Murray River Safari

  • Experience the incredible wildlife diversity where Australia’s river oasis meets the outback
  • Enjoy short trips — guided walks, canoeing, an outback drive, and open boat cruising
  • Recharge on your luxurious houseboat with fresh lunches and superb river dining including local wines
  • Participate in Citizen Science to conserve key species
  • Spot koalas, kangaroos, brush-tailed possums, and identify frogs by their call
  • Admire the feats of migratory waders from the northern hemisphere and migratory Rainbow bee-eaters
  • Connect with the river through the stories of inspiring guides
  • Capture the amazing sunrise and sunset reflections
  • Experience the dark sky stars from your bedroom window
Location Renmark, South Australia
Dates March, April, October, November
Duration 4 Days 3 nights
Grade Relaxed, easy pace
Accommodation Luxury houseboat
Meals Fully catered
From $3300 pp twin share, single supplement available
Interests Exploring remote areas, nature, birdwatching, wildlife, local food, and wine
The boat and location were both amazing and beautiful. Thank you for being able to see and experience the amazing Murray. Understanding more about the importance of the river flow and the surrounding wetland has really made me think more about the environment. The canoe trip was lots of fun and again a great opportunity to see the amazing Murray and tributaries.
Del, November 2022


Day 1: River cruise and guided walk

Meet your guides at the Hotel Renmark conference room at 11:30am. Your guides will provide a brief introduction to the Murray River before you board our pontoon cruiser and begin a 25km cruise upstream though old growth redgum and red ochre-coloured cliffs that flank the river.

You’ll start familiarising with river country with keen eyes scanning the tree line for koalas, whistling kites, and waterbirds. You’ll be welcomed to your luxurious houseboat accommodation where you’ll enjoy lunch and settle in before setting off on a cultural walk, through river country.

The evening is spent on the houseboat admiring the cliff colours at sunset from the top deck or in the spa before your guides prepare a dinner paired with local wines to complete the day.

Day 2: Sunrise experience, kayaking and houseboat cruising, Regent Parrots

Rise before the sun to hear the birdsong and walk a gentle slope to the rim of the Murray River valley for a spectacular sunrise. Watch the vibrant colours of the river come to life, and spot busy Rainbow Bee Eaters catching insects.

After Breakfast, meet your canoe guide for a morning paddle through peaceful creeks and billabongs lined by mighty red gums, rafting up occasionally to drift and listen. Quiet paddling is a great way to spot a goanna on a tree or a spectacular sacred kingfisher.

Arriving back at the houseboat, you’ll start a two-hour houseboat cruise upstream to Chowilla Creek. As you cruise upstream, relax and enjoy the view as lunch is prepared by your guides.

After lunch you’ll explore on foot the forests and wetlands at your new location watching and listening carefully for noisy flights of Regent Parrots. Retire early after a long day capped off with local fare.

Day 3: Outback lakes tour and migratory waterbirds

After an early breakfast, you’ll set off on a driving tour of the great ephemeral lake system on the outer floodplain where spectacular birdwatching includes migratory waders that have travelled from the northern hemisphere, thousands of ducks, pied stilts, red-necked avocets, spoonbills and musk ducks. Expect to see blue-bonnet parrots, emus and their chicks, and magnificent red kangaroos as we drive across country between the lakes.

We return to find the houseboat in a new location opposite the spectacular Bunyip Reach Cliffs above lock 6.

Day 4: Houseboat cruise through a river lock and farewell BBQ

After breakfast and an optional stroll on the riverbank, we cruise leisurely down river and transfer through lock 6 on the way to our final mooring and departure point. We celebrate our experience over a BBQ lunch on the top deck, before farewelling the river and returning to the Hotel Renmark at 2pm.

Houseboat Accommodation

The houseboat is your floating  accommodation, moored in spectacular locations. Your bedroom windows offer stunning views of the river and you can watch from your bed as pelicans fly by. In the evenings, relax in the houseboat lounge and share stories with your fellow travellers as your guides prepare evening meals paired with local wines.

Murray River Safari tours operate on our houseboat High River which features ensuite bedrooms.

Read more about High River here.

Eco-conscious comfort

Operating in such a delicate environment, houseboats are the perfect accommodation for maintaining a low impact activity on the river system. Our ‘leave no trace’ approach is maintained and all waste is taken onshore to be composted, recycled or disposed of appropriately.

Our new houseboat ‘High River’ features ensuite bathrooms and 52 solar panels providing quiet efficient energy.

Ready to book?

AUD$3,300 per person twin share
AUD$4,950 per person in non-shared room


Monday October 14
Monday October 21
Monday October 28
Monday November 4
Monday November 11

Murray River Safari- 4 Days 3 nights

Monday November 18

Murray River Safari- 4 Days 3 nights

Monday November 25

Murray River Safari- 4 Days 3 nights

Frequently Asked Questions

Are your tours wheelchair accessible?

