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Departing from Murray Bridge which is just 1 hour North of Adelaide in the heart of the Murraylands, the Captain and crew of the luxurious P.S. Proud Mary look forward to welcoming you aboard. Upon boarding at 7.15pm you will be shown to your superb river view accommodation with time to settle in and enjoy a drink at the bar before a delicious supper is served at 8.30pm.
As you cruise, the boats powerful floodlights illuminate the shore. This is an excellent opportunity to see the River environment in a different perspective and may allow you to view of some of the nocturnal wildlife, especially birds such as night herons, owls and coots. Later, P.S. Proud Mary ties up for a night of peace and tranquility in the Australian bush at Sunnyside.
Monday (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
Your cruise continues upstream as you enjoy a delicious buffet breakfast. You will pass huge lagoons teeming with bird life. During floods these inland lagoons were so immense that in the early riverboat days, Captains could not find the true channels. In many cases the water expanded for miles. In the early 1900’s riverboat Captains planted willow trees along the banks to clearly mark the main river channel. Today the willows provide the perfect haven for the prolific and colourful bird life. Mid morning P.S. Proud Mary arrives in picturesque Mannum. Here you will board the waiting coach for a history tour of this small township which played a significant role in the development of South Australia. Captain William Randell launched the 1st Paddle Steamer on The Murray River the “Mary Ann” in 1853. By the late 1880’s there were over 250 Paddle Steamers and barges trading on the River Murray, and Mannum became an industrious inland port. On tour you will re-trace the colourful history of several pioneering families whose efforts shaped the successful development of this region. Your tour includes a visit to the ‘Olden Days, Olden Ways’ Museum in Mannum, here you will find a large collection of historic memorabilia. Lunch will be served aboard P.S. Proud Mary as you cruise upstream past lovely Lake Carlet, peaceful Bow Hill and Purnong. Early in the evening, P.S. Proud Mary moors at Walker Flat. The Bird and wildlife here is prolific, including wallabies, wild ducks and bush turkeys. This evening is “Australiana Night” and we will be featuring the use of some traditional “Bush foods” such as emu, kangaroo, damper bread, fresh water crustaceans (yabbies), lemon myrtle, wild bush tomatoes and quandongs (wild peaches), combined into exciting creations by our chefs to showcase a new evolving Australian cuisine. This evening join our resident ecologist for a Nocturnal Discovery Tour. This tour provides an insight to the abundant wildlife, including the Southern Hairy Nosed Wombat; floodlights illuminate the secluded outback enabling you to easily view the native flora and fauna.
Tuesday (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
After breakfast P.S. Proud Mary continues upstream. You will pass fascinating Wongulla where, some fifty years ago, men found the petrified remains of a shark. It was twenty million years old. Mid Morning P.S. Proud Mary arrives at the pioneering township of Swan Reach. The settlement was originally the port of the large Portee Sheep Station and was settled as a township in 1899. Here you will disembark P.S. Proud Mary and with a local guide visit Murray Aqua culture, one of the most ambitious aqua culture projects undertaken in Australia. The fresh water crustacean is uniquely Australian and is only one of many species of crayfish found in Australia. Australia has the second largest and most diverse number of crayfish species in the world. With a local guide passengers are taken through the complex covering 10,000 sq metres of ponds, nurseries and an interpretive information centre. Eco – guides provide an informative commentary relating to fresh water crustacean biology, production and marketing. On Board, you may have the opportunity to sample Murray Aqua culture fresh water crustaceans. Late afternoon P.S. Proud Mary arrives at Blanchetown, site of the Lock and Weir No. 1 on the River Murray. The River Murray is dammed by 13 locks built for the early riverboat trade. Water cascades over the lock creating an excellent feeding place for bird life including Pelicans and dozens of species of water birds. Tonight the boat moors overnight on a beautiful beach amongst towering River Red Gums.
