The Murray River is more than a place to play – it sustains extraordinary wetlands, huge wineries and prolific wildlife.

1Put Yourself in the Picture

The Riverland’s sandstone cliffs amount to one of Australia’s most photographed landscapes – think great walls glowing ochre and russet in low sunlight against the mirrorlike surface of the river. Add stately river gums, sedate pelicans and a little morning mist and the picture is almost complete. Houseboat, anyone?

2. Watch Birds at Banrock

The Murray is home to more than 200 species of bird, including white-plumed honeyeaters, rainbow bee-eaters and red-capped Robins, drawing twitchers from all over the country. See what floats their boat at Banrock Station Wetlands, where timber boardwalks lead to a series of bird hides deep in the wetlands. Rather happily, they also lead back to the tasting room of the Banrock Station cellar door…

3. Lounge Beside Lake Bonney 

Lake Bonney is an aquatic playground, big with water skiers and speed boat owners. The lake has form with fast boats, having been the place where Sir Donald Campbell attempted to break the water speed record in 1964. Once the sun starts to set, the boats go quiet and the photographers emerge, hoping to capture the colours and the haunting treescapes.

4. Get Into Canoe Camping!

It’s about serene backwaters, crackling campfires and lots of wildlife. There are several local operators offering canoe hire as well as guided canoe tours along different sections of the river (usually for a half-day or a day). For an overnight experience try Canoe Adventures, which uses special touring canoes on trips lasting two to seven days.

5Bend a Knee Before St Agnes

Renmark is the home of Australian brandy. St Agnes Distillery is Australia’s oldest continually operating craft distillery, bottling brandy since 1925. Their XO expressions have been named best in the world three times. Visit Angove Family Winemakers cellar door for the full story – and be sure to pop over to 23rd Street Distillery to see what the young guns are up to…

Read dueSouth Magazine here.