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

AT A GLANCE

Dates7–9 October 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 guided 5km bushwalk, a 2-hour guided paddle (in a double kayak) and a half day coach tour that includes some short walks. These activities are rated as easy, but good mobility and fitness is recommended. 
Duration3 days, 2 nights
PricesFrom $1,750 per person
From $875 single supplement
Group sizeMinimum 5, maximum 10 guests
Featuring regionsMurray River, Riverland Ramsar Wetland of International Significance, Renmark.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Join your guide on a journey to discover the incredible wildlife and ecology of the Murray River. Your guide will share knowledge on vital conservation work including environmental flows to protect red gum forests and floodplain life including the vulnerable southern bell frog. Participate in important citizen-science studies to better understand the conservation status of bush stone-curlews and brush-tailed possums.

On this three-day two-night safari adventure you will explore the river’s landscapes from your base on a luxurious houseboat. Carefully chosen local food and wines showcase the best fare the region has to offer including farmed Murray cod.

This Murray River safari experience showcases the rich wildlife of the Riverland Ramsar Wetland of International Significance where more than 180 endemic bird species have been recorded.

Your guide’s expert knowledge of the region, the Murray River system and local flora and fauna, reveals a flourishing landscape thanks to recent environmental flows. 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.
  • Canoe in tranquil backwaters encountering ducks, darters, cormorants and whistling kites.
  • Walk through woodlands and around cliffs spotting whistlers, wedge-tailed eagles, honeyeaters, parrots and migratory bee-eaters.
  • View floodplain lakes in a high conservancy area where spectacular birdwatching can include black swans and their cygnets, pied stilts, red-necked avocets, yellow-billed spoonbills, migratory waders and rarely seen blue-billed ducks and musk ducks.
  • Each night relax by a riverbank campfire under the sparkling starlit skies where your lodge-style houseboat accommodation is moored. 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 South Australia). After parking your vehicle in the secure compound, your guide will provide a brief introduction to the landscape before you board your pontoon cruiser and begin cruising along the Murray River. You’ll start familiarising yourself with river country, scanning the tree-line for koalas and waterbirds. You’ll be welcomed to your houseboat accommodation where you’ll enjoy lunch and settle into your room before setting off on a guided cliff walk with possibilities of spotting wedge-tailed eagles, honeyeaters and migratory bee-eaters. Keen eyes will also be on the lookout for fairywrens, kangaroos and emus. Marvel at the vast river floodplains from the rim of the valley.

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

Nocturnal walking and stargazing await after dinner and your guides help you spot brush-tailed possums for an important citizen-science project. End the day in your comfortable bed, which delights with starry reflections in the river.

Lunch and dinner provided.

DAY 2: Birdwatching on ephemeral lakes

After a nourishing breakfast we enjoy a driving tour to the great ephemeral lake system on the outer floodplain where spectacular birdwatching can include thousands of ducks, black swans and their cygnets, Pied stilts, red-necked avocets, yellow-billed spoonbills, migratory waders and rarer blue-billed ducks. Expect to see blue-bonnets and magnificent red kangaroos and perhaps a spectacular white-winged fairywren as we drive across country between the lakes on recovering station country. 

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 to the houseboat in time to admire the sunset on the cliffs. Pre-dark we will play the calls of the bush-stone curlew to assess their response and their conservation status on the Murray River floodplains.

Your guides will prepare and serve a delicious three-course dinner on the houseboat featuring the iconic Murray cod, which is farmed locally. The campfire and stars are a great reward for a big day out, and post-dinner nocturnal adventures are optional.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided.

DAY 3: Kayaking and houseboat cruising

The dawn chorus raises you gently from sleep and the aromas of fresh coffee encourage you to leave the comfort of bed. A cooked breakfast that also features local fruit and native saltbush is served before we take a guided paddle through the creeks where you can encounter pelicans, darters, cormorants, spoonbills and the spectacular sacred kingfisher. 

Arriving back at the houseboat, we start a leisurely houseboat cruise along the magnificent red ochre-coloured cliffs 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 a lunch prepared by your guides and served on the top deck of the houseboat (if the weather permits). After another short cruise on the houseboat, we farewell you as you transfer by minibus to your vehicles by 2pm.

Breakfast and lunch provided.

Houseboat Accommodation

Dine and relax each night aboard a comfortable houseboat configured with five rooms (each room sleeps a maximum of two people), two bathrooms with hot showers, 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 queen bed or two single beds. Please let us know your preference on booking.

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  • Experienced guide to lead your tour. Guide carries a first aid kit, additional water, UHF Radios, and a satellite phone
  • Lodge style accommodation for 2 nights on a modern 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
  • Personal Flotation Device for canoeing sections.

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 from 1 October 2021 we require that all participants on our tours are fully vaccinated with a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved vaccine against COVID-19 with the final dose administered no later than two weeks before 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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