Wednesday (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
You will wake this morning in one of the most un spoilt and picturesque areas of the River Murray. You will be taken on an environmental discovery walk where even today you will see evidence of an ancient Aboriginal civilisation – a huge canoe tree still stands. Learn about Moorundie Creek, named after the Aboriginal tribe that lived there. In native dialect moorundie means sand or sandy, the site where the history of the area began in 1840 when explorer Edward John Eyre established a village named “Sturt” after the famous navigator. As P.S. Proud Mary cruises downstream, you will pass magnificent lagoons teeming with bird life, awesome cliffs reaching for the sky and spectacular scenery as far as the eye can see. This afternoon your vessel ties alongside the towering cliffs of Big Bend. A highlight of your expedition is a guided cruise led by our ecologist aboard a small boat through the lagoons and inlets. There are some 320 species of bird life. in this area and with the aid of binoculars and your well informed guide, you will study at close range the prolific bird life. as well as the wildlife of the region including kangaroos, wombats, emus, echidnas and goannas. This evening there is a traditional Australian barbecue on shore followed by live entertainment around a blazing campfire.
Thursday (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
An early departure this morning you will see the sun rise over the towering cliffs while you enjoy your breakfast. The P.S. Proud Mary berths at the Ngaut Ngaut Aboriginal conversation area where you will be met by a local Aboriginal guide and shown over Australia’s first Aboriginal Archaeological digs. It contains galleries of Cave Art, smoke stains from ancient fires and an excavated campsite of a civilisation over 8,000 years old. As you cruise this afternoon there will be on-board activities organised by the Cruise Director, time to relax and view the River environment and the associated bird life or browse through our library resources and learn more about this fascinating environment before an afternoon arrival in Mannum. Passengers who have not seen the “P.S. Marion” may visit the fascinating floating museum or stroll the magnificent lawns of lovely Mary Ann Reserve. This evening you are invited to enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at the bar followed by our Captain’s Dinner – five sumptuous courses to tempt the most discerning palate.
Friday (breakfast, lunch)
A Chance for a short stroll on Mary Ann Reserve prior to boarding the waiting coach for a tour of Reedy Creek Environmental Park. Discover this permanent water course from waterfalls, through swamps and wetlands. Reedy Creek and the waterfalls played a significant part in the lives of the ancient Nganguruku and Ngaralta Aboriginal tribes. As well as natural rock shelters, the area offered permanent water and an abundance of wild game for hunting. As part of your Expedition Cruise experience you will have the opportunity to take a fascinating bush walk through the Reedy Creek Gorge. Your guide will provide you with information enabling you to identify significant rock formations and the abundant native vegetation and bird life. Re-board the P.S. Proud Mary as we begin the final leg of your journey. Today, lunch is a superb buffet of fresh local produce. This afternoon there will be more spectacular scenery before the vessel ties up once more in Murray Bridge around 4.15pm, the Captain and crew bid farewell to guests and new-found friends before a late afternoon disembarkation.Good to know
All Cabins have a private ensuite, double or twin beds (your choice), air conditioning / heating and tea and coffee facilities.
A coach displaying a large "Proud Mary" sign departs from the Adelaide Central Bus Station, Bay 1, 85 Franklin Street, Adelaide on Sunday's at 6.00pm sharp, returning into Adelaide on Friday at 5.45pm and the cost for a return transfer is: $110 per person.
Secure lock up garaging is available at Murray Bridge for the duration of your cruise. Please make your own way to Sturt Reserve Murray Bridge by 7.00pm and the crew will advise as to the garaging of your vehicle. The cost is $140 per vehicle for the cruise duration.
Accommodation in AdelaideBefore or after cruise accommodation can be booked with us at the same time as you book your cruise. The Mercure Grosvenor Hotel offers the following room styles: From 1 April 2017 through to 31 March 2018 *Standard rooms are $152 per room per night in Normal Season or $183 in High Season **Superior rooms are $163 per room per night in Normal Season or $192 in High Season Normal Season includes 01.04.17 - 09.10.17 and 11.12.17 - 31.01.18 High Season includes 10.10.17 - 10.12.17 and 01.02.18 - 31.03.18 Full Breakfast is an extra $20 per person *Positioned at the rear or inside of the hotel **Preferred positioning around the perimeter of the hotel