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Something For Everyone In The Murraylands
murraylandsMiles away from the confines of the city, watch the fiery sun as is sets over the waters of the Murray River. Gaze at the flock of migratory waders flying overhead, in search of a roosting spot after gorging themselves on the fish bounty of the Murray. Stare in amazement at the houseboats that drift bay and disregard that sense of jealous that arises when you see their occupants lazily sipping on a sundowner and watching the bank drift by. All of these things have come to be expected from the Murraylands, a lush oasis on the Murray River cutting through the dry Mallee Region. It is a far cry from the daily grind of your nine to five, yet although it may seem like it is an entire world away, they are actually an easy accessible holiday destination just an hour and a half from Adelaide.

Perhaps one of the best ways to discover the Murraylands is by hiring a houseboat and going for a cruise up the river. You will find over 80 different houseboats to choose from so you should be able to find something you like. The adventure is really easy to take part in, just as long as you are over 18 and have a current driving license. Training about mooring spots, the river conditions and the rules of the water are all provided. The houseboats are similar to floating hotels and two of then have even been given 5 star ratings, so there is plenty of room for indulgence. Nothing beats waking up to the sound of water lapping against the walls of your bedroom, and then rolling out of bed and chucking a fishing line over the side of the houseboat!

A visit to the Murraylands will be a dream come true for any avid fisherman because this is essentially what the Murray is best for. The Murray Cod is notorious the world over as a great fighter and it is even better once cooked. However it is extremely hard to catch so don't be disappointed if you miss out. Yet, with some cod weighing in at nearly 100 kilograms, all your trials and efforts are worth it when you do land one. Once you start to battle the terrain of the upper reaches of the river, you will begin to encounter rainbow trout, a favourite amongst fly fishermen, who are also able to try out their skills on some of the lakes in the river system, such as Lake Hume And Lake Mulwala. Experienced anglers and novices will feel equally at home on the fishing playground of the Murray.

However, if you want a holiday that is not solely spent on the water, there are plenty of things to do on land. The friendly towns of the Murraylands include Murray Bridge, which is the largest town with a population of 17000 people. However the most popular of the towns around here would have to be Mannum. Here you can really absorb yourself in the paddle steamer history of the region, as this is where the world's first paddle steamer was built in 1853. A restored, 109 year old paddle steamer called the PS Marion is open for public viewing almost every day of the year, and also goes for cruises up the river. To stay in the historical vein of things visit the Randell Dry Dock, the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere. The riverfront along Mannum is exquisite, and there is a wide range of recreational facilities and equipment for hire. So make the most of it and get on out there!

For a fun filled day out with the family, why not pay a visit to the Monarto Zoological Park. Nestled on a 1000 hectare wildlife sanctuary and zoological park, this place offers ideal opportunities for viewing rhinoceros, cheetahs and giraffes in habitats remarkably similar to their natural ones. Walking tours and bus rides will get you up close to the animals, in a wildlife experience you can remember forever. Just a 45 minute drive from Adelaide it is a perfect day trip outing, or the perfect start to your Murraylands expedition.

The Murray River is no doubt the aquatic playground of South Australia, and with the wealth of activities on offer in and out of the water, you may want to stay here forever. The beauty of the diversity here is that the whole family, from tots to grandparents, will find something attractive, so its perfect for that quality holiday time together.

Christine Barton

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