By Julie Bates
Is there any other place in the world where you can cruise alongside four magical waterways in an afternoon? I can, right here in my backyard. Welcome to the Murray River, Lakes and Coorong region – where a quick drive from the city can see you launching your speedboat into the Murray, your canoe onto the Coorong, your yacht onto the Lake, or your board into the surf.
I thought about this recently in a different way. I tried to see the region through the eyes of our visitors – someone who didn’t see this unique environment as their ‘everyday’ or their ‘normal’. Perhaps it’s like Venice – when you head there and see the colourful canals and experience the sinking city. The locals don’t bat an eyelid. For them, its normal. For the visitors, it’s quite astonishing.
So for our little patch of paradise, I wanted to think like an outsider. Someone who would come here, see its unique beauty, be astonished and want to stay for days and weeks to explore everything we have to offer. When I started thinking about it, I realised one of the greatest things I often take for granted, is that no matter what type of environment you want to escape to – I can, no hassles.
If I want to float along leisurely, drink in hand, taking in the magical views of the Murray’s cliff faces from the deck of a houseboat – I can. If I want to grab the kids and the canoes and head out on flat water – I can always find a patch of glass on the Lakes or Coorong. If I want to feel the sand between my toes – I can head one of two ways to the beach (Salt Creek or the Murray Mouth at Goolwa). If I want peace and quiet, I can find it on, or off water – there’s so much space that I can escape to any number of untouched places in a matter of minutes. (I have to admit though, the added bonus for me – is that no matter where I am, I never have to travel far for a good coffee, brunch or day amongst the vines with the girls).
For many of my friends, they love the region for its more adventurous side. When they come, they bring a trailer – it’s full to the brim with bikes, paddleboards, boats, skis, wakeboards, kayaks, fishing rods, tents. They’re on the go the whole time. Me - I’m happy to take in all of the action in from a distance … give me a glass of Langhorne Creek sparkling on the deck of my premium riverside holiday house, and I’ll relax and watch the world go by for weeks.
Go on, challenge me, is there another region in the world where you have all of this at your doorstep?
I’ve been to plenty of the ‘world’s best’ travel destinations in my decades working in tourism (ouch, now I feel old), but I’ve still never seen anything like our waterways. It’s the escape for the adventurous at heart, the thrill seekers and extreme sport lovers, the bushwalkers, cyclists and canoeists, dog-owners, the mad-keen fisherman looking for fresh and saltwater catches, the family wanting an escape from the hustle and bustle, the history buffs in search of new sights, the surfers and swimmers who want to get out of the pool. For couples, it even provides the perfect destination, offering the right mix of peaceful romantic escapes, with neighbouring cafes and bars for day or night.
It’s time to choose your vessel and get on the water. We’ll make you fall in love with the Murray River, Lakes and Coorong region. [Or if you’re more of a land lover like me, you can simply enjoy the perfect luxury river house to spend a weekend away from the city, marvelling at the water from your loungeroom]. And the best part, we’re less than an hour from Adelaide – so no epic road trip or expensive flight necessary!
See you on the water soon.
About the author
Originally hailing from the city, Julie Bates now resides with her family in the heart of the Murray River, Lakes and Coorong region, with property only metres from the world-famous Monarto Zoo. Julie has fallen in love with the region, and has been lucky enough to combine her experience in tourism, with her passion for bringing more people to the region she now calls home. Julie knows every stretch of the region, and the characters who live and work along it. If you ever meet her, she’ll tell you about the great places to eat, play and explore; the magical scenery she gets to see every day at work; AND with her tribe of three kids, she can fill you in on the most family-friendly itineraries for a weekend (or week) away.