Hol­i­days afloat

Grab the cap­tain’s hat and jump on board for a house­boat hol­i­day on Aus­tralia’s beau­ti­ful wa­ter­ways.

Caravan, Camping and Holiday Parks with Kids - - Contents -

For a hol­i­day with a dif­fer­ence, why not take to the river on a house­boat that com­bines all the mod cons with a new take on adventure – the scenery changes daily and there’s al­ways some­thing new to see and do. Aus­tralia’s rivers pro­vide a stun­ning back­drop, whether wa­ter sports and dis­cov­ery are on that day’s agenda, or you just want to laze about on the deck and soak up the seren­ity.

House­boats range from ul­tra- luxe, with on- board Jacuzzis and mul­ti­ple bed­rooms, to cosy and com­fort­able. We take you around Aus­tralia in search of some of the best op­tions on of­fer.

Myall Lakes, NSW


Sur­rounded as it is by Myall Lakes Na­tional Park, Myall Lakes is a na­ture lover’s par­adise and is the per­fect set­ting to bring the fam­ily to­gether. Swim­ming and snorkelling one minute, bush­walk­ing and bird watch­ing the next, the kids will never be short of some­thing to do. Lux­ury House­boat Hire has two sizes to choose from, de­pend­ing on your needs: a 33ft 2- 6 berth house­boat the size of a large car­a­van, or a 45ft 2-10 berth house­boat the size of a small apart­ment or cabin. Both come with a fully equipped kitchen, gas fridge and freezer, and fresh wa­ter on board for bathing. Bring your DVDs – there’s a TV and DVD player but no TV re­cep­tion. How you spend your days is com­pletely up to you. A dinghy with oars and op­tional mo­tor is sup­plied for your land-based ac­tiv­i­ties and in case you want to stop off at a cafe or restau­rant for a bite to eat. These house­boats launch out of Bu­lahde­lah, the gate­way to the Myall Lakes. No li­cence is re­quired to cap­tain these boats but if you want to do any fish­ing, you’ll need a li­cence – Bu­lahde­lah Newsagency will sort you out with one.

Mur­ray River, VIC


Ex­tend­ing for 2520km, the Mur­ray River is the third long­est nav­i­ga­ble river in the world af­ter the Ama­zon and Nile. It spans NSW, Vic­to­ria and South Aus­tralia and, with 37 golf cour­ses along its banks, is a mecca for golfers. Glid­ing down the scenic Mur­ray River through the Echuca, Moama and Rich River re­gion of Vic­to­ria in a house­boat is a great way to ex­pe­ri­ence this re­mark­able river. If you’re af­ter a lit­tle lux­ury as you go, try Mur­ray River House­boats. No ex­pense has been spared in the design of the In­dul­gence, an 8-12 berth boat with four bed­rooms, all with en­suites, and a 10-seater spa on deck. The sur­round-sound en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem (com­plete with 80 DVDs to choose from) and air con­di­tion­ing will have you re­lax­ing in com­fort, or head up to the top deck and lie back in a sun lounger as the river banks drift on by. Mur­ray River House­boats also has a range of more mod­est op­tions avail­able to suit fam­i­lies of all sizes and bud­gets. The boats launch out of Echuca, a quaint town where you can hire a ca­noe, take a horse-and-car­riage ride, or ex­plore the area by bike.

Hawkes­bury, NSW


The liv­ing’s easy on board a 6-berth fam­i­lyfriendly house­boat avail­able for hire through Hawkes­bury House­boats. The ‘Ex­ec­u­tive’ house­boat has a split-level design with three dou­ble beds that con­vert into lounges and a ta­ble dur­ing the day. Cast­ing a line over­board on the Hawkes­bury River may well be re­ward­ing – the area is known for 30kg jew­fish and mul­loway, not to men­tion king­fish, bream, flat­head, crabs and squid. Cook up your catch of the day on the up­per deck’s three-burner bar­be­cue with roast­ing hood; the kids won’t be able to wipe the smiles off their faces – noth­ing tastes as good as a meal you’ve caught your­self. But if fish­ing isn’t your thing you’ll find lots to do on this beau­ti­ful stretch of wa­ter, and there is also a wide va­ri­ety of other house­boats to suit your needs and bud­get.

Man­durah, WA


On the west coast, the re­laxed, friendly vibe of Man­durah is an ideal launch­pad from which to ex­plore the many won­ders of the Peel In­let and Har­vey Es­tu­ary and WA’s own Mur­ray River. Drop an­chor and dis­cover a se­cluded cove, go fish­ing at Dawesville Cut, or go crab­bing off Boundary Is­land. Only 20km down river from Man­durah’s vi­brant cap­puc­cino strip is the town of Pinjarra, where you can stop for a spot of golf, visit the zoo, or go an­tique shop­ping. Man­durah House Boats has a range of boats for hire. The African-themed Hakuna Matata has three dou­ble bed­rooms, plasma TV with DVD player, and spa­cious front and rear decks. When you dock back in Man­durah, take the fam­ily to the King Car­ni­val amuse­ment park – it will be the per­fect way to end a fun-filled hol­i­day on the wa­ter.

Mur­ray River, SA


Set­ting off from his­toric Man­num, an hour from Ade­laide, Un­for­get­table House­boats com­bines style with com­fort: on­board there are king and queen-size beds, ducted air con­di­tion­ing, Jacuzzis and gourmet kitchens com­plete with dish­washer and mi­crowave. The Un­for­get­table 1 has four bed­rooms, a spa­cious liv­ing area and a din­ing ta­ble seat­ing up to eight peo­ple, while the two-storey Un­for­get­table 6 turns heads with six bed­rooms, five bath­rooms, Jacuzzi and bar. No mat­ter how you choose to travel, your hol­i­day can be as ad­ven­tur­ous as you want it to be. Ex­plore the back­wa­ters by dinghy, take af­ter­noon ram­bles along the river­bank, or go a step fur­ther and hire wa­ter sport equip­ment for wa­ter ski­ing, ca­noe­ing and jet ski­ing. The river is yours to en­joy at what­ever pace you wish.

The kids won’t be able to wipe the smiles off their faces – noth­ing tastes as good as a meal you’ve caught your­self.

01 House­boats are a great bond­ing ex­pe­ri­ence 02 Fun ashore 03 Tak­ing in the ever-chang­ing scenery is part of the fun 04 Make sure you pack the fish­ing rods and try your hand at catch­ing din­ner 02




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