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Riverland Relaxation
 
riverlands south australiaThe Riverland region of South Australia is characterised by rolling countryside divided into a patchwork of lush orchards. Exotic fruits such as olives, citrus, garlic, apricots and grapes hang off the vines and branches creating one of the most fruitful and prosperous regions in the state. The mighty Murray River splits this region in two and is uniquely contrasted with towering limestone cliffs and expansive wetlands, breathing life into the fertile soils and shaping the character of the countryside. Several small towns are scattered throughout this region and offer perfect bases for the fruit and fresh produce industry. The rich scenery that is prevalent in this region will capture your hearts and ensure that your tour of the Riverland is one you'd like to repeat again and again.

The gorgeous Riverland spans for 300 kilometres, and is bordered at each end by the townships of Waikerie and Renmark. Waikerie is the closest to Adelaide, and is easily reached via an easy two and a half hours drive through picturesque countryside. Barmera lies at the centre of the region and acts as the commercial centre, mostly owing to the fact that it is the largest town in the Riverland. It is positioned 221 kilometres from Adelaide, so although it's a bit far for a daytrip, it is ideal for a weekend away!

Barmera is nestled on the banks of Lake Bonney, ensuring that water sports are firmly imprinted into the way of life here. Enjoy watching the sail boats and windsurfers taking advantage of the beautiful lake, or sit down and watch one of the yacht races that are regularly organised, attracting crowds of enthusiasts and spectators. The great thing about Lake Bonney is that it is big enough to still enjoy areas of peace and quiet. This is where anglers escape to to try their luck with the many species of fish lurking beneath the surface.

Branch away from the tight hold of the lake and take some time to discover the many fun ways you can entertain yourself in the town centre. The Rocky Country Music Hall of Fame is a favourite with tourists, as it was established to honour local country legend Dean 'Rocky' Page. In the hall of fame you will uncover a huge collection of memorabilia and instruments, commemorating all the Australian greats such as Slim Dusty.

Waikerie should also be at the top of your list of places to visit while in the region. This charming town is internationally recognised as a prime destination for hang gliders, and this will become evident when you look up into the sky and see the scattered silent planes gliding high above the surface. The streets are lined with stunning old sandstone buildings which contribute to the town's character and charm. A trip to the Scenic Lookout is especially enthralling because its position atop high cliffs means that it offers stunning views of the Murray River.

While travelling through Australia you may have seen the 'Berri' insignia on various fruit juice products. Well, put a place to the name and visit the town of Berri in the Riverlands, which is the homeland of all these tasty juices. A visit to the town will take you past the 'Big Orange', the ubiquitous tourist attraction that pays tribute to the town's central industry. There's a tower and a museum, and great views from the top of the 'orange'! After a visit there head on to Berri Ltd, where their products are for sale, and you can discover how these tasty juices are actually made.

An adventure in the Riverlands simply will not be complete without at least exploring some of the grand Murray River. You can do this while enjoying a barbeque on the grassy banks under the shade of an ancient tree, or hiring a boat and some fishing rods and getting out on the water for a bit of fishing. The Murray is the perfect place to recharge and forget about all the stresses of everyday life. Houseboats are another popular form of escapism, while river cruises offer a somewhat cheaper alternative. There is nothing that beats watching the sun go down with a drink in hand, serenely floating down the river.

Serenity is something that will not fail you when you visit the Riverland region. This is a place that this is big enough to keep your hearts delighted for as long as you want, and ample accommodation options mean that you can stay for as long as you wish. Each town has a story to tell and will leave you feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and ready for anything.

Christine Barton




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