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Waikerie is a classic rural South Australian town, located just over two hours from Adelaide in your rental car. Waikerie is close to a prolific wine region, national parks and other regional towns. Known as the fruit capital, Waikerie is showered in sunshine almost the entire year. You will find many farms, fruit groves and wineries dotted around the hills and Murray River.
Waikerie is a bird spotting haven with the name translating to “Many Wings” in the local Ngawait Indigenous language, and that still holds true today, with many rare and endangered birds thriving in and around the city. You can spot over 200 separate species within the city limits and at the Gluepot Reserve.
With so many rich farmlands fed by the Murray River, Waikerie is a food lover's travel destination. You will find wineries all along the Murray River in this region, growing organic grapes and producing internationally acclaimed wine. The centre of town is full of bakeries, cafes, hotels and restaurants that make good use of the local produce. A particular favourite among visitors is the Overland Corner Hotel, a historic pub boasting the Riverland’s largest selection of independent craft beer, wine and spirits and a mouth-watering menu to match. The limestone pub built-in 1856 is an attractive heritage attraction and adds to the rich atmosphere of the area. Stop in for some live entertainment, held every weekend.
The Riverland region is the largest grape-growing region in Australia, producing some 460,000 tonnes of 85 varieties. The Murray River sets the path for many popular wine road trips (always drive safely and with a designated driver) for those looking to explore the entirety of the Riverland region from Blanchetown in the west to Renmark in the east. There are over 100 winegrowers in Waikerie alone, with many more along the eternal river’s path.
Taking your hire car out into nature is a great idea, with the Murray River Drive, wineries and national parks all exciting locations. The Murray River National Park is an hour east of Waikerie by car. Take part in a variety of activities, from hiking, camping, bird watching, kayaking and biking. With bushlands, wetlands and floodplains offer a unique landscape to explore.
Explore almost 15,000 hectares of diverse natural landscape filled with animals and unique flora and fauna, from pythons to kangaroos, southern bell frogs, and hundreds of bird and waterbird species. In addition, you will find over 2,000 species of vegetation, including Australian classics like the Red River gum. The park can be enjoyed by people of all ages with walking trails ranging from gentle strolls to challenging treks.
You don’t have to travel far outside of town to enjoy stunning nature and fun activities. Situated along the Murray River, there are several water activities, from water-skiing, kayaking and fishing.
Stop into the Rain Moth Gallery to view a selection of local and Australian artists displaying a wide range of work. With eight exhibitions held annually, it is the main centre for art in town. The Silo Art Project is also worth driving to, with Australian artists Garry Duncan and Jimmy Dvate painting stunning murals on local silos.
Located just a few minutes’ drive from town is the Maize Island Lagoon Conservation Park, with bushwalking, fishing, camping, biking, and animal spotting being the main activities on offer. On your way to the conservation park, stop off at the Holder Bend Lookout for sweeping views of the Murray River and bushland.