Why the Riverland is perfect for your next group holiday
Holidaying with your best mates is often when you’ll have some of the most memorable shared moments in your life. If you’re looking to escape your everyday, you’ve found the right place because here in the Riverland, we have it all.
From the great outdoors to the lavish houseboats, the fresh produce found in seasonal menus and the first sip of our cold, local brews after an action-packed day on the water. You’ll be rewarded at every turn with some of the most spectacular scenery you can imagine and uncover quiet places of hidden beauty.
You can venture on-road, off-road, across the river, through creeks or all the above. There’s something everyone in your group will agree on. And right now, it’s the best time to appreciate the splendour of the Riverland. As the weather warms up, our patch of paradise is springing back to life and there’s so many new things to see, taste and do since your last visit.
If it’s your turn to plan the next holiday, here’s our guide to making memories this spring and summer with friends.
If you’re travelling by boat…
Here’s something to get your motor running. Whatever watercraft is in your shed - a ski or wake boat, a tinny like the locals or even a jet ski - hook it on the trailer and head our way!
Unlike the ocean, one of the best parts about a Murray River holiday is that you can simply pull up to a riverside café, restaurant, brewery or cellar door and step straight off the boat for a chilled-out day with friends, or to catch a break between the water action and grab some lunch.
Spend the day lapping up the panoramic views from the sprawling deck or lawn and taste test the new spring/summer food and drink menus, all while soaking up the sunshine. There might even be some live music to top off the atmosphere. Before you know it, a few hours would have flown past.
If you’re keen to avoid the crowds, you can easily find a riverfront reserve, sand bar or riverbank to stop at. Find a nearby bakery or pub for lunch, or plan ahead and grab some local produce and snacks to create your own platter for a riverside picnic.
[Tip: you can hire boats, jet skis, and a range of equipment like paddleboards, kayaks and lifejackets from some of our local businesses like Riverland Boat Hire, Freedom Boat Hire, and Canoe Adventures to name a few.]
If you’re feeling adventurous (and have a tinny or kayak), take on one of our many creeks and backwaters linked off the main river. Enter untouched native bushland where you’ll find kangaroos in the scrub, emus crossing the water, and various birdlife singing from treetops.
[Try out: Kylie Creek, Ral Ral Creek and Nelbuck Creek, Chowilla Game Reserve, or Katarapko Creek and Eckert Creek found in the Murray River National Park.]
If you’re keen to have someone else be the driver for the day…
If the above options sound great but you’d rather sit back and enjoy having someone else taking the reins (you are on holiday after all!), opt for an afternoon on the water with Rivergum Cruises.
The luxurious split-level boat ‘Qatar’ is the perfect vessel for cruising the waters from Waikerie to your desired destination – you can’t go wrong with Banrock Station, Caudo Vineyard, Overland Corner and Lock 2. While taking in the towering cliffs and the native gum and mallee trees passing by, enjoy a local platter, beers and wines from the licensed bar. You can cruise in comfort even on a scorching hot day, as you kick back in the air-conditioned cabin and watch the world float by.
If you’re staying further up river, Renmark River Cruises also offer various cruising options on their pontoon boat - and it’s even pet friendly!
Back on land. If you have a larger group size (anywhere from 10-20) and are more interested in testing out what our local cellar doors, distillery and brewery has to offer, the Amazon Run Shuttle Service will be your best option. You can curate your own all-day tour, or fit in as many or as little stops as you like over a 4-6 hour tour.
A few of the places we recommend are Caudo Vineyard, Overland Corner Hotel, Banrock Station, 919 Wines, Mallee Estate Wines, Salena Estate, Riverland Wine Centre, 23rd Street Distillery, and the Woolshed Brewery.
Amazon Run Shuttle Service
23rd Street Distillery @SATC
[Tip: if you’re looking for a professional Passenger Transport service to get you and your group around the region, give EXPRESSX a call. The team’s friendly staff will manage your bookings seamlessly and have drivers based all around the Riverland region. EXPRESSX have various vehicle options and sizes available, including Taxis, Maxi Taxis, Chauffeured Vehicles, Bus and Mini Bus options]
If you’re self-driving…
Follow along the first half of the Mighty Murray Way touring route to guide your road trip. Just look out for the small green roadside signs along the way!
Mighty Murray Way
Waikerie Silo Art
There are plenty of worthwhile stops to explore like Headings Lookout, Arrosto Coffee, shopping in the Renmark CBD, Lake Bonney, the Waikerie cliff top walk and silo art, and the Loxton Hotel. There’s so much more to unpack - view the map here.
Lake Bonney @sherlilytan
Make sure you pack the camera (and drone). Our region has so many photogenic, Insta-worthy places and moments waiting for you to capture. And if you’d like to share them with us (and don’t mind featuring on our social media pages), make sure to tag @riverlandsouthaustralia and #myriverland.
Where to stay
Whether you’re after something a little luxurious, or a quiet campsite close to the action, there’s plenty to choose from in the Riverland.
You can get the most authentic local experience from day to night in a spacious house or houseboat with everything at your fingertips, in a lavish villa with a huge selection of wine at your doorstep, or a campsite with the water only metres away from where you rest your head.
For couples and friend groups travelling, here are some options we highly recommend.
Staying in one of these houseboats is a lot like a floating hotel - Boats and Bedzzz, Riverfun Houseboats, Griffens Marina Houseboats, Wilkadene Houseboats, Houseboat Heaven, River Murray Houseboats, Renmark Houseboats and Quality Houseboats.
Drift - Riverfun Houseboats
Wake up in untouched bushland or watch the sunrise colour the spectacular ochre-coloured river cliffs. Some of our favourite spots include the Murray River National Park, Herons Bend Nature Reserve, Murtho Forest Reserve, Chowilla Game Reserve, Martin’s Bend, Moorook Game Reserve and Loch Luna Game Reserve.
Murray River National Park - Francesco Vicenzi
Step out onto the private jetty of your river shack for a morning water ski (River Shack Rentals has a nice selection), or relax over a late morning breakfast with a view from the deck of your Pike River Luxury Villa.
Pike River Luxury Villas
Enjoy your own space and create a ‘home away from home’ feel with a self-contained holiday home. Try Templeton on Murray, The River Block, Mundic Waterfront Cottages, Nikalapko Homestay or Renmark River Villas.
The River Block
Templeton on Murray
Start planning your group trip to the Riverland now and search the amazing range of accommodations here.