Tour Description

Easter in the Riverland

Five Days: April 2021

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.

 

This year we’re celebrating Easter in South Australia’s picturesque Riverland! Staying in the charming town of Loxton, we take time to explore the region, appreciating its hospitality and diversity.  As we explore the delightful towns dotted along the Murray River, we discover their heritage, indulge in the gourmet produce and delight in the scenic countryside that surrounds. Highlights of the tour also include a relaxing cruise and the Barmera Easter Markets. Located just a few hours from Adelaide this tour is a relaxing way to spend Easter in great company.

 

Day One

(includes light lunch and two course dinner)

We depart Adelaide after completing home pick ups (limited areas*) and the familiar sights of the South Eastern Freeway roll past as we travel through the hills. Crossing the Murray River just outside Tailem Bend, we continue to the town where we stop to enjoy our morning tea.

Travelling through Mallee country we pause in Karoonda to view the magnificent silo mural that pays tribute to Karoonda’s farming heritage. Painted by street artist Heesco Khosnaran, the images were inspired by feedback from the community and the results are outstanding.

We reach Loxton, situated on the southern bank of the Murray River around lunch time. Our first stop is at the Pines Historic House and Garden where we will enjoy light refreshments followed by a tour. Built in 1909, this historic six-roomed sandstone villa and its contents were bequeathed to the people of Loxton in 2002. Much of the contents remain untouched and there is a great collection to view, including antique furniture, art, silverware and even a family wedding dress. We experience a guided tour of this magnificent property which gives us an insight into the grand lifestyle lived by its occupants in the early 20th century.

Our accommodation for the next four nights is at the Loxton Community Hotel Motel (to be confirmed). There will be some free time to browse through the local shops, unpack and settle into our rooms, before coming together again at dinner on the first evening of our tour.

Day Two 

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

After breakfast we depart Loxton, taking a scenic drive beside the Murray as we make our way north. We reach the small town of Glossop, home to Bella Lavender Estate. Traditionally grape growers, the Centofanti family decided to change crops in 2008 and they have never looked back! Growing and processing their own range of lavender products, there will be time to wander the estate, browse through the shop and perhaps make a purchase from the selection of Bella Lavender products or locally made crafts. Beside the traditional oils, soaps and balms, Bella Lavender also have a variety of products for your pet! Their lavender fields are set amongst a beautiful back drop of olive trees and vineyards and while here, we will also enjoy a delicious Devonshire morning tea.

Late morning we continue to Renmark, arriving at the stunning Frank Harding Gallery. Born in nearby Werrimull, Frank left school at the age of 14 and worked for a shearing team before joining the SA Police Force. After 19 years posted in various locations throughout the state, he resigned to become an artist, building a studio and gallery in Renmark. Self-taught, he had a great interest in Australian history, and this is evident from the variety of paintings featuring bushrangers and their exploits, depicted as a ceiling mural covering 3000 square metres. In the second gallery is a series of aircraft paintings compiled as a dedication to all of the young Australian men who served in the RAAF during World War 2, each one authenticated and signed by the pilot.

After visiting the gallery, we have lunch in Renmark, before sitting back and relaxing on a scenic drive through the Riverland this afternoon. We journey to Paringa, crossing the steel bridge that has a span which can be raised to allow houseboats and paddle steamers to pass underneath. Arriving in Lyrup, we take the ferry across the river, continuing to Berri where we have some time to explore the town.

Taking its name from the local Aboriginal word ‘bery bery’ meaning ‘bend in the river’, Berri is surrounded by 3000 hectares of irrigated vineyards and orchards, and is home to some of the largest wine production facilities in Australia.  We drive around the foreshore and explore Lock 4 before arriving back in Loxton for a relaxing evening.

Day Three

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

This morning we travel back to Renmark to visit Olivewood Historic Home. This is the original home of Charles Chaffey, who with his brothers George and William established the Renmark and Mildura Irrigation Colonies. This State Heritage-listed home was built in 1889 from Murray pine logs and is set in spacious grounds, with a spectacular palm-lined drive. The homestead has been kept in original condition, with the rooms displaying furniture and artefacts from the era.

At the rear of the homestead, the original olive oil processing shed has been converted into a museum and features such items as an 1878 wedding dress from a local pastoral family, printing machines, an old fire engine and a complete early dental surgery, just to name a few. Using the produce from the estate olive trees, volunteers process and bottle oil which is available for purchase, along with other souvenirs, books and local produce. We will take time to enjoy our morning tea while here at Olivewood.

