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The stunning Mighty Murray River stretches over 375kms in South Australia, along its majestic limestone cliffs, providing plenty of opportunity for boat trips, cruises, boat hire, water sports and adventures. In South’s Australia’s Riverland, less than 2 hours from Adelaide CBD there really is something for everyone.
The area is popular for waterskiing, wakeboarding, hiring houseboats, canoeing, kayaking or just gently cruising along the creeks and backwaters. There is nothing better than getting out onto the water, amongst its national parks and hidden reserves for a truly unforgettable experience.
Check into river time and enjoy the relaxed pace!
River Murray Boat Trips
River Murray Water Adventures
We decided to kick off our best of the River Murray list with some serious water adventures, where the river provides some adrenaline pumping opportunities.
Loveday 4×4 Adventure Park ideally situated near Barmera, offer 3 different Jet Ski Tours, along with the opportunity to hire a Jet Ski to yourself for the day. Take a guided tour blast to Moorook, speed over to Loxton or check out the locks along the river with plenty of time for fun.
As part of a guided tour, you do not need a boat licence, just a driver’s licence. To hire one for your own use, a boat licence is required.
For more information on the adventure park, check out their online magazine (Winter 2018).
If you want to keep your adrenaline pumping, Loveday 4×4 Adventure Park also offers turbo Buggy Rides, Rally Experiences, V8 drifting laps, 4×4 tracks, dirt obstacle courses, events and camping. Groups are welcome with packages available.
Freedom Boat Hire is the perfect go-to place to spend an action-packed day out on the water. They have 3 different well-maintained ski boats on offer, a Sea Doo Jet Ski, 12ft tinnies, kayaks and stand up paddle boards to hire for the day or longer.
A boat licence is required and boats are available from Murray Bridge (free of charge) and Barmera. Other locations may be available upon enquiry.
Boats are equipped with all necessary safety equipment, personal floatation devices and free use of water ski equipment.
Prices start from $35 a day for a kayak or stand up paddle board, $150 for tinny hire, $395 for the Sea Doo and $490 for a ski boat (2018 prices).
Murray Bridge Ski Boat Hire offer an excellent service for a fun-filled day on the River Murray. With their walk-on, walk-off service to all areas of the Murray, or tow & go from a convenient location, it really is up to you how you spend your day, soaking up the sunshine whilst having some serious fun.
With all the equipment you need from safety gear to ski’s, kneeboards, a wakeboard, ski biscuit (tube) and ropes, just try to stop all those smiles out on the water.
Prices start from $500 for a day hire can be paired up with a houseboat hire.
For more information, see their website.
Need a bit more practice and confidence on the water? South Side Wakeboarding School provides Wakeboarding Lessons, whether in their boat or yours.
Situated at White Sands Riverfront Caravan Park, just outside of Murray Bridge, they can also come to you anywhere in the Riverland if you are using your own boat.
Avoid picking up bad habits from the beginning and learn to love wakeboarding in style!
Prices start from just $100 per hour coaching in your own boat or $150 in a hire boat with equipment (2018 prices).
More information is available here on their website.
The Riverland’s only BBQ Boat, which is a fully fenced twin pontoon is the ultimate way to spend a day relaxing with up to 12 people onboard. Situated in Paringa, it is the ideal location to enjoy cruising along the River Murray.
With luxury seating, a fusion stereo system with iPod connectivity and a sizzling barbecue, half day hire is available but you’ll be wanting a full day hire to make the most of it!
And you don’t even need a boat licence. This BBQ Boat can be driven on a driver’s licence! Now there really is no excuse to not jump onboard!
Prices start from $300 for half day hire plus fuel (2018 prices).
The BBQ Boat is part of River Murray Houseboats – find out more information here on their website.
Canoe The Riverland, situated just north of Renmark is a popular choice when exploring the River Murray and all its hidden gems. From self-hire to a number of different tours available, including sunset, moonlight, wetland and custom groups, Canoe The Riverland has thought of everything.
