About three years ago a group of us hired a Murray River houseboat from Echuca (200km north of Melbourne) and spent seven days ‘socialising’ on the river. After having spent the last few weeks travelling beside the river from Goolwa (where the river meets the sea) in South Australia and as far inland as Renmark (close to the New South Wales border), we now think we may have had more adventurous experience if we had started somewhere north of Goolwa or even Mannum. In our drive along river, it seems at its deepest and widest on this stretch and there are definitely more towns, villages and vineyards to visit. There also appears to be a lot more places that you are able to pull onto the rivers edge for a night or two. Our opinion for what it is worth.
We had the perfect stopover spot at Mannum and ended by staying two nights. We were parked at the Bolto Reserve beside the Murray and directly across from the township of Mannum itself. Getting into town was a simple as a 5-minute walk to a barge crossing and catching the free barge that deposited you at the end of the main street.
Mannum is known in Australia as the ‘birthplace of the Murray River paddle steamers’. The first paddle steamer on the Murray was the ‘Mary Ann’ launched in 1853. She played a significant role in the moving of farm products and livestock along the river. Mannum today is a busy tourist centre (primarily around the houseboat industry) with significant farming activities in dairy, sheep and cereals.
More shots of our Mannum visit HERE .
Tuesday morning we continued our way north through the townships of Bow Hill, Walker Flat, Nildotter, Swan Reach, Blanchetown and into Morgan. At Morgan we said farewell to the Murray River for this part of our journey as we will not see it again until either the end of this year or early next year. We are going to miss the Murray water breezes that we have cooled us over the past weeks.
We hooked a left at Morgan and travelled a further 40km to the two-house village of Bowen. The locals allow travellers free parking behind the community hall, next to the football paddock and on nice flat ground away from the road. We more than appreciate the hospitality of the Australia’s country folk.
With the fires in the Flinders Range now under control, we decided we would travel into that area for a look around. This morning it was back on the road driving east into Eudunda for morning tea. We then took the Lost World Highway driving north through Robertson to Burra, then headed further north to the township of Petersborough, situated at the southern end of the Flinders Ranges. We have made this our overnight stop.
We had another ‘first’ today. Just as we were departing Robertson we were pulled into a Police road check. The police stop was checking driver licenses, driver sobriety and vehicle safety. The captain developed a ‘worried brow’ look as we pulled over. Most of you will know that he is just a bit partial to a rum and coke at the end of the day to sooth aching limbs (last night was no different) and in Australia there is a zero tolerance for heavy traffic license holders. Fifteen minutes later when we had passed all three tests, we were on our way. He hasn’t passed many tests in his life, let alone three in one day, so he was quite excited !!
We will be driving further into the Flinders Ranges tomorrow but not quite sure where as yet. We will let you know.