Berri Country, Home of the Orange

Trip Start May 10, 2009
Trip End Jun 30, 2009

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Where I stayed
Top Tourist Berri Caravan Park

Flag of Australia  , South Australia,
Monday, May 4, 2009

Even though we had planned only to travel around South Australia, we realized it would be a pity not to drive just another hundred clicks and visit Mildura with its paddle steamers and  houseboats. By lunch time Monday, we arrived at Murray Bridge and saw the Mighty Murray River for the first time which we found to be very impressive.  We enjoyed a picnic in the pretty park overlooking the bridge crossing the Murray River before going onto Mannum where we drove the car and caravan onto one of the free ferries that cross over to the other side.  We had just watched a ferry go over loaded with quite a few cars, but as there was no other vehicles ready to cross with us, we were on our own which was fun as there was plenty of room to run around and take photos from all sides of the ferry.  On the other side the scenery changed, with rolling hills along the Murray, so we took the scenic route via Younghusband and Loxton and set up camp at the Top Tourist Berri Caravan Park in the Riverland area, with the Murray River just across the road.  We had a lovely few days exploring the Riverland starting on the first day with the town of Berri with it's nice wide clean streets. Within walking distance was green grass and park benches scattered along the river where we could sit and watch the house boats.  We also climbed to the top of  the Water Tower Lookout to enjoy the view over the surrounding countryside way off to the horizon with vineyards, olive groves and open scrub.  On the way back to the caravan park, we stopped at the Jessie James memorial.  He was a famous Aboriginal tracker who over thirty years found many people lost or hiding in the outback, some who were pleased to be found and the criminals who were not so pleased….

On our second day in Berri we set off towards Renmark driving through the citrus orchards, olive groves and vineyards, past a sign to Puddletown via Bottom Road and then through one little rural town after another.  Along the side of the road the olive trees were shining silvery in the lovely sunshine. First stop was Banrock Station where we went on the hour long environmental walk through the Mallee trees and wetlands which had been left bone dry by the recent drought. It seemed strange to see so many big shells lying around in the dry sand.

Before arriving at Renmark we stopped in the park at Lake Bonnie to have our picnic lunch which included some of the the yummy grapes from the area.  We enjoyed our walk around Renmark, the busy town along the Murray River with its magnificent well preserved old hotel from yesteryear which is a good landmark. Another first for us was the car wash there with a dog wash and laundry all on the same garage premises! On our way back to Berri we stopped to take a photo of the "Big Orange" to add to our collection of the “Big Galah” and “Big Rocking Horse”.  The next morning, was again a glorious sunny day and our drive down to Lock 4 was rewarded by watching a private paddle houseboat "Jumbuk" being in the lock for the 8 minutes until the water level rose high enough for the couple and their dog to resume their journey. They told us they expected to be on the river for about 3 months just taking their time and enjoying the cruise up and then back down the river passing through the many locks.  Before rejoining the main road, we stopped at an attractive old stone Lutheran church with its majestic tower, many of which can be seen throughout this state.  These were built by the hardworking and godly Lutheran families who were the pioneers in many South Australian regions.
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