Give the gift of a wild experience in 2022

It’s time to do away with traditional gift-giving, and instead make the most of helping our loved ones create new, exciting, wild and unique experiences that they’ll remember forever.

The perfect gift doesn’t have to be a physical item – and after spending much of the last two years at home, a gift of adventure is just what many of us need right now!

With 2022 well underway, we all have a list of birthdays, anniversaries, special announcements, and other gift giving occasions on the horizon – but don’t worry, we’ve got your back.

Here in the Murray River, Lakes and Coorong, we have something to offer every type of friend or loved one, whether it be for the animal lover, the foodie, the wine connoisseur, adrenaline junkie or the parent who needs a break!

Image: Monarto Safari Park

1. Monarto Safari Park's animal experiences

If your loved one has a passion for conservation, loves wildlife or enjoys a bit of adrenaline, an animal experience will get them up close to interact and learn about the wildlife found at the largest safari experience outside of Africa – Monarto Safari Park!

Some of Monarto’s must-try experiences are:

  • Lions 360: enter the dome for an unforgettable 360-degree, face-to-face encounter with one of the animal kingdom’s fiercest predators – Monarto’s lion pride!
  • Lions At Bedtime: join the keeper to call the lions into their night quarters, help feed them a meaty treat, and meet another amazing African carnivore – the Spotted Hyena.
  • Giraffe Safari: hand feed a gentle giant and watch as their extra longue tongue wraps around a carrot right from your hands.
  • Meet the Rhinos: get a rare look behind the scenes to meet the Southern White Rhino crash and watch them tuck into breakfast.
  • A Devilish Nature Experience: follow the keepers behind the scenes to meet one of Australia’s most endangered native species, the Tasmanian Devil, and learn about the conservation programs helping to save this iconic species.

Image: Monarto Safari Park

There’s a whole range of encounters with native and African species, so if there’s a few of you contributing to a group gift, why not bundle experiences for a full day of animal magic. Spend a morning feeding the giraffe’s and the afternoon calling the lions in.

Gifting an experience also gives them access to the café, walking trails, play areas and free bus tours on the day. PLUS – from late March explorers will kick off their adventure from the new Visitor Centre, the first step in the multi-million-dollar expansion of the park. Find out more about the exciting development here.

Tip: Monarto Safari Park is open every day of the year including public holidays, so there are many opportunities to book – even for the busy bees!

For the ultimate gift, treat them to a Zoos SA Membership that unlocks 365 days of unlimited visits to Monarto Safari Park and Adelaide Zoo, members-only pricing for animal experiences and discounts at the shops and cafes.

Find out more about Monarto Safari Park and animal experiences here.

2. Four Knots Cruises' Wood Fire Pizza Package

If you’ve got a foodie or water lover to organise for, don’t look past Four Knots Murray River Cruises. The team can take away the responsibilities and logistics that come with planning a day out and let you spend more time making memories with your group of 12 or more.

The 3-hour Wood Fired Pizza Package comes complete with an hour of scenic river cruising (departing from Mannum) and locally made pizzas and beverages served either on board or on the riverbank with a cosy setup of picnic rugs, bean bags, barstools, table and chairs.

Image: Four Knots Cruises

Other package options we recommend are the:

You can even add on gin tastings, live music or pre-arranged beverages to any package for a stress-free, unforgettable day on the river.

View Four Knots Murray River Cruises’ full range of relaxing riverbank and cruising experiences here.

3. Juggle House Experience's Adrenaline Package

If anyone can host a group day out like no other – it’s our region’s award-winning tour guide (and master juggler) Kel from Juggle House Experiences.

Image: Juggle House – Entertainer Limousine

What sets this experience above the bar is the spacious, luxury Entertainer Limousine which comfortably seats 11 passengers and is fitted with a licenced bar and karaoke (making the trip just as fun as the main event!).

For the adrenaline lovers in your life, our top pick is the Adrenaline Junkie Tour – kicking off at The Bend Motorsport Park.

Image: Juggle House Experiences

Enter the Welcome Centre and browse the range of impressive vehicles on display, before buckling up for life in the fast lane with a V8 Mustang Hot Lap followed by a group karting session. End the visit by settling the stomach with a meal overlooking the circuit at the Apex Bar.

Image: The Bend Motorsport Park

If you can’t think of anyone cut out for life in the fast lane, don’t stress. Juggle House Experiences offer a wide range of tours including:

Find out more about Juggle House Experiences here, and The Bend Motorsport Park here.

4. PS Murray Princess' 3-Night Murray River Discovery Cruise

Have a person in your life that’s nature-starved and needs some downtime?

Image: PS Murray Princess

Send them on board the magnificent PS Murray Princess for 3-nights on the Murray River Discovery Cruise, where they can enjoy the breathtaking scenery of our riverside, coupled with a mix of nature and history-based onshore tours, including:

It’s the perfect partner retreat or group gift for a family member.

When they’re not enjoying luxury meals, live onboard entertainment or views from the sun deck, your loved one will have plenty of time to kick back and listen to the sounds of the river and watch the giant paddlewheel turn. The friendly Murray Princess team make this easy with their exceptional service, going above and beyond to take care of the needs of their guests.

If 3 nights simply isn’t enough, 4 and 7-night cruises are also offered. You can find out more here.

5. Discover the Langhorne Creek Wine Region

If you’ve got a wine-loving friend or partner, you know there’s nothing they’d love more than spending the day sipping wine and uncovering a new favourite drop.

Our Langhorne Creek Wine Region has a list of must-visit cellar doors, and the best way to get to know about the local award-winning wines is with a tasting flight.

Image: Lake Breeze picnic package

Lake Breeze Wines offers a unique selection of experiences ranging from extravagant to casual with a scenic helicopter flight and lunch experience at the top of the list, to hosting a small private function upstairs overlooking the vineyard, or a relaxing pre-prepared picnic package on the lawns under the gum trees.

Over at Kimbolton Wines, take a seat inside the stunning architecturally built cellar door and let taste buds be excited by a tasting experience of reds, alternates, mixed red and white, the premium Rifleman range or a seasonally curated wine and cheese flight.

Head across to nearby Bremerton Wines for lunch, where you can taste pizzas, regional platters, wine and… their own small batch gin varieties! (This place is also great for families with their newly developed outdoor area and games).

For a spot of history, join Bleasdale Vineyards’ Beyond the Cellar Door tour, where the enormous hand-hewn red gum press built in 1892 can be seen.

Image: Bleasdale Vineyards

For something more relaxed, try Angas Plains vineyards. These guys provide rustic country-style service and a gorgeous sparkling to go with it! Or if you’ve got a sweet-tooth, finish with a trip to Vineyard Road Wines which encompasses a chocolate shop!

Find out more about the Langhorne Creek Wine Region (and the other cellar doors) and upcoming events here.

Where to stay

The team at River Shack Rentals make it easy to book local riverside self-contained accommodation directly from your phone screen.

Image: 36 River Lane, Mannum

A sneak-peek of just some of their properties include:

For other options, browse the property map here.

If you’re looking for a hotel style-stay, the $45 million, six-storey, riverfront Bridgeport Hotel is a great option.