Murray River Luxury Houseboat Safari – A Wildlife Adventure on Water, South Australia

AT A GLANCE

ates7–10 November 2022

**more dates to come**
(If the dates listed are not suitable, please contact our team travel@australiangeographic.com or call 1300 241 141 to enquire about alternative dates)
Activity levelIntroductory to moderate.
This trip involves a cultural bush walk with an Aboriginal elder, an easy guided paddle downstream (in a double kayak), open boat cruising along creeks and the river cliffs, and a minibus birdwatching tour of the outback lakes that includes some short walks. These activities are rated as easy, but good mobility is recommended.
Duration4 days, 3 nights
PricesFrom $3,310 per person
From $1,655 single supplement
Group sizeMinimum 6, maximum 10 guests
Featuring regionsMurray River, Erawirung Country, Riverland Ramsar Wetland of International Significance, Renmark.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Join your guides on a journey to discover the culture, incredible wildlife and ecology of the Murray River. You’ll be welcomed to country by Erawirung elder, Eric Cook, who will take you on a cultural walk along an ancient river oxbow. Your guides will lead you through the forests, creeks, billabongs and outback lakes sharing knowledge of vital conservation work. See the benefits of environmental flows to restore red gum forests and protect wetland species including the vulnerable southern bell frog.

Explore diverse landscapes in search of wildlife including red kangaroos, emus, koalas, goannas and many of the 180 bird species found in this region. Water in the outback attracts diverse wildlife.

A luxury houseboat will be your base for this four-day, three-night adventure where you’ll experience local food with paired wines that showcase the best fare the region has to offer – famed Murray River cod is a highlight.

Our expert guides help you identify birdlife and plants, and share knowledge of the Murray River system, it’s management and the importance of recent environmental flows in creating a flourishing landscape. Don’t miss this opportunity to immerse yourself in our greatest river!

Trip Highlights

  • Cruise the river on your private pontoon cruiser spotting koalas, kangaroos and diverse birdlife across different floodplain habitats and ephemeral lakes.
  • Walk with Erawirung elder, Eric Cook, and hear stories of a culture dating back 40,000 years.
  • Canoe in tranquil backwaters encountering ducks, darters, cormorants and whistling kites.
  • Walk through woodlands and around cliffs spotting kangaroos and emus, whistlers, babblers, honeyeaters, parrots and migratory rainbow bee-eaters.
  • View floodplain lakes in a high conservancy area where spectacular birdwatching can include migratory waders and rarely seen blue-billed ducks and musk ducks, black swans and their cygnets, pied stilts, red-necked avocets and yellow-billed spoonbills.
  • Cruise by river at night to see the stars of an outback sky while spotting brush-tailed possums and listening for boobook owls.
  • Enjoy superb local food with a creative native twist.

ITINERARY

DAY 1: River cruise and cliff walk

At 10am meet your guide at the Bert Dix Memorial Park (Lock 5 Road, Paringa, SA). Your guide will provide a brief introduction to the landscape as you journey upstream in our pontoon cruiser, scanning the tree-line for koalas and waterbirds.

Our guides will welcome you to your luxurious houseboat where you’ll familiarise yourself with your room and the spectacular views from your new river home, before settling in to a fresh and flavoursome lunch.

An inspiring afternoon walk with Erawirung elder, Eric Cook, will reveal stories of an ancient culture evident along the banks of an old stretch of river.

The evening is spent on the houseboat admiring the reflections of the sunset from the top-deck spa or swim deck as your guides prepare a gourmet dinner paired with local wines to complete the day.

Lunch and dinner provided.

DAY 2: Birdwatching on ephemeral lakes

After a nourishing breakfast we set off on a driving tour to the great ephemeral lake system on the outer floodplain where spectacular birdwatching includes migratory waders that have travelled from the northern hemisphere, thousands of ducks, black swans and their cygnets, pied stilts, red-necked avocets, yellow-billed spoonbills and musk ducks. Expect to see blue-bonnets and magnificent red kangaroos and perhaps a spectacular white-winged fairy-wren as we drive across country between the lakes.

Your exclusive guide in the lake system is Tony Sharley. Tony is an expert who will give you his individual insights into the local wildlife, fauna and environmental conditions of life in the wetlands. Tony grew up on the Murray River at Renmark and, driven by his inspiration for the river and its surrounds, has had a career living and working on wetlands in Australia’s Murray Darling Basin and around the world.

A packed lunch is enjoyed looking over these vast waterbodies. Swamp harriers and whistling kites will be busy in this area and an occasional wedge-tailed eagle or a white-bellied sea eagle may visit.

We return for a houseboat cruise upstream to a new location for the night. After dinner, you’ll board the pontoon cruiser for a nocturnal cruise under a starlit sky in search of nocturnal brush-tailed possums and boobook owls as they come out to feed.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided.

DAY 3: Cruising and walking the backwaters

Enjoy a pre-breakfast walk into the box woodlands where we’ll sit and listen for red-capped robins, fairy-wrens and honeyeaters.

After breakfast we cruise to the Chowilla environmental regulator, built in 2012 to protect and rejuvenate this iconic wetland. We’ll see the benefits of regular environmental flows in red gum forests creating a superb breeding environment for water birds, frogs and fish.

During our cruise we will venture on short walks into the floodplain to sit quietly in search of regent parrots, kingfishers, and fairy-wrens, before drifting past the sandy cliff faces looking for rainbow-bee eaters, fairy martins and peregrine falcons.

Our day winds down with a relaxing houseboat cruise to our mooring opposite glowing red ochre-coloured cliffs at sunset. A special dinner follows.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided.

DAY 4: Kayaking and houseboat cruising

Following a relaxed breakfast, you will meet your canoe guide for a morning paddle through peaceful creeks and billabongs lined by mighty red gums, rafting up occasionally to drift and listen to a special place you’ve become more familiar with.

Arriving back at the houseboat, we start a leisurely houseboat cruise on the way to our lunch site on the river. This is the perfect time to gather your thoughts and record all your sightings and inspirations.

Relax in your river surroundings savouring lunch prepared by your guides and served on the top deck of the houseboat. After another short cruise on the houseboat, we farewell you as you depart by minibus to your vehicles by 2pm.

Breakfast and lunch provided.

Luxury Houseboat Accommodation

Dine and relax each night aboard a luxury houseboat configured with five bedrooms all with ensuite bathrooms including hot showers, handbasin and toilet. Other features include a spacious lounge, modern kitchen and top deck area with spa and spectacular views. All linen is provided. Unpack once and leave your belongings in your room. Rooms can be configured with a king bed or two king single beds. Please let us know your preference on booking.

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  • Experienced, knowledgeable guides to lead your tour
  • Lodge style accommodation for 3 nights on a luxury houseboat
  • Secure car parking at Paringa marina
  • Luggage transfer to your room on the houseboat
  • All meals showcasing local produce and all beverages including premium Riverland wines and beer, juice and coffee
  • All sleeping linen and 1 bath towel
  • Optional 34L daypack
  • Optional walking poles
  • Access to a library of wildlife field guides
  • All equipment for canoeing.

COSTS DO NOT INCLUDE:

  • Domestic or international airfares
  • Pre or post tour accommodation
  • Guide services other than specified
  • Meals/beverages other than specified
  • Tips & gratuities
  • Optional tours/services.

COVID-19

Until further notice all guests must take a Rapid Antigen Test no earlier than 48 hours prior to departure and provide evidence of the negative result no later than 18 hours prior to departure. See terms and conditions for more details.

CONTACT US

Want to know more or register your interest ?

Send us an email to travel@australiangeographic.com or call 1300 241 141.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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