There will be a little free time to explore before lunch at a local café or bakery.

No trip to this beautiful riverside town can be considered complete without spending time on the river, so this afternoon we board the historic PS Industry for a relaxing cruise.  Commissioned in 1911, the Industry originally played a key role in keeping the river open for traffic, first by clearing snags and later in the construction of locks and weirs until 1969.  It was restored in 1990 and featured as Lady Mabel in the television production of River Kings. As we cruise the river listening to the captain’s commentary, we enjoy the nostalgia of travelling via steam engine and take in the beautiful views of the Murray.

Back on land we board the bus, and depart Renmark for Monash to spend time indulging at Chocolates and More. The perfect time of year to visit a chocolate shop, there’ll be the opportunity for tasting and to purchase any last minute Easter treats.

We head back to Loxton with plenty of time to refresh and relax before dinner.

Day Four

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

Happy Easter!

We start the day by stepping back in time to when the first pioneers arrived in the region, visiting The Loxton Historical Village set on the banks of the Murray. Featuring over 45 furnished buildings preserving the history and way of life of the early Riverland settlers, the Village shows how farmers battled floods, heat, drought and plagues to produce grain crops and lush citrus orchards. Highlights include a bank that operated at Geranium, a railway station from Yinkanie, a barber shop, 1920’s style garage and a replica of William Charles Loxton’s Hut, a boundary rider and the first settler after whom the town was named. The most recent addition is a vast area dedicated to the Irrigation Museum. A small vineyard and orchard have also been developed to show the irrigation scheme.

We have plenty of time to wander around this historic village, before making our way towards Barmera situated on Lake Bonney. Here we stop at Flavours of the Riverland, home of Backyard Bread, where we enjoy a delicious lunch. In 2005 the proprietors built a traditional wood fired oven in their backyard at Cobdogla and began experimenting with the best ingredients and flavours the region had to offer in their homemade bread. Today their delicious range of products includes their hand-made bread bites, as well as a selection of gourmet spreads and gluten free biscuits. They are all on display, along with a variety of other local gourmet produce at this tasting café and providore.

Our afternoon continues as we drive a short distance to Cobdogla, where we stop for a visit at the Irrigation and Steam Museum. Run by a passionate group of volunteers, this was originally the site of the pumping station for the local vineyards and crops. As a celebration of South Australia’s 150 year jubilee, SA Water refurbished one of the world famous Humphrey pumps and the pumping station grounds to establish the museum. The Humphrey Pump is the only operational one of its kind in the world, plus there is a variety of steam trains, traction engines and all manner of irrigation equipment. A 30 minute diesel train ride behind one of the heritage locomotives, takes passengers through the museum, along the channel and out through the vineyards.

Returning to Barmera we have time to visit the award-winning Easter Twilight Market on the shores of Lake Bonney, comprising a large variety of stalls including craft, clothing, woodwork and produce, as well as food, coffee and entertainment.

After another great day, we return to our motel for the last evening of our tour.

Day Five

(includes cooked breakfast and two course lunch)

It is time to farewell our hosts in Loxton this morning and begin our journey home.

We continue to explore the area, as we arrive in Kingston-on-Murray to visit Banrock Station. Owned by the BRL Hardy wine company, this former farming station has been turned over to wine and wetlands. The company has chosen to invest a great deal in recreating the wetlands of this site, including imitating the wetting and drying cycle that occurred here naturally before the weirs were built to control the river. In fact, we may see native fauna in the wetland! Our visit includes the opportunity to taste the wines of Banrock Station and we will enjoy our morning tea in this lovely setting.

Our travels continue as we make our way to Morgan, which in its hey day, was one of the busiest South Australian river ports with hundreds of paddle steamers carrying cargo and passengers up the Murray-Darling River System. The township is located on what is often referred to as the Great Bend or the Great Elbow. We enjoy lunch in this truly historic Australian town before beginning the final stage of our journey home.

We make our way through Eudunda, birthplace of author Colin Thiele, and the outskirts of the Barossa Valley. The scenery becomes more familiar as we near Adelaide after a wonderful Easter celebrated with friends, in South Australia’s beautiful and diverse Riverland.