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For those of you who’ve followed my Perth to Adelaide road trip adventure, you’ll know that after five weeks of camping in a tent across the south coast of Australia (involving sun, wind, rain, thunder storms, phones lost down compost toilets and the occasional agonizing insect bite – as well as all the fun stuff, obviously!), my travel mate, Michi, and I met up with our friend Mirka for a two-week house sit in Adelaide.

After a lot of tug-of-war with the German Shepherd we were looking after, discovering all the best things to do in Adelaide, thoroughly cleaning our car and camping gear, and, to be honest, spending a lot of time slumped on the sofa watching TV which felt like an absolute luxury, it was time for Michi and I to get back on the road and continue towards the east coast of Australia!

In our newly relaxed state of mind, we decided to ease ourselves back into the explorer lifestyle with a gentle paddle boat cruise along the iconic Murray River in South Australia.

A relaxing Murray River paddle boat cruise in South Australia. The perfect day trip from Adelaide.

Murray River Facts

At 2,508km long, the Murray River is Australia’s longest river. Starting in the Australian Alps, it runs down the western side of the mountains before meandering across the inland plains, forming the border between New South Wales and Victoria.

It then flows through South Australia, reaching the coastline at Lake Alexandrina and The Coorong before opening out into the Indian Ocean at the Murray River Mouth.


Murray Bridge

To begin our Murray River paddle boat cruise, we said goodbye to Adelaide and drove 76km southeast along the Princes Highway to the city of Murray Bridge.

The bridge in Murray Bridge South Australia.
Arriving in Murray Bridge SA

We didn’t have time to look around the city unfortunately, but it’s a popular tourist spot known as the “crown” of the Murray Region, offering water sports, walking trails, restaurants and even a safari bus around Monarto Zoo, Australia’s largest open-range zoo.

Driving over the bridge in Murray Bridge South Australia.
Crossing the bridge

Murray River Paddle Boat Cruise

On arrival in Murray Bridge, we went straight to the wharf to start our afternoon trip with Captain Proud paddle boat cruises.

Captain Proud paddle boat cruise on the Murray River.
Captain Proud paddle boat cruise

Paddle steamers and paddle boats have been part of life on the Murray River and the Murray-Darling Basin since 1853, when the first paddle steamer, P.S. Mary Ann, was launched near Mannum in South Australia. So a cruise seemed like the obvious way for us to enjoy the river.

Inside the Captain Proud Murray River paddle boat.
Seating and bar inside the Captain Proud Paddle Boat

After our recent adventures in the ancient forests of southwest Australia and beautiful beach destinations like Esperance, it was a real change of scene to visit the quiet riverside settlements of South Australia.

Captain Proud Murray River paddle boat cruise - inside the boat.
Lounge area inside the paddle boat

After scones and tea, we sat out on the deck to enjoy the peace and serenity that the Murray River is known for.

Murray River paddle boat cruise in South Australia.
The quiet banks of the Murray River
Tourist enjoying a Murray River paddle boat cruise in South Australia.
Michi enjoying the view
Murray River paddle boat cruise South Australia.
Murray Bridge in the distance
Tourist on a Captain Proud Murray River paddle boat cruise in South Australia.
Me soaking up the scenery of South Australia

House boats are also popular on the Murray River SA; you can even hire them to stay overnight instead of a hotel!

Murray River house boat in South Australia.
A Murray River house boat
Murray River paddle boat cruise in Murray Bridge, South Australia.
Arriving back at Murray Bridge

Back on dry land, feeling refreshed and ready to go, we got back on the road for the hour-long drive down to our campsite in Coorong National Park, where the Murray River meets the ocean!