By Jeremy Rochow
Published: Wednesday, February 9, 2022
Winding its way from the border of Victoria and New South Wales, the Murray River meanders through the Riverland – a place where horticulture, food and wine, and natural beauty come together.
There’s no better way to learn more about a destination than by speaking to locals. So, to help you plan your next Riverland adventure, we’ve spoken to three locals who’ve given us inside knowledge of what to see and do in the region.
Caudo Vineyards, Cadell
Caudo Vineyards in Cadell combines spectacular views of the Murray with refreshing wine and good food. Deb Schier, of Caudo Vineyards, tells us why this hidden gem is so special.
Why should visitors stop by Caudo Vineyards?
Our cellar door is located just metres from the beautiful Murray River and the corner river location offers uninterrupted views.
The rustic feel of our cellar door blends in perfectly with the surroundings. We offer local tasting platters, table-top barbecues and wood-fired pizzas, along with our estate-grown wines and, of course, our famous sangria.
What else should visitors do while they’re in Cadell and Waikerie?
Nearby town Waikerie has some great silo art and the riverfront has been upgraded and looks amazing.
If you’re looking to go on a cruise up the Murray, River Gum Cruises operates from the riverfront.
Waikerie Golf Club is also worth visiting if you have time to fit in a game. For the kids, there’s the water and nature play park, which is certainly worth visiting.
What makes the Riverland so special?
The beautiful weather. On average, the Riverland has 320 days of sunshine each year. We have so many lovely food and wine outlets that not only offer delicious food and wine, but also spectacular scenery as well.
What’s your favourite thing to do in the Riverland?
I love to enjoy the outdoors and river lifestyle with family and friends and take in everything the Riverland has to offer.
Banrock Station, Kingston-on-Murray
Wine – check; good food – check; hiking trails and an abundance of wildlife – check. Banrock Station has all of this in one location. Wetland Manager Tim Field explains why you must visit next time you’re in the Riverland.
What makes Banrock Station so different from other wine destinations?
It’s an internationally recognised wetland. There are only a few sites in the whole state, and this one has public access where you can come and have a walk around, which is unique.
Why is Banrock Station a must-visit destination?
Well, if you want to tie in our wine tasting and café cellar door experience with a walk through of our wetland, there’s a variety of things to do in one place.
We have an 8km hiking trail, and some shorter options as well. Along the way, we have five bird hides where you can do some bird watching. There are also information boards that provide details about our landscape, history and the rehabilitation of the wetlands.
What types of birds can people see in the wetlands?
We have 190 species of birds that we’ve recorded, and when the wetland is full, we get big bird-breeding events.
At the moment, there are colonies of ibis and spoonbills, which is a good indication that there’s a lot of food out there.
Over the summer months, we do get international migratory birds that come from the Arctic Circle.
Where else should people visit near Kingston-On-Murray?
There’s a good walk along Lake Bonney in Barmera – the council has put a lot of effort into developing that.
Loch Luna Cruises – a little boat operator out of Kingston-on-Murray – has cruises in a boat that has a flat bottom so you can go anywhere a canoe can and get up close to local wildlife.
What do you love about the Riverland?
I’m a plant person, so I love the nice parks in the region. I would visit Gluepot Station, which is one of the BirdLife Australia reserves. There’s cheap camping and walking trails.
Canoe Adventures Riverland, Berri
For Canoe Adventures Riverland owner Kym Werner, kayaking is more than just a job. His passion for the Murray River, paddling and local wildlife shows as he chats about what the Riverland has to offer.
What makes the Murray and nearby creeks so special?
For starters, it’s a safe place to paddle. We have relatively low flows and don’t have a lot of wind.
Then, there are a lot of places where you have the whole place to yourself. During our Sunset Tour, we rarely see a boat or anyone else.
There’s more than 200km of river through the Riverland, but there are also hundreds of kilometres of creeks and backwaters, and they’re amazing.
When paddling, you can travel through narrow, windy creeks where there’s a lot of wildlife.
What sort of wildlife do people see while kayaking along the Murray?
We mainly see water birds like pelicans, and also parrots, spoonbills and egrets. Of course, we also see whistling kites – the big raptors which people often think are hawks or eagles.
At sunset, we see kangaroos. They’re not too worried about us and we can get within about five to 10m of them.
Why do you love the Riverland so much?
The life up here isn’t quite as fast-paced as Adelaide and, personally, I find the Riverland towns are a nice size.
There are also some special places where you can completely get away from everything and everyone. You can either go camping or just get away.
If people have a weekend in the Riverland, what should they do?
The big thing for visitors is the food and beverage options. There’s the Woolshed Brewery, 23rd Street Distillery and so many other places in the Riverland where people can taste local produce.
There are also several walking trails for visitors to enjoy nature, and boat cruises for people wanting to see more of the river.
A guide to the Riverland
Stay: Located on the banks of the Murray, BIG4 Renmark Riverfront Holiday Park has a water park the kids will love.
Eat and drink: The Wilkadene Woolshed Brewery offers refreshing ales, as well as its famous hard lemonade.
Experience: Kayak, water ski or go fishing on the mighty Murray River.
Stay: The Waikerie Golf and Country Club has modern villas overlooking the 10th fairway.
Eat: Illalangi Gourmet Foods is a hidden Riverland gem, stocking everything from locally made dukkha to wattleseed balsamic vinegar.
Experience: Check out the spectacular Waikerie silo art.
Stay: Located next to the picturesque Lake Bonney, Discovery Holiday Park is the place to stay.
Eat: Only 15 minutes from Barmera in Monash, you’ll find the quirky Mallee Fowl Restaurant. Check out the eclectic Australian paraphernalia adorning any available space.
Experience: Get your adrenaline pumping at the Loveday 4X4 Adventure Park.
Stay: Relax at Berri Hotel and enjoy stunning river views from the town centre.
Eat or drink: Visit 919 Wines, where owners Eric and Jenny Semmler have created premium wines from organic grapes using sustainable winemaking philosophies.
Experience: The Riverland Wine Centre – only 15 minutes from Berri – celebrates the diverse range of local drops.
Stay: The former Loxton Courthouse on Bookpurnong Tce has been refurbished into modern apartments.
Eat: Get your Italian fix at Cucina 837 at Salena Estate Wines. Devour freshly made pasta, wood-oven pizzas, and don’t forget Salena Estate’s extensive drinks menu and wine list.
Experience: The Loxton Historical Village showcases what life looked like in the Riverland in the early 20th century.