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Indulge your senses and stay in style aboard the superb Proud Mary riverboat. Breathtaking beauty abounds whilst cruising along Australia's longest single river.

Come cruising...

Embark upon our longer 5 night indulgence cruise, aboard the intimate cruising vessel, the Proud Mary. Departing every Sunday evening, get ready to indulge your senses as we cast off to explore the Murray River’s eco-system at its finest.

The 5 night indulgence cruise includes all meals. Let our brilliant chefs delight your senses with modern Australian and European cuisine made from the highest quality seasonal produce.

Abundant wildlife and magnificent scenery will be seen throughout your entire stay aboard. River Gums and Willows line the banks of this famous river and provide a perfect safe haven for birds and wildlife. Take in the towering cliffs and beautiful sandy beaches as the Proud Mary idly cruises by. At night, the Proud Mary’s powerful floodlights provide a rare glimpse of nocturnal wildlife, especially birds such as night herons, owls and coots.

Lagoon cruises, on shore guided walks, an Australian themed bush barbecue with live entertainment and the Captain's Dinner make up some of the highlights of this extravagant 5 night indulgence cruise (more details on cruise highlights below).

For when you choose to retire to the private contemporary ensuite accommodation provided, all cabins onboard feature stunning river views so you can stay immersed in the beauty of nature.

5 night indulgence cruise highlights include:

Lagoon cruises

A journey aboard a small boat to cruise the River’s secluded lagoons and inlets, here you will view some of the 320 species of birdlife in this region and discover the intricacies of the ancient cliff face.

Reedy Creek Gorge nature walk

Take a fascinating guided nature walk through Reedy Creek Gorge more commonly known as Mannum Waterfalls. Discover this permanent water course from waterfalls, through swamps and wetlands.

Murray Aquaculture

A visit to Australia’s largest aquaculture project will provide a fascinating insight into the lifecycle of our freshwater crayfish.

Australian themed bush barbecue

As dusk falls, enjoy an evening around a blazing campfire. A delicious bush barbeque is prepared using local produce, including billy tea and damper, along with evening entertainment under the stars on the golden sands of the river bank.

Night cruising

Night cruising is a feature of all Proud Mary cruises. The Proud Mary’s powerful flood lights illuminate the graceful willows and dark waters as you cruise.

Ecological walks

Here you’ll discover the importance of flood plains to the river system. You will also see some of the last remaining evidence of ancient Aboriginal civilization, a huge canoe tree bearing the scar where bark was taken to make a canoe. Learn about Moorundie Creek, named after the Aboriginal tribe that lived here. In native dialect ‘moorundie’ means sand or sandy and is the site where the history of the area began in 1840, when explorer Edward John Eyre established a village named Sturt after the famous explorer navigator.

Explore ancient archaeological sites

Visit the site of ancient aboriginal rock art where your local indigenous guide will explain their meaning and significance. Ngaut Ngaut was a major meeting place for the tribes of the area and you’ll see where they prepared and cooked food at a ceremonial site that dates back thousands of years. The view from the top of the cliffs is astonishing with vistas that stretch for miles in every direction.

Live entertainment

After your Australian themed bush barbecue, enjoy live music from Proud Mary’s entertainer around a blazing campfire. Request a song and sing along as the music plays into the night.

Captain's Dinner

A five-course menu of choice featuring mouth-watering dishes based on modern Australian cuisine. Click here to see a sample menu. Enjoy the food, wine and atmosphere with your fellow passengers as the Captain visits every table and chats. It’s a chance to dress up a little and enjoy a gorgeous formal dinner.

 

Sunday

7pm You are welcomed aboard by the friendly Proud Mary crew. Having settled into your comfortable, river-view cabin, you may like to join your fellow passengers in the Dining Room & enjoy a pre- dinner drink before a delicious hot supper is served. As you cruise, Proud Mary’s powerful floodlights illuminate the shore. This is an excellent opportunity to see the River environment from a different perspective and may allow you to view some of the noctural wildlife, especially birds such as night herons, owls, and coots.

10:00pm Proud Mary ties up at our overnight mooring, for a night of peace and tranquility in the Australia bush.

11.30pm Dining Room is closed.

Monday

7am Dining Room opens. Tea and coffee available.

8am Proud Mary departs Sunnyside and continues upstream. You will pass huge lagoons teeming with birdlife. During floods, these inland lagoons were so immense that, in the early riverboat days, captains could not find true channels. In the early 1900s, riverboat captains planted willow trees along the banks to clearly mark the main river channel. Today these willows provide the perfect haven for the prolific birdlife.

