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Murray River National Park
Murray River National Park

Murray River National Park 10 reasons to float down river

Murray River National Park is a treasure in a land of dry/arid interiors. Water creates a visual spectacle as it flows through the floodplains between Renmark and Loxton. There are three sections within the park. Katarapko (towns of Berri & Glossop, settlement of Winkie), Lyrup Flats (town of Lyrup) and Bulyong Island (town of Renmark). Highlights include a paddle steamboat tour, slow strolls along the riverbanks, a chance to observe the wildlife and to catch the sun setting on ochre cliffs. The scenery is quintessential Australia, sunburnt, slightly scrabbly and tinged with dark greys and blacks of past fires, lack of water and the tough environment flora and fauna survive in. The red river gums are iconic to this landscape and it is a sight now under threat of survival due to land management practices and a changing climate. The Murray River is a magical story teller, take a slow boat and listen to its rhythm.

NOTE: Each section has separate entrances and exits so check maps before your road trip. Renmark is 146km from Mildura (Victoria) on the Sturt Highway.

1
GO KAYAKING

Take it slow and paddle along the Murray. KATARAPKO SECTION Quiet wetlands tempt visitors to take an undemanding paddle along the Katarapko Creek. This significant creek is an important habitat for native fish that passes through black box, red gum and lignum covered floodplains and wetlands alive with aquatic bird species. The Katarapko Section offers beginners a chance to safely embark on their first kayaking adventure to experienced kayakers partaking in multiple day trips. There are several entrance options from the Katarapko Creek, the Splash, Eckert Creek and the Bookpurnong Cliffs. These can be pieced together in different combinations to allow paddling from short 1-2 hour outings, half-day trips and overnight canoe camping  with options to suit a variety of different abilities, fitness levels and time spans. Canoe Adventures are based in Berri.

2
TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE

Ngak Indau Wetland Trail is a track suitable for all age groups introducing visitors to birdlife. Spoonbills, an array of duck species, herons and whistling kites gives you a sense of the original landscape before human occupation. The wetlands are home to wild kangaroos and lizards. This trail is in the Lock 4 and Eckert Creek Section of Murray River National Park. The walk begins at the car park just off Lock 4 road.

  • Length: 3km
  • Duration: 1 – 3 hours
  • Grade: Easy
3
GO FISHING

Try your hand fishing, either from the shore or on the water.

Fish species:

  • Murray Cod (edible)
  • Callop (Murray Perch) edible
  • Catfish
  • Redfin
  • European Carp (must not be returned to river alive)

The mighty Murray River is the destination to catch yourself a trophy size Murray Cod. These elusive giants can grow up to 1.8 meters attracting anglers worldwide. You can also catch golden perch, trout, trout cod, redfin, estuary perch and carp. Good bait choices include Scrub/earthworms, Power bait, Yabbies, Mudeye and a wide range of soft plastics & lures… from Fishing Mad

TIP: Before you cast in a line or throw in a yabby net, make sure you know what the rules are by downloading the SA Recreation Fishing Guide App on your smartphone. The app has all the information you need on bag and size limits and fishing rules, and includes full-colour illustrations so you can ID your catch.

4
RENMARK SECTION - PADDLE STEAMER

Indulge in the sheer delight boarding a paddle steamer. The puff of steam energy signals a majestic pace on an iconic river. The steamer’s fascinating history brings the river story to life. Life for PS Industry was as a work boat for the SA Engineering and Water Supply Department. Restored by volunteers, visitors can share the river with a heritage workhorse. Definitely a highlight. The PS Industry is moored on the Renmark Riverfront, the Paddle Steamer Industry, a visible reminder of bygone times on the Murray River. Kids will love watching the wood fire boiler being stoked and hiss of steam. Bookings are essential with several departures daily.

5
HERITAGE & PASTORAL HISTORY

CRAGGS HUT WALK – KATARAPKO WALKING. Perhaps part of your day paddling The Murray. Stop along the way for a short walk around the Cragg’s Hut Walking Trail. It’s an easy 40-minute, 1.3km loop that includes the historic remains of the homes of settler families the Craigies and the Blands. In the 1930’s the two families shared a lease on Katarapko Island. In 1956 a massive flood finished the dream and the land eventually was designated a reserve. The trail is marked with interpretative plaques describing the era of European settlement. There are historic remains of the homes and visit the grave of Margaret Craigie, before resting at the lookout and gazing out over the land that sustained these families.

