River ‘shack’ living is now a luxury. Check out these places and you’ll see why!
Ok guys, if you haven’t stayed in a holiday home along the Murray River in the past few years, then it’s time to come back. Luxury – and I mean serious luxury – has found its way here.
Shacks are no longer really just ‘shacks’. No, no, no. They’re now riverfront destinations.
At the higher end of town, you can expect to find a second-storey deck, undercover outdoor kitchen, private pontoons, spacious games rooms, luxurious living spaces, and a deluxe master boudoir (some even with their own jacuzzi). There is literally everything you need for a premium river holiday.
Oh – and these are just the built structures of course.
Most of these premium places are perched along the most magnificent parts of the Murray, Lower Lakes or Coorong area. So while you sip your morning coffee (or evening wine) you can catch a glimpse of the historic paddlesteamers cruising past places like Murray Bridge, Mannum or Swan Reach. Or travel further south towards the Coorong and you’re more likely to be treated to early morning views of paddlers, fishos and native wildlife.
The toughest gig is working out where to stay, so here’s a few tips to help you decide.
Those after on-water action, should pick something with a pontoon.
If you’re a river-lover or a keen fisho, you’ve likely got a boat or some other sort of vessel that you want to get in the water (and you’ll probably want to keep it there for the duration of your stay, save the ongoing trips to the boat ramp).
There’s plenty of places with their own pontoons or jetty structures that you can access day-in-day-out while you stay. They’re also the perfect place to board your kayak, thrown in a fishing line, or swim from in the warmer months.
Just a few of our faves are this epic place at Bowhill, this great spot in the Mannum Marina, the amazingness that is River Devine in Murray Bridge (pictured, above), or this luxury home at Wellington East.
Willowbanks on the edge of Murray Bridge also provides you with one of the best decks around, and your own personal pontoon for whatever on-water fun you choose. Plus this new little spot (known as Long Island Retreat), perched right on the edge of Long Island Reserve (pictured, below) is only footsteps from a boat ramp, nature playground, huge lawns, new jetty and directly opposite the entry point of two walking/cycling trails through the wetlands – perfect for families and groups who love the outdoors.
For the family, book something with space.
In terms of reviews, this spectacular house on the river’s edge near Tailem Bend (known as ‘Muse on Murray’, pictured below) gets five stars for families – young and old! Its beautiful interiors are second only to its huge deck area and front lawn providing maximum space for the kids to run free (and parents to relax).
We also love the Aruma River Resort further up river at Walker Flat.
Not only can you live in the lap of luxury in Aruma's various houses, but you’re also treated to family resort-style facilities such as a playground, tennis court, swimming pool and more.
Otherwise, we love this place for its large lawn, sandy beach, private jetty and top deck perfect for entertaining families right on the riverfront at Mannum – plus the town is a great place for families with a number of playgrounds, child-friendly cafes, dual-ferries to ride on and the interactive Mannum Dock Museum (pictured, below).
If you love the fresh air, make sure you have an outdoor kitchen or fire pit.
Further north along the River, the small town of Caurnamont offers incredible holiday homes like this one which sleeps up to 16 people and has incredible lush lawns to soak up the best of the River (and has the space for everyone to play)! Of course it has an outdoor kitchen so you can enjoy the views well into the night.
One of the coolest eco-friendly places you can stay, is right near the water along the Coorong’s edge, known as Coorong Cabins. Host Mick has thought of everything for the perfect getaway, including food and wine on arrival, equipment for activities on water and land, and even your own veggie garden to pick fresh goodies for a cabin cook up! Otherwise, if you’re after something with a bit more space inside, the Coorong Waterfront Retreat (pictured, below) has three bedrooms and is perched with it’s beautiful big wooden deck, right on the edge of the Coorong at Noonameena – another of our region’s hidden gems!
On the other side of the Coorong, this little place on Hindmarsh Island is the perfect mix of luxury and quirky, and the views are insanely beautiful.
Stoke the fire up with a red wine in your hand and soak up the ambience at this riverfront hideaway.
Back in Mannum this little spot at Bolto doesn’t technically have an outdoor kitchen, but it’s surroundings will make you feel like you’re in an natural paradise (which you are of course!).
If it’s a group getaway, lock in the extra rooms
And of course, if you’re like me and want to stay closer to town for those creature comforts and café brunch dates (but still keep your distance from the city lights), this three-story stunner with jacuzzi at Sunnyside (pictured, below), just outside of Murray Bridge, is a dream location and sleeps 14 people.
If you want to be in town, there are two new places on the river front which will suit a big group looking for luxury living. This spot right at the base of Thiele Reserve has one of the best river-viewing decks you’ll ever come across (seriously, can you imagine drinking your evening wines here!?). I certainly can.
Not far from here is this beautifully appointed house along Lookout Drive, again with a massive deck for taking in the River in all its glory. However, if you’re chasing more of a resort feel then again - we’d suggest taking a look at the places in Aruma River Resort – well-known as a skiers paradise.
If you love to explore, stay in the middle of the action.
Every time I walk past The Admiral, alongside the Goolwa wharf, I start dreaming up reasons to head there for a holiday. The views to Hindmarsh Bridge, proximity to local cafes and stylish interiors make it the perfect getaway for smaller groups.
But if you’re after the fast-paced experiences our region has on offer (ie. The Bend Motorsport Park), but still want to enjoy a river view, then a place like this in Tailem Bend might suit your style.
Or, if you want to be (literally) sleeping above the track, why not stay in motorsport heaven at The Rydges Pit Lane (pictured, below).
For something super-Instaworthy, there’s also these unique places.
Murray Bridge’s own on-river eco pod The Cube is famous for it’s modern approach to river glamping. This award-winning, and super quirky spot will have you dreaming of a river holiday as soon as you spy the first snap online.
Similarly, Birks Boathouse is one for the maritime lovers and river romantics of the world. It’s charming beauty, layout and on-river location makes it impossible to match.
If you’re happy to move a little further from the river’s edge, the Muntiri Lodge Eco Retreat was just named as a finalist in the State tourism awards, and is a rural paradise for people keen to escape the world.
Or head back to the river’s edge in Murray Bridge with this cool little spot along popular Sturt Reserve that lands you right on top of the water.
For a peaceful escape, get out of town.
Let’s be honest. If you’re booking something with a water view, you’re probably going to relaxed no matter where you are. But, for those who want to get right out of civilisation (but still enjoy the creature comforts of luxury living), there’s a few places we’d suggest.
In the quiet community of Wellington East, there are some beautiful homes. One of our favourites is this spot (above) right on the river’s edge. Or at the other end of our region, this place just outside of Swan Reach sits right on a river bend and means you can have peace and quiet, plus an incredible spot to explore on or off the water.
Otherwise, you can spend some time on Lake Alexandrina in this magic spot at Milang. It’s close proximity to the Langhorne Creek Wine Region makes it perfect for relaxing, winey group getaways.
But if these don’t suit your style, there’s plenty more to choose from!
A few of our favourites along this stretch of the Murray are looked after by the crew from River Shack Rentals. These guys take care of everything you need for the perfect stay and have the lion’s share of premium rentals spanning between Wellington and Swan Reach.
The innovative crew from Coorong Realty also have some pretty spectacular places, and will make sure you can experience the greatest assets of the protected environment in the Coorong region.
Otherwise, just head to those regular haunts like HomeAway (or Stayz), Booking.com and Airbnb, and you’ll find your next luxury getaway with us.
There are so many to choose from, and with residences sleeping between two to 22 people, you can choose to book a holiday solo with your furry friend – or pile in a few families for a riverside reunion.