A family-friendly guide to the Mid Murray

Imagine a family holiday where your days are spent cruising the majestic River Murray, reconnecting with nature on leisurely walking trails, and stargazing to see the magnificent Milky Way in its full glory.

Believe it or not, this is all sitting within a 90-minute drive from Adelaide.

The Mid Murray region is a haven for families  wanting to switch off from technology and experience spectacular scenery, escape to secluded riverfront accommodation, and embrace family fun these school holidays.

This area, dotted with quiet riverside towns like Mannum, Swan Reach, Purnong, Nildottie, Caurnamont, and Walker Flat, offers a perfect blend of relaxation and excitement for your next trip.

To help you plan your unique escape, we’ve uncovered some of the area’s best-kept secrets…


As you journey to Mannum (our first stop), don’t miss the Mannum Waterfalls, Palmer Lookout for a bird’s eye views of natural rock formations, and local icons like ‘Bear Rock’ and ‘The Gap’ in Tungkillo.

Once you roll into the main street, stop into the Mannum Visitor Information Centre for a list of things to see and do around town, then the Mannum Dock Discovery Centre for a quick history lesson in the area’s paddle steamer history. It offers interactive displays that allow the kids to imagine themselves as captains, spin steering wheels, and ignite steam boilers with the press of a button.

*Please note the Mannum Dock Discovery Centre is yet to reopen to the public following the floods.

Step aboard the historic PS Marion or other vessels like the PW Mayflower or Four Knots Cruises to enjoy a quick cruise along the river. For a different (and free) kind of river trip, hop aboard one of the Mannum ferries – the only dual ferries operating across the busy river ‘intersection’ in South Australia.

Nearby, Mary Ann Reserve offers an ideal spot for a picnic and let the kids run wild at the fenced playground.

Swan Reach

Continue your Mid Murray journey to Swan Reach, passing Ngaut Ngaut Conservation Park and the small town of Nildottie.

After a brilliant pub feed at the Swan Reach Hotel, take in spectacular views at Big Bend, capturing the River Murray’s ochre cliffs. Stay until sunset for an unforgettable scene then spot some local wildlife with Big Bend By Night’s nocturnal animal tours.

Soak up the laid-back river life in Swan Reach and set up base in Punyelroo Caravan Park to discover Swan Reach Conservation Park’s native birds and southern hairy-nosed wombats.

River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve

For space loving kids of all ages, stargaze with uninterrupted views of the Milky Way and the night sky at the internationally recognised River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve with Kel from Juggle House Experiences.

It’s one of the best places on the planet to see the stars, thanks to minimal light pollution ensuring it gets incredibly dark here, so nothing can interrupt your evening view.

This is truly a once in a lifetime experience that your family will cherish forever.

Pitching a tent? Explore some of our top picks for camping locations, including Greenways Landing, Saunders Gorge near Palmer, Caurnamont Reserve across from Purnong, Purnong Reserve near Mannum, Hettner Landing at Walker Flat, Big Bend near Swan Reach, Tenbury Hunter Reserve at Swan Reach, the Palmer Oval, and Bolto Reserves at Mannum, and Swamp Hen Reserve at Walker Flat.

Detailed information about these campsites is available here.

BIG4 Breeze Holiday Parks – Mannum have also just released a new range of 2-bedroom cabins that sleep 5!

For those enamoured with Walker Flat, the Aruma River Resort awaits, boasting amenities including a tennis court, swimming pool, boat ramp, and playground.

River Shack Rentals offers holiday accommodations ranging from basic shacks to luxurious homes, ensuring the perfect base for your river escape.

Explore Walker Flat further, and you’ll discover a range of stunning houseboats available for hire from Unforgettable Houseboats and Houseboat Hirers Association. Don your captain’s hat and chart your course to see as much of the river as possible.

Your Mid Murray adventure awaits, so start planning now!