Tour Description

Christmas by the River

(Combined Departure)
Five Days: 22nd – 26th December 2021

Twin Share: $1895 per person. Sole Use: $2095 per person.

Included in the tour:
  • Home pick-ups & set downs (most metro areas – please contact us for details)
  • Picnic-style morning teas & all meals as per the itinerary
  • All accommodation & admissions to all attractions
  • Experienced & informative tour driver/guide.

 

The beauty of the Murray provides a spectacular backdrop for this festive getaway. We take time to admire the river from the foreshore and from a boat, as we cruise the scenic stretch from Mannum to Mypolonga. We tour through the Adelaide Hills, visit the spectacular Monarto Safari Park and meander beside the river stopping to admire spectacular views of the Murray.  This holiday offers so much diversity, so close to home, as well as celebrating a relaxing Christmas with friends.

 

Day One – WEDNESDAY 22 DECEMBER 2021

(includes light lunch and two course dinner)

We depart Adelaide this morning after completing home pick-ups (limited areas*), venturing into the Adelaide Hills. Taking the back roads, we pass through Echunga and Macclesfield, enjoying the beautiful scenery that surrounds.

Not far from Strathalbyn is Glenbarr Homestead, a heritage listed homestead situated on 35 acres of farmland alongside the picturesque Middle Creek. The magnificent two storey timber and stone homestead was the Rankine Family home for four generations. Built in 1842, it was one of the first homes in the Strathalbyn area. We enjoy a delicious morning tea on arrival before taking a tour of the property.

While in Strathalbyn, we will take some time to browse through the local shops for those last minute gifts or a treat for yourself. From here we travel north, journeying through the towns and villages of the picturesque Adelaide Hills, stopping to enjoy lunch along the way.

Mid-afternoon we take a scenic drive to the historic port town of Mannum. Our accommodation for the next four nights is with some of our favourite hosts at the Mannum Motel (Ph: 08 8569 1808). Situated opposite the river, the location is ideal for a relaxing Christmas getaway.

After checking in, there will be time to browse the main street, take a walk near the river or visit the Mannum Dock Museum. The museum is located on the banks of the Murray and incorporates the Paddlesteamer Marion, Randell Dry Dock, the Arnold Art Gallery and much, much more. It provides visitors with a good understanding of how life was on the Murray River in the early days and the history of the river’s navigation.

Day Two – THURSDAY 23 DECEMBER 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

This morning we wake to the sound of birds along the river before enjoying breakfast in the motel restaurant.

A great way to really appreciate the beauty of the Murray River is on the river itself, so this morning, we join our friends at Four Knots Cruises. We board the boat in Mannum, to cruise the picturesque section of the Murray to Mypolonga. As we sit back, relax and watch the scenery go by, we will enjoy morning tea on board and Chad will share his knowledge of the river and the diversity of birds and wildlife.

The rich soils of Mypolonga make it the perfect area for growing produce, so after disembarking we meet our driver and head to Aussie Apricots. A third generation family-run orchard, the Prossers not only grow apricots, but they also hand-pick, cut and sun-dry the fruit, which they use to produce a delicious range of apricot based products. After suffering a crippling drought in 2005, they diversified the business in order to survive and today their product range includes confectionary, jams, chutneys, chocolate-dipped apricots, apricot balls and so much more. They also support local growers, buying 100% South Australian produce to help supply production. We have the opportunity to learn more about this local success story, as well as taste and purchase some or their wonderful products.

Besides growing apricots, Paul Prosser is somewhat of a car enthusiast. So they recently renovated one of the historical buildings in Mypolonga and established the Revolution Motor Museum. It is here we will enjoy a relaxed lunch with time to look through the museum.

From Mypolonga we journey to the riverside town of Murray Bridge in the heart of the Murraylands. Situated on the river, it is a sprawling rural centre surrounded by dairying, chicken raising, pig breeding, tomato and snow pea farming.

We call into Serenity Nursery, a family business well known for their garden adornments and exquisite plants. Located on a hill, on the family’s rural property, the nursery is set amongst old stone farm buildings and is surrounded by Mallee scrub.

After browsing through the nursery, we head into Murray Bridge to explore the town, before returning to Mannum in the late afternoon.

