up!