South Australia - Houseboating on the Murray River
When someone thinks about relaxing holidays, it's not often that houseboating on the Murray River will immediately make the list.
I'm here to tell you that a houseboat on the Murray should be in the top ten. And the reason I can say this is because I was recently on a short Murray River houseboat trip onboard 'Unforgettable Houseboats' based in Mannum, South Australia and it was idyllic.
Once settled in your floating apartment, all the stress will melt away as you enjoy the other thing that this area does so well - a glass or two of South Australia’s finest Shiraz! Wi-Fi isn’t available on the river and cell reception is patchy, but that will be the last thing on your mind as you lazily motor down the mighty Murray.
Prepare to be awed
The scenery is superlative. Dramatic cliffs set against willows and gums, pelicans, galahs, and other birdlife makes for some amazing photography. It's up to you to be as busy, or as relaxed, as you please. There are many stops, walks and swims as well and fishing or kayaking opportunities along the way. Or if fast action is more your thing, hire a jetski or dinghy. The alternative was more my speed... sit upstairs in a lounger, with your favourite novel in one hand, and a good vino in the other.
Food, wine and nightly platters!
South Australia is known for, and fiercely proud of, its produce. And rightly so... some of the best wines and cellars come from the Barossa and Clare regions close by. Local cheeses and olives are grown and produced here, along with many specialty stores making chutneys, jams, preserves and dips. Bakeries and specialty meats are all part of the local fare in South Australia. Which means that a pre-dinner platter and local wine to match is a nightly must. Enjoy local breads, cheeses, olives, cured meats, dips and chutneys with a group of friends or family as you watch the sun go down.
It's perfect for all occasions
Murray River houseboating is a fantastic holiday option for a group of friends celebrating a special milestone, or a family get together. There were 11 boats in the fleet at time of writing that ranged from small two-cabin, four person boats, to the larger five-cabin, 10 person boats. It's super easy to steer, and the only criteria for captaining your own boat is that you're over 21 years old and hold a full drivers licence. Maximum speed is six kilometres per hour - so you can’t get into too much trouble - and with nine or so others to help, mooring is a breeze, as you tie up to tree stumps, put out the gang plank and head out to explore.
Getting out and about
Mannum is about one-and-a-half hours drive from Adelaide, which you can easily do in a rental car and securely park while you're on the boat. Or you can get a local tour company like Prime Mini Tours to pick you up from the airport, take you to Mannum and then pick you up again for the return leg. They also do day trips to the Barossa, which is an ideal way to travel, especially if you plan to become a wine connoisseur.
Stocking your houseboat with all the local delicacies is easy. You can either make a stop at Adelaide Central Market and grab all the delicious foods and treats your heart, and tummy, desire. Or you can call on the services of Angie from 'The Floating Gourmet', who does a fantastic job of buying what you have pre ordered, including wines and beers, and unpacking it on your boat, so that when you arrive, you're ready to head straight off.
Fast FactsAir New Zealand fly 6 times a week direct Auckland to Adelaide. Flight times are ideal. Departing Auckland at 8.20am and arriving in Adelaide 10.40 local time. 4.5hours flight time. Jetstar and Qantas also fly to Adelaide (although not direct). Adelaide is 2.5 hours behind New Zealand during our daylight saving time. Best time to travel is March to October.
Seriously think about this option for your next holiday... you won't regret it.
Story by: Louise Allen