Customs House Houseboats: Explore The River Murray By Houseboat

Customs House Houseboats: Explore The River Murray By Houseboat


Posted 2022-03-08 by Karen Rossfollow
A houseboat holiday is the perfect opportunity to unwind and connect with nature without surrendering personal comforts. Snug bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, well-appointed kitchens and welcoming sofas cater for all requirements while decisions are made regarding more adventurous activities such as swimming and walking.

I enjoyed all of the above, and more, on a recent houseboat trip with like-minded friends. One of my activities, however, was a personal challenge that involved solving a historical and geographical mystery.

It all began on a luxury, three-bedroom houseboat called Pure Magic.

We had chosen to explore the section of the River Murray east of Renmark in South Australia and across the border into New South Wales. The river in part of this section also divides NSW and Victoria which provided us with the lucky chance to sleep in three different states in three nights.

We rented our houseboat from Customs House Houseboats which is a twenty-minute drive from Renmark.

Manager, Tim Abrey, settled us on board and showed us the ropes in preparation for our trip. Then we set off to explore the majestic Murray.

We stopped intermittently to walk in the wilderness and appreciate the wildlife, in particular an abundance of emus the same colour as the trees. Nature is clever like that.

The changing colours of sky, cliffs and water was mesmerising to watch throughout the day.

Six smartphones adjusted their times periodically as we motored along between the three states. They didn't necessarily all agree on which timezone we were in which challenged our scheduling of Happy Hour on more than one occasion. After some negotiation, we successfully managed to settle on times to sip Gin or sparkling wine before progressing to dinner and a relaxing soak in the spa.

It was tempting to focus on the delights of eating, drinking, reading and relaxing but I had set myself a goal and was determined to achieve it; I wanted to find MacCabe Corner.

MacCabe is one of five border corners in Australia where the state or territory borders meet. Each is recognised with a boundary marker, and all are located in remote areas. The SA/Vic/NSW corner marker is, arguably, the most difficult to find.

It seems this corner was problematic from the start due to a survey, conducted in the 1840s which put the Victorian border in the wrong place. A prolonged dispute over this territory followed and wasn't resolved until a High Court decision in 1911. The corner was finally named, in 2008, after an Irish-born surveyor named Francis MacCabe, who charted the rivers of the Murray-Darling basin in the mid-19th century. Probably not in the same level of comfort as me.

The thing about state borders is that they are invisible on the landscape. My research had presented me with geographical coordinates but my skills in that area are scant. There are a few signs on the riverbank to indicate the state borders but no obvious evidence of a corner. I wasn't even sure which side of the river it would be on. Our boat was paused in several spots on both sides of the river while I walked, with heroic determination, through the bush. My companions were growing impatient and imposed a time limit on my exploration when, with five minutes to spare, we noticed a flash of white through the trees on the Victoria side of the river.

We had found it; MacCabe Corner border marker and its corresponding information plaque.

Having accomplished that goal we settled back on board to enjoy a sense of achievement. Needless to say, we also enjoyed some more gin, sparkling wine and other delectable treats in keeping with our houseboat holiday.

218747 - 2023-06-16 07:46:21


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