Ferries, Locks and Weirs

It’s a fascinating experience to feel the water level change right beneath your feet as you transfer through a river lock.

Between the 1920s and 1930s a series of navigable locks and weirs were built along the Murray River to make South Australia’s river highway permanently passable.

Click on the map above to view in Google Maps.

Harnessing the Murray Trail

The survival of the early settlers and the pioneering river towns depended on their ingenuity to harness the waters of the Murray and divert them onto land. Start your journey from the pioneering townships of Kingston on Murray or nearby Moorook.


Lyrup Ferry

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.

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