Murray River, Lakes and Coorong Towns
A mighty history
Easily accessible and starting just an hour’s drive from Adelaide, the region is perfect for fun on the water - houseboating, fishing, canoeing, wake boarding and swimming are all on offer, as are great riverside picnic spots, amazing sunsets, starlit skies and a range of cruising options.
Winding through South Australia, the Murray River’s townships are a blend of country towns and rural cities. The locals will happily point out the best fishing and camping spots or the best time of day to see the spectacular wildlife.
Murray Bridge, Mannum and the Mallee
Murray Bridge is the largest town on the South Australian stretch of the Murray River and has everything a visitor could need - a large regional shopping centre, accommodation, restaurants, hotels and sporting facilities.
Mannum is the birthplace of the paddle steamer, including the first one ever built, the Mary Ann, constructed in 1853 by Captain William Randell. The Mannum Visitor Information Centre is the gateway to the Mannum Dock Museum where visitors can discover the history of the river. There is a free 24 hour ferry service that enables you to cross the river at Mannum.
If you’re in the Mallee, drop into Pinnaroo and Lameroo. Pinnaroo is more than 240 kilometres from Adelaide but a mere five kilometres from the Victorian border. On the way, you'll pass Tailem Bend which is a handy place for a break - and a photo opportunity at The Big Olive.
Karoonda is another local hub and was once a traditional winter camp for the local indigenous people.
Black swans and towering cliffs
The Aboriginal name Swan Reach is "Kongorong", which refers to the large number of black swans that live there.
The area is renowned for Big Bend - the tallest cliffs along the entire length of the Murray River. Rich in fossils, flora and fauna, Big Bend is believed to be up to 20 million years old. On a Big Bend by Night nocturnal tour, see native animals, such as wombats and kangaroos, going about their nightly business.
The township has an excellent hotel with sweeping river views from its prominent location perched on top of golden cliffs. A nine-hole golf course, as well as a free 24 hour ferry, general store and boat ramp ensures you are set for a real getaway.
Little river towns
There are lots of little river settlements you’ll pass by on your Murray River journey, including Nildottie, Walker Flat, Purnong and Bowhill.
Nildottie boasts panoramic views of one of the most pristine stretches of water on the Murray River, while Walker Flat has tall, ochre-coloured cliffs and a superb lookout.
Cross the river at Purnong via the free 24 hour ferry. Bowhill is a popular spot for watersports and affordable river shacks.
Come down to the Coorong
Nestled near the tranquil waters of Lake Albert, Meningie is the northern gateway to the Coorong.
Take a short walk to Meningie Hill Lookout to see unrestricted views over Lake Albert and the surrounding pastoral properties, while a wetland bird sanctuary serves as a haven for many of the birds seen in the Coorong.
Salt Creek is located on the outskirts of the Coorong National Park and is the perfect departure point for several good walks and four wheel drive (4WD) tours.
Goolwa was once a thriving river port – the last on the Murray River before it reached the Southern Ocean. Today, it's a busy regional centre with pubs, a micro-brewery, restaurants and cafés and is a popular gateway to the Coorong National Park and the lakes system at the mouth of the Murray.
Murray River, Lakes and Coorong - great people and strong communities.
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Things to do
Here are some great towns for you to visit while you’re in the area.
What's on in SA
There are plenty of events on in South Australia. Here are some ideas to get you started.