For everything about the RIVERLAND you are in the right place. From getting there, to places to visit, to the best accommodation this article summarises all your needs for the RIVERLAND.
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The Riverland is an interesting and beautiful area of South Australia. Located around the banks of the mighty Murray River (Australia’s longest and largest river system), the Riverland lies to the north of the Murraylands area, and just a few hours drive north-east of Adelaide. It’s a very tranquil area, with gorgeous scenery, a relaxed outlook and there are hundreds of things to do in the Riverland.
Located on the traditional lands of the Ngaiawang, Ngawait, and Erawirung indigenous peoples, the Riverland was settled by Europeans in the 1880s. Renmark, the first and largest town in the area was settled in 1887, and is today home to around 4,500 residents, while over 40,000 people live in the larger Riverland area. Like much of South Australia, the Riverland is a mostly Mediterranean style climate, with hot dry summers and fairly mild winters. On average, it’s slightly warmer than Adelaide.
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Getting To The Riverland
To fully explore the Riverland region, you’ll definitely need your own car (need car hire, click here). Passenger coach services operate from Adelaide to Renmark, and some car rental services are available in town, but realistically it’s easier to do the three hour drive north-east from Adelaide yourself. And to properly appreciate the various Riverland attractions, your own transport is a must.
So if you’re looking for things to do in the Riverland, or more information about Riverland tourism generally, read on for some of the highlights!
Riverland SA Attractions
The mighty Murray River is at the heart of the Riverland area, and it’s no surprise that most of the Riverland things to do are based around the river. But whether you like being active, relaxing, or enjoying great food and wine, there’s plenty for everyone here in the Riverland.
Go Houseboating On The Murray River
One of the best ways to explore the Murray River area is by renting a houseboat. The freedom to explore up and down the river as far as you wish, while being self-sufficient and able to explore wherever takes your fancy, is just an amazing feeling. Find a beautiful vantage point, drop anchor, and watch the currents slide slowly by. You don’t need a special license to hire a houseboat, and as most houseboats come with multiple bedrooms, it’s a fantastic thing to do as a family or with a larger group. Most operators are located around Renmark and Paringa, and prices vary significantly based on the size and features of the boat. Be sure to book in early, as it’s a very popular activity!
Visit The Murray River National Park
Murray River National Park is a large area of preserved bush and wetlands, home to a plethora of birds, fish, and land animals. It consists of six separate areas, all of which are separated by towns. The main three areas are at Katarapko, Lyrup Flats, and at Bulyong, and of those three Katarapko is by far the most popular. It’s a great spot for fishing, camping, bushwalking, canoeing, and even star-gazing as well!
Taste Delicious Food & Wine
The Riverland is one of Australia’s many productive fruit-growing regions. There are many well-known Riverland wineries, with hundreds of vineyards scattered around the area. But there’s plenty of orchards here as well, particularly citrus and stone fruits. The town of Berri is home to one of Australia’s best-known juice brands (Berri Juices), and much of their fruit still comes from the area. The associated Berri Estates nearby is the southern hemisphere’s largest winery (not the best wine though – cheap casks)! While driving through the area, keep an eye out for roadside stalls with fresh produce, like Aggie’s Fresh Fruit Stall and Tony & Effies Fruit Stall, both located in Glossop. And of course, there’s plenty of other produce too like coffee beans, fresh breads, craft beers, and locally distilled gins.
Get Out On The Water
If you’re not confident with a large houseboat, but still keen to explore the majestic Murray River, canoeing and kayaking can be a fantastic option. Bring your own, or hire from the many operators in Renmark, Berri, and Loxton. Companies like Canoe the Riverland and Canoe Adventures also offer packages that can include packed lunches, sunset paddles, even overnight trips with camping gear included! Paddling your own way around the creeks and wetlands is a totally different experience from seeing the river on a large motorised boat, and it really allows you to get up close and personal with the inhabitants of the wetlands.
