Put back that takeaway menu and pull up a seat in the spots the locals know best.
Our hidden gems aren’t so hidden anymore. More visitors are discovering the fresh local ingredients found on our seasonal menus, breathtaking riverside scenery and cheerful hospitality to match. You’ll have no trouble finding new tastes or giving in to those familiar cravings from across the region, because each place offers something different to the next.
Whether dining solo, entertaining friends and family or treating your significant other, let us tempt you with our top picks below.
Nestled up overlooking Mannum’s dual ferries, Café Mannum (at Mannum Motel) uses its prime location to create an unbeatable atmosphere. You can settle in, unwind with a cuppa, and watch the world float by. Even if it’s a wintery afternoon, you won’t miss out on the view from inside thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows.
The mains, pizza and dessert menus will leave you ‘ahh-ing’ and ‘ooh-ing’ when trying to decide which tasty option you’ll pick. For lunch, the crispy skin salmon is a standout, with roasted potatoes, chargrilled carrots, toasted cashews, and herb yoghurt. There are also great options for the kids too.
Staying at a nearby river shack? Bring the crew out – no dishes or clean up required. Likewise, if you’ve packed up the car for a day trip, simply pick up a takeaway coffee and brekky order for the road.
While many small regional towns have a general store, you’d be struggling to find one that boasts views or a menu, as good as the one in Bowhill.
Perched on a clifftop, you could spend hours sitting back at the grassed outdoor area (and many do!) watching keen river-goers cruising past creating hypnotic ripples and showing off their best watersport tricks. Pair this with Bowhill General Store’s menu of freshly made crowd pleasers, and you’ll be returning time and time again – especially if you’re staying at one of the nearby shacks.
If you haven’t been here in a few years, it’s nothing like you remember. It’s taken on a complete transformation from a transportable structure to a sleek, modern building that has people continuing to flock – by land and water – at all times of the year to choose from a range of artisan pastries, toasted goods, beer on tap, coffee, flowers and more. Make your return now!
A short drive up the road from Bowhill and you’ll find the Swan Reach Hotel, a classic family-friendly, country pub known for its panoramic river views, laidback atmosphere and a hearty menu showcasing local ingredients. And yes, it still has the tank of yabbies in the front bar!
The beer garden is where you’ll want to be though, with lots of space to spread out and take in the outdoors (especially if you’re bringing your four-legged friend with you). If you’re popping by on a weekend, you can look forward to live music on the lawns.
The friendly staff never pass up a chat, and love providing warm country service. After a visit, you’ll wonder how you went so long without it.
Sit back and watch the river go by at the multi-award-winning Bridgeport Hotel. This state-of-the-art venue has brought a premium dining scene to Murray Bridge with its redevelopment in 2021, and has continued to ‘wow’ ever since.
With various dining options available across the Rivergum restaurant, the lounge, cods bar, and the terrace, it’ll feel like a new experience each time you visit and try something off the Bridgeport’s South Australian inspired menu.
Treat yourself to the full experience with the Coorong mullet dish, offering lemon almond crust, warm kipfler potato salad, pomegranate, Packham pear, parmesan and molasses salad with lemon pressed Rio Vista olive oil.
If a high tea isn’t your style, add a little fun to the mix with a ‘tipsy teapot’ instead – that’s right, we’re talking about gin!
Less than a 50-minute drive from the Adelaide tollgate, this is a convenient option for a day trip (or weekend getaway).
Even when you’ve returned home, these restaurants will leave a taste on your tongue for months afterwards. How you wish being riverside with unforgettable food could’ve lasted forever!
Here’s how you can get a little more out of a restaurant visit (and give yourself a few more days to work your way through our list above), with riverfront views from the moment you wake up.
Set off from Mannum and strap yourself in for up to a week of total and utter comfort with Unforgettable Houseboats. The team’s fleet of luxury houseboats have all your needs covered, from multiple bedrooms, heated spas, multi-level open plan living, and sundeck.
Even with no itinerary in mind, you can follow the bends of the river until your heart’s content. Don’t worry – you’ll get a crash course on how to drive a houseboat before you depart – all you need is a full motor vehicle or boat licence and be over the age of 21.
Make use of the gourmet kitchen facilities and a 4-burner BBQ on the deck, watching the sun set over the golden cliffs as you cook. Or give the frypan a break and pull in to one of our popular riverside towns for a meal.
Houseboat Hirers Association is another fan favourite to cruise the Murray in style and comfort. With 40 licensed houseboats on offer, you’re bound to find something suited to your taste, budget and group size.
When preparing to travel within or to South Australia, there are some things to consider to keep our State safe.
Some fruit and vegetables, plants and food cannot be brought into South Australia as they may carry pests or diseases, including fruit fly, that are a risk to our state.
If you are caught with fruit and vegetables that are a risk, your produce will be taken away and you face a fine.
Understand how to plan your travel to and within South Australia, so pests and diseases don’t travel with you.
Pack thoughtfully and buy local when you arrive.
Visit www.fruitfly.sa.gov.au or call 1300 666 010 to find out more.