If we had to pick the biggest attraction of a houseboat, it’d be that you get more freedom to holiday your way – from total relaxation to an action-packed getaway (or a little of both).
Right now, we ALL need a good summer holiday plan – and a houseboat getaway is the perfect dream to count down to during the last few weeks of spring.
When you step on to one of Unforgettable Houseboats fleet, you can feel yourself immediately switch off. You’re mentally, physically (and quite literally) floating all of your stress away. The team have everything organised for you, so that all you really need to do is pack your clothes, food and drink, and start rolling down the river, starting from the picturesque town of Mannum.
Above: You'll have plenty of time to soak up our pristine landscape. Image: Adam Bruzzone.
Unforgettable Houseboats can fit your holiday vibe (and group size) better than you think! With a fleet of luxury vessels ranging in 4, 10 and 12 berths, fully equipped kitchens, private bedrooms and en-suites and ample room to move about – it’s houseboat heaven!
Oh, and did we mention that all of them come with a jacuzzi…? [*Hits ‘Book Now’ button*]
Seriously though, immersing yourself in our laid-back river lifestyle allows you to float your worries away with spectacular sights, smells and sounds 24/7. Once you’re loaded-up on board, there’s no car trips, booking systems, crowds or costs to worry about. It’s just you, your crew and the water.
Unlike most other stays - a houseboat holiday is also luxury 24/7. No matter where you cruise to, or decide to moor for the night, you’ll be treated to uninterrupted Murray River magic. This means waking up to the slow ripple of water out your window, hanging your toes into the water over morning coffee, or tipping down a glass of bubbly from the jacuzzi at night to celebrate annual leave (and surviving 2020).
(What you do in the time between your morning coffee and evening drinks is completely up to you of course, and we’ve got a few recommendations… read on!)
You can also feel safe and comfortable with the Unforgettable Houseboats team, who have over 20 years in the industry (and just as many tourism awards under their belt). Customer satisfaction is at the top of their list, and they’re more than happy to help guide you through any questions you might have, or advice you need before leaving the marina – and of course during your holiday.
Above: Houseboats are perfect for those that like the outdoors and aren't ready to let go of their creature comforts. Image: Italo Vardaro.
One thing a lot of people don’t realise as well is that there’s only a little preparation you need to do in order to captain (drive) the houseboat! Anyone over 21 years old and with a full driver’s licence is able to get behind the wheel, and the Unforgettable team will give you an expert’s course on the basics of safely navigating your luxury vessel on the water.
In case you’re not already sold though, here are our suggestions to help you start crafting your next houseboat holiday, just the way you like it.
From the moment you wake up, to the time you get back into bed you’ll realise time moves slower when you’ve settled onboard an Unforgettable Houseboat.
Here, there’s no sense of being ‘rushed’, no crowds and no schedule to abide by – just the natural beauty, colours and sounds of the river landscape drifting by, with the company of resident wildlife enjoying their aquatic playground.
Above: Expect endless panoramic river views worth boasting about on your Instagram. Image: Adam Bruzzone.
And once wine-and-cheese o’clock rolls in, you’ll have plenty of time to lounge on the deck with your grazing platter set out, a cool drink in hand and your favourite people by your side.
A quick warning – it may in fact feel like a spell has cast you into total relaxation.
Sounds perfect right?!
If you’re the type of person who can’t sit still for too long, but would still rather keep things at a gentle rhythm, then have a go at exploring the water via kayak or stand up paddleboard.
Above: The perfect conditions for a relaxing paddle on the water. Image: @freedom_hire.
Nothing beats a gentle morning paddle, gliding along the smooth ripples of the water as the sun hugs you with its warm glow, and the birds continue singing.
If you do get paddling, we’d recommend sneaking in a paddle through some of the backwaters along the river (where other motorised boats can’t access, so there’s always a chance to capture more of nature at its best).
We all know the Murray is a fisho’s delight. So find time to head to the deck, sit back and throw in your line. Or hop in your kayak or dinghy and head towards some cliffs, natural structures, or willows – here you might just reel in the catch of the day! Just make sure you’re aware of and follow appropriate fishing regulations (more info via PIRSA here).
