Western Grey Kangaroo
High River Houseboat
From: $2,099 USD
Duration: 4 days/3 nights
Type: Groups, Private Charter, Shared.
Interests: Land Mammals & Marsupials.
About Murray River Walk:
Murray River Walk was founded by proud Riverland locals and passionate Murray River champions, Tony & Susie Sharley in 2020. Raising the profile and advocacy for Australia’s greatest river is central to the organisation's mission, through sharing the stories of the region's wildlife, landscapes, history, culture, people and environmental challenges. Recently, the team has established the Murray River Trails Fund, supporting organisations at the forefront of improving the region’s biodiversity, river floodplain health and status of threatened species in the region.
Price per person based on twin share houseboat accommodation, including touring & meals. Single supplements apply. Black-out dates may apply. Pricing is subject to availability and all prices, itineraries and routings are subject to change without notice. Currency fluctuations may affect prices as quotes based on AUD. Prices are current at time of posting (1/4/2023) and may differ when you book your travel. Please contact us for our current pricing and itinerary details.*
After meeting your expert guides and fellow walkers in Renmark for a pre-walk briefing, guests will board a pontoon “cruiser” boat for a 14 kilometre (9 mile) cruise along the Murray River to the start of the walking route. This private cruise provides abundant opportunities to spot Australian Pelicans, Australasian Darters, Black Swans, Yellow-billed Spoonbills, Whistling Kites, Blue-winged Shoverlers, ducks and a colony of wild Koalas.
"I really enjoy observing Blue-winged Shovelers and Pink-eared Ducks. They are such beautiful wetland birds that use their filter feeding bills to catch small aquatic plants and animals that live in the ephemeral lakes when they fill."
Tony Sharley - Founder & Guide
Guides will share the story behind the World War II Japanese internment camp and cross creeks that feed the River Red Gum forests and box woodlands, before a gentle climb through the ochre cliffs, reveals a magnificent view of the vast Murray River floodplain that will surround you over the next three days. There may be opporutunities to spot Wedge-tailed Eagles, Red-capped Robins, Gilbert's Whistlers, Emus and Mulga, Red-rumped, Mallee Ringneck and Blue Bonnet Parrots.
After taking in these breathtaking vistas, walkers will take a short transfer across the river in the cruiser to arrive to the houseboat – before a cool foot dip in the river or a hot spa followed by a three course dinner paired with local wines.
Walkers will rise before the sun and walk a gentle slope to the rim of the Murray River valley for a spectacular sunrise to hear the dawn chorus, with numerous honeyeaters and Rufous and Gilbert's whistlers a highlight for birdwatchers. After enjoying some photographic opportunities and time to absorb the remarkable geological layers, guests will return to the houseboat for a hearty cooked breakfast.
“I tell the geology story on our sunrise walk. As we near the top of the cliffs the sun begins to rise over the vast landscape illuminating the coloured cliffs with a shimmer of water running through it. A kookaburra might start calling, then we walk a bit further before we stop for coffee and tea, biscuits and a chat.”
Tony Sharley - Founder & Guide
With the final destination of the day being the historic Chowilla Station shearing shed on the banks of the Murray River, the group will follow an ancient river oxbow, before exploring dense River Red Gum forest on the way to lunch on the river bank including Aboriginal Canoe trees. An exploration of Amazon Creek through Little Hunchee Island provides opportunities to see Sacred Kingfishers, numerous duck species, egrets, herons and Australian Pelicans, before meeting the creek cruiser which will transfer the group to the houseboat. Upon arrival, guests will enjoy a local tasting plate before dipping feet in the refreshing waters of the Murray River.
After enjoying a tasty breakfast, the guides will provide a briefing on the Murray Darling Basin and the management of its network of rivers which drain 14% of Australia's land mass. The group will then cruise to the Chowilla Creek Environmental Regulator, to learn about environmental watering and new stewardship for the river, before setting off on the day's walk.
The beautiful route along the Chowilla Creek will provide access to restored wetlands and the proposed site of the 1960’s Chowilla Dam. This is a prime opportunity to spot abundant birdlife before reaching the Queens Bend Cliffs lookout, before cruising to the houseboat as the late afternoon sun illuminates the red cliffs.
