How to spend a day in Murray River National Park

How to spend a day in Murray River National Park

Want to make the most of your vis­it to this icon­ic park? We’ve got you cov­ered with this one-day itinerary.

There’s a rea­son why the Riv­er Mur­ray is icon­ic. Sweep­ing stretch­es of water, tran­quil wet­lands, impos­ing cliffs and abun­dant wildlife make Mur­ray Riv­er Nation­al Park the per­fect place to walk, kayak, bird­watch and camp.

With more than 13,000 hectares – that’s the size of more than 5000 Ade­laide Ovals – includ­ing a vast net­work of wet­lands and flood­plains, there’s so much to explore.

The park has three sep­a­rate areas that are sep­a­rat­ed by towns: Katara­p­ko (Winkie), Lyrup Flats (Lyrup) and Buly­ong Island (Ren­mark), so check out the park maps before you go to famil­iarise your­self with the area.

This area is the tra­di­tion­al home to the Erawirung peo­ple, a rel­a­tive­ly small Abo­rig­i­nal group that lived on the fer­tile plains of the Mur­ray. Cul­tur­al sites exist in the park in the form of graves, mid­dens and canoe trees.

To help you plan your vis­it to Mur­ray Riv­er Nation­al Park Ranger Shara Coulthard has put togeth­er this itin­er­ary for a great day out:

How to spend a day in Murray River National Park


One of the best spots to explore along the Mur­ray is Katara­p­ko, just under 250 km (that’s about three hours’ dri­ve) from Ade­laide, between Berri and Loxton.

Pack a light morn­ing snack to take on a leisure­ly pad­dle in a kayak or canoe along Katara­p­ko Creek. This sig­nif­i­cant creek is an impor­tant habi­tat for native fish that pass­es through black box, red gum and lignum cov­ered flood­plains and wet­lands alive with aquat­ic bird species.

Stop along the way for a short walk around the Cragg’s Hut Walk­ing Trail. It’s an easy 40-minute, 1.3km loop that includes the his­toric remains of the homes of set­tler fam­i­lies the Crai­gies and the Blands.

Alter­na­tive­ly, take the Kai Kai Nature Trail, anoth­er easy walk that takes about 40 min­utes, or 1.3km. Kai Kai is the Ngar­rind­jeri word mean­ing plain’. The Kai Kai Nature Trail pass­es along Katara­p­ko Creek bank and through the sur­round­ing floodplain.

How to spend a day in Murray River National Park


While you’re out on the kayak or canoe, find a nice sand­bar to pull up on and enjoy a pic­nic lunch.

How to spend a day in Murray River National Park


Set up camp for the night at the Booky Cliffs camp­ground in the Lock 4 sec­tion oppo­site the mag­nif­i­cent Booky Cliffs.

The camp­ground is acces­si­ble by 2WD car and can accom­mo­date small car­a­vans and camper trail­ers, mak­ing it ide­al for group and fam­i­ly camp­ing get­aways right on the river­bank. There are eight sep­a­rate sites in the Lock 4 sec­tion and toi­let facilities.

Pitch your tent and spend a qui­et and relax­ing after­noon enjoy­ing the spring weath­er by set­ting up your chair on the banks of the riv­er and throw­ing in a fish­ing line. You might land a gold­en perch, yab­bie or Euro­pean carp.

Kids will love spot­ting the abun­dant wildlife in the area – keep an eye out for kan­ga­roos, echid­nas, lace mon­i­tors and brush­tail possums.

How to spend a day in Murray River National Park


Take an easy 3km, 1.5‑hour twi­light stroll around the Ngak Indau Wet­land trail where you can spend some time bird­watch­ing at the bird hide and explore the dif­fer­ent sur­round­ings from the wet­land to the river.

The walk begins at the car park just off Lock 4 road and winds its way through the Ngak Indau wet­land, out to the riv­er and back again. Check out the wet­land birdlife like spoon­bills, an array of duck species, herons and whistling kites.

Then all you have to do is go to sleep under mil­lions of twin­kling stars to wake up to an incred­i­ble orange and pink sun­rise that reflects off the water and lights up the stun­ning Bookpurnong Cliffs.

How to spend a day in Murray River National Park

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living