Mur­ray River Walk risng with River­land tourism

Walking New Zealand - - Contents -

Mur­ray River Walk has again won the highly con­tested Eco­tourism cat­e­gory at the 2018 South Aus­tralian Tourism Awards, re­flect­ing the im­por­tance of na­ture-based tourism and the phe­nom­e­nal growth in River­land tourism.

Driven by the “Mil­len­nium drought” and the need to di­ver­sify the River­land econ­omy, man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Mur­ray River Walk – Tony Sharley – sought to turn the most spec­tac­u­lar and vul­ner­a­ble river land­scapes into a walk­ing and cruis­ing discovery of na­ture, wildlife, in­no­va­tive wine­mak­ing, sus­tain­able farm­ing and new stew­ard­ship of en­vi­ron­men­tal wa­ter.

“In just 3 years our busi­ness has tripled in size em­ploy­ing 12 peo­ple and bring­ing more than 75% of our cus­tomers from eastern Aus­tralia and New Zealand to the re­gion”, said Mr Sharley.

“Our guided 4 day 3 night ex­pe­ri­ence fol­lows the river while our house­boat ac­com­mo­da­tion moves daily to each new walk­ing des­ti­na­tion.

“Our cus­tomers en­joy the phys­i­cal achieve­ment of 12 to 14 km easy walk­ing each day and learn­ing the amaz­ing sto­ries of the river and its his­tory from the pad­dle steam­ers to en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tors, the recluse “Pos­sum”, and see­ing kan­ga­roos and emus and pel­i­cans ev­ery day.

“Our cus­tomers also love our pas­sion­ate guides and a morn­ing walk to see the sun rise over the river val­ley.”

Mur­ray River Walk sup­ports many River­land busi­nesses in­clud­ing the Ren­mark Com­mu­nity Ho­tel where 65% of its cus­tomers stay be­fore they depart. Cus­tomers also stay at award win­ning The Frames and Big 4 Ren­mark River­front Hol­i­day Park.

House­boats are hired from award win­ning River Mur­ray House­boats. Lo­cally roasted cof­fee is sup­plied by Ar­rosto Cof­fee and lo­cally farmed Mur­ray Cod is sup­plied by Parker Cod.

The 4 day menu is cre­ated by for­mer lo­cal and na­tive food pi­o­neer An­drew Fielke, and wines are sourced from 8 pro­duc­ers who are rev­o­lu­tion­is­ing the River­land wine re­gion.

Each tour fin­ishes with an Aussie bar­be­cue and tour at the pop­u­lar Wilka­dene Wool­shed Brew­ery.

Mr Sharley praised the roles of SA Tourism In­dus­try Coun­cil, SA Tourism Com­mis­sion, SA Depart­ment for En­vi­ron­ment and Wa­ter and Des­ti­na­tion River­land for their en­cour­age­ment and sup­port of new tourism busi­nesses and build­ing the ca­pac­ity of an in­dus­try vi­tal to grow­ing the State’s econ­omy.

He also con­grat­u­lated other River­land win­ners - The Frames and Big 4 Ren­mark River­front Hol­i­day Park.

Mur­ray River Walk will now con­test the Aus­tralian Tourism Awards in Fe­bru­ary 2019 up against the best Eco­tourism ex­pe­ri­ences in Aus­tralia, where it won Sil­ver in 2018 at its first at­tempt.

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