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Something For Everyone In The Murraylands

A Houseboat on the Murray River
A Houseboat on the Murray River
The hustle and bustle of the city centre seems a million miles away as you watch the sinking sun spreads its orange glow over the smooth waters of the Murray River. A flock of migratory waders flies overhead, seeking a roosting spot after gorging themselves on the fish bounty of the Murray. A large houseboat drifts sedately past, its occupants lazily sipping on a sundowner and watching the bank drift by. This is what you can expect on your trip to the Murraylands, a lush oasis on the Murray River cutting through the dry Mallee Region. Its a far cry from the daily grind of your nine to five, yet although it may seem worlds away the Murraylands are an easily accessible holiday destination just an hour and a half from Adelaide.

For most people a visit to the Murraylands goes hand in hand with hiring a houseboat and going for a long cruise. And with over 80 houseboats to choose from, you really are spoiled for choice. Its an easy enough adventure too- as long as you are over 18 and have a current driving license you're ready to go. Training about mooring spots, the river conditions and the rules of the water are all provided. Many of the houseboats here have been likened to floating hotels and two have even been given 5 star ratings, so there is plenty of room for indulgence. There is nothing quite like waking up to the sound of water lapping against the walls of your bedroom, and then rolling out of bed and chucking a fishing line over the side of the houseboat!

It would be no surprise to learn that fishing is one of the chief recreational pursuits on the Murray. The Murray Cod is notorious the world over as a great fighter and an even better feed - a reputation forged by the fact that it is extremely hard to catch! However, with some cod weighing in at nearly 100 kilograms, all your trials and efforts are worth it when you do land one. The upper reaches of the river are populated with rainbow trout, a favourite amongst fly fishermen, who are also able to try out their skills on some of the lakes in the river system, such as Lake Hume And Lake Mulwala. Experienced anglers and novices will feel equally at home on the fishing playground of the Murray.

Of course on your campervan hire holiday your whole time will not be spent on the water, as most will want to do a bit of land based touring. And this is where the friendly, cosy towns of the Murraylands help to make your holiday special. Murray Bridge is the largest town with a population of 17000 people, but an especially popular place to visit is Mannum. Here you can really get into tune with the paddle steamer history of the region, as this is where the world's first paddle steamer was built in 1853. A restored, 109 year old paddle steamer called the PS Marion is open to the public here everyday, and also goes for cruises up the river. To stay in the historical vein of things visit the Randell Dry Dock, the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere. The riverfront along Mannum is exquisite, and there is a wide range of recreational facilities and equipment for hire.

For something completely different that will astonish children and adults alike pay a visit to the Monarto Zoological Park. This is a 1000 hectare wildlife sanctuary and zoological park where you can enjoy seeing rhinoceros, cheetahs and giraffes in habitats remarkably similar to their natural ones. Walking tours and bus rides will get you up close to the animals, in a wildlife experience you are not likely to forget. Just a 45 minute drive from Adelaide its a perfect day trip outing, or the perfect start to your Murraylands expedition.

The Murray River has long been the aquatic playground of South Australia, and with the wealth of activities on offer on the water and on the land you will find a million ways to fill your holiday here. The beauty of the diversity here is that the whole family, from tots to grandparents, will find something that appeals to them, so its perfect for that quality holiday time together. If you live further afield, just fly into Adelaide Airport and pick up a campervan there. Within a couple of hours you could be the one sitting on the banks of the Murray watching the sun go down!

Gavin Wyatt

Related Information

Mannum Caravan Park Ideally located as a base for day trips to Adelaide, Barossa Valley, The Riverland, and The Adelaide Hills. Waterfront, powered and unpowered sites. Offers a 10% discount to rental campervan travellers.

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