8-8.45am This morning you will enjoy a delicious buffet breakfast while cruising through Mypolonga, Wall Flat, Caloote and Ponde. Your appetite will be stimulated by the magnificent scenery you’ll pass.

10.30am Mid-morning Proud Mary arrives in picturesque Mannum, inhabited prior to white settlement by the Narraltie aboriginal tribe. The name Mannum can be translated as “the place of many ducks”. Here you’ll board a waiting coach for a history tour of this small township that has played a significant role in the development of South Australia. Captain William Randell launched the first paddle steamer, the “Mary Ann”, on the Murray River in 1853. By the late 1880s, there were over 250 paddle steamers and barges trading on the Murray River and Mannum became an industrious inland port. On the tour, you will re-trace the colourful history of several pioneering families whose efforts shaped the successful development of this region. Your tour includes a visit to the “Olden Days, Olden Ways” museum in Mannum, where you will find a fascinating collection of historical memorabilia. Mannum is also famous as the site of the production of the first steam car in Australia with a differential, built by the Shearer brothers.

1pm The vessel departs Mannum. Lunch is served aboard as you cruise upstream past Younghusband, Teal Flat, lovely Lake Carlet, Bowhill, Purnong and onto Walker Flat. The menu may include dishes such as Chicken Saltimbocca with Asparagus or Pork Cutlet with Yam Mash, fabulous flavours to complement the superb scenery gliding by on both sides of the Proud Mary.

6pm Proud Mary moors at Walker Flat. The bird and wildlife here is prolific, including wallabies, wild ducks and bush turkeys. The towering cliffs are superb and provide a majestic backdrop to the tranquility of cruising Australia’s most famous river. This evening is “Australiana Night” and dinner will feature the use of some traditional bush foods such as emu, kangaroo, damper bread and fresh water crustaceans, with flavours of lemon myrtle, wild bush tomatoes and quandongs. These delicious dishes are created by our resident chefs to showcase Australia’s continually evolving cuisine. You might be offered Tasmanian Scallops with lemon couscous, Pepper Leaf Kangaroo Medallions, Northern Territory Barramundi or a Porterhouse Steak with Bush Tomato chutney. This evening join our expert ecologist for a Nocturnal Discovery Tour. This tour provides an insight into the abundant local wildlife, including South Australia’s fauna emblem, the Southern Hairy Nosed Wombat. These delightful creatures are found only in a limited area on the western side of the river. It’s rare to see them in the wild but you’ll board a coach to take you to their warrens and hopefully you’ll see one or two active in the evening light, as well as other nocturnal wildlife.

11.30pm Dining Room is closed.

Tuesday

7am Dining Room opens. Tea and coffee available.

7.45am Proud Mary departs Walker Flat and continues upstream. You will pass the town of Wongulla where, some fifty years ago, men found the fossil of a 20 million year old shark.

8-8.45am Another hearty breakfast is available while cruising through Wongulla, Nildottie and Big Bend. There’s something very satisfying about enjoying a good breakfast while you glide by magnificent scenery and Big Bend is famous for its soaring ochre cliffs.

10.15am A display of souvenirs is available in the Dining Room for you to browse through and purchase.

10.30am Feeling peckish? Morning Tea is available in the Dining Room.

10.45am Join the Captain in the Dining Room for a complete run-down on the story of Murray River including its history, current water usage practices and the ecology of this vital water source. You can also watch a video about the famous 1956 floods that devastated the area.

11.45am Proud Mary arrives at the pioneering township of Swan Reach. The settlement was originally the port of the large Portee Sheep Station and was settled as a township in 1899. Here you’ll disembark and visit Murray Aquaculture, one of the most ambitious aquaculture projects undertaken in Australia. The fresh water crustacean, known as the yabbie, is unique to Australia and is only one of many species of crayfish found in this country. (Australia has the second largest and most diverse number of crayfish species in the world.) With a local guide, you are taken through the complex covering 10,000sq metres of ponds, nurseries and an interpretive information centre. Eco-guides provide an informative commentary about fresh water crustacean biology, production and marketing. Then it’s on to one of the largest almond plantations in the world. You’ll drive through 15,000 almond trees that supply export-grade almonds to the world and you might even have a chance to sample the product.

1.45pm Rejoin the Proud Mary for another delicious lunch, perhaps featuring Natural and Kilpatrick oysters and Roast Chicken, as we depart Swan Reach and cruise through the shallows to Blanchetown.