Waterproof maps, dry bags and equipment are available to make sure you have an amazing experience.
And just when you thought that was enough, they now offer Dingy Cruises if you want to ease the pace even more!
Canoe The Riverland also has gorgeous property overlooking the Murray River that is available for camping through You Camp. With powered sites, a camp kitchen, amenities, stunning views and the biggest fire pit we’ve ever seen, this is the perfect weekend getaway.
Canoe Adventure situated in Berri have a ton of experience on the River Murray and are just waiting to share it with you. From a quiet day exploring with day hire, or peddling a Hobie Mirage-drive kayak hands-free, Canoe Adventure will even pick you up at the other end (if you’ve had enough!!)
Guided tours are also offered from 2 to 8 hours. Canoe Adventures is the number 1 activity in Berri according to TripAdvisor so these tours are worth the arm ache!
Loch Luna Game Reserve is one of the best kayaking and canoeing areas in South Australia, full of meandering creeks and wetlands. It’s a maze waiting to be explored! Check out the Chambers Creek canoe trail map here for a self-guided tour.
The Riverland has some of the best camping spots in South Australia and what a way to spend a weekend, floating down the River Murray at your own pace. Canoe Adventure offer the whole package with a good range of camping stuff to hire!
The Frame’s Gondola Cruise at Sunset has got to be one of the most romantic cruises in South Australia. Hop on board the beautifully restored 100-year-old classic wooden boat which is exclusively for you. Take in the tranquillity of the Murray River whilst you sip sparkling wine, taste a local cheese platter and just relax.
The Frames also offer a private guided Wetlands & Wildlife river cruise onboard their dingy, exploring the diversity of the river and includes morning tea, a gourmet lunch and refreshments. You can also choose to stop off at The Woolshed Brewery, tasting the locally made craft brews or ciders.
Prices start from $150 for the sunset cruise or $275 for a half day river cruise (2018 prices).
These cruises are only available whilst staying at The Frames – award winning luxurious retreats overlooking the River Murray.
River Murray Cruises
You are spoilt for choice when it comes to cruising the Murray River. For short boat trips to week-long cruises, the hardest part will be deciding which one.
Step onboard Rivergum’s luxurious 35-foot river cruiser moored at Waikerie and your hosts, James and Sandra will share their unique river lifestyle with you.
Cruises range from 2 hours exploring the Yarra Cliffs, Ramco Redgums, Waikerie or a stunning Sunset, or take the 3 hour cruise to Broken cliffs. Or why not design your own cruise to take in views of the stunning limestone cliffs, gorgeous landscape and ample wildlife.
Full day cruises are also available visiting Banrock Station, Caudo’s Vineyard, Overland Corner or take time out for lunch at Lock 2, overlooking the picturesque riverfront.
The River Murray flows over 2500 kilometres, from the Southern Australian Alps in New South Wales, through Victoria, down to the river mouth at Goolwa, South Australia. And Spirit Australia Cruises explore a significant amount of it!
Spirit Australia Cruises have a range of cruises along South Australia into Victoria including:
- Goowla to Mildura (8 days/7 nights)
- Goolwa to Renmark (5 days/4 nights)
- Renmark to Mildura (4 days/3 nights)
- Wellington to Border Cliffs (5 days/4 nights)
- Albury to Echuca (6 days/5 nights)
- Echuca to Mildura (8 days/7 nights)
- 1 day and 2 day cruises along the Murray River from South Australia
Accommodation is provided within motels in local towns with all meals, excursions and coach transfers included.
Their vessels are also available for private charter.
Find out more on their website.
Ever wondered what a lock looks like on the River Murray? Find out with this video from Mark Buress of Lock 3 on the river:
Hop onboard MV Jester where you can get up close and personal with everything the River Murray has to offer.
Situated in Mannum, there are a number of different cruises available. Daily cruises are 1.5 hrs for morning, lunch, afternoon or sunset, or they also hold 2-hour bird watching cruises or local wine tasting cruises.
