Social-isolation with a view (and no flights)? It’s the perfect time to escape to our Murray River

What are we all dreaming of right now?

An escape to somewhere with no crowds, no shopping centres, no airports, and no (or at least ‘less’) worries.

Enter, the Murray River and our unique, beautifully isolated, waterfront shacks.

And with only a 1 – 2 hour car drive from the city, this might just be the perfect place to getaway right now and spend a few days worrying less about sanitising your hands, and more about who will hook the biggest fish that morning (from the front lawn might I add).

But we’re not going to show you the BIG glamorous places, because we know everyone is watching their pennies at the moment (we are too). But instead, we’re showing you more of our unique faves from the crew at River Shack Rentals, that are nestled in the quiet, cosy and more remote areas. These spots will allow you to take a breath, at a price that won’t demolish your COVID-19 precautionary savings.

Let’s start with this little beauty out at Cowirra, just past the Mannum township. It’s on a huge block, with magnificent views to the River where you can simply take in the view, or launch your own kayak to paddle amongst the fresh air.


Above: How will you be using all of this riverfront room to play?

While you’re here, you might even want to follow the local Mannum Canoe Trail, or get moving along a walking/cycling trail like the nearby Murray Coorong Trail. If you’re up for a short drive, you could even head 20 minutes down the road to the Mannum Waterfalls for a look. The area is filled with opportunities to explore the great outdoors (with no crowds).


Above: Mannum’s section of the Murray Coorong Trail takes you right along the river, on foot or bicycle.

Not far from here, there’s also this quirky little place along East Front Road, a little further on again from Mannum. It’s front doorstep feels like you could almost step right into the water it’s so close, making it the perfect spot to throw in a line and kick-back while you try to forget about the fact you can’t attend your local footy club until the end of May.


Above: From the tinny, they jetty, the houseboat, or from the banks – you’ll have many opportunities to throw in a line. Image: Adam Bruzzone.

This historic 1886 restored stone cottage is also one of our favourites for a remote escape. Surrounded by River Red Gums at Walker Flat, it provides spectacular views over lake Bywater and the Murray River. But it still has the luxuries you’d expect from a holiday home, including a two-person spa and a coffee machine. Plus, if you book your stay after 30 April (when fire season ends), you can stoke up the gorgeous little fire pit out the front so you can soak up fresh air (and cook some marshmallows) well into the darkness.


Above: If you love getting cosy, this place will have you relaxed from the moment you step in the door.

Further away from civilisation, is the tiny community of Caurnamont, and this brilliant little riverfront house. With a perfect porch that would give Darryl Kerrigan a fair reason to yelp: “how’s the serenity!”, we think this place has all-season charm with that view to the ochre cliffs over the water. It’s impossible not to relax in a spot like this!


Above: At this place, you’ll never forget the moments you spent watching the sun set on the glowing cliffs from the deck.

Now if you’re after something a bit crazy, but SUPER insta-worthy, you’ve got to check out the cylindrical hideaway affectionately known as Humpy’s Retreat. This Nissan hut brings back hilarious memories from our past (for those who have seen or stayed in one before), and you can bring the atmosphere as you escape the city and make memories.


Above: This quirky hideaway gives you a fun story to tell your friends about. The location’s not too bad either!

The other great part about heading out this way, especially during April, is that you’ll be staying right underneath the newly acclaimed River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve! What does that mean you ask?


Above: If you have a love for astronomy, or dont’ mind a bit of stargazing, you can’t miss out on visiting the River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve. Image: @FraserBockPhotography.

Well – this stretch of the River, from just north of Mannum through to Swan Reach, has some of the most EPIC night skies – and for the next month or so, they’re showing off some of the world’s best views of the Milky Way! So pack the telescope, binoculars, or camera – and spend some time outside at night amongst the stars.

If you’re not fussed on luxury, but love more of a rural escape, then this little spot at Wongulla could be up your alley. With a windmill perfectly placed on the edge of the cosy property, this quiet getaway on the Wongulla lagoon provides more than just beds. The lagoon is also famous to locals as a haven for yabbies, fish and native birds – so if you’re a keen fisho or twitcher (or both), it’s perfect. (And remember to bring the kayak along to have some fun in these protected waters).


Above: Up for a paddle? Better pack your kayak, canoe or SUP – there’s a good chance you’ll regret leaving it at home once you’re here! Image: John Montesi

For those with kids, this place will be like their own little fun-park! With its own private mini basketball court, putt-putt golf and playground – it’s one of the most brilliant, and equally eccentric little holiday homes we’ve seen along the River!


Above: Wow – it doesn’t get much better when you have your own personal playground like this!

Another cool idea to get the kids out in nature is to go on a treasure hunt, with the interactive geocaching technology. There are plenty of caches hidden in our region, and you can come for the day, or a few – and have some fun with the kids.

But let’s finish with luxury. If you’re in a position to afford a place like this, and especially if you can get access to a boat, then why not tie up for a few nights in the beautiful Mannum Waters Marina. This four bedroom holiday house will be an absolute treat for people who need to escape the world’s hustles right now, and can fit two families if needed. The designer-deck is perfect for morning coffees and afternoon wines, and it’s close enough to the township in case you need supplies (or far enough if you want to escape existence).


Above: Aerial view of the Mannum Waters Marina. Image: Mannum Waters

We know it’s a tough time right now, and we also know that sometimes – escaping the city and the big crowds and breathing in our world’s vast open, natural spaces can be JUST what you need.

If a river house isn’t for you, you could also try escaping to the water itself with an Unforgettable Houseboat holiday! Or – if you’re up for camping – check out some of our favourite spots along the River.


Above: Explore the Mighty Murray from onboard an Unforgettable Houseboat!

So if and when you’re feeling up to it, book a getaway on the magical Murray River and escape the world for a few quiet days. You won’t regret it.