Murray River Coach and Cruise 2022

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After many very successful years of operation, we are delighted to be able to again offer this very special and unique tour to one of the most exciting and picturesque regions of Australia. The Murray River, at over 1600 miles long, is Australia’s largest river and has played a major role in the settlement and development of inland parts of Australia. Mark Twain compared it favourably with the mighty Mississippi when he visited in the 19th century and the river was once a bustling highway with many paddle steamers plying its length carrying produce and people to and from the settlements along its banks. Those days are long gone, but the river region is still a hive of activity and interest with lush farmland, orchards and vineyards contrasting with the red outback at their doorstep.

The itinerary will show you the Murray region as we spend 5 days cruising downstream on our charter vessel, stopping at points of interest en route and overnighting at country hotels and motor inns at the settlements along the river. The cruise vessel for the 2020 tour will again be the modern and fully equipped “Spirit of the Murray” with its spacious upper deck providing the perfect vantage point as the boat passes towering cliffs, sleepy lagoons and Red Gum forests. Add to this, the beauty and grandeur of the Great Ocean Road between Adelaide and Melbourne, the wonderful wine growing region of South Australia, close to the picturesque city of Adelaide and the excitement and vitality (and wonderful shopping) of Melbourne and you have a great tour waiting for you.

Highlights Include Melbourne – city of parks and gardens
  • Melbourne – city of parks and gardens
  • Sovereign Hill Historic Village, Ballarat
  • Echuca, with guided tour of the river port
  • Mildura gateway to the Murray River
  • 5 days / 4 nights cruising the Murray River downstream on the “Spirit of the Murray”
  • Adelaide, the wine capital of Australia
  • Great Ocean Road between Adelaide and Melbourne
  • “Spirit of Coorong” eco-cruise on Lake Alexandrina
  • Naracoorte with visit to the World Heritage Fossil Cave
  • Penola & St Mary McKillop Centre
  • Warrnambool & Lorne overnight spent at these coastal towns.

Monday 14 March                                Home – Melbourne (D)

Tour members fly to Melbourne today. On arrival, we are met and transferred by coach to our Melbourne hotel for a two-night stay.


Tuesday 15 March                               Melbourne (B)

This morning, we enjoy a sightseeing tour of this very exciting and vibrant city, a wonderful blend of elegant heritage, contemporary architecture, colourful city parklands and gardens, bustling

commercial centres and shaded peaceful areas. We see the Yarra River, a busy city waterway, Captain Cook’s Cottage, Queen Victoria Market, Fitzroy Gardens and Albert Park, home to the Australian Grand Prix. The afternoon is free for independent sightseeing or shopping – and of course Melbourne is famous for its shops. This evening, let’s have an informal get-together at the hotel.


Wednesday 16 March                       Melbourne – Echuca (B, D)

We commence our journey by coach leaving Melbourne behind us and head to the city of Ballarat, one of Victoria’s famous gold mining cities. We visit Sovereign Hill, a classic recreation of the past. We then proceed on to Echuca for the night.


Thursday 17 March                            Echuca – Mildura (B, D)

Echuca was once Australia’s largest inland port and the heart of “Rich River Country”. We enjoy a tour of the town to see the restored port and paddle steamers which will give us an idea of what life was once like in this bustling river town a century ago. We travel up the Murray Valley Highway through very fertile country to Swan Hill, a historic town dating back to 1836 which became one of the region’s major inland river trading ports until the expansion of the railway. We continue on to Mildura where we spend the night.


Friday 18 March                                 Mildura – Renmark (B,L,D)

This morning we make a short drive from Mildura to Red Cliffs, a medium- sized service centre at the northern end of Victoria’s Mallee region. Historically it was created after World War I when returning soldiers were offered 15 acres and the tools to plant and grow vines for the production of sultanas. At the same time equipment was brought in to clear the pine, belah and mallee and one of the country’s largest irrigation pumping stations was built to bring water from the Murray River to farms. Today vineyards and grape growing dominate the local agricultural economy. We then head through to Renmark where there is time for lunch. In the early afternoon, we take part in a gin blending masterclass at 23rd Street Distillery. At the conclusion, we check into our accommodation for the night.


Saturday 19 March                            Renmark – Loxton (B, L, D)

This morning, we board the Spirit of the Murray to commence the 4 day/3 night, Murray River Run Cruise. We depart Renmark and pass under the Paringa Bridge, through Lock 5, experiencing breath taking views as we cruise further downstream passing the small town of Lyrup. We stop at Berri for lunch and there is time to explore the town before returning to our boat to cruise through Lock 4 and the Kamakazi Flats before arriving at Loxton for the night.


Sunday 20 March                             Loxton – Waikerie (B,L,D)

We depart Loxton and cruise past the towns of Cobdogla, Moorook and Kingston on the Murray before stopping for lunch at the historic Overland Corner Hotel. This hotel was commissioned in the 1850’s as a refreshment point for weary travellers. It is now both a hotel and museum and boasts of having its own resident ghost. After lunch we travel by coach to Banrock Station where we have afternoon tea. Banrock Station is an award winning wine and ecotourism venture where native wetlands and woodlands have been restored so that visitors can explore the wetlands area along the boardwalks from which many bird species can be seen. There also maybe time for a wine tasting or two! We then travel back by coach to rejoin our boat and we sail through spectacular scenery as we cruise further downstream, stopping at Waikerie overnight.