Forgot your fishing rod? The Unforgettable team has a full range of fishing equipment, dinghys and kayaks for hire, so just add this to your booking to make the most of your trip.
While there’s some of us who enjoy taking it slow, there’s also plenty of us who like some action – specifically the river’s playground for watersports.
If someone in your group has a ski boat, feel free to bring it along and hook it up to the side towing arm of your houseboat as you travel. Living on the water during your holiday provides you the best opportunity to watch out for the perfect conditions to get out on the wakeboard or water-ski.
Above: Fast action on the water is easy to find when you visit our backyard. Image: Adam Bruzzone.
Of course once you’re exhausted, and settled back in bed for the day, you can forget about the alarm clock and let yourself wake up slowly to the panoramic river views just outside of your bedroom – all ready to do it again the next day (and hopefully not too sore from the day before – nothing a quick dip in the river can’t fix though!).
Then there are the stars at night. Australia’s first Dark Sky Reserve (the River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve) sits right here above your houseboat, spanning from Tungkillo to Swan Reach in width and as far as Blanchetown to Bowhill in the other directions. If you’re good with your geography, you’d know that’s a whopping big area - 3,200 square kilometres, to be exact!
Once you’re out floating in total darkness and the stars are burning bright, spend some time gazing skyward. Or if you’re feeling creative, whip out the camera for a spot of astrophotography – one of the world’s most prominent new hobbies thanks to the rise of photo technology.
Above: A preview of our dark skies, pictured at Big Bend by @row_an_james.
You’ll notice the Big Bend Lookout sit within the Dark Sky Reserve’s list of astro hot spots too, so you can enjoy the wonders of the ancient ochre cliffs day and night. Check out a map of the area, fact sheet and top astro hot spots you might want to add to your itinerary here. And remember to back your binoculars to chase the Milky Way or saucepan!
If you do decide you want to stretch your legs on land again, you’ll have the convenience to easily stop-in at one of our popular riverside towns to enjoy a meal, follow a walking trail, or learn about local history.
Mannum’s buzzing main street serves up brilliant riverfront dining at the Pretoria Hotel and an excellent breakfast menu at Café Mannum. Or grab a takeaway coffee and savoury from a local bakery and have a stroll of the town (see here for some historical town trails).
Above: So much room to dine riverside at Mannum's Pretoria Hotel.
Take advantage of direct access to a riverside walking trail. The Mannum to Kia Marina cycling/walking trail is mostly off road, and even includes a free ferry crossing! Just duck into the Mannum Visitor Information Centre to hire some bikes.
Before you jet off, make a visit to the Mannum Dock Museum. You could easily spend an hour or two being immersed in the interactive displays, learning about the Murray River system and the 1956 flood, browsing a historic photo collection, and viewing the fully restored Keys Beam Engine and geological displays.
Above: Interactive educational fun awaits at the Mannum Dock Museum.
Further north east along the River, the revamped Bowhill General Store has become incredibly popular, with its friendly, laid-back country hospitality and ample selection of goods to stock your houseboat up with. Plus, it’s generous views of the river from the open lawn area is a good enough reason alone to stopover for a bite with friends.
Above: The newly renovated Bowhill General Store is always a hit for hungry bellies and those who enjoy looking out to a good river view.
Want to experience what living life in the lap of luxury feels like for a few nights?
The Unforgettable team makes it easy with their Platinum Class packages, which come as an additional option when you book one of their houseboats for a 4 or 7-night hire.
Above: Keep your eyes out for the PS Murray Princess or our other historic paddleboats touring past. Image: Italo Vardaro.
We’re talking a return scenic transfer from the city, an indulgent welcome basket, chauffeured tours to iconic destinations including Monarto Safari Park and Big Bend By Night, a self-cook spit roast meal, a 3-person canoe for the duration of your hire, and that’s just the short list!
Though if you’re short on time but want to sneak in one night of pampering, why not let a five-star chef join you on board to cook up a three or four course meal or buffet spread (and even take care of the dishes!).
If you’re ready to book an unforgettable trip of a lifetime, then get in contact with the Unforgettable Houseboats team today.