River Murray & The Adelaide Hills

Originally Published July 24, 2020 by Linda Lou Burton posting about Adelaide, Australia from Little Rock, Arkansas – Wellington to Melbourne to Adelaide in six hours yesterday, no worries, mate. A good night’s sleep at the Adelaide Hilton, downtown on Victoria Square. The NDI RTW continues (Now Defunct Imaginary ‘Round The World) this morning when the tour bus picks me up out front.

Adelaide Sightseeing it is. I am booked for a full-day River Murray Highlights Tour because, well because I love rivers. And the River Murray is on my Bucket List. I aim to cruise the longest river on every continent, and the Mississippi is the only one I can count, so far. I’ve even been through Lock #1 at St Paul! https://capitalcitiesusa.org/?p=11157/ There is no cruisable river in Antarctica, of course. But later trips will get me to South America’s Amazon, Asia’s Yangtze, and Europe’s Volga. Africa’s Nile is scheduled for this trip, but today, it is Australia’s River Murray.

The goal is not to cruise the full length of any of these rivers. It is just to be ON them for a while, to learn about them, and how they impact their part of the world. Rivers MOVE, they get somewhere. They DO something. They support life. We drink out of our rivers, and, yuck, we dump our wastewater into our rivers. Our rivers have the power to make electricity for us, and, where they are allowed, they deposit silts and nutrients on our soil to help things grow. They shift the land around, and change their course when they see a better route. And our rivers are built-in highways! Before roads, or trains, or planes, rivers moved people; today river commerce is an important part of our economy.

So how does the River Murray impact Australia? Here’s what the South Australia Department for Environment and Water tells us: https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/topics/river-murray

The River Murray, 1,558 miles long

South Australians live in the driest state in the driest inhabited continent in the world. The River Murray is the life-blood of the state, providing essential water for irrigation, industry, domestic and recreational use and our precious wetlands and floodplains. In South Australia, in an average year, around 75 per cent of the water taken from the River Murray is used for primary production. This includes water for livestock, piggeries, dairies and wineries and for the irrigation of crops such as citrus, stone fruit, almonds, pasture, vegetables and other niche crops.

Other water uses include water supply for towns and metropolitan Adelaide, the environment and recreation. The river is also a popular place to visit and enjoy the beautiful locations, unique plants and wildlife, quality food and wine and outdoor activities.

The Murray-Darling Basin

The River Murray headwaters are near Mt Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest point (7,310 ft), snow melt and rainfall drain down the western side of the Australian Alps, then the river meanders across Australia’s inland plains, forming the border between the states of New South Wales and Victoria as it flows to the northwest into South Australia. It is joined at Wentworth by the Darling River, then turns south at Morgan for its final 196 miles. The water of the Murray flows through several terminal lakes including Lake Alexandrina and The Coorong before emptying through the Murray Mouth into the Indian Ocean. The mouth is comparatively small and shallow, and dredging machines move sand from the channel to maintain a minimal flow from the sea and into the Coorong’s lagoon system. The lack of an estuary means that shipping cannot enter the Murray from the sea.

The Murray-Darling Basin includes the Australian Capital Territory, and parts of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. The basin supports agriculture, tourism and other productive industries and is home to more than two million people. Outside the basin, a further 1.3 million people depend on its water resources, including Adelaide, the largest population base reliant on basin water resources. Drought, of course, is always a concern.

The Proud Mary

As for my Huck Finn river day, I’ll first see the river at Mypolonga, a settlement in South Australia on the bank of the lower Murray River; its name is from an Aboriginal name for Cliff Lookout. It’s about a 55-mile drive from my hotel in Adelaide, winding through the beautiful area known as the Adelaide Hills, famous for its cool-climate wine. The Proud Mary is our paddle-wheeler, Mississippi riverboat style; and a buffet lunch is part of the fun as we glide past stunning orange cliffs and weeping willows, watching for pelicans, cockatoos and cormorants; listening to commentary about the river’s history, and significance.

Abundant wildlife, spectacular scenery, beautiful skies and an overwhelming sense of tranquility.

Promised, and delivered. On the ride back to Adelaide, a stop at Melba’s Chocolate Factory, and Woodside Cheese Wrights at Woodside.

I am counting my blessings.

Adelaide Hills https://southaustralia.com/places-to-go/adelaide-hills

The Proud Mary, 2-day and 5-day cruises too. https://www.proudmary.com.au/

Melba’s Chocolate Factory https://www.melbaschocolates.com.au/factory/

Woodside Cheese Wrights, Kris Lloyd, Artisan https://krislloyd.com.au/

 Special Note

Due to COVID-19, restrictions are in effect for travel in Australia. I offer a special note of THANKS to Adelaide Sightseeing for contacting me about the cancellation of my planned tour, and kindly refunding in full my payment for what would have been a delightful day, I’m sure. Very kind, great business practices.

Adelaide Sightseeing https://www.adelaidesightseeing.com.au/