Go Bird Watching
Birds are everywhere on the Murray, and the Riverland area is no exception. Over 200 species are known to frequent the area, including robins, fairy-wrens, honeyeaters, pelicans, and much more. Aside from the National Park, one great spot for bird watching is at Banrock Station, which features a boardwalk with bird hides – and of course a winery on site as well! So you can taste the local produce while watching the local wildlife – perfect.
Riverland Road Trips
The Riverland is a great destination for a road trip. It’s far enough from Adelaide that it’s a genuine country experience, but not far enough to make it a difficult journey. With that in mind, let’s check out the best option for a road trip in the Riverland.
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Multi Night Road Trip Following The Murray
Everything in the Riverland is centred around the Murray, and exploring it should be your top priority for a road trip. Follow the A-20 road north out of Adelaide, through Gawler, Nuriootpa, and Blanchetown, before arriving in the Riverland at Kingston on Murray. Start your trip with wine tasting and bird watching at Banrock Station, before following the highway eastwards to Barmera.
On the way you’ll encounter Lake Bonney Barmera, which is lovely and worth looking around. Grab some fresh fruit from the stalls at Glossop and continue east to Berri. Head south to Loxton and explore the Katarapko area of Murray River National Park, one of the best things to do in Loxton. From there, head from Loxton to Berri, have a drink at the iconic Berri pub, and follow the river north-east to Renmark.
For things to do in Renmark, there’s some beautiful old buildings and many fantastic wineries too. Jump on one of the Murray River cruises to explore the river, or hire a houseboat and cruise north along the Murray for a peaceful few days. Once you’ve explored the Renmark attractions, head back to Adelaide via the same route.
Riverland Accommodation South Australia
One of the nicest things about the Riverland area is how many accommodation options are available, from luxury hotels, to caravan parks, to camping.
For great Murray River accommodation, start by looking at Renmark hotels. One highlight is the Renmark Hotel Motel, while if you’re looking for a Renmark motel then Citrus Valley Motel is a solid choice. At the ultra-luxury end of the spectrum, The Frames Luxury Accommodation across the river in Paninga is spectacular. Further afield, Loxton Courthouse Apartments in Loxton is a lovely spot, while Berri Hotel located at the famous Berri pub is an excellent option.
Need A Hotel?
As usual, there’s many great Airbnbs in the Riverlands area. For a luxurious stay, the Pike River Stone Luxury Villa in Lyrup is magnificent. If you’re a bit more budget conscious, Kathy’s Comfy Cove in Loxton has a private room at an excellent price, while for Barmera accommodation it’s hard to go past Jewel of the Riverland located right on the shores of Lake Bonney.
Riverland Caravan Parks
A great Renmark caravan park is Renmark Big 4 Caravan Park, while nearby Riverbend Caravan Park and Paringa Caravan Park are also solid choices. In Berri, check out Berri Riverside Holiday Park, while the best Barmera caravan park is Discovery Parks Lake Bonney. Further south in Loxton, the Loxton Riverfront Holiday Park is highly rated.
Need A Caravan Park?
The perfect spot for Murray River camping is definitely inside the Murray River National Park. Most popular is the Katarapko area between Berri and Loxton with a big selection of bush camping options available. If you’re keen to go camping in the heart of the action, Loveday 4×4 Park near Barmera is a perfect spot, while north of Renmark you could stay at Chowilla Game Reserve or Danggali Wilderness Protection Area.
Murray River houseboats are iconic for a good reason, and if you’re looking to really relax out on the water, there’s genuinely no better option. You don’t require a special boat license (just your regular car license is enough), and no special skills are needed either. Several companies offer houseboats in Renmark-Paringa, including: Houseboat Heaven, Customs House Houseboats, Above Renmark, Renmark Houseboats, Quality Houseboats, and Riverfun Houseboats. In Loxton, you can hire from Riverland Houseboats Loxton, and at Kingston-on-Murray there’s Golden Leisure Houseboats.
All up, Riverland South Australia is one of the nicest and most peaceful areas of the state. Blessed with fantastic scenery and loads of stuff to do, it’s a perfect choice for those wanting a relaxed getaway in one of Australia’s most iconic locations.