Bool Lagoon

Bool Lagoon is an extensive area of wetlands; one of the largest in southern Australia.  It consists of a number of lagoons - Bool Lagoon, Little Bool Lagoon and Hacks Lagoon.  All are important breeding areas for birds and other animals.

Bool Lagoon, which includes Hacks Lagoon Conservation Park, is about 370 kilometres south east of Adelaide.  It''s about 18 k's south of Naracoorte.  The roads are sealed all the way and likewise inside the park (except for the 4 k's of dirt road that leads to the Big Hill Lookout).  It costs, at the time of writing, $9 per car to enter and $17 a night to camp.  There is a self registration station at the entrance and another one as you enter the camping area.  So you can pay your $9 first, then drive to the campground and have a look before deciding to camp.

The last time I visited the lagoons were all full due to the extensive rainfall we have had in late 2010 and early 2011.  The camping ground has plenty of grass and it was a very pleasant spot to spend a couple of nights.  When there is plenty of water, the campground is a narrow strip of land between Bool Lagoon and Hacks Lagoon.  All manner of beasties also inhabit that strip of land so be prepared. 

Looking back towards the campground entrance.  Pleasant spots amongst the trees.

The campground has toilets and a barbecue area, along with an information hut.  There are two walks not far from the camping area.  Both have sections of boardwalk that take you right over the lagoons.  There are also lookouts on each of these walks.  A bird hide has been set up near the camping ground.

Another section of the camp ground.

There is plenty of room here and the sites are suitable for caravans.  The ground is firm, but there are no issues with pitching tents.  There are taps dotted amongst the sites, so water for washing is available, but I'd boil it before drinking it.

The entire area is very open, but as you can see from the photos there is adequate shelter provided by the trees.  My last trip there, it was raining almost continuously with a strong south westerly breeze.  I tucked in right up against trees and was almost totally protected from the wind and light rain.

Outside of the campground though, it is very open, with large expanses of water and reed beds.  I enjoy these wide open spaces and the views of the sunsets and sunrises can be spectacular.

There are a few boardwalks, but the best one is along the entrance road before you reach the camping area.  It stretches across the shallow lagoon and there is a large bird hide at the end, plenty big enough for several groups of people.

The above-mentioned boardwalk.

After entering the park, if you turn left there is a dirt road that leads to Big Hill Lookout.  It is not really a big hill - actually if it was anywhere else it would be a little hill, but because it's so flat out there, it's considered a big hill!  From the top of this hill, you can see the entire wetland system.  It will give you an idea how big this place is.  Sunrises and sunsets are best viewed from atop this hill.

Bool lagoon is a nature lovers paradise.  Most come to look at the birds.  During summer, when water levels are (usually) lower, there are a number of waders that migrate from northern climes.  Sandpipers, Avocets, Swans, Geese and Ducks are all regulars.  Ibis are everywhere, both White and Straw-necked.  Brolgas also turn up here quite regularly.

Amongst the trees in the campground, there are Wrens, Thornbills and Scrubwrens, along with heaps of Magpies.

 Magpie Geese are regulars at Bool Lagoon.

A word of caution.  Snakes are very common at Bool Lagoon.  There are signs warning of their presence.  Copperheads and Tiger snakes can be found sunning themselves on the paths and boardwalks and both are dangerous.  When the water levels are up, the land area is obviously reduced, so the snakes become a little more concentrated on the dry areas, so just be cautious.  I've seen a few, but never had any problems.

If your visit coincides with a rain shower, keep a lookout for frogs.  There are three main species and they can be seen hopping across the roads and on the grass of the campground after rain.  I woke up on the morning of my last day there and there were half a dozen frogs hopping over my swag.

The swag friendly frogs.

Summer can be hot here, but it is usually substantially cooler than Adelaide, so rarely would it be uncomfortable.  However, summer is the time to see the rarer bird species.  Autumn and spring are the most pleasant months weather wise, but it can be cold.  Winter can be very cold here.  Whilst you may be able to find a sheltered camping spot, be mindful of the cold winds, which may affect you enjoyment of the other aspects, ie the walks or your photography.

Bool Lagoon is a place to visit if you enjoy wide open spaces and waking up the chorus of bird calls.  Photographers can amuse themselves taking pictures of the wildlife or the unique landscape.  All the walks are easy and short in length.  They are accessible to anyone.  The campground is pleasant, with toilets and grass sites.  A lovely spot to spend a couple of nights.