Captain Cook Cruises
Captain Cook Murray River Cruises
The mapping of Australia’s eastern coast by the 18th century navigator, cartographer and explorer Captain James Cook paved the way for the discovery of the Murray River. Today, that tradition of exploration is carried on by Captain Cook Murray River Cruises, which brings passengers from the ship-building town of Mannum to Barossa Valley, past historic ports, vineyards, nature trails, archaeological sites, ancient gorges, towering sandstone cliffs and red gum forests.
The Murray River is the longest in Australia, and at 2,375 kilometers, one of the longest in the world. It starts in the Australian Alps in New South Wales and Victoria, meanders through the Australian outback, and empties itself in South Australia into the Southern Ocean.
Paddle Boat Cruises
Captain Cook Murray River Cruises utilize authentic paddle wheelers that traditionally plied the length of the river. Mannum, where the Murray River paddle boat cruises depart, has been the center of shipbuilding industry since the first paddleboat was launched in 1852 by William Randell until the retirement of the 1897 paddle wheeler “Marion” in 1950. The 120-passenger PS Murray Princess is the largest working paddle wheeler on the river today.
Murray River paddle boat cruises are both an eco-friendly and leisurely approach to enjoy the waterways since paddle boats are driven by steam engines and are small enough to navigate narrower tributaries that bigger ships couldn’t get to.
Heritage and Nature
Because of the sheer size of the Murray River and its importance to daily life for the people of Southern Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, the cruises are centered around historic ports and cities, backwater wildlife ecosystems, vineyards and archaeological sites that can be found from Murray Bridge to Swan Reach township until the Barossa Valley.
Aboard a typical seven-day Murray River paddle boat cruises – with options for shorter cruises of three or four days for the weekend warrior, families or those on budget – you get a dose of the great Australian outback in guided nature walks so you can see up close the colonies of flora and fauna that have adapted to the vagaries of the dry Australian desert and Murray River, home to some of the country’s most exotic and critically endangered.
From the comforts of your deck, you also get to witness the magnificent ancient river gorges and towering sandstone cliffs at Big Bend or you can stretch your leg muscles and join an expedition to Ngaut Ngaut Aboriginal Reserve archaeological sites. Since the Murray River meanders through some of the most fertile vineyards in South Australia, you also get to sample the best wines in the region right at the cellar doors and see the bigger picture in a free Barossa Valley Tour. In between, the paddle boat stops for riverside lunch and bush land BBQs so there is plenty of opportunity to experience the rugged romance of the place before you sail home.
If you want to see stunning landscapes, witness wildlife in the Australian outback, and indulge in the unique experience that river cruising brings, get onboard Captain Cook Murray River cruises now and start a tradition of exploration.