We all know what a weekend on the Murray River looks like from December to February- stinking hot all day and night, swimming from sun up ’til sun down, summer tans, sunscreen and vibrant sunsets. But what does a weekend on the Murray River look like in April? Well it looks a lot like it does in summer, but without the melting hot days, less swimming and with addition of a campfire!
There isn’t much that compares to knocking off on a Friday arvo in the lead up to a long weekend that will be spent on a houseboat, with your family on the Murray River.
The feeling of complete freedom to spend three whole days soaking up sun rays, colouring in with your siblings and filling your eye balls with absolutely breathtaking scenery, is something money cannot buy.
Time spent with my family is done in short bursts about once every 6 months. With most of them living in Port Lincoln, two in Gawler and us in the Riverland, time is short, but quality isn’t.
Below are some of my favourite things about my most recent weekend on the Murray River (ANZAC weekend) with the fam bam. Although it is a time of year that you may not have immediately associated a with Murray River holiday, the seasons should definitely not be underestimated. Any time is good for Rivertime, so please, read on to find out what I love about a weekend on the Murray River during the cooler months of the year.
Voluntary Early Mornings
It’s easy to willingly get up early when you are on the River and the first thing you see is the still perfection of a resting River. The crisp air, rising mist and morning bird songs invite you to rug up, make a cup of tea and quietly watch the day break.
As the sun rises it’s also the perfect time for a morning trawl for fish or kayak paddle. Your backdrop a yellow limestone cliff, enhanced by the first rays of light.
Skiing- in a Wetsuit
I have never really been swimming in the River beyond early March. This year Easter came around and I thought it was going to be the final ski of the 2015/16 season. That’s when April decided she didn’t want to let March have the last hurrah and delivered a few high 20 degree days. I donned a mens wetsuit and went for what I am guessing was my very last wakeboard for the season…but I’m not holding my breath..,my wetsuit is still in the mail.
What was really awesome was watching my family on the water. My Mum carved out on the kneeboard, my little brother went for 3 wakeboards and my sister (who had some practise at Easter) showed huge improvement. Watching their enthusiasm to try again and again and see how their enjoyment on the River mirrored mine, warms me from the inside out, as they love where I live, just as much as I do.
Big Family Dinners
Dinner time at home is usually spent on the couch, balancing my plate on a pillow, abusing the telly for broadcasting such horrible shows. On the River though, dinner is a much more inclusive time where everyone gets to sit around the big table and dive straight into a hearty dinner. There is no telly, no phones-just you and your family and maybe some disputes about who gets to eat the last chop!
So Much Room for Activities
Houseboating, like camping, calls for cards, board games, nail polish, books and other activities to help you relax and pass the time. I always bring a suite of things to keep me entertained and at the moment I thoroughly enjoy colouring in. So to does my family…including my 17 year old brother to my surprise. At one point, there was a group of us colouring in silently, music bubbling away in the background, just content with each others presence.
Fairy Floss Skies
Perfect sunny weather during the day sets up sunrise to be absolutely breathtaking and inspiring. As the sun begins to dip, cloud patterns emerge and cliffs are lit up. The sunset scene will differ depending where you are on the River, but all are just as spectacular as the other. l always feel super inspired over sunset. Just when you think the day couldn’t be more beautiful, BAM the sun lets the land put on a show.
Camp fire Warmth
Toasting marshmallows and reminiscing about the time we scared my littlest sister with a drop bear prank was a highlight around our camp fire. My other campfire highlight was secretly sharing a packet of double choc tim tams with my other sister, with the others too busy burning their marshmallows to notice.
Something as simple as getting cuddles from my brother is something I cherish. We aren’t an overly cuddly family, but the memories I am making now we are all a little older is a nice change from the memories of sibling tantrums from when we were kids. The weekend allowed us to store some more inside jokes into the funny bank and although I don’t have too many photos of us all together, the memories will remain.
Always Wishing for Another Day
All weekends must come to an end and whoever decided this should not be given the authority to make any future decisions for civilisation. When a weekend on the Murray River comes to an end, you can almost hear the sun weeping as he sets Sunday evening.
It was unanimous that Christmas was going to be spent on the River. Everyone excited and determined to get back out behind the ski boat or catch some more fish. It’s always sad to see the end of a great weekend on the Murray River, but exciting to plan the next trip, or in the case of a local, the following weekend!
See, it doesn’t need to be summer to have some great family time on the river! Any time of the year is perfect to visit the Riverland, apparently we have more sunlight hours than the Gold Coast. I’d also put money on it that the weather conditions are perfect more often here as well!
I hope you have just as a fantastic time as my family does when they spend a weekend on the Murray River!