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Unforgettable Houseboats

Home > Adelaide > Outdoor | Escape the City | Environment | Boating | Travel
by Karen Ross (subscribe)
I love slow travel, slow food and discovering new adventures and delicious regional food in new locations. I'm on an indulgent quest and I'd love you to follow at
Published June 29th 2020
A houseboat holiday on the River Murray
Since we're 'holidaying at home' during 2020 I thought a houseboat holiday might be fun. I'm not a fan of winter (I've only experienced two in the past thirty years) so an efficient heater, electric blankets, and a jacuzzi were essential requirements. I invited another couple along and started to research availability of a two-bedroom, two-bathroom houseboat that included my essential requirements.

Parachilna Sunset
Parachilna Sunset on the river at sunset

A few fitted my criteria but I decided on 'Parachilna Sunset' from Unforgettable Houseboats in Mannum.

kitchen - Parachilna Sunset
Well equipped kitchen - Parachilna Sunset

Houseboats are available for weekends or longer. We decided a week would be a perfect stretch of time to putter slowly up river and back. A week is long enough to get from Mannum to Swan Reach and back but we had no destination in mind. It was all about the journey.

Double bedroom Parachilna Sunset
View from a bedroom

An important part of the journey was to be fabulous food and wonderful wine. We had planned an indulgent menu with each couple taking turns to cook. A barbecue on the back deck took care of Wagyu steak and Tassie Salmon while the well-appointed kitchen provided facilities for flamed prawns and other tasty temptations.

The jacuzzi, on the back deck, was inviting and relaxing and seemed to ensure a sound sleep for each of us every night.

Jacuzzi - Parachilna Sunset
Jacuzzi - Parachilna Sunset

The pace was slow and we stopped to stretch our legs at tiny towns along the way. Towns is probably an exaggerated term for Bow Hill, Purnong, Nildottie, Walker Flat, and other small hamlets but each has character and stories to tell. A variety of shack designs made for interesting viewing.

A quirky shack near Purnong
A quirky shack near Purnong

A few places had a small store. We aimed to learn a bit of history about each place we visited. The ferry drivers at Purnong and Walker Flat were informative and we found a few plaques and information boards along the way to add to our understanding. We were surprised at how much we learned; did you know the Murray is the third-longest navigable river on the planet?

General Store
An occasional General Store

The living lessons were fascinating but it was the beauty of the natural environment that provided us with the most pleasure.


At times we saw no other craft on the river and the tranquillity was punctuated only by the sounds of the birds.

Sunrise on the Murray
Sunrise on the Murray

Platoons of pelicans glided past us each sunrise and sunset while we were moored.

Sunset on the Murray
Sunset on the Murray

We didn't make it as far as Swan Reach. On arrival at the 'Big Bend' we were so stunned by the beauty we decided to linger a while. We felt like the only people on earth.

Reflections near the Big Bend
Reflections near the Big Bend

I'm disappointed about having to cancel our overseas travel this year but the pandemic has presented us with an unexpected benefit; we have been given the chance to experience and learn more about the stunning area we live in. Do it if you can.
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When: Anytime but book well ahead
Phone: (08) 8569 2559
Where: 69 River Lane, Mannum South Australia 5238
Cost: varies depending on length of time and size of the houseboat.
Your Comment
Looks great....lovely article!
by Joy (score: 3|1945) 772 days ago
Wow, the spa on deck truly is lavish!
by Kerenza Korostovetz (score: 2|232) 776 days ago
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