WAIKERIERIVER BREEZES, CITRUS-SCENTED
177km NE of Adelaide
The name Waikerie is said to mean “many wings”, after the giant swift moth “wei kari”, the name given by the original indigenous community. It’s an appropriate name, considering the teeming birds of the lagoons and wetlands that edge the river.
Waikerie was established in 1894 when its first settlers arrived by paddle steamer. The farming community they founded is now surrounded by over a million fruit trees, and the town is truly the centre of citrus and fruit industry in South Australia.
Here, you’ll find one of the longest stretches of accessible riverbank and the width of the river makes it popular for water sports and fishing, and suitable for houseboats. The town is also justly proud of its 18-hole bunkerless golf course. The town’s Santa’s Cave at Christmas time is especially fun for families.
In recent times, the birds have been joined in the skies by gliders, with pilots worldwide raving about the thermals on which they soar. The best way to understand their fervour is from the front seat of a glider: The Waikerie International Soaring Centre arranges joy flights – and as a bonus the views of the river and waterways are inspiring.
The ferry crossing at Waikerie is one of the few remaining on the Murray. A trip across the ferry and a turn to the right will take you on a cliff top scenic drive with spectacular views of the river.
Behind the Rainmoth Gallery (a local artists’ and craft workers’ outlet) are the beginnings of the new Interpretive Park – an opportunity for the kids to interact with the science of irrigation.
A fauna reserve located near the Caravan Park allows close contact with Australian animals.
The Murray River Queen offers great river views from its fine restaurant or on deck at the café where you can try some local Riverland boutique wines.
For a hands-on experience head off in the bush on a camel or take to the river on a boat safari. North from the town is Gluepot Reserve, renowned for prolific birdlike and great camping.
Waikerie’s accommodation options include the hotel, caravan park, motels, bed and breadfasts and houseboats.