Initially built for paddle-steamers to transport cargo and supplies, the locks are now used by houseboats, cruise vessels and recreational craft.
Whether you’re on a boat passing through or standing above the lock chamber, it is an amazing experience to feel or watch the water level in the locks rise and fall entirely by gravity. For boats and houseboats it normally takes 20–25 minutes to pass through a lock.
The Riverland has six locks and weirs situated along its 362 kilometre section of the river; from Lock 1 at Blanchetown, Lock 2 at Taylorville, Lock 3 at Overland Corner, Lock 4 at Bookpurnong (between Berri and Loxton), Lock 5 at Paringa to Lock 6 at Murtho (above Renmark).
Visit or use the locks between 8am–11:30am and 1–4:30pm any day (except Christmas Day). The grounds around the locks are well-maintained with good facilities and interpretative information for visitors. Locks 2, 4 and 5 have barbeque facilities, ideal for a picnic.
Ferries are a free 24 hour service that can take up to eight or 12 vehicles (depending on the ferry) across the river. Riverland ferry crossings are in operation at Cadell, Lyrup, Morgan and Waikerie. As the ferries are registered as boats, each one has a name, usually named after a water bird. Keep an eye out for the sign indicating the name of the boat and don’t forget to wave to the ferry operator on the way on and off the ferry, it’s a friendly traditional gesture.