  • Length: 2km
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Grade: Easy
6
INSTAGRAM MOMENTS

Headings Cliff offers stunning views of the Murray River and is one of the most photographed scenes in the region. A short 10 minute drive from Paringa, the unique, rich colors in the golden limestone cliffs is a popular sunset location for your selfie. Follow the fenced track and you have the choice to take in the magnificent views from ground level or make your way up the tower platform for an even better vantage point.

  • Car parking: available
  • Lookout: 200 m flat access from carpark
  • Lookout: Tower platform (steps)
  • Toilets: none
7
LINGER, STAY - THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Definitely camping in the glorious outdoors is popular for outdoors buffs yet holiday makers with kids or family groups look for a playground and safe swimming areas. Berri Riverside Holiday Park is a great place to rest with nearby citrus orchards. Cabins, chalets, ensuite motel units and tent sites make for a comfortable hub for a Murray River National Park exploration. Berri Farmers Market and local delis will make shopping a breeze and your picnic backpack sorted for a day kayaking the river.

NOTE: Outdoor buffs nearby Martin’s Bend Reserve have a minimal charge camping, no showers, toilets and the river at your tent opening. This campground borders a walking trail into Berri or follows a loop trail around the wetlands. For camping within Murray River National Park check the Parks SA for details and regulations.

8
BULYONG ISLAND

Bulyong Island is a special place in the river network. The island getaway is not far from Renmark. Western grey kangaroos, emus, pelicans, kingfishers and parrots have made the island their home. The island is a favourite place for anglers, small boat users and houseboats with the island forming part of the River Murray flood plain and includes several significant areas of waterfowl habitat. The Goolwa street boat ramp is the closest launch point. Bulyong Island can only be reached by boat. Kids will love the idea of an island excursion. A day exploring the extensive waterways above Renmark by small boat.

9
WALKING ENTHUSIASTS HAVE PARINGA PADDOCK TO EXPLORE

Paringa Paddocks Park offers all the features of a National Park, while also being so close to the Renmark township. Paringa Paddocks is a newly declared section of the Murray River National Park that is easily accessible from the Sturt Highway between Renmark and Paringa townships. There are extensive walking and mountain bike trails. The heritage Paringa Bridge and Lock 5 are sites worth visiting. The park is part of the Murray River floodplain. Trails SA describe Paringa Paddocks trails …l you can enjoy bush and river scenery and plenty of wildlife activity. The track is designed to be used in a clockwise direction with different lengths and levels of difficulty to enjoy. Loop 1 Paringa Paddock, Loop 2 Goat Island, and 5 alternative routes. Alternative routes offer more challenging terrain and obstacles for the adventurous. Please use your own discretion about track conditions following rain and during high river. The trails are marked with directional markers. The trails commence from the picnic area and car park at the Lions Park. The Park is just a 1.3km walk from the Renmark Paringa Visitor Information Centre in central Renmark.

10
RELAX AND UNWIND IN THE MURRAY RIVER, LAKES AND COORONG REGION

The Murray continues its flow to the sea. Coorong Region is a thread of salt water lagoons with breathtaking scenery and abundant wildlife. The sweeping sand dunes of the Younghusband Peninsula act as a natural barrier preserving a wetland of international significance and important archaeological site. The distinctive environment is an significant breeding ground for the Australian pelican and is a refuge for ducks, swans, cormorants, terns, grebes and numerous species of migratory birds. Bird watchers, twitchers and wildlife lovers simply follow the Murray River National Park for a birding highlight.

The Murray River is Australia’s longest single river, running across three states and bringing water landscapes to its surrounds. A truly Aussie river running through NSW, Victoria and South Australia is a lifetime for rural agriculture, a habitat for wildlife and a place of refuge for native birds. The Murray offers differing experiences as it flows and ebbs through the Australian story.

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