4.45pm Proud Mary secures at Blanchetown, site of the Lock and Weir No 1. The river is dammed by 13 locks built to facilitate the early riverboat trade. Water cascades over the lock creating an excellent feeding place for birdlife. Pelicans and dozens of species of water birds can be seen diving in the water to feed. It’s a wonderful experience to watch as you relax with a quiet drink.

7.45pm Tonight, enjoy a delicious roast dinner with all the trimmings finished off with one of the home-style desserts Proud Mary’s chefs are famous for. Your evening cruise takes you to your overnight mooring spot of Portee Landing. Your Captain will steer closer to the bank this evening so you can take full advantage of the LED floodlights that illuminate the towering river redgums and perhaps watch the possums as they scamper through the branches. The River takes on a wonderfully moody and atmospheric quality at night providing a magical backdrop as you drift by.

11.30pm Dining Room closes. Enjoy a peaceful night surrounded by stars and the sounds of the Australian bush.

Wednesday

7am Dining Room opens. Tea and coffee available. This morning you will wake up in one of the most unspoilt and picturesque areas of the River Murray. Make sure you go out on deck to immerse yourself in the surroundings and experience the peace of the riverside environment.

8-8.45am Another Full English Buffet breakfast is available for you to choose from, or perhaps you might like a lighter Continental option this morning. The choice is yours.

9am This morning provides another unique experience with an absorbing ecological walk around Portee Station. Here you’ll discover the importance of flood plains to the river system. You will also see some of the last remaining evidence of ancient Aboriginal civilization, a huge canoe tree bearing the scar where bark was taken to make a canoe. Learn about Moorundie Creek, named after the Aboriginal tribe that lived here. In native dialect ‘moorundie’ means sand or sandy and is the site where the history of the area began in 1840, when explorer Edward John Eyre established a village named Sturt after the famous explorer navigator.

10am Proud Mary departs Portee Station and cruises downstream towards Swan Reach, passing magnificent lagoons teeming with birdlife, awesome cliffs reaching for the sky and spectacular scenery as far as the eyes can see. Throughout your cruise you can listen to the informative commentary that occurs from time to time about the history of the areas you pass through and the boats that used to work there.

11.45am We’ll tie up briefly at Swan Reach in order to get the daily newspapers and you can disembark and stretch your legs if you feel inclined and have a wander around this lovely town. Call into the Hotel, built around the original Swan Reach Station Homestead, and admire the views of the River and the collection of historical photos that are on display around the building.

12.30pm Lunch is served, which today may focus on traditional fish and chips, using fresh Australian seafood or, perhaps, Roast Turkey.

2pm This afternoon the vessel ties up alongside the towering cliffs of Big Bend, the tallest anywhere along the River. This is a truly majestic landscape providing definite photo opportunities. A highlight of your expedition is a small boat cruise through the lagoons and inlets, led by our expert ecologist. There are some 320 species of birdlife in this area and, with the aid of binoculars and your well-informed guide, you will study at close range the prolific birdlife and wildlife of the region including kangaroos, wombats, emus, echidnas and goannas. Your flat-bottom boat allows you to get right up to the riverside cliffs to see nesting birds and examine the geology of the landscape including the many exposed fossils.

4.30pm Bar opens on shore.

6.30pm This evening delivers another rewarding experience… a traditional Aussie barbeque prepared by our chefs and eaten under a canopy of stars amidst the restful sounds of the nearby river. Afterwards, enjoy an evening’s entertainment around a blazing campfire, provided by our resident musician. Request a song and sing along into the night as the stars of the Australian sky hover above, almost close enough to touch.

11.30pm Dining Room closes. Enjoy another quiet night’s sleep in the tranquil Australian bush.

Thursday

7am Dining Room opens. Tea and coffee available.

7.15am Early this morning, the Proud Mary departs Big Bend and heads towards Ngaut Ngaut.

7.30-8am Enjoy your breakfast as you watch the sun climb over the towering cliffs, creating marvelous changes of colour in the sandstone and ochre hues.

8.15am Disembark at Ngaut Ngaut Aboriginal conservation site for a tour of one of the oldest archaeological digs in Australia. This is one of the definite highlights of your cruise. Take the boardwalk to the site of ancient aboriginal rock art where your local indigenous guide will explain their meaning and significance. Ngaut Ngaut was a major meeting place for the tribes of the area and you’ll see where they prepared and cooked food at a ceremonial site that dates back thousands of years. The view from the top of the cliffs is astonishing with vistas that stretch for miles in every direction.