Day Three – FRIDAY 24 DECEMBER 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

After breakfast this morning we take a drive around Mannum exploring the history of the town, as well as the more modern marina. We will also head up to the lookout to admire the fantastic views of the river.

Departing Mannum, we take the short drive to Monarto Safari Park, home to more than 500 animals that are free to roam in a natural safari-style setting spanning over 1,500 hectares. One of the world leaders in habitat restoration, captive breeding, conservation education and environmental sustainability, Monarto is currently undergoing redevelopment that will make it the largest safari experience outside of Africa.

We are joined by one of Monarto’s expert guides who will take us to meet this diverse and sometimes mischievous ‘family’ of animals that represent 50 different species of exotic and native mammals, birds and reptiles. We view them from the safety of the bus on a guided tour stopping at the different wildlife viewing areas, so that we can be in close proximity to the animals.

Many of these animals are vital to regional and global breeding programs, as well as Monarto’s breeding and reintroduction programs which help ensure the long-term survival of threatened species. The success of the parks breeding program is evident from the births they have experienced over the last couple of years, including chimpanzees, a zebra foal, lion cubs and baby antelopes. In September 2020, the park also celebrated the birth of a rare Southern White Rhino, whose species are thought to number less than 15 thousand.

After the tour we return to the Visitors Centre where we enjoy lunch in the bistro followed by some free time to wander around the enclosures to revisit our favourite animals, or join one of the ’Meet The Keeper’ sessions scheduled throughout the day.

From here we head towards Murray Bridge and cross the river to explore the eastern side of the Murray. We will follow the back roads through to Mannum, stopping at opportune times to take in the views and magnificence of the mighty river.

We arrive back at our accommodation with time to relax and freshen up before dinner on Christmas Eve.

Day Four – SATURDAY 25 DECEMBER 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, Christmas lunch and light dinner)

Merry Christmas to all!  We wake to a special day of fun, friendship and relaxation!

For those who wish, there is an opportunity to attend local Christmas Day church services this morning. Others can spend some free time strolling along the riverfront or perhaps enjoy an easy morning relaxing at the motel.

Just before lunch, we gather together and journey to the nearby Mannum Community Club. Here we are treated to a magnificent three course meal and our Christmas lunch will have all the decorations and traditional trimmings. It will be a wonderful feast to enjoy with friends!

Full and content, we enjoy some scenic touring around the region with our driver this afternoon before returning to our accommodation, when there will be time to relax.

Our meal this evening will be a light dinner and a lovely end to a spectacular Christmas Day!

Day Five – SUNDAY 26 DECEMBER 2021

(includes cooked breakfast and two course lunch)

After breakfast this morning we farewell our wonderful hosts. We cross the river once more and commence a relaxed day of touring, exploring close to the Murray.

We head west on the back roads, following the twists and curves of the river. The views are stunning and diverse, and we will stop where we can to soak in the countryside and admire the river. Morning tea will be on the banks of the river as we meander.

As we travel, we pass through Younghusband and Bowhill. These small settlements are popular holiday destinations, with shacks close to the river where people go fishing, boating and skiing.

Making our way north, we stop at Forster Lookout to take in the stunning vista of the Murray from the top of the limestone cliffs. We use the ferry to cross at Walker Flat, so we can view the river from the opposite side. The ochre-coloured cliffs are dramatic and the scenery from Maynards Lookout is spectacular.

From here we cross back over the Murray and continue towards Nildottie, then on to Big Bend. As its name suggests, the river here takes a big ‘U-turn’ and it is the longest single bend along the Murray. This is also where the riverside cliffs are at their tallest and we will stop at the lookout to see some of the best views of the day.

Not far from Big Bend, we arrive at the Swan Reach Hotel, ideally located on the banks of the river. We stop here to enjoy a relaxed and delicious lunch, taking in the views as we reflect on our festive holiday.

Making our way across the Murray for the last time on tour, we head for home, travelling through the Barossa and onto the outer northern suburbs. On arrival in Adelaide, we are taken to our homes feeling relaxed and refreshed after experiencing some of the delights of the beautiful Murray River near Mannum.