Monday 21 March                           Waikere – Mannum (B,L,D)

Today our cruise takes us from Waikerie through Lock 2, Red Gum Forest and past the town of Cadell before stopping for lunch at the historic river port of Morgan. There is time to walk along the restored wharf precinct and visit the historic railway station. We then cruise through Lock 1 at Blanchetown, the first lock on the Murray River built in 1921. View spectacular scenery at Big Bend, travelling below the tallest cliffs anywhere along the entire length of the Murray River. We cruise past the town of Swan Reach before arriving at Walkers Flat for a coach transfer to Mannum, where we stay overnight.


Tuesday 22 March                           Mannum – Adelaide (B, L)

We depart Mannum by coach, returning to Walkers Flat re-board the boat and cruise back past Mannum, to the city of Murray Bridge, Tailem Bend and Wellington, enjoying lunch on-board. Downstream from Wellington we leave the Murray for a while as we pass Point Pomanda and into huge Lake Alexandrina. Cruise across the Lake (weather permitting) and back into the Murray again at Point Sturt, past the town of Clayton perched on low cliffs to arrive in Goolwa at approximately 5pm. We disembark and travel by coach to Adelaide where we have a three night stay.


Wednesday 23 March                    Adelaide (B)

Adelaide is known as the city of food and wine. It is also a city of beautiful parks and gardens which fringe the square mile of the downtown area. This morning, we enjoy a city sightseeing tour, while the afternoon is free. Why not take a stroll down Rundle Mall in the centre of town, or take a cruise on the River Torrens which runs through the city.


Thursday 24 March                        Adelaide – Barossa Valley Tour (B, L)

Another great day today as we set off for the Adelaide Hills, through a patchwork of orchards and vineyards to the town of Hahndorf, one of the most popular towns in the area originally settled by German immigrants in 1839. The town retains much of its Germanic heritage and is home to some of the regions finest cellar doors. Then, we travel across to the world famous Barossa Valley, the heartland of the Australian wine industry which retains much of its diverse European cultural heritage. Time for a lunch and some wine tasting before returning to Adelaide later this afternoon.


Friday 25 March                                 Adelaide – Coorong Cruise – Naracoorte (B, L,D)

A full day today, but a lovely one and another tour highlight. We travel to Goolwa where we join the “Spirit of Coorong” for a 4 hour discovery cruise into the wilderness of Coorong National Park where shallow lagoons and waterways are home to over 200 species of water birds. We enter the mouth of the Murray River through the Lock in the Goolwa Barrage. Stops are made during the day for a guided walk across the Younghusband Peninsula to view the Great Southern Ocean. Lunch is served on board. At the conclusion of the cruise, we rejoin our coach for the journey via Kingston, a town on the coast and the home of the “Big Lobster,” and then it’s up to Naracoorte for our overnight stay.


Saturday 26 March                          Naracoorte – Mt Gambier – Warrnambool (B,D)

This morning we visit the World Heritage Victoria Fossil Cave where we can see many beautiful calcite crystal decorations and the partially excavated fossil deposit. Then we travel on to Penola to visit the town and the Mary MacKillop Penola Centre and schoolhouse, where Saint Mary MacKillop founded the religious order, The Sisters of St Joseph in 1866. Time for lunch and then travel to Mt Gambier, famous for its ‘Blue Lake’ which changes colour dramatically each year. The city also boasts beautiful parks and gardens, limestone caves and sinkholes. We continue via the coastal towns of Nelson, Portland and Port Fairy to Warrnambool on Lady Bay where we spend the night.


Sunday 27 March                              Warrnambool – Port Campbell – Lorne via The Great Ocean Road (B,D)

This morning we visit Flagstaff Hill which is a recreated 19th century coastal port, built around the original lighthouse and fortifications. The Great Ocean Road starts from here and we travel to Port Campbell and continue on past some of the Great Ocean Road’s most famous and scenic coastal attractions: the rocky (but broken) platform of London Bridge, the Loch Ard Gorge, Gibsons Steps and the most celebrated attractions, the Twelve Apostles. We travel along the coastline from Apollo Bay, considered to be the most picturesque section of the Great Ocean Road, with the highway carved into sheer cliffs that drop away into the ocean and arrive at Lorne where we overnight.


Monday 28 March                           Lorne – Melbourne (B,D)

Lorne is a very popular beach tourist resort town. Cafes and boutiques line the main foreshore, creating a Mediterranean feel to the area. Then it’s down along the Surf Coast, past some of the finest swimming and surfing beaches in Victoria. This evening, let’s enjoy dinner together for the final time on tour.


Tuesday 29 March                           Melbourne – Home (B)

Time to say our farewells on the final day of our tour as we are transferred back to Melbourne Airport to connect with flights home.


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  • "My fellow passengers were all so friendly and helpful."


  • "Travelling with a group and with a tour leader makes the trip all the more enjoyable and relaxing. Tour highlights were the stop at Chowilla sheep station. The caves at the Aboriginal tour and of course the cruise itself."

    Jay and George Rolls

  • "First class! Very interesting to learn of the history of the river. All very well organised and interesting. Especially enjoyed the Maritime Museum. Good opportunity to have a wide range of cultural experiences and beautiful scenery. Extremely capable, experienced leader. Great sense of humour."



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