Lace up your walking shoes, I’m here to help you discover an easy Riverland walk you can take this weekend! Walking is awesome for your body, mind and also for your dogs. It brings you closer to nature, which we all know is fantastic for our wellbeing, and it is a great way to catch up with friends.
The walking part is easy, but finding where to go for walk beyond the pavements of town (or in my case, the sand dunes of the orchard) can be a bit tricky without some local knowledge.
Here are some of my favourite walks in the Riverland, and some that I haven’t conquered yet, but they are on my list! I hope at the end of reading this, you are inspired to get out and discover different parts of our region by foot!
Waikerie Cliff Top Walk
My favourite walk (also the one I have done the most) is the cliff top walk in Waikerie. It delivers the goods with spectacular views of the Murray River, Jaeschke’s Lagoon and the ferry (yep, it’s a drawcard). It is a light and easy walk overall with some bumps, and one major bump that caters to crazy fitness fanatics.
There are a set of stairs that will take you from near the ferry straight up to the look out tower. These stairs can be casually climbed, however if you want to feel the burn, run up and down these 6 times! Don’t be disheartened if your not feeling up to the challenge, take your time, they are easily doable by most. If you want to skip the stairs all together, you can get to the look out tower, by car, behind Woolies. Alternatively, start your walk on Ian Oliver Drive, near the silos.
You can follow this walk from the riverfront of Waikerie all the way out to the cluster of stores on the Sturt Highway. Stop for a coffee at Viewpoint Cafe or some local goodies at Illalangi (maybe take a back pack!).
Hart Lagoon Walk
Another easy walk close to the township of Waikerie and opposite the caravan park is the Hart Lagoon loop. This is a great nature trail where you walk along the rim of the wetland and can sneak up and spy on swans and ducks from a bird hide.
I personally like to mix the Hart Lagoon and Cliff Top trails together and walk between the two along the Riverfront. Watch this space because hopefully the Waikerie Apex Club will receive funding which will help them make this trail even better and easier to follow on bike, pram and foot!
Want to ride instead? You can hire bikes from the Waikerie Hotel Motel!
Ngak Indau Wetland Walk
Although a little hard to find at present, this 4km trail is in the Lock 4 section of the Murray River National Park (access from under the bridge at Berri near the senior citizens hall). Hopefully in the near future signage directing you to the start of the walk will be a bit clearer but basically follow the signs to Lock 4 campsite and you will pass the start of the trail (see where on the park map).
The trail winds its way around the Ngak Indau wetland, out to the River and back again and there is also a bird hide so you can sneak up on some unsuspecting spoonbills or swans. The Friends of Riverland Parks have been working on upgrading the bird hide and also the directional markers so it’s easier to follow the trail. Despite this, it is still a decent and easy walk that will put you right in the middle of the unique River and floodplain environment.
Please note: As it is a National Park, you cannot bring your dog on this walk.
Overland Corner Walk
I recently discovered that there is an old limestone quarry behind the Overland Corner Hotel which can be seen while on the Overland Corner Reserve walking trail. The quarry walls resemble the River cliffs, but a bit further inland.
You can choose your own adventure on the network of trails on the reserve, by taking different loops, each about 2.8km long. I personally like the loop starting from the information signs out the back of the hotel, walking west to Heron’s Bend, along the River and back through the floodplain finishing back at the pub.
There is a great view point which I listed in a previous post, here, and you can get to it on this walk. Pick up a brochure (map inside) at the starting point to learn more about the landmarks you walk past.
An easy walk to take from the township of Berri, the walk to Martin Bend is a great option and you can also bring your dog along as well (poop disposal bags and bins provided).
I like this trail because it is quiet and you get a sense of seclusion but you also get a nice sense of community passing other walkers/joggers/cyclists along the way and saying ‘hi’.
Starting from either Martin Bend itself, or from the marina opposite the Berri Riverside Caravan Park, you can stroll on the wide track and get lost in your thoughts. There are also helpful step count markers so you don’t have to have one of those fancy fitbit’s to see how many steps you have clocked up!
Renmark Riverfront and Paringa Paddock
Another easy walk from a Riverland township, and a great one for a Saturday morning catch up with friends before a double shot latte from Smokehouse Cafe, is at Renmark. Starting anywhere along the riverfront, the path takes you along the whole Riverfront and past the perfectly manicured lawns of town. I like to walk from the township towards the Paringa Bridge and over into Paringa Paddock where the Council have been working on some great trails that allow you to go on your very own bush walking adventure. Download the map here.
Want to ride a bike instead? You can hire bikes from the Renmark Paringa Visitor Centre!
A famous walk for the region is the one that features Banrock Station and its Ramsar listed wetland site. This trail takes you around the restored wetlands and floodplains, showing you first hand how vital water is for every living being along the River. When the wetland is being flooded, the abundance of bird life is astounding.
There are a few loops you can chose from, 2.8km, 4.5km and 8km, find out some more information here! The bonus of this walk is that you can schedule in brunch, lunch or a wine tasting afterwards as your start and finish point is Banrock’s wine and wetland centre.
Border Cliffs Wetland Walk
Way out on the edge of the Riverland is this little place called Custom’s House or Border Cliffs. It was the site of the old Custom’s House that used the check the overland stock drivers for all sorts of nasties, a bit like the fruit fly check points of now. Today the area is home to the SA/VIC border, a fleet of speccy houseboats and a cute little walking trail, Border Cliffs Wetland Walk.
I took a stroll around the 5km track some time ago now, and I have been itching to get back there. The trail was well kept and easy to follow and I felt so close to nature walking under the still giants that are River red gums. I felt isolated (because I pretty much was) but it was nice to hear the birds, frogs and wander along feeling like I was in a magical place. The drive is well worth it, break it up by stopping in at the Woolshed Brewery or Paringa Bakery for refreshments. There is limited phone signal so save the instagramming until after you’ve walked (yes you will survive)!