Please contact our Reservations Team to discuss your special needs.

The walking routes, houseboats and vehicles are not suitable for wheelchair access.

However, we can make accommodations for guests who can walk, but with low mobility. These guests can skip the walking route and remain on the houseboat while the group go out walking.

Do I need Travel Insurance?

At the time of booking a tour, consider an appropriate level of travel insurance that includes COVID-19 cover. Please read the PDS and check the policy is right for you before making a purchase. Murray River Trails will not be held liable for any additional costs involved or for a partial refund of the tour costs if the tour is aborted or stopped by circumstances outside of our control.

What types of plants & animals might we see?

Although we can’t guarantee sightings, we frequently encounter red and grey kangaroos, emus, echidnas, pelicans, goannas, possums, whistling kites & wedge-tailed eagles, and more than 60 species of endemic birds including rare regent parrots, Australian ringneck parrots and crimson rosellas. Ducks and migratory waders such as sharp-tailed sandpipers are often seen on the lakes together with red-necked avocets and pied stilts.

Common species of plants that you will see include river red-gums, black box eucalypts and mallee-eucalypts, river coobah, emu bush, showy daisies, Darling lilies, ruby saltbush and many more.

We do not feed or handle animals on our tours and we do not encourage our guests to do so while on tour.

Can you cater to special dietary requirements?

We cater for special dietary requirements — we just need to know in advance. Your guides prepare nourishing three-course meals each night that showcase local produce paired with local wines. A range of beverages are available including juice, cordial, beer and wine, tea and coffee. We also provide milk (dairy) and almond milk (non-dairy).

Are the activities hard?

Canoeing will typically be in a double canoe so that you can share the paddling. The agility to get in and out of the canoe is important and our guides will assist you to get started if you are a novice.

A 5 km walk is considered easy on flat terrain, and there is a gentle ascent and descent up and down the river cliffs.

Our walking pace is designed to allow you to enjoy the diverse river landscapes, wildlife and the people you are walking with. There’s plenty of time to take photos and savour the view.

All other activities will involve your guides transferring you to spectacular locations in a minibus, pontoon cruiser or the houseboat.

What is a ‘pontoon cruiser’ boat?

The cruiser is a comfortable 12 seater “open air” pontoon style boat. It is a stable, secure and quiet craft, navigated expertly by your guide along the mighty Murray River. The pontoon boat transfers you to and from your daily adventures and is a great way to see wildlife along the river, its backwaters, and creeks.

What clothing should I pack?

Packing should be guided by the average monthly temperatures. We recommend packing clothing that can be layered and a wind/waterproof jacket along with a beanie, scarf and gloves for extra comfort if it rains or whilst cruising early in the morning. Also pack a sun hat.

What is the weather like?

Murray River Safari operates between March and November to avoid the hot summer heat of December, January and February.

March, April, October and November are all warm months that will encourage you to take a swim in the river when you are on the houseboat. The average daily maximum temperatures for these months (degrees Celsius) ranges from 26.3C to 30.9C.

Hot days will occur and therefore light clothes, sun hats and sunscreen are important as well as carrying water each day.

May to September are the cooler months where conditions make for comfortable walking. Calm, sunny days are typical during these cooler months, but make sure you pack a windproof jacket for travelling in the open-air pontoon cruiser. Campfires are permitted at this time of year.

The average daily maximum temperatures (degrees Celsius) are as follows: May 20°C, June 17°C, July 17°C, August 18°C, September 21°C.

What type of shoes should I wear?

We recommend you wear lace-up hiking shoes or boots that have sturdy, treaded soles for daily activities and comfortable shoes for nightly wear on the houseboat. Sneakers should not be worn on your walk.

What do I carry each day?

We provide you with a 34 litre daypack to carry your lunch, a 1 litre water bottle, snacks, warm layers and other personal items in. This will weigh between 3 to 5kg depending on the additional items you choose to pack.

How many guides are there?

Two guides will accompany you on Safari who are both great interpreters and fantastic cooks. One of your guides will accompany you on the activities away from the houseboat (canoeing, walking, cruising, birdwatching on spectacular inland lakes) while a second guide will remain on the houseboat preparing meals for when you return.

How many guests will be on my trip?

Murray River Safari tours accommodate up to 10 people. The small group size ensures minimal wildlife disturbance and allows sharing of nature and easy conversations with like-minded people and your friendly and knowledgeable guides.

Where do tours depart from?

Safari journeys depart from Paringa (5 minutes from Renmark) in the Riverland region of South Australia from March through until November.

Check out our other tours