South Australia - Murraylands - Australia's Riverland Playground

Just an hour's drive from Adelaide, the Murraylands is the perfect place to escape the pressures of big city living.

The Murray River is the centrepiece of the region and offers a range of watersports, fishing, cruising, camping and environmental tourism attractions. The wide meandering river cuts through the region, flanked by tall limestone cliffs and huge river red gums. And where the Murray reaches the sea, the expansive Lake Alexandrina and Coorong offer visitors wide vistas of wetlands, challenging sport fishing, stunning birdlife and miles of empty beaches with pristine white sand dunes.

Houseboat holidays on the river offer beautiful scenery, nature walks in conservation parks and visits to historic towns. You can catch your own fish and cook up a feast for dinner - pure indulgence.

The Murraylands is also home to wildlife sanctuaries, pioneer villages and amusement parks, while the spectacular unspoilt beauty

Murray River Houseboating in South Australia
Murray River Houseboating

of the Murray mallee is the perfect environment in which to discover a land untouched by time.

Situated just 80km east of Adelaide on the South Eastern Freeway, Murray Bridge is less than an hour's drive from Adelaide, and a similar distance from the Barossa and beautiful Fleurieu Peninsula. Murray Bridge was formerly known as Edward's Crossing, but changed its name after the first bridge was built across the river in 1879. A rail bridge was built in 1925 and the Swanport Bridge in 1979. The town is now home to a population of 13,500 people, and is the thriving hub of the Murraylands region.

Not far from the town, Monarto Zoological Park is an open range zoo and offers visitors the opportunity to see giraffe, zebra, antelope, cheetah and bison roaming free over 1000 hectares. Monarto is home to Australia's largest giraffe herd, South Australia's first white rhino, a cheetah habitat, herds of zebra and antelope, ostriches and has recently acquired African painted dogs, which are believed to be the most endangered carnivore species in Africa. It is a blend of conservation park, national park, and zoological park all rolled into one.

Puzzle Park and Dundee's Wildlife are also great attractions for the kids near Murray Bridge. Puzzle Park offers a giant waterslide, racing cars, a 4km maze, paddleboats, mini-golf and more. For the younger children, there's a junior waterslide, mini slippery-dip, and a toddlers' swimming pool.

Paddlesteamer on the Murray River in South Australia
Paddlesteamer on the Murray River
Mannum is the birthplace of the Murray River paddlesteamer. The town was developed after William Randell launched Australia's first paddlesteamer the Mary Anne there. This innovation pioneered river trade to the Victorian goldfields and

transport networks were quickly developed along the Murray, Murrumbidgee and Darling Rivers. Today the town is home port to the Murray Princess, the Proud Mary and the 100-year-old paddlesteamer Marion.

Situated on the South Eastern Freeway, Tailem Bend's history is intertwined with South Australia's railway heritage. The town's rail history is showcased in the old steam locomotive that stands as the centrepiece to the town's popular playground. Old Tailem Town, on the outskirts of Tailem Bend, also captures the interesting colonial history of the area with more than 90 refurbished buildings offering a living reminder of the State's pioneering days.

The Murray mallee is home to true Australian farming country, with large tracts of land used for dryland cereal crops and grazing. This region is home to more than 40 national parks and the rare and elusive mallee fowl.

For more information on South Australia vacations, please log on to www.southaustralia.com

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