Living large on the Murray River

Australia's longest river can take you on an unforgettable adventure, but at a pace that absolutely insists you relax.

No rushing about here. Just slow moving water, extraordinary natural scenery and friendly historic towns that can't wait to meet you. A holiday on or along the Murray River is an exercise in relaxation. Whether you're travelling as a couple, a family or a group, the Murray knows what you need to stay entertained. Find great food and wine experiences and create beautiful memories.

Self-drive Murray River cruises

You don't have to be an America's Cup sailor to handle Murray River houseboats. A standard driver's license is all you need to become captain of your own floating holiday home. And Murray river boat hire covers all the options, so you can have a mini houseboat for two, a maxi vessel that's big enough for a family reunion, or any size in between.

The joy of houseboating involves freedom and lots of it. Drift with the river and see what's around the next bend, anchor for a picnic and a swim, or relax with a drink and gourmet BBQ. Extraordinary scenery and wildlife encounters come with the territory, while South Australia's famously reliable weather keeps things sunny.

Drift with the river and see what's around the next bend, anchor for a picnic and a swim, or relax with a drink and gourmet BBQ. 

Murray River cruises

Every vessel plying the waters of the Murray has an acronym. PS stands for paddle steamer; PB is a paddle boat; PV is a paddle vessel; MV is a motor vessel; SS stands for steam ship; and SWPS is a stern wheel paddle steamer. So clearly there's a fantastic selection of cruises happening on this awesome river. Some of them are hugely historic, like the P.S. Marion, built in 1897. Others are all about contemporary luxury, with no expense spared.

You can enjoy Murray River day cruises, which usually include lunch or dinner, or you can go the whole hog with a multi-day cruise. Of the paddle boat cruises available, the historic Murray River Princess is a favourite if you want to cruise in comfort and stay on board. Departure towns for Murray River boat cruises are Goolwa, Murray Bridge, Mannum, Waikerie and Renmark. You can also 'cruise' on foot with the Murray River Trails, one of the Great Walks of Australia, staying on luxury houseboats along the way.

Other things to do on the Murray River

Murray River tours aren't only about boats. Another way to explore is by car, which gives you the flexibility to visit Murray River wineries along the way. At the Lake Alexandrina end of the river is Langhorne Creek, a wine region dating back to 1850 that's known for full-bodied cabernet sauvignon and shiraz. The Riverland wine region is further along the river, near the state border with Victoria. Between these two points there are all kinds of Murray River attractions - visit Monarto Safari Park at Murray Bridge, go gliding in Waikerie and see Olivewood (a National Trust museum) in Renmark. Every river town has something to show you.

Houseboat image courtesy SATC