10am Depart Ngaut Ngaut.

10.30am Join your fellow passengers, some of whom will have probably become friends by now, in the Dining Room to view an interesting and informative documentary that traces the Murray River from its source high in the Snowy Mountains right to its entry to the sea in the Coorong. The documentary explains the intricacies of the River environment and why the Murray is one of the great rivers of the world. You’ll learn about Australia’s greatest river landscapes and the people that call the River home while we cruise through Krohns Landing, Sabaruma and Walker Flat.

12.30pm Lunch is served featuring another of our chefs’ delicious creations which you can enjoy as we cruise through Bowhill, Teal Flat, Younghusband and Pellaring Reach. It’s a wonderfully relaxing afternoon. Time to lay back and enjoy the peace that surrounds you as you watch the changing views glide by.

4.30pm Arrive at Mannum. Take the opportunity to enjoy some free time in this delightful town or rest up ahead of the Captain’s Dinner this evening.

7pm Gather in the Dining Room to enjoy a complimentary champagne or cocktail prior to dinner.

7.30pm The culinary highlight of your cruise is the silver service Captain’s Dinner, a five-course menu of choice featuring mouth-watering dishes based on modern Australian cuisine. Enjoy the food, wine and atmosphere with your fellow passengers as the Captain visits every table and chats. It’s a chance to dress up a little and enjoy a gorgeous formal dinner.

Friday

7am Dining Room opens. Tea and coffee available.

8-9.15am Enjoy a hearty breakfast this morning as you prepare to visit the Reedy Creek Conservation Park.

8.30am Depart Mannum. Cruise through Ponde, Caloote and Wall Flat to Woodlane.

10.15am Arrive at Woodlane to board the waiting coach for your tour to Reedy Creek Environmental Park. This was an important gathering point for local Aboriginal tribes as it provided a continuous source of water throughout the year. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended and don’t forget to take along your cameras, as Reedy Creek is very picturesque indeed, especially when the waterfalls are flowing.

12.45pm Return to Proud Mary and enjoy another delicious smorgasbord lunch as you cruise through Mypolonga, Sunnyside, Mundurra and Willowbanks.

4pm Tie up at Murray Bridge. We say goodbye and thank you for joining us on this exploration of the Murray River and we hope we might see you again in the future to enjoy another relaxing and immersing holiday along Australia’s greatest river.

Getting there...

The Proud Mary departs from Murray Bridge, just an hour from Adelaide. Return coach transfers are available to take you to the wharf at Sturt Reserve where you will board the vessel. For self-drive passengers, secure undercover lock-up garaging facilities are available adjacent to the wharf. Embarkation is available from 7.00pm.

Garaging

Upon arrival, make your way to the vessel where our crew will meet you for check-in. After that, our Cruise Director will ask you to drive your vehicle to the garaging facility just a few minutes from the wharf where your vehicle will be securely locked away and the bus will bring you back to the boat. Cost is $140.

Coach transfers

These are available to and from Murray Bridge at the small cost of $55 each way ($110 return). The coach departs from the Adelaide Central bus station, 85 Franklin Street. Check-in is 30 minutes prior to departure. For directions to Adelaide Central Bus Station please contact reservations 1800 677 683 or +61 8 8406 4444.

  • Friday and Sunday coach departure times from Adelaide for cruises departing from Murray Bridge – 6:00pm
  • Friday and Sunday coach arrival times into Adelaide for cruises disembarking in Murray Bridge – 5:45pm

Self-drive passengers

Travelling from Adelaide, South Australia to Murray Bridge – Take the South Eastern freeway out of Adelaide to the Murray Bridge exit. Carry on into Murray Bridge and turn right at the third set of traffic lights. This is East Street with the Bridge Port Hotel on the corner. Follow the signs to ‘Sturt Reserve’ and park in the Community Club Car Park.

Travelling from the Australian Eastern States to Murray Bridge – After travelling through Tailem Bend take the Murray Bridge exit and continue onto the township over the bridge. Take the 1st left once off the bridge. This is East Street with the Bridge Port Hotel on the corner. Follow the signs to ‘Sturt Reserve’ and park in the Community Club Car Park.

Been waiting to do this for ages It was great. Have had a lovely time. Peaceful, beautiful and well fed. Entertainment was great, hope to come back again. Thank you!

Ted & Barbara, Jan 2014

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