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

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Location Renmark, South Australia
Dates March, April, October, November
Duration 3 Days 2 nights
Grade Relaxed, easy pace
Accommodation Luxury houseboat
Meals Fully catered
From $1,750 pp twin share, single supplement available
Interests Exploring remote areas, nature, birdwatching, wildlife, local food, and wine
The crew were so incredibly skilled and knowledgeable and everything so streamlined. They work so tirelessly so that we could have an incredible holiday as well as learning experience. Really appreciated all their efforts.
John, VIC

Itinerary

Day 1: River cruise and cliff walk

Meet your guides in Paringa at 10am where they will provide a brief introduction to the landscape before you  board our roomy pontoon cruiser and begin cruising along the Murray River. You discover river country with keen eyes scanning the tree line for koalas and waterbirds.

You’ll be welcomed at the houseboat where lunch has been prepared and settle into your rooms before setting off on a guided cliff walk with possibilities of spotting Wedge-tailed Eagles, honeyeaters, and migratory bee-eaters.

The evening is spent on the houseboat admiring the sunset before your guides prepare a gourmet dinner paired with local wines to complete the day.

Nocturnal walking and stargazing the night skies await after dinner and your guides help you spot Brush-tailed possums for an important citizen science project. To end the day your comfortable bed looks out over starry reflections of an inland sky.

Day 2: Birdwatching on the ephemeral lakes

After a nourishing breakfast we enjoy a driving tour to the great ephemeral lake system on the outer floodplain where spectacular birdwatching can include thousands of ducks, black swans and their cygnets, Pied Stilts, Red-necked Avocets, Yellow-billed Spoonbills, migratory waders and rarer Blue-billed ducks.

A packed lunch is enjoyed overlooking these vast waterbodies. Swamp harriers and Whistling Kites will be busy in this area and an occasional Wedge-tailed Eagle, or a White-bellied Sea Eagle may visit.

We return to the houseboat in time to admire the sunset on the cliffs. Pre-dark we will play the calls of the Bush-stone Curlew to assess their response and their conservation status on the Murray River floodplains.

Your guides will prepare and serve a delicious 3 course dinner on the houseboat featuring the iconic Murray Cod farmed locally.

Day 3: Kayaking and houseboat cruising

The dawn chorus raises you gently from sleep and the aromas of fresh coffee encourage you to leave the comfort of bed.

This morning we take a guided paddling trail through the creeks where you can encounter pelicans, darters, cormorants, spoonbills, and the spectacular Sacred kingfisher.

Arriving back at the houseboat, we start a leisurely houseboat cruise along the magnificent red-ochre-coloured cliffs on the way to our lunch site on the river.

Lunch is prepared by your guides and served on the top deck of the houseboat. After another short cruise on the houseboat, we farewell you as you transfer by minibus to your vehicles by 2pm.

Lodge Style Accommodation

The houseboat is your lodge-based accommodation, moored in spectacular locations. Your bedroom room offers 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 a superb nightly meals.

More information about your houseboat accommodation

The creature comforts include 5 bedrooms (each room sleeps 2 people), 2 bathrooms with hot showers, a spacious lounge, a modern kitchen and a top deck area with hot spa and spectacular views.

The houseboat accommodation is exclusively yours and you only need to unpack once as you keep the same room for the entire journey.

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.

Ready to book?

AUD$1,750 per person twin share
AUD$2,625 per person in non-shared room
AUD$1,750 per person single traveller willing to share a room
MRSafari WHITE INVERTED

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Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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