It was not the best of timing for my visit to Lower Glenelg National Park. Heavy rains a week before had washed significant amounts of mud and debris into the river, which slowly decomposed over the following days. Not unexpectedly, birds showed little interest in the occasional dead fish which would float past my campsite. Mud a centimetre or two thick covered the small jetty in front of the tent. However, despite the rather uninviting condition of the river, the natural beauty of this park shone through.
Kristen was my only human companion at the Battersbys campsite for the night, a case of Shingles restricting her activity while partner Steve was out hiking the Great South West Walk. She took it well, especially since both were on holiday from the U.S.A.
Wildlife companions, on the other hand, were numerous. Bird species included several families of black swans with young cygnets, ducks, wrens and robins, bronzewings, gang-gang cockatoos and, if I wasn't dreaming, and owl active during the middle of the night. On the ground wallabies, an echidnas and brown snake all made home near my tent.
The focus of this park is the Glenelg River which flows through its centre, at times protected by limestone cliffs several tens of metres high. Fishing is popular, as is canoe touring (PDF 1.2Mb), with a number of campsites - including eight sites especially for canoeists - along the river which can extend the trip over many enjoyable days. Even a two hour paddle, all that I could fit in during the visit, is a pleasant way to start the morning.
Most visitors to the park will take in a visit to Princess Margaret Rose Cave, one of the most feature-rich caves in Australia. There are several basic huts for hire at the cave for those who wish to stay for the night but would rather not "tent-it".
The main walking trail in Lower Glenelg National Park is a segment of the 250 km Great South West Walk, which follows the river from where the walk enters the park on the eastern boundary to the Glenelg River mouth near Nelson. Fire trails and relatively quiet bush tracks allow for shorter walks and a bit of bush cycling.