Donít let winter stop you enjoying a day out on the water
South Australia has some of the calmest seas during winter (as well as the roughest!), so wrap up warm and enjoy some of these best boat trips and water activities to do with all the family during the winter months:
South Australia is privileged to the home of both Southern Right and Humpback Whales during their winter migration, with sightings beginning around mid-May until October each year. We have a great whale spotting location right on our doorstep and Big Duck Tours in Victor Harbor offers the best way to get out on the water and see them up and close in their natural habitat.
Big Duck Tours is an all year round tour operator and their tours are a great experience to be enjoyed by all the family. The boat is comfortable, has 360 views and feels extremely safe, even when they speed it up a little for the journey home!
The commentary is informative, entertaining, and everyone is encouraged to keep their eyes open for seals, sea lions, dolphins and this time of year, Whales. They also supply jackets to keep you dry, and a little bit warmer!
The tours have already seen a great display this year, with Whales getting up close and personal to the boats to check out what is going on - ideal photo opportunities! How amazing would it be to see a Whale swimming alongside as you cruise along in the Big Duck boat!
The sheltered waters of the Coorong National Park allow the Spirit of the Coorong cruises to operate all year. Cruises during the winter months are on Sundays, departing Goolwa Wharf at 10am and this impressive 6 hour, 60km cruise, includes guided walks so you can get out and stretch your sea legs!
Lunch cruises depart daily from the main wharf at Murray Bridge and include a 3-hour cruise with 2-course meal as you float past the majestic scenery and experience the wildlife in its untamed beauty.
It's worth checking out Cheap Tuesdays and their last minute specials to save a few dollars, and there is also an option to take the Adelaide Hills Tour with included Lunch Cruise if you fancy making a day of it.
Cruises depart each weekend day and some days during the week, so check out their website for availability. During your cruise, there is onboard commentary pointing out the main features of the Port River, as well as those exciting spotting of dolphins. Bars and food are available onboard, along with toilets and lifts between decks.
The Popeye Boat in Adelaide CBD has been a favourite for years and with heating on board and blinds to keep the weather out, there's no excuse to not jump onboard a leisurely cruise around the calm River Torrens.
Departing daily and leaving hourly from Elder Park, you can incorporate your cruise with a trip to Adelaide Zoo, or enjoy the high life with one of their 'High Tea' events on board (bookings required).
While other operators have anchored down this time of year, not only do Adelaide Sailing School offer introduction and training courses during the winter, they also offer your own gorgeous private charters. Weather permitting, this is a perfect time of year to get out onto the open ocean and awaken those senses that make you feel alive again!
Renmark is home of houseboating and you are spoilt for choice with the amount and variety of houseboats available. But it's not just Renmark that is showing off, Murray Bridge and Mannum also have their own great selection.
Southern Sun Houseboat - Image from Discover Murray River website
Houseboating is a great family activity, or an opportunity to catch up with friends, from a long weekend to weeks at a time. If you are new to the activity, you'll get a complete rundown on how to be Captain of your 'moving house' and you don't even need a boat licence to hire one.
Whilst watersports may be out of the question during winter, cruising along the Mighty Murray River at your own pace is sure to offer both relaxation and tranquillity. And why not really spoil everyone and hire one with a hot tub!
This is the Murray River's equivalent to cruise liners and offers 3,4,5 or 7-night cruises with a range of cabins available (Staterooms, Outside Cabins and Inside Cabins), with the most scenic views to be enjoyed in South Australia.
All activities are weather permitting, check availability if the weather is especially bad. If all else fails, head to Adelaide Aquatic Centre for a heated pool where you can close your eyes and float away to anywhere you want to be!