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Murray River SA The best travel deals are in the bag

Murray River Holiday Towns & Destinations
South Australia

MURRAY BRIDGE

Population: 13,000
Since the 1830s, Murray Bridge has been the major thoroughfare for travellers and trade between Melbourne and Adelaide. Explorer Charles Sturt in 1830 rightly grasped the area's ideal position and encouraged early settlement for farming. The bridge itself wasn't built until 1879 and before that, passengers or livestock had to make use of ferries - or swim across! The town was known for many years as Edwards Crossing and really grew with the arrival of the railway from Adelaide.

PINNAROO

Population: 1.350
This is the gateway to South Australia from Victoria and NSW providing visitors and the rural community with rest havens, recreation and supplies. Native birds, emus and kangaroos are housed in a modern enclosure next to the caravan park. Barbeque and Picnic amenities are available at the Soldiers' Memorial Park. A number of conservation parks are easily reached from the town.

SWAN REACH

Population: 226
A favourite stopping point en route to Adelaide, this scenic spot has a ferry which transports visitors right into the heart of the Murraylands. Swan Reach offers excellent water sports and holiday facilities. Geraldton wax trees, garlic and avocado farms are also open for inspection. Nearby, Punyelroo is well-known to waterskiers and holidaymakers.

TAILEM BEND

Population: 1 600
One of the most famous railway towns takes its name from an Aboriginal word describing the spot where the broad river waters take a sharp turn towards Lake Alexandrina. Watersports and fishing have long been popular with locals and visitors. Many make use of the barbecue grounds and adventure park in the Rotary Park where an old railway engine sits.

WELLINGTON

Much visited by motorists and boaties alike, Wellington since 1848 has been a popular watering hole. The town is located at the junction of the River Murray and Lake Alexandrina.

BEACHPORT

Population: 413
This was a whaling station in the early days, but now its main catch is lobster.
The small town's main assets for the visitor are solitude, peace and a rugged and beautiful coast. Sand dunes, rocky headlands, pristine beaches all make Beachport a mecca for nature lovers. There are walking trails through the surrounding bushland and the coastline to spots such as Salmon Hole, Post Office Rock, Backlers Lookout and Rivoli Bay. Bowman scenic drive is recommended for superb views of the coast.

BORDERTOWN

Population: 2,318
Bordertown is the gateway to the state for traffic from Melbourne. It's also a rich agricultural district, noted for its production of cereals, wool, meat, seeds, vegetables and wine grapes. It was settled in the early 1850s, following the establishment of a base camp on the banks of the Tatiara Creek by Alexander Tolmer's Gold Escort from the Victorian goldfields to Adelaide with gold for the ailing colony's coffers.

KEITH

Population: 1,189
Keith is on the main Melbourne- Adelaide road. Much of the farmland around it was once a part of the ninety mile desert, but thanks to the discovery that it lacked trace elements, it is now highly productive land.
Keith was proclaimed in 1883, and has some good examples of rural town architecture. A nearby park, the Mt Monster Conservation Park, has some spectacular granite outcrops, presumed to have once been islands when the south east was covered by water forty million years ago. A sign-posted walk takes visitors to the Mt Monster lookout for marvellous views of the area.

KINGSTON

Population: 1,367
Kingston is in lobster country, as you quickly realise on entering the town when you are met by a giant welcoming lobster.
It was settled in the early 1850s and named after Sir George Strickland Kingston, an early deputy surveyor general and father of premier Charles Cameron Kingston. The coast around Kingston has plenty of scenic drives, especially on the way to Cape Jaffa and also towards the Granites, a series of rock outcrops north of the town and also at Jip Jip Conservation Park, fifty kilometres north.

There are plenty of safe swimming spots around Kingston, including Wyomi and Pinks beaches and Lacepede Bay.

MILLICENT

Population: 5,075
Millicent lies inland and is a convenient base from which to explore the coastal towns of Beachport, Robe and Southend. It began life as a rural centre, but earlier this century, large plantations of trees were planted in the district to take advantage of the favourable climate and rainfall for forestry. Today Millicent is a busy commercial centre for the forest industry. There are several paper mills and sawmills in the area.

MOUNT GAMBIER

Population: 20,813
Mount Gambler is the commercial centre of the South East. Built on the slopes of an ancient volcano, it's alternatively known as 'Blue Lake City'. The Blue Lake is the South East's largest and most popular attraction, but there are a number of other, if not quite as spectacular lakes and craters in the district. The city has many fine examples of colonial architecture built using the distinctive local stone. Mount Gambler's major industries are timber, dairy products, especially cheese, vegetables and wool.

NARACOORTE

Population: 4,636
Naracoorte is one of the South East's largest commercial centres, servicing a prosperous pastoral and agricultural industry. Its earliest settlers were Scottish - names like Macintosh and Riddoch are common today. The town has many beautiful old buildings that reflect its prosperous past.

PENOLA

Population: 1,222
A heritage-conscious town, Penola's many fine colonial buildings and streets have been wonderfully restored, with a number of slab and hewn cottages remaining in good condition.
Sainthood may yet make Penola an even more important destination in the near future. It was here that Mother Mary MacKillop founded the Order of the Sisters of Saint Joseph and a school for the districts children irrespective of income or class in the 1860s. Her endeavour have since been widely recognised and she may well be soon canonised.

Walkers will appreciate Penola and environs. There are good sign posted walking trails through the town and also in the conservation park.

PORT MACDONNELL

Population: 651
The southern-most sea port in the state, Port MacDonnell is the base for a large lobster fishing fleet. It began life as a busy outport early last century. The arrival of the railway ended its importance as a port. The coast around Port MacDonnell is spectacular and rugged, with plenty of opportunities for scenic drives and bushwalking. Take the scenic drive to Cape Northumberland lighthouse for rewarding views of rocky coastline.

ROBE

Population: 742
The historic port of Robe is today a holiday-makers' mecca. It was discovered by French explorer Baudin in 1802.
He must have been impressed at what he saw - in one direction, clean gently sloping beaches stretching as far as the eye can see in the other, rocky cliffs and impressive natural landforms. Long Beach qualifies as one of the country's most under-rated beaches for swimming and surfing. You can drive your car onto the beach and find your own private spot along its seventeen kilometres.

The port of Robe is an old town, with streets of heritage cottages and public buildings, and loads of character. In the 1850s, lines of Chinese immigrants streamed through, on their way to the victorian goldfields - it was cheaper to land here and walk than to disembark in Victoria and pay the poll tax of 10 pounds a head.

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