Today – was exceptional. We went on the Loch Luna Cruise – navigating the Murray River and back waters with Captain Carl.
Captain Carl a self-proclaimed “city boy with a country heart”
It truly was a magical experience. The passengers ages varied from very young to the young at heart and this cruise captivated everyone’s attention for the full duration of the three hour journey.Let me set the scene – Initially we arrive at the Kingston-On-Murray riverbank at the reasonably leisurely hour of 9.30am. We were welcomed by the friendly and knowledgeable Captain Carl awaiting us on his boat which was framed by a backdrop of morning mist arising from the river beyond. Introductions having been done, we took our seats and were on our way. Yes, we made sure we were rugged up, beanies, scarves, thick jackets and gloves but within 15 minutes of the journey beginning these items were discarded. As the boat meandered through the river the mist was dissipating and the sun started to radiate – an appreciated warmth.
Along the river, we were greeted by the graceful families of Pelicans and Black Swans who were drifting and basking in the morning sun. How lucky are they to have this fabulous surrounding as their lounge room?
Check out Our Lounge Room !!! No TVs allowed :0)
The river was like reflective glass – so smooth with only a ripple in its wake delivered by the outboard motor.
“Snake Island” – Carl said. What!!!! Did that man say “snake”? Well that got me out of my relaxed state. Yes, Snake Island was passing us by on our right. There are four snake species that are known to inhabit the island AND they all have the capability to swim the River. Did I dare ask??? Yes, I did ask – “So Carl, are there any stories about snake meeting man on the river?” “Oh yes” he said and started to recount a few. The kids were enthralled – me – less so.
Ok, no sooner had we got over the shock of being in the vicinity of Snake Island than Carl cautioned “Tree Rex ahead”. Yes, you heard right. At one stage, a tree had been so badly burned by a fire that had actually leapt the Murray River to the township of Kingston-On-Murray that the trunk had been burned into a shape of a T Rex Dinosaur – hence being aptly named “Tree Rex”. Let’s not stop there, on the Loch Luna Cruise we also get to see “Logadiles”- I’ll let you use your imagination there. “Hey, check it out” everyone chorused – “It’s a baby Elephant”.
We were definitely rewarded with our vigilance when we saw this rare sighting of a Regent Parrot
Not to be outdone, the Yellow Rosella and Crimson Rosella Red Rump Parrots wanted some of our attention and put on a display darting in and out between the haunting gum trees. This brought up the subject of the Regent Parrot. This parrot is very rare but
This is truly remarkable. The Regent Parrot in our sights.
sightings have been known at Kingston-On-Murray. We will have to be vigilant with our bird watching skills today. Next we saw a Darter (aka snake bird). This bird enjoys sitting on tree stumps with wings outstretched – attempting to dry them in the sun. I much prefer to see this bird sitting like this as opposed to being in the water as that is where their alias comes from – snake bird. Their whole body submerges in the water and up pops their head and long neck – giving the appearance of a snake. You really have to see this for yourself to believe it. The Caspian Turn bird was on the lookout for some breakfast and decided that fresh fish would be on the menu, hence a bit of fishing was in order. It would be so nice to make a decision like that and in seconds breakfast would be served. These bird’s movements were unbelievably swift and on target.
Carl moves us along further up river. “What does that old sign say?” asks my son. Mmmm, so Carl manoeuvres the boat so we can see what the sign actually has written on it. “DANGER – QUICK SAND” – Oh my, where did I get the idea that this was going to be a nice relaxing cruise up and down the river? This is more like an ADVENTURE!!
The Haunting Gum Trees. Dead for over 80 years but still Existing. Eeerie.
We pass some trees that have some similar formations on them. These are Aboriginal Canoe Trees. Yes, the Aborigine chose these trees to cut the wood from for their canoes. This would have happened about 100 years ago and it’s fascinating to still be able to view remnants of the ingenuity of these traditional people.
I don’t know about you, but I’m about ready for a cuppa.
Carl docks at a camp site so we can all do a bit of exploring on land while he puts the kettle on. Wonder what he’s made for morning tea today? Apparently on each cruise there is something different. He made lovely choc chip cookies today. Mmmm, they were still warm to the touch. Thanks Carl – they were yummy.
Morning tea over and we are back on the river again. We catch a glimpse of Lock 3 and hear the history behind why it was built. I’ll let Carl tell you that one. I’ll give you a hint though – during the cruise there are signs of the 1956 flood in this area and it’s hard to comprehend the width and height of the river level when this occurred.
Silently moving through the back waters, we view a very colourful bird. It has a purple body, a red beak, black wings and the longest lankiest legs. It’s explained that this is the swamp hen. He looks extremely funny in flight as his legs just hang from his body like the hen doesn’t quite know what to do with them. They like to walk across the top of the reeds and you are able to follow their path as the reeds get distinctly bent where the swamp hen has been.
Like sailing on a Sheet of Reflective Glass
Homeward bound now. The cruise was nearing one of its drop-off points at our caravan park’s own jetty. You could feel the disappointment emanate from everyone. It was a beautiful day, flat water, sun shining, learning a bit of history and listening to Carl’s stories – we didn’t want it to end. Surely three hours can’t pass that quickly?
“Oooh La La” one of the passengers said. We all turned to look in the general direction. What did we see? Sorry, I can’t give everything away. You will just have to take the cruise and find out for yourself.
It is so worth it.
If you would like to experience this Wonderland for yourself;
For a Package Deal including Accommodation and Cruise, buy 1 and get 1 free Coffee & Cake at Banrock Station Wine & Wetland Centre (one day) and 20% discount on Main Course Meals at Cobdogla Club (one day) please contact the Caravan Park direct or alternatively for Cruise only – please contact Carl on mobile 0449 122 271.