Smithsdownunder
Our journeys around Australia

29-Nov-2004
   

From the Flinders Ranges, we headed south to the Murray River. The journey took us through large wheat and sheep areas but gradually turned to saltbush scrubland. Then all of a sudden everything changed, within a few kilometres of the river we were in plantations of fruit and vineyards. We camped at a place called Morgan, which is where the river turns 90 deg and heads south. The Murray is the largest river in Australia and has its source as far away as Queensland. Water is drawn from the river and piped to Adelaide, Whyalla and Coober Pedy and several other places. We have probably been drinking it for the last week or so.

The Murry River

As you can see, it is quite a wide river. The area is a popular water playground for people from the Adelaide area.

The Murray River
The Murray River Houseboats and water-skiing are popular pastimes

The water level changes a lot, which has produced a lot of wetlands that are rich in bird life.

The birds are Spoonbills and Greater Egrets

Murray Lake and water fowl
The Murray River In places, it is very similar to the Dordogne and it is also an area where some very fine wines are produced.
At the top of the picture, you can see the vineyards and orange groves.
It's a large fruit growing area and on the way in, we had to dump all the fruit we were carrying at a quarantine checkpoint. (And we had stocked up a few days previous). This is to prevent the spread of fruit fly, which the area is currently free of. There was a $20,000 fine if caught bringing fruit in! The fruit in the area is very cheap and very good and we soon stocked up again from a roadside stall.

Time flies like an arrow but fruit fly's like a banana!

The Murray River
Banrock Station We saw several vineyards with familiar names, Oxford Landing and Banrock Station for example. The Banrock Station vineyard has put a lot of funding into preservation of some of the wetlands. They have set out an extensive boardwalk where visitors can get close to the wildlife. The day we went there, the boardwalk was closed due to bad weather - it was too hot! Well it was hovering around the 40deg mark so we weren't overly upset.

There are several places where you can cross the river on a ferry. They are similar to the Sandbanks chain ferry but these run 24 hours a day and they are free! On our way back from visiting the vineyard, we crossed the river to take a different route home but once you get more than 4kms away from the river you are back into very arid countryside again especially to the north.

Boarding the ferry with the caravan to cross the Murray River at Morgan. Ali swam across later after taking the picture.

Ferry across the Murray