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Published June 28th 2017
Quick weekend getaway to Murray Bridge
Just sixty minutes from central Adelaide on the freeway, Avoca Dell is a short drive across the iconic old bridge from Murray Bridge. Avoca Dell's main feature is the huge open waterfront park with a boat ramp with excellent boat trailer parking, easy water access for canoes and kayaks, sheltered barbecues and picnic tables, great fishing, amenities,and a playground. Nearby on the riverfront is the Riverglades wetland trail, an easy 3.5 km loop trail around the wetlands. It's a great nature walk with boardwalks, photo points, plenty of wildlife, birds and information boards along the way.
There's plenty of birdwatching opportunities at Riverglades Wetlands
The owners have done an outstanding job at Avoca Dell in the three years they've been owners. We were impressed at the simple and clean space the standard cabin offered our family of four and with its big bunks it would sleep four kids easily. We felt comfortable there straight away. The cabins are well furnished with full kitchen facilities with plenty of benchtop space, TV and DVD, a three-seater lounge and a spacious dining table with chairs. Between the cabin with its excellent split system heating and cooling…and the fire, we were well equipped for the cold and clear (but starry skied) winter nights! The park is a very green, very quiet, and very cosy place to spend a winter weekend.
The huge fire pit in the BBQ area was crackling along nicely by the time we had dinner and headed over to toast marshmallows with the kids. It's lights out by ten pm and all in all a pretty good end to a working week we'd say! If you get the chance, find a dark spot nearby on a clear winter night and look up at the stars. In such a short distance from the glare of city lights, you can be looking at the awe-inspiring spread of millions of stars of the Milky Way splashed across the dark night sky. There is a push to have the Murraylands region declared a 'dark sky reserve'.
The BBQ and firepit area at Avoca Dell Caravan Park
After a sneaky sleep in we enjoyed a day walking by the river and through the wetlands. We brought lunch for Saturday with us from home to save money, but there's plenty of places in town to grab some great food (takeaway, cafes and restaurants) and shopping centres with supermarkets. Grab an information pack from reception, it's got everything you need. The kids and us enjoyed the mini golf course, it's a bit less than perfect but still fun. After this it's time to just laze around the cabin reading and relaxing before getting the kayak off the car to go for a quick paddle across the mighty but serene Murray River. Kayaking is amazing on the river in winter, the winds are down far more often in winter, making for comfortable and easy paddling.
There were families fishing from the bank nearby (catching carp) and having a great time! I tried popping some shrimp and yabby nets in overnight but as is the case in winter, no such luck. Come back in summer and your luck will be much better! Winter isn't the time to catch bait like shrimp and yabbies. You can rely on carp to be hungry all the time, and they provide good fishing for the kids. We were hungry too by that time. We headed into town again to have dinner at the Murray Bridge Hotel bistro.
Beef and Coopers Pie with mushy peas and mashed potato
The bistro has been fully renovated along with its menu. This place stands with any upmarket pub bistro anywhere and there are a few unique and worthy places in Murray Bridge now…Riverscape Restaurant, and The Davery Establishment are others that immediately come to mind. We suspect Murray Bridge may be on the verge of being discovered by Adelaide's foodie scene.
On return to the park we lit the fire and the kids had a great time climbing rocks, toasting marshmallows and running around the campfire area. If you've ever looked at your bickering children (ours are 7 and 11) and wondered what to do with them, take them camping, away from all their distractions and enjoy watching them bond and play nicely together! The usual 10 am checkout on Sunday meant we had enough time for a quick walk down to the river reserve and tidy up before heading out for the day.
Instead of heading straight back down the freeway to Adelaide we took the scenic route via Tailem Bend, Jervois and Wellington, then across to the beautiful autumn scenery of the Langhorne Creek wine region to Strathalbyn. Strathalbyn is a beautiful town to wander the shops and grab a delicious lunch to enjoy in one of the parks by the Angas River or the historic buildings and railway station.
From Strath it's less than an hour drive back to Adelaide. We were home by 2pm to clean up and catch up before the working week began again on Monday. The location and facilities at Avoca Dell meant we didn't have to run around on Saturday and could just unwind and relax as a family. The short distance from home meant we could leave late on Friday and get back home in time to organize everything for a busy week ahead without feeling rushed.
Excellent review.Avoca Dell...not been there...seems an ideal place to visit.The scenic route back to the city...did thsi trip many years ago...full of interest...must do it again sometime.Strath has a nice pool by the river,playground and free BBQ..one of my favorite towns.