Murray River Safari

Murray River Safari is an adventure set on Australia’s greatest river designed to showcase the diverse wildlife of the Riverland Ramsar Wetland of International Importance and its surrounding dune landscapes, where more than 180 endemic bird species have been recorded.

In just 3 days you’ll discover kangaroos and emus and the spectacular forests of a broad river bound by majestic ochre-coloured cliffs. Your journey will include walking with Aboriginal rangers, canoeing tranquil backwaters, and driving on a birdwatching safari through dunes and ephemeral lakes on Calperum Station conservancy area. Each night you can sit by a riverbank campfire under the sparkling starlit skies where your lodge style houseboat accommodation is moored. You’ll also be treated to superb local food and wine with a creative native twist.

Dates March-November
Duration 3 Days
Grade Active
Accommodation Houseboat
From $1,900 pp twin share
Multi-activity tour
MRSafari WHITE INVERTED
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, May 2019

Itinerary

Day 1: Renmark to Headings Cliffs
5km

Meet the Murray River Safari team in Renmark, leave your car secure and we’ll transfer you by bus to your houseboat accommodation. On-route we’ll stop at Headings Cliffs overlooking the spectacular landscapes of the Murray River and the places you’ll explore over the next three days. Board your houseboat and enjoy lunch while cruising through dense red gum forests to your overnight mooring, spotting river birds along the way. Now you are ready to join the Aboriginal Rangers on Calperum Station for an afternoon discovering this amazing culture, returning to your houseboat for pre-dinner nibbles around the campfire. Nocturnal walking and stargazing the night skies await after dinner.

Day 2: Sunrise birdwatching and canoeing

Awake early and board a minibus for sunrise on Lake Merreti where spectacular birdwatching can include Pied Stilts, Red-necked Avocets, Yellow-billed Spoonbills, migratory waders and ducks, and emus and kangaroos visiting the shoreline. Harriers and Whistling Kites will be busy in this area and an occasional Wedge-tailed Eagle may visit. Enjoy morning tea on the lake before we journey into the mallee dune country that surrounds the floodplain, home of the Mallee Fowl. We return to our houseboat for lunch and an afternoon siesta. Rested, we cruise to the start of a guided canoe route through the Woolenook Bend backwaters before cruising on twilight back to our houseboat where dinner awaits.

Day 3: Headings Cliffs to Paringa

The dawn chorus and aromas of great coffee raise you from your sleep. Enjoy breakfast on the houseboat as the sunlight on the cliffs is reflected in the mirror-like surface of the river. After breakfast you can explore the riverbank and the native plants on your island home. Gather your thoughts and record your inspirations during a leisurely cruise on the houseboat to the innovative Wilkadene Woolshed Brewery.

Meet the head brewer and enjoy a tour and tasting before savouring a lunch prepared by your guides. Then we say our farewells as you depart to Renmark town for transfers further afield.

Downloads

Lodge Style Accommodation

The houseboat is your lodge style accommodation which is moored in a spectacular location opposite Headings Cliffs. The view from your bedroom window frames amazing scenery and river mists early in the morning. In the evenings, relax in the houseboat lounge and share stories with your fellow travellers as your guides prepare mouthwatering 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 moves each day to your daily walking destination, 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$1,900 per person twin share
AUD$2,850 per person in non-shared room
AUD$1,900 per person single traveller willing to share a room
Enquire about our 2020 October and November tour dates

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.

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.

You might also like our other Murray River tours