They hold a number of different event cruises throughout the year and are available for private charter.
Find about more about their event dates and cruises at their website.
Available exclusively for private hire, the MV Barrangul is ideal for your next function, or just an excuse to enjoy the Mighty Murray River. Cruising is available upon request, fully licenced with daily a la carte dining or set menu for special events and functions.
Take on a unique perspective and immerse yourself as so well described on their website:
Find out more on their website and how to book.
Captain Your Own Houseboat
Houseboating is a popular activity in the Riverland with a great selection of houseboats to choose from that suit your own requirements. This unique holiday is great for couples, families or larger groups. And will create River Murray memories that last a lifetime.
If you are new to houseboating, you will be given full instruction and tuition on how to enjoy your first trip – and you only need a drivers licence to play captain – no boat licence is required.
Some of our favourites to River Murray houseboat hire are:
The Discover Murray River website offers more information on hiring houseboats and houseboat holidays. With information on different marinas and vessels available all over the Riverland, South Australia and further along the River Murray, you’ll be sure to find one to fall in love with.
River Murray Paddle Steamers, Boats and Vessels
While looking into Paddle Steamers, Boats and Vessels on the River Murray, its hard to believe how many there are, and how many are still in operation. Australia has the largest collection of active paddle steamers and boats across the world. These offer a great experience to enjoy a short cruise or week-long cruise along the River Murray, taking you back in time into what was historically such a romantic era.
Murray River Cruises are a popular choice offering a wide range of 1,2,3,4,5 and 7-night cruises, along with various event cruises. They operate all over South Australia but have a great choice for Riverland cruises.
Captain Cook Cruises proudly host PS Murray Princess cruises from various locations along the River Murray. From 3, 4 and 7-night cruises during the year, to special event cruises to celebrate in style, there is something for everyone.
Departing from Mannum, Proud Mary offers a luxurious cruise experience, from discovery cruises to indulgence cruises. Cruise the River Murray in style with pristine modern accommodation, fresh cuisine, spacious open decks and excursions that will have you never wanting to leave the Riverland. 2 night, 5 night and lunch cruises are available.
Captain Proud is a popular choice for short lunch, dinner and event cruises throughout the year. Situated at Murray Bridge, they offer specials and last minute deals for a great experience. This paddlewheel vessel is ideal for a taster of what the River Murray has to offer.
PS Oscar W located at Goolwa offer cruises most weekends during the warmer months. The vessel is also available for charter for those special occasions.
PS Marion located at Mannum Dock offers both short cruises and 8 day/7 night cruises from Berri to Mannum. It is also open to the public every day when not cruising. As a fully restored heritage vessel, it offers an experience into the golden years of riverboats.
Cruising from Mannum, PW Mayflower offers experiences on board the oldest paddle wheeler in South Australia. This short cruise takes you along the Caloote Cliffs whilst the informal commentary whisks you away into the ever-changing river landscape. Bookings are mainly taken on weekdays, with some cruises being held on weekends.
PS Industry situated at Renmark stands proud as displays a true sign of history and fame. The vessel is open to the public 7 days a week. Steaming days for cruises held on the first Sunday of each month along with long weekends and special events during the year.
Moored permanently at Renmark, the Murray River Queen offers the ultimate floating hotel experience. With accommodation, a cellar door and different restaurants to choose from, it’s the perfect weekend getaway whilst relaxing on the River Murray.
The River Murray is certainly not short of a boat ramp or two!
Click through this map to see the South Australian Government locations of boat ramps onto the River Murray:
Local areas around the Riverland also have their own information on their websites:
Have you been to the River Murray? What adventures did you get up to?
We’d love for you to share in the comments below and let others know what are the best things to do in the sensational Riverland.
Water loving British girl who moved to Australia and seriously caught the travel bug! Loves to explore and share destinations that inspire others to spend more time on the water and in the great outdoors. Typically, you’ll find her on a boat or next to the ocean, often in a daydream!