If you’re a Gen Z-er, we know you love getting out for a great time with your friends – but doing that on a uni student or casual worker’s budget can be a challenge. While your bank balance might be low, the Murray River, Lakes and Coorong region delivers a maximum (and memorable) return whatever the level of your budget. We’ve curated 3 itineraries to help our 18-20-somethings live their best life in our region.
This will start off in the heart of the Coorong National Park – about a 90-minute to two-hour drive from Adelaide.
If you have a friend with a 4WD make sure you invite them along for this part. A 4X4 adventure through the park will get some adrenaline pumping by off-roading (in the designated area). Test out what incline you can handle (and what ones might leave you bogged) as you make your way from the lagoons over to the beach. Here – amongst the sand dunes - you can run wild. Try bringing a board and sandboarding down – or if you want to get on the water, head out for a day with Canoe the Coorong – and you’ll catch a glimpse of places you never knew existed.
If you love fishing, bring the big rods and sinkers for a day of fun on 90 Mile Beach, where you can catch anything from mulloway and salmon to the odd gummy shark – perfect for filleting and cooking straight on the campfire.
Above: South Australian Tourism Commision
There are a range of camping sites to set up a home base in the Coorong. After all, you’ll need some rest after the day you’ve just had. Some places you can pick from are:
If you find yourself landing in Meningie for a little longer, make sure you head in to Freshies Café and Bar in the old Cheese Factory on Lake Albert, or head further around the foreshore and jump on the giant ostrich statue for a fun pic to share with friends.
Depending on where you want to stay, you can pull up stumps at the Lake Albert Caravan Park right on the waterfront for the night, or if you’re heading towards Ngarkat Conservation Park for more 4WDing, then spend the night at nearby Tintinara in the town’s new Motel on Becker, or pop up your camper at the Coonalpyn Caravan Park and grab some famous Waffles and Jaffles for breakfast the next morning.
Nearby the Coorong, as you travel along Lake Alexandrina, is the award-winning Langhorne Creek Wine Region. The gorgeous vineyards and cellar doors will give you enough Insta content for months to come.
Dressing up and visiting the Kimbolton Wines cellar door will give you the chance to taste some of the region’s best wine and discover something you enjoy. On a tasting flight, you can sample some of their leading varieties. You can sit atop their rooftop deck and admire the 360-degree views of the vineyards while you tuck into a local grazing platter. This will pair well with whichever wine you end up savouring.
If you plan it well enough there might even be one of their sell-out food events with live music for you to sing along to.
There are so many wineries to explore that you might need a little help getting around (you don’t want to miss discovering some of the best spots because you’re worried about driving!). Lucky for you, Juggle House Experiences will be your best friend on the day.
A tour with crowd favourite Kelly will take you to and from all the regional heroes – and she’s especially good at looking after people for special occasions (think a friend’s 21st, graduation, or hen’s party).
For lunch you can’t look past Langhorne Creek’s very own Bridge Hotel. This local asset will knock your socks off with their cheery country service and delicious meals.
But to finish your day, you have to spend some time at Bremerton Wines. In the warmer months you’ll want to take advantage of the expanded outside seating area so you can soak up the sun while you play the wooden lawn games and taste a flight of wine – or even gin (thanks to the new Willson Small Batch varieties available for tasting). Plus, if you’re still peckish, grab a local produce platter or one of their wood-fired pizzas as an afternoon snack.
You’ll be needing somewhere close by to crash after you’ve used up all your energy – and River Shack Rentals has you covered. With a wide range of shacks that span along the Murray River, the flexibility will cater to your every need, and allow you to wake up to some of the best views this country has to offer.
Check out these favourites for Gen Z groups and pick the one that your crew will enjoy the best.
Depending on where you stay along the Murray, it’s worth getting in some exploring. If you’re in the Mid Murray district, then drop in to Café Mannum or the Bowhill General Store for breakfast. These guys have coffee, smashed avo and the best views! If you find yourself with some extra time, jump on a Four Knots Cruises and head along the river at sunset with a grazing platter, drinks and a chance to feed the raptors!
If staying on land is more your style, then follow the road just out of Mannum where you can go to Bolto Reserve. Situated on the river, it’s the perfect spot for an afternoon of swimming and playing on the grass. Bring a ball and – bang - you’ll be entertained for hours. Enjoy the last moments of sun on your trip and make the most of your last day.
Another great adventure you can’t miss is a day out at the Monarto Safari Park. Take the walk of the brave with the Lions 360 experience to give you goosebumps (or maybe a little bit of fearful sweat). You’ll walk through a tunnel and emerge within clawing range of one of Australia’s largest lion prides. This hair-raising encounter will be a once in a lifetime opportunity you’ll never forget (and is a great gift for one of your friends/family too).
Above: Monarto Safari Park
By the time you’ve finished with the big cats, you’ll have worked up quite the appetite. You can tuck into a hearty lunch at the new $45 million redeveloped Bridgeport Hotel – and overlook Murray Bridge’s historic twin bridges while you do it. Make sure you grab a seat out on the terrace to really soak up the atmosphere (and if you’re there for a while, test out their cocktail list).
To end your trip on a high, team up with Kelly from Juggle House Experiences and go on the Dark Sky Quick Silver Stars Cheese & Bubbles tour – this is perfect for budding photographers – and in fact anyone who just loves the great outdoors or the beauty of outer space!
South Australia is home to some of the darkest skies on earth at the River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve. You can take full advantage of the wonder on a guided tour where you’ll get to use the a telescope and red torch lights to view stars, constellations, planets, clusters and galaxies, and receive insightful and light-hearted commentary on your journey, about townships and locations between destinations.
So, start planning your trip with your pals now - and get ready for a weekend of adventure.