SOUTH AUS­TRALIA’S KEY HOUSE­BOAT LAUNCH TOWNS

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - ENDANGERED -

There are seven main de­par­ture points for a wide range of house­boats for hire along the Mur­ray River in SA. Blanchetow­n: 130km north­east of Ade­laide This quiet, in­for­mal hol­i­day town is made up of un­pre­ten­tious river shacks. It of­fers un­crowded wa­ter­ways, shel­tered river bends and sandy banks pop­u­lar with wa­ter-skiers in sum­mer.

Blanchetow­n is where the River Mur­ray’s lock and weir wa­ter­flow man­age­ment sys­tem starts. The old bridge in the town gives an ex­cel­lent view of Lock 1 and cir­cling above are hun­dreds of pel­i­cans that love to feed on the schools of fish near the spill­way.

Blanchetow­n’s towering cliffs are fa­mous for the grand views and fos­silised trea­sures such as starfish, shells and fish. Vis­i­tor in­for­ma­tion: 8540 5453. Man­num: 100km east of Ade­laide Man­num has an at­trac­tive river­front and ex­cel­lent recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties, in­clud­ing Mary Ann Re­serve, home to a play­ground, boat ramp, pic­nic ta­bles and kiosk.

Vis­i­tors can hire wa­ter skis, jet skis, ca­noes, knee-board­ing equip­ment or sim­ply fish. Man­num’s at­trac­tive main street has an art gallery, an­tiques, craft and bric-a-brac shops with a good choice of cafes and ho­tels, in­clud­ing the award-win­ning Pre­to­ria Ho­tel, of­fer­ing river­front din­ing.

There are sev­eral scenic and his­toric walks in the town and nearby Man­num Falls has easy and mod­er­ate level tracks pass­ing

A house­boat hol­i­day at berth near Man­num win­ter-flow­ing wa­ter­falls, abun­dant birdlife and in­ter­est­ing rock for­ma­tions. Vis­i­tor in­for­ma­tion: 1300 626 686. Mor­gan: 163km north­east of Ade­laide An his­toric town and pop­u­lar hol­i­day shack re­treat on the river for Ade­laide res­i­dents seek­ing re­lax­ation and wa­ter sports.

At the height of the pad­dle-steamer era, Mor­gan was the busiest in­land port in the state and has pre­served its his­tory with flair.

For the wa­ter en­thu­si­ast, there is a boat ramp for launch­ing your water­craft. Cruise with views of ma­jes­tic cliffs that change from side to side as the river me­an­ders – and re­mem­ber to slow down for the ferry. Vis­i­tor in­for­ma­tion: 8540 2643. Mur­ray Bridge: 75km east of Ade­laide The largest town on the Mur­ray (in SA) is a good base for wa­ter­sports, boat­ing and fish­ing with sev­eral cruise op­er­a­tors also based here. Pedes­tri­ans can take the 5km Rail and River Walk which takes in the town’s ma­jor his­toric sites or the 79km Fed­er­a­tion Trail, which me­an­ders to Tungkillo. At­trac­tions in­clude Dundee’s Wildlife Park, Sturt Re­serve and Bun­yip. Vis­i­tor in­for­ma­tion: 1800 442 784. Ren­mark: 253km north­east of Ade­laide Up­stream from Ren­mark you can es­cape into na­tional parks. There are ma­jes­tic cliffs to sur­vey or travel up­stream to the old Cus­toms House, now a gen­eral store or to the Vic­to­rian bor­der.

With wide stretches of river, Ren­mark is a wa­ter sport play­ground and house­boats can moor in front of the Ren­mark Club and dine on the river­front. Vis­i­tor in­for­ma­tion: 1300 661 704. Paringa: 256km north­east of Ade­laide Sit­ting on the east­ern edge of the River­land, this small town is on the op­po­site side of the river to Ren­mark.

The Paringa Sus­pen­sion Bridge is one of just four still span­ning the Mur­ray and it still car­ries B-dou­ble trucks as part of the Sturt High­way. You can moor your house­boat at Bert Dix Park and walk into town for sup­plies. Vis­i­tor in­for­ma­tion: 1300 661 704. Waik­erie: 174km north­east of Ade­laide You’ll find one of the longest stretches of ac­ces­si­ble river­bank here and the wide river makes it pop­u­lar for wa­ter sports and fish­ing. Vis­i­tor in­for­ma­tion: 8541 2332.

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