Maybe Salt Creek’s just off the radar.
Or perhaps someone just forgot about it.
Or possibly there’s a proposal still in the pipeline.
Whatever the reason, Salt Creek has NO public amenities!
Which is weird, because from whichever way you approach it, this small settlement on the coast road (aka Princes Highway) between Adelaide and Mount Gambier giving access to the Limestone Coast is the perfect place to stop for a break.
It’s about 2 ½ hours drive south of Adelaide.
It’s about 2 ½ hours drive north of Mount Gambier.
And it’s just about the only place to stop along the section of the ‘Highway’ (either an overgenerous description or blatantly false advertising) that passes through the Coorong, longest, thinnest National Park in Australia. Or maybe anywhere!
That means even travellers with no plans to STAY in Salt Creek often stop to have a look. And Salt Creek, first oil exploration site in Australia and home of world exclusive mineral Coorongite, has enough facilities to make your stay – however long that may be – worthwhile.
It’s also gateway to The Coorong, a 150 km long waterway between the coastal dune system of the Younghusband Peninsula and the mainland, is a wildlife wonderland, fisherfolk paradise and 4WD Adventureland.
So why isn’t there a public loo at Salt Creek?
Taking a break from driving every 2 hours or so is a commonly accepted road safety strategy. So it makes sense that a government committed to reducing the road toll would factor that into their action plan.
And ensuring there are actually rest stops along Australia’s vast road network inviting enough for traveller to actually want to take those breaks every couple of hours is a logical progression.
And where does the average person head first when they stop after two or more hours on the road?
Yep, the loo.
Right??? Or is that just me?!
But that’s where Salt Creek’s Heart of the Coorong Roadhouse comes in.
Along with fuel and food – including the famous Coorong Mullet – it’s got accommodation and a campground. There are walking trails and a self-drive loop track that takes you on a tour past some historic sites and right up close to the Coorong itself.
And there’s a loo.
But tragically, although it’s at the recommended distance for a break, and despite government commitment to reducing the road toll by (in part) reminding travellers to take rest breaks and make rest stops every couple of hours, this particular loo isn’t publicly funded by ANY level of government.
SO … the cost of providing a loo at the most logical rest stop on the Coorong has been picked up by the Heart of the Coorong Roadhouse where owner Dove and his staff clean the loos; provide (and replenish) loo paper and hand towels; and arrange and pay for septic pumping (we’re not in the city here, folks).
What’s wrong with this picture?
Maybe it’s just expected that a small business in an out of the way settlement picks up the tab for underfunded government policy. That’s a big ask – especially when many travellers who stop don’t want anything except a dunny break, which puts Dove and the Heart of the Coorong Roadhouse out of pocket.
I’d like to think there’s a government department somewhere that IS responsible for a coordinated approach to to developing a national network of roadside rest stops and loos. I’d also like to think that instead of pushing the costs of maintaining a loo down to small business, they just forget about Salt Creek.
Yes, this might just be the little loo the government forgot.
But until it ‘remembers’, if you stop in Salt Creek to use the dunny, make a small donation to loo maintenance, or buy something – like fuel, or a drink; a magazine, or a postcard. Or a Coorong Mullet Burger!
That way the little loo the government forgot will be there next time you want to use it!
- Heart of the Coorong Roadhouse, Salt Creek
- Coorong National Park, South Australia
- Limestone Coast, South Australia
- MORE Limestone Coast Photos on Flickr HERE