Taste your way through the Murray River, Lakes and Coorong on the ultimate food safari. Our food bowl is overflowing with decadent local produce that’ll leave you with a tasty memory for months to come.
But – because there’s lots happening up here with the river rising (and subsequent river crossing closures) we’ve mapped out a trail for you to experience – without having to jump on a ferry.
Pick this side of the river, or another… and bring your picnic basket!
Driving into Murray Bridge from the South Eastern Freeway will land you at Murray Bridge’s Farm Fresh Market. This open-air grocer of goodness boasts home grown fresh fruit, vegetables, condiments, bread, oils, sweets, meals, flowers and more. There’s never been an easier (or tastier) way to support the region than dropping in to see locals Carlo and Tracy at the market, filling up your esky, and escaping to the great outdoors. They even have a new little café inside the market so you can buy the freshest pre-prepared meals, coffees, and other dishes.
One of our favourite past-times is to fill up here on snacks, and take yourself a little further up the road to the historic Murray Bridge Round House. Here, you can have a picnic with a view, and take in the sight of the twin bridges, while you safely (and comfortably) watch the movement of the Murray River perched above it. You can even book in for a tour of the historic building as well if you have the time!
If you still want that view – but prefer someone else to lay it on for you, then try the $45 million, six-storey, award-winning, riverfront Bridgeport Hotel right next door. Find a seat on the terrace and let their friendly staff handle the rest.
The Bridgeport’s summer menu champions classic river living, with Coopers ale battered Coorong mullet, fries and caper aioli. It also showcases local food from producers Aussie Apricots, Thomas Foods Incorporated, Rio Vista Olives, and more.
For a real treat, stay the night here, and soak up summer in the Bridgeport’s exclusive infinity pool. For even more summer fun – ride on the SupaSlide (or one of the five other slides) and dip into the deep blue with a trip to the recently upgraded Murray Bridge Swimming Centre.
If you’ve got kids, put Murray Bridge’s Nature Playspace to the top of your list. They’ll have a blast exploring the wonderland of obstacles and swings.
You can’t come to Murray Bridge without heading to nearby Monarto Safari Park. Its gift shop, located within the new Visitor Centre, offers a range of local produce, including chef favourites Woodlane Orchard, Paradise Hill Honey, and Clemco Almonds.
The team is even using local produce to support conservation, donating part proceeds from their Grapes for Good wine collaboration with Langhorne Creek Wine Region to Zoos SA’s conservation mission. If gin is more your style, their Ambleside Kifaru Gin safeguards Rhino’s in the wild and is funding Australia’s largest Rhino Quarantine and Management Centre at Monarto Safari Park.
Next, buckle up and set your sights towards Mannum. If you’ve got a soft spot for dried fruit, then a detour to Aussie Apricots at Mypolonga will be worth your while. The team has curated the perfect blend of coconut, yoghurt and chocolate dipped produce that will fast become a staple amongst your treat stash.
As you drive into Mannum – you’ll notice that things look a little different due to the floods. But most of our operators are still open and would love for you to visit!
You can experiment with some unique cheeses at Looove Cheese, they’ll have free samples on offer for you to try. Order a customised cheese platter, and take it out to the Mannum lookout for panoramic views of the river. Just take a look here for any changes to road access.
If you’re craving a caffeine kick, swing by Café Mannum for a takeaway coffee (a fan favourite that’s en route to the Mannum Lookout). Situated just above Mannum’s dual ferries – you’ll get a top-level (and safe) view of the river rising while trying out the house special – a Ferryman’s Burger topped with a specialty tomato bacon jam. Again – check out local updates for access – as you might need to park at the back of the café instead of Randell Street.
Mannum’s next door neighbour (just up the hill) Palmer is a long running standout when it comes to true country pub hospitality. This quintessential small-town pub has been rightly celebrated for its warm country service and hearty meals. If you want to eat like local, pull up a seat.
On your drive back, admire the 50-metre-long mural on the Mannum-Adelaide pipeline (located in Apamurra).
While we’re on the topic of pub meals, the Wellington Hotel is an absolute must. SA’s oldest country pub, established in 1846, has taken the time to curate its eccentric menu of schnitzel toppings. Plus, it sits right on the riverbank, so you can enjoy your meal with scenery to match as the sunset reflects off the Murray.
Pair your local produce with some equally tantalising wine. The Langhorne Creek Wine Region produce has been expertly crafted for generations by families who know our climate best. Their heart and soul goes into each glass, and you can taste it.
Langhorne Creek’s varietal hero is Cabernet Sauvignon – a warm, soft, generous, and immediately drinkable beverage. They even have the oldest family-owned Cabernet vines in the world still in production.
Visit one of their cellar doors to pick up your latest fix, our picks are Kimbolton Wines, Bremerton Wines, Bleasdale, Lake Breeze Wines, Angas Plains Wines, Rusticana, Windsong Wines, and Vineyard Road.
Draw out your food safari across the weekend and stay at a river house. River Shack Rentals offer properties spanning from Wellington up to Swan Reach, the ultimate way to live like a local (and can direct you to the holiday rentals that are up high enough to not be impacted by the floods). Or – to relax on top of Mannum’s lookout, book a stay at Reedy Creek Retreat’s glamping space.
Don’t wait – discover our culinary staples and add this blog to your itinerary.
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 can’t be brought into SA as they may carry pests or diseases, including fruit fly.
If you are caught with fruit and vegetables that are a risk, the produce will be taken away and you face a fine. So pack thoughtfully and buy local when you arrive.
Visit www.fruitfly.sa.gov.au or call 1300 666 010 to find out more.