Rollin’ On The River

28 Nov

It was a hot day in Adelaide, 95 degrees. (Today it is 103 so hot is relative.) We decided to cool off on the Murray River. The Murray River is to Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia what the Mississippi is to its bordering states in the U.S.


The Murray River is wide, slow-moving and relatively shallow. In years past 300 steam boats plied its muddy waters. Today there is one steamboat maintained and run by volunteers. In their day, the river’s steamers used 1/2 ton of red gum wood for every kilometer traveled on the river. So there are few red gums left along the shores. This one is an example of the size of the old growth gum trees.

We were on a very slow boat. We used to take these kind of slow boat rides at sunset when I was a kid in the Adirondacks. We called them,”Old-Lady-Boat-Rides.” The slow pace was perfect for us on this hot day.

There are a number of different kinds of birds on the river; kingfisher, snake bird, brown kite, black swans, egrets, pelican, ibis and more. We saw flocks of these white parrots called corollas. They take off and land and take off in waves, making a dramatic coloration against the eucalyptus trees that line the river.

Helen, our boat captain, explained that the river had suffered through a six-year drought.  The river is used as a water source by communities all up and down it, including Adelaide. Poor water management contributed to the natural drought creating a serious environmental problem. As a consequence there is less bird life on the river. The dry times have been over for two years. It is just now that wildlife is returning to the big numbers of bird varieties pre-drought.

One of the characteristics the Murray is noted for is the colorful cliffs along its banks. The river was created 40 million years ago and erosion has exposed vertical limestone cliffs that are gold to red in color and filled with the fossilized remains of fish and crustaceans. The fossils sit out in the open or exposed on the cliff face.

It was a lazy day on the river. We had afternoon tea with the other passengers from Germany and from other parts of Australia then we toddled back to Adelaide and napped.

5 Responses to “Rollin’ On The River”

  1. Nancy Lehrhaupt November 29, 2012 at 2:32 am #

    sounds very relaxing. especially the toddling back to nap part. How do you decide what you are going to do and see? Must be wonderful to have no schedule or “to do” list.

    • Jill November 29, 2012 at 2:51 am #

      We have this great set of paperback tourist books that the local tourist bureau gives out for free. One for each region surrounding us. We read the books, mark the pages of what sounds good then go to the net to find out times, directions and reviews by other travelers. Once we get there we find out all sorts of other places and because we’re here so long, we can go back. Then there is word-of-mouth from all the people we meet. Aussies are really friendly, love their country and want you to love it. We’ve gotten a lot of the sites to see that way. But some days, after a foray, we just stay home and read. J

  2. Ursula Freer November 28, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

    beautiful land and water framed by those eucalyptus trees.

  3. Ellen Gregor November 28, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

    Ah, Proud Mary (keep on burning red gum trees?). You know it’s a hot day by the mist over the river. Looks lovely!

    • Jill November 28, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

      I know. Wasn’t that the perfect song for this? The paddle wheeler is named PSS Marion, my mother’s name.

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