Mannum to Goolwa and the Mouth of the Murray

After completing a fabulous 4 night cruise on the PS Murray Princess we had a couple of days chilling out in Mannum before heading south on our Murray River run from Albury to the Mouth of the Murray.

Mannum is a lovely little town, population 3,000 and is known as the houseboat capital of Australia. We went for a ride on our ebikes around the town and discovered an whole marina development with hundreds of houseboats and other vessels. There were some very lovely homes in that area too many with rear access to the water and their own private jetties.

Of course, being an old river port, there are also little old houses constructed from stone scattered amongst the newer dwellings. These stone houses are the same style we have seen all along the river and most date back to the 1800’s. I do love to see those that have been restored and are obviously well cared for. We have seen a few derelict ones on our journey.

Mannum Information Centre is housed in an old wharf building that is also home to the Mannum Dock Museum. This wonderful little museum was opened in 2001 and includes the PS Marion, PW Mayflower, the historic Randell Dry Dock (the last serviving dry dock from the 1800’s), a steam engine display, and an excellent interactive display of river life. Children would love this interactive display where they could pretend to be the captain of a river boat and fire up the boiler, pull the whistle, steer the boat along the river and communicate with other crew. They could also learn to tie the various knots that the rivermen used.

A nationally acclaimed exhibition called Women of the River was also on display and featured stories of 19 women from the mid 1800’s to today is on show in one of the rooms. I was staggered by the hardship these pioneer river and farming women had to endure. Mostly along with have lots of children!

I recommend the Mannum Dock Museuam to any visitors to the town. It was definitely a highlight for us.

There are a couple of pubs and one Community Club in the Main Street and we had dinner one night in the beer garden of the Pretoria. The beer garden goes all the way to the river edge where a large houseboat had moored up. The Pretoria is a great pub with terrific pub food.

Mannum has a couple of supermarkets, bakeries, chemists and all the usual shops. As we were there on the first Sunday of the month we were able to go to the markets held in Arnold Park near the ferries. It was the usual eclectic mix of smallholders and we purchased some lovely fresh bread.

Continuing our journey along the Murray we left Mannum via the ferry heading to Goolwa. We crossed the river on a ferry again at Wellington and had a lunch stop at Murray Bridge.

Murray Bridge is a large town on the banks of the river and, as you would expect, there is a big bridge across the river. Murray Bridge is less than an hour from Adelaide and is a popular destination for those wanting to escape the city for some house boating, water sports, swimming and fishing.

We pulled up in a carpark for long vehicles in a large park alongside the river. The Sturt Reserve is a large park along the river and is home to some historic railway carriages, the Rowing Club, the RSL club, a restaurant, skate park, go-karts, and an adventure playground. It is also home to a cave wherein lies a Bunyip. Kids would love this. You have to press a button and the bunyip rises out of his pond making scary growling noises. There is a story board alongside with the Aboriginal origin of the Bunyip legend. It was considered dangerous to go to the river on your own and catching more fish than you can eat was unacceptable too so the bunyip legend was created to frighten children to prevent them from doing those.

We continued our journey through the Langhorne Creek wine area where we were surrounded by vineyards, on along the shores of Lake Alexandrina to the tiny town of Milang and on to Point Sturt. Point Sturt is on a long peninsula with Lake Alexandrina on both sides. Here we free camped with the big sky above us and twinkling lights of towns across the lake.

We arrived in Goolwa to find it is a large town on the riverside and is joined to Hindmarsh Island by a bridge. The Greater Goolwa area, including Victor Harbour, has a population of almost 30,000 people. After crossing the huge bridge over to Hindmarsh Island we found our way to the lookout for the Mouth of the Murray. We’d reached our goal of traveling along the mighty Murray River from Albury to the mouth. There it was with a huge sand dredge sitting in it. The wind was blowing strongly from across the Southern Ocean and causing white caps on the river. We have booked a cruise on the Spirit of the Coorong so we can learn more about this amazing part of Australia.


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