SA: The Riverland
"Towering Cliffs, Oranges and Grape Vines"
More than an Oasis in the Surrounding Arid Countryside
By the time the Murray River reaches South Australia it is well and truly passing through arid countryside with limestone rocks scattered all over the sprawling grain paddocks (fields). Nevertheless along the river edges are areas of rich soil which with the touch of just a little water becomes the fruit bowl of South Australia. Fruit orchards make a green oasis of colour and along the roadside there will often be shops and stalls where visitors can purchase the local produce.
The river along this part also features eighty to one-hundred foot high cliff-faces of sheer limestone that are great for climbing, for photography or simply for a great view as the passer-by stops for a coffee on the banks of the Murray. There are many specially designated tourist stops and time can be spent enjoying the open spaces and the peace and tranquility of the river.
At Kingston-On-Murray, where the Sturt Highway crosses the Murray River (one of four crossings) over a high modern bridge, there are views to linger over and down below on the river flats the nature lover will find birds and animals to track.
To the north and south of the bridge there is a large expanse a unique lake system abundant with wildlife. At nearby Banrock Station they not only make world class wines but they have a special project protecting and developing the Murray River wetlands. The Station flatlands are filled with unique wildlife and birdlife and the Station has been particularly helpful in partly ridding the Murray River of the European Carp that had devastated the river for nearly five decades.
Further downstream to the west at Waikerie venture off the main highway and head up to Cadell and on to Morgan to see the old shipping docks. Crossing the river on a punt or ferry there are wonderful views of the river from water level. There are ferries at Waikerie and Morgan but the crossing at Cadell is especially scenic. So take some time and enjoy the simple pleasure of sitting on the banks of the river with a fishing line and a cold drink is relaxing and soothing.
In times gone by the only way to cross the river was by ferry or punt however over the decades some unique and majestic bridges have been built providing not only easy access across the mighty Murray but some wonderful views of the river and the countryside. The twin old and new bridges at historic Blanchetown, is another place that provides the traveler the opportunity to stop and take in the sights including the historic Murray River Lock One and the century plus old hotel, still with rafters shaped with a broad axe and eight inch hand-made nails. Nearby Brookfield Conservation Park is home to a dedicated habitat and breeding ground of the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat. The flowing river, limestone cliffs, birds and the trees spread out along the banks of the Murray will reinvigorate the senses, infusing an ambiance as fresh as the country air breathed in.