Commercial hubs to country pubs
The riverside towns in the Riverland are as diverse as the magnificent waterway they line.
Start in Renmark, named after an Aboriginal word meaning ‘red mud’. The riverfront town is Australia’s first irrigation settlement and home to the first houseboat fleet on the Murray River, Liba Liba.
Houseboats and an historic paddlesteamer
There are several houseboat fleets based in Renmark, making it easy to hire a floating palace and explore this section of the river by boat.
The historic paddle-steamer PS Industry fires up on the first Sunday of each month and schedules unique day trips upstream to Wilkadene Woolshed Brewery and downstream to Berri.
Where there’s a bridge and beer
Operating since 1927, Paringa’s historic lifting span bridge still rises twice daily for river traffic. Take a stroll through the Paringa Paddock Nature Walk where you may see a koala or two in the treetops.
Wilkadene Woolshed Brewery is the home of the local beer ‘Amazon Ale’, named after the stunning Amazon Creek, just one kilometre upstream from historic Wilkadene Homestead.
From Paringa, take Murtho Road to Headings Cliff Lookout, where you can admire stunning river views and golden limestone cliffs.
Living history, right around the corner
For centuries, the Overland Corner area has proved popular with weary travellers. Large areas of flat land, accessible river banks and adjacent towering cliffs offered a convenient place to rest for drovers moving thousands of sheep across South Australia to New South Wales during the 1800s.
Still today, the Historic Overland Corner Hotel is a popular spot to stop. Built in 1859, it served as the local mail exchange in the earth 20th century and is now owned by the South Australian National Trust.
The National Trust Overland Corner Walking Trail is a great way to explore the area’s heritage and you can pick up a trail map at the Barmera Visitor Information Centre.
Berri, Barmera and Lake Bonney
Taken from the Aboriginal word ‘bery bery’, meaning ‘bend in the river’, Berri is the commercial hub of the Riverland, with extensive shopping outlets and lots of attractions worth visiting. Pick up your fresh produce from stalls on the outskirts of town, the Berri Visitor Information Centre or the weekly Riverland Farmers’ Market.
From Berri, it’s a short trip to Winkie, which is home to the delightful Bella Lavender Estate and putt putt golf course.
Barmera, with its ideal location on the shores of Lake Bonney, is one of the state’s most popular aquatic playgrounds. It's very popular with yachting enthusiasts, waterskiers, windsurfers and kite-surfers. It's also a safe swimming area for the family.
Work on your swing at the Barmera Golf Course and the kids can have a swing at the playground adjacent to the lake or at the nearby Barmera Playspace.
Award-winning wetlands, along to Waikerie
At Kingston-on-Murray, visit the Banrock Station Wine & Wetland Centre - an award-winning wine and ecotourism destination. Take a walk through the restored environment on a self-guided interpretive walking trails, do a spot of birdwatching and stay for lunch.
Bird life is also abundant in the lagoons and wetlands that edge the river in Waikerie, which was established in 1894 when its first settlers arrived by paddle-steamer. Here, you’ll find one of the longest stretches of accessible riverbank and the width of the river makes it popular for water sports, fishing and excellent for houseboats.
It's also become the centre of the citrus and fruit industry in South Australia. Hundreds of hectares of grape vines planted in recent times has made Waikerie one of the largest tonnage producers in the Riverland. The town is also proud of its 18 hole, bunker-less golf course.
Small towns worthy of a stopover
If you're looking for an informal holiday town, with unpretentious river shacks and uncrowded waterways, Blanchetown is the place for you. A popular spot for watersport enthusiasts is Morgan, which was the busiest inland port throughout South Australia in the 19th century.
Nature lovers will love Cadell, which regularly attracts ornithologists to its bird hides and international botanists to the unique varieties of Prickly Bottlebrush.
The Riverland, and its towns, are fascinating to explore.
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