Guests can enjoy an optional two kilometre walk along the river after breakfast, before cruising in a private pontoon boat through Lock 6. After rejoining the houseboat downstream, guests will cruise for two hours to the innovative Wilkadene Woolshed Brewery, set in a 100 year old shearing shed on the banks of the river.
Enjoy a tour with the head brewer before sitting down with guides to a fine barbecue before saying farewells to the group. Guests depart for Renmark by bus and arrive at the Renmark Hotel at 2.00pm.
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.
Murray River Walk tours departing on a Monday operate on our new luxury houseboat High River which features ensuite bathrooms.
Houseboats are the perfect option for ecologically-minded travellers, maintaining a low impact activity on the river system. Groups abide by a ‘leave no trace’ policy and all waste is taken onshore to be composted, recycled or disposed of appropriately.
Pricing: from AUD$2,800 per person twin share. Monday tours are onboard a houseboat with ensuite rooms AU$3,300 per person twin share.
Shared Group Size: Maximum of 10 guests, with three guides accompanying guests on this experience.
Pick-up and Drop Off Point: Renmark Community Hotel
Pick-up and Drop-off Time: Approximately 7:30am (Day 1) and 2:00pm (Day 4).
WINNER Hall of Fame & Winner South Australian Tourism Award Ecotourism 2022 • 2019
WINNER South Australian Tourism Award Ecotourism 2022 • 2021 • 2018 • 2017
SILVER Australian Tourism Award Ecotourism 2021 • 2017
Murray River Trails contributes observations of flora & fauna via iNaturalist, the world’s leading global social biodiversity network. This platform allows our team to create research-quality citizen science data that enables a more detailed picture of our national biodiversity, and assists bodies such as the CSIRO, ecologists and other decision makers to deliver better outcomes for the environment and our species.
Our guides record observations with iNaturalist Australia by using the iNaturalist app on mobile phones or desktop computers. An observation records an encounter with an individual organism at a particular time and location in the Riverland. We require photos to be attached to observations for them to become research grade and added to the Atlas of Living Australia.
This is where you can greatly assist us in capturing images out in the field! Although we make broader observations that we think are valuable to the local scientific community, we have identified the following species to track when we are exploring the Riverland by houseboat, kayak, vehicle or on foot.
Key species we're looking out for include:
Murray River Trails have established the Murray River Trails Fund, to raise money for organisations at the forefront of improving the region’s biodiversity, river floodplain health and status of threatened species in the region. Up until the 1920s, the rivers flowing in the Murray-Darling Basin, made up of Australia’s most famous two rivers, were unregulated.
Ninety percent of the water flowed out to sea covering floodplains and filling wetlands and creeks along the 2,500km plus journey. The river system naturally flooded and dried almost every year, but today we have reversed the way the system works, by keeping floodplains dry most of the time and allowing only 10 percent of the water to flow out to the sea.
Unfortunately, the lack of overbank flow (small floods that feed forests and fill shallow lakes) due to this reversal, has decreased the regeneration of phytoplankton and zooplankton, which in turn initiates the breeding cycle in insects, frogs, fish and water birds and recharges groundwater systems.
Murray River Trails founder and owner, Tony Sharley, is a leading advocate for the Murray River, and speaks regularly at forums about environmental flows and establishing new conservation-focused industries, such as eco-tourism, that do not extract water from Australia’s precious rivers. The organisation has recently established the Murray River Trails Fund, to raise money for organisations at the forefront of improving the region’s biodiversity, river floodplain health and status of threatened species in the region.
Murray River Trails launched their new ‘High River’ vessel in 2022. Measuring 24 metres long, 8.5 metres wide, the vessel is fixed with 52 solar panels generating an impressive 20 kilowatts, with no need for diesel motors as found on standard commercial houseboats.
White torches or spotlights can significantly disturb our marsupials, due to the greater sensitivity of their pupils to light compared with humans. Murray River Trails use and share with guests the importance of using red-filtered spotlights.
Although spotlighting is a fantastic means of revealing some of Australia’s most endearing creatures, white torches or spotlights can significantly disturb our marsupials, due to the greater sensitivity of their pupils to light compared with humans. High-powered spotlights effect the ability for pupils to function properly for extended periods of time, leaving them blinded temporarily.
For this reason, we share with guests the importance of using red-filtered spotlights along with prohibiting flash photography.