BARMERASOUTH AUSTRALIA’S FAVOURITE PLAYGROUND
220km NE of Adelaide
Barmera was named after the Barmera Aboriginal tribe that lived on the shores of Lake Bonney. The lake itself was named after Charles Bonney who saw it on the first Sydney to Adelaide overland trek in 1838.
Barmera, with its ideal location on the shores of lake Bonney, is one of the state’s most popular aquatic playgrounds. In summer there are boats everywhere. The Yacht Club runs weekly races, which are a great spectacle to watch from the shore. Canoeists and other boaters enjoy great fishing and sightseeing on the lake and adjoining wetlands abound with wildlife. The lake is a freshwater lake and is popular with water-skiers, windsurfers and jet ski enthusiasts, and has excellent safe swimming areas separate from the boating areas.
Barmera offers diverse dining experiences and boutique wine-tasting. Dine overlooking the lake, golf course or vineyards, the choice is yours. A family-oriented town, it boasts a Country Music Hall of Fame, and hosts an important annual country music festival. One of the few remaining drive-ins in South Australia still operates, screening current releases each weekend. Barmera’s main street harks back to the art deco era, giving the place a nostalgic character. Discover the history of the town on the Barmera Heritage Walk.
Barmera has a range of accommodation options, including hotel, motels, country club, lakeside caravan parks, a backpacker hostel, bed and breakfast, self-contained cottages and numerous lakeside camping sites.
The Cobdogla Station once covered over 200 miles of river frontage and the former homestead was located on the site of the current caravan park. The station raised pure bred horses which were used by the South Australian Police Force, the British Army in India and by the famous Australian explorer John McDougall Stuart. Today, Cobdogla is better known for its ‘Irrigation and Steam Museum’ which boasts the impressive Humphrey Pump, the only working model of its kind in the world.
Another small Riverland town,Loveday was proclaimed in 1940 and was the site of one of Australia’s largest internment camps during World War 2. The camp was built to house German, Italian and Japanese internees and prisoners of war. At its peak, the camp held 5380 as well as over 1500 Australian Military Personnel. The camps supplied a variety of products including morphine, which was made for the forces from the harvested opium poppies grown in the camp grounds.
Originally called Kingston, this town was part of the new village settlement scheme started in the 1890s. The tag “On-Murray” was added to distinguish it from the town Kingston in the state’s South East. The sizeable Kingston Estate Winery marks the turnoff to Kingston-On-Murray. The town’s shady riverbank is perfect for picnics with free barbecues, chairs, tables and toilets, and a nearby general store for provisions. One of Australia’s great explorers, Captain Charles Sturt, landed near this town on his Murray River expedition of 1830. The lookout that marks the spot also affords good scenic views.
Close by Banrock Station is an impressive project by one of Australia’s big wine companies, Hardys, to balance agricultural use and nature conservation. There’s an eight-kilometre boardwalk trail through the wetlands and an impressive interpretive and wine-tasting centre that also serves light meals. The town and surrounds have a range of accommodation, including a fleet of modern houseboats, a backpacker hostel, bed and breakfast and a caravan park.
This area is full of history covering indigenous and European occupation. The hotel was built in 1859 and is the oldest surviving building in the Riverland. It was frequented by drovers, explorers, travellers and even bushrangers. Now the hotel is licensed and provides meals and accommodation. A historical walking trail starting at the hotel covers the history of indigenous groups, European settlement and the Murray River. The limestone cliffs at Herons Bend are riddled with ancient marine life and the elusive Tasmanian Tiger is reputed to roam the area!