Now that travel and cruising is back on again, it’s time to reconsider a slow and inspiring trip along our stretch of the Mighty Murray. Rekindle your love for quirky, historic and nature-based experiences along the Murray River, with a few nights of luxury on board our beautiful Princess.
The PS Murray Princess encapsulates discovery and wonder with regal elegance to boot. Whether it’s one of your first cruises (or your tenth), it’s not to be forgotten! Be transported through the heart of our Mid Murray district via towns like historic Mannum and Swan Reach and dip into Murray Bridge where you can choose to visit the historic township (or instead, take an optional coach tour to Monarto Safari Park!). No matter your taste, you’ll find brilliant places and spaces to explore with a Lower Murray Princess cruise.
Depending on your calendar, you can choose from a special holiday event cruise, or touring the best of our relaxed region on a 4 or 7-night cruise. Or for something even shorter, why not jump on a short 3-night mini break from your caravanning holiday across Australia (a kind of holiday from your holiday).
There’s never a better time to hop on board the PS Murray Princess – and we’ve outlined just a few of the reasons below…
For some of us, Christmas might be looking a little different this year, so why not embrace the change and take on the chance to celebrate the holidays a different way (and maybe even start a new tradition) with our PS Murray Princess.
If there’s one thing you must know about a cruise on the Princess, it’s that their well-trained crew put a high value on looking after their guests. Trust us when we say both your heart - and your belly - will be full the entire seven nights of the Renmark to Mannum Christmas Cruise.
During this cruise you will experience our neighbouring Riverland region before spending the last three days of the cruise winding down (also from a large Christmas lunch feast) to a feast for your eyes with some of the most breath-taking sights found only along our stretch of the Murray River.
Make sure you look up once nightfall hits, you’ll be entering the darkest patch of sky in Australia when travelling from Blanchetown to Pellaring Flat – see a map and fact sheet on the River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve here.
Continuing on the topic of incredible sights, this of course includes the magnificent Big Bend Cliffs (located between Swan Reach and Nildottie) which you’ll want to grab some photos of before stopping in to see the uniquely wonderful Big Bend By Night team for their authentic Aussie bush experiences.
Take a seat in their grandstand and enjoy the Sunnydale Shearing Show, a high-spirited energetic sheep shearing demonstration, with lots of laughs along the way. Follow on with a visit to their Native Wildlife Shelter where you’ll meet kangaroos, wombats, alpacas and maybe even pet an emu.
Above: Enter the shearing quarters and watch the show begin.
An Aussie bush barbecue follows in the evening with more food, fun and live entertainment, but it doesn’t stop there.
After sunset you’ll have the option to take off on the Nocturnal night tour venturing through the bush in the comfort of Big Bend By Night’s iconic open-top carts, searching for native animals of the night.
But if a unique foodie experience is more your thing (kangaroo sausage anyone?), add the Bush Tucker Breakfast to your list. Sit under the towering Big Bend cliffs listening to Kookaburra calls while diving into a menu consisting of double smoked bacon, tomatoes flavoured with native pepper and samphire, scrambled eggs with Boobialla seasoning, Wattleseed pancakes and even a Eucalypt flavoured billy tea or coffee.
Above: The Bush Tucker Breakfast with front row seats to the Big Bend cliffs. Image: Heidi Lewis
That’s not the only native taste of the region you’ll get, another highlight of the cruise is the Ngaut Ngaut Conservation Park. Join local tour guides on a special walk through this unique Aboriginal archaeological site, taking on a journey through the ancestral home of the Nganguraku People.
Oh and we can’t forget to mention the ridiculously good chef-prepared meals served onboard. Sit back and relax in the dining room with newly made friends, our wonderful crew and live entertainment. What a way to be welcomed back to SA’s Murray River!
Above: Enjoy an array of exquisite chef-prepared meals. Image: Heidi Lewis
So if the river is calling your name this Christmas, book now before it’s too late.
[The great thing is, you don’t have to worry about finding a way to Renmark to begin the cruise – the team have it all sorted with a complimentary coach transfer departing various Adelaide CBD locations. From the city, the coach will bring you to Mannum (and pick up other passengers leaving their cars there) before bringing you to Renmark. If also have the option of driving your own vehicle to Mannum (complimentary secure car parking available upon request) and taking the coach to Renmark.]
If you’ve been touring the country in your caravan for a couple of weeks and need a break from the confines of your home on wheels, look no further. Park your car and caravan in the historic town of Mannum (the Mannum Riverside Caravan Park is a good choice) and begin three nights of sheer indulgence on the Princess.
The 3-night Discovery Cruise is the perfect amount of time to soak in a change of scenery that you couldn’t otherwise get while caravanning alone. Plus, the simple pleasures of having someone else look after the daily cooking, cleaning and itinerary planning will be a welcome change! There’s no doubt you’ll be feeling like royalty with the Princess crew looking after you.
During this cruise you’ll explore the stretch of river from Walker Flat to Murray Bridge, with a range of unique experiences you never thought you’d have.
One of your first stops includes a historic tour of the beautifully restored Round House in Murray Bridge. Here you’ll find exceptional views overlooking the twin bridges and river from the lawns. Or grab yourself some coffee from a nearby café, and wander along the historic main street where old buildings meet new (you can’t miss the towering new Bridgeport Hotel).
Other highlights on the cruise include a guided nature walk through Saltbush Flat (near Purnong) where you’ll spot native birdlife, and even an Aboriginal ‘canoe’ tree amongst the Red Gums.
Above: Keep an eye (and an ear) out for iconic native birdlife.
If you’re keen on getting even closer to more birdlife, the flat-bottomed boat known as the ‘Dragon-Fly’ will take small groups out to seek out darters, herons and egrets feeding along the river’s muddy edges.
You know what’s great about being rural? The stars. Out here they shine so much brighter making us feel closer to the galaxies that are (quite literally) lightyears away.
The 4 Night Outback Heritage Cruise puts you in perfect position away from light pollution (typically found in and around city areas). You’ll notice the night skies here are something else – and for good reason too. The ‘core’ zone (or darkest area) of the newly-accredited River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve is at the Swan Reach Conservation Park, which is home to nocturnal life and of course, exceptional stargazing experiences.
While on this cruise, you’ll get to visit Big Bend By Night, tour Ngaut Ngaut, plus tour the Swan Reach Museum which details the history of education and social history of the area (it’s even housed in an original school building established in 1917).
And don’t worry, you’ll get plenty of time for a little R&R on this cruise too. When you’re not out exploring land-based activities, you’ll have lots of time to relax onboard in one of the two lounge areas which offer incredible views. Or on a sunny day, take to the top-level sun deck and soak up the views and the sunshine.
Above: Panoramic views await at the top level of the Princess.
If you’re not in a hurry, take on 320 kilometres of navigating the river from Mannum, to Murray Bridge and just past Swan Reach on a 7-night cruise and get the most out of viewing the stars at night and exploring Australia’s greatest waterway by day.
Check out this vlog from Ros and Alan of Frequent Traveller sharing their highlights of the 7 Night Upper Murraylands Cruise, and read their review here.
Tip: Save 10% or 20% off your next cruise with the Early Booking Saver Fare (book more than 90 days in advance).