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National Landscapes August 2009 SA and NSW Famil

Riverland Ecotourism Assoc. & Murray River Tri-State National Landscapes
famil around Renmark, Customs House, Lyrup, Chowilla Station and Cal Lal, NSW, August 2009

Riverland Ecotourism Assoc and Murray Tri-State National Landscapes Famil, Chowilla Station, August 2009

Bottom Row L to R: Chrystal Goodhand Renmark Paringa Visitor Information Centre, Claire James - Renmark Paringa Visitor Information Centre, Liz RobertsonChowilla Station, Jock RobertsonChowilla Station, Shane Strudwick - Discover Murray River.

Top L to R: Jack Gibb – Eco-tourism, Bob West – Riverland Leisure Canoe Tours (Red Coat), Paul Cohrs - Murray Darling River Holidays, Fleur CarthewRenmark River Cruises, Allan CarthewRenmark River Cruises, Max Burr – Orchard Manager at Olivewood, Tony Sharley – National Landscapes, Bob Goodfellow – Jolly Goodfellows Birding


The Riverland Ecotourism Association famil with a National Landscapes flavour (August 23-24th, 2009) commenced at Olivewood, Renmark. Thank you to Fleur and Allan Carthew from Renmark River Cruises and Jock & Liz Robertson from Chowilla Station and members of the Riverland Ecotourism Association for the great effort to coordinate and organise the famil.

Monday, August 23rd, 2009

Starting on Monday morning we met at Olivewood in Renmark. Olivewood was built in 1889 for the third brother Charles Chaffey and his family to stay in Renmark and develop the irrigation colony. Olivewood is a very rare building from drop log style of native Murray Pine. The name Olivewood came from the colour of the wood when the bark was stripped away, not the olives on the property. There are some excellent displays from the region including a replicate of the olive crusher.

From Olivewood we drove to near Lyrup where we called in to see Andrew and Bronny Caire from the Pike River Woolshed. They recently installed the $300,000 Pike River Woolshed Sun Farm. It's all part of a long term vision for high yield, sustainable accommodation and river experiences. Currently under construction is the first of three luxury couple retreats.

Lunch was at Ruston's Roses, Renmark. Richard Fewster and Anne Ruston have a wonderful tourism experience for the region. They have the largest rose garden in the southern hemisphere, a great collection of vintage cars and nice location for lunch including a selection of local arts and crafts. Unfortunately the roses were not in bloom when we visited.

The tour bus headed to Customs House along the Murtho Road. We crossed the historic Paringa Bridge built in 1927 as a railway extension. Customs House is full of history and great stories. Paul from Customs House Houseboats shared with us the original name and stories of 'Port Murthoo'. Originally established as a customs outpost to stop smuggling in 1884 it was closed in 1904 after Federation.

A stop at Wilkadene Homestead proved very interesting and great Riverland secret. Tom Freeman showed us around the property including the original 1859 cottage. The property is home to Above Renmark Houseboats, Wilkadene Cottage and a newly established Woolshed Micro-brewery. Tom described his vision with regard to solar energy and other unique experiences from the historic river homestead.

From Wilkadene we headed to Murtho Landing with a stop at the lookout to view the magical Chowilla Floodplains and the amazing Headings Cliffs, amongst the most spectacular along the Murray River. We met Allan and Fleur from Renmark River Cruises. From here we had a spectacular and peaceful 2 hour cruise past Headings Cliffs up river to Chowilla Homestead. The wind was relentless but the views were completely stunning. We ended up at Chowilla on dark and ready for a sensational lamb roast hosted by Jock and Liz Robertson. Thanks.

Tuesday, August 24th, 2009

Overnight accommodation was in the Chowilla Shearer's quarters. The homestead was established in 1864 and has been held continuously by the Robertson family since. We awoke before dawn (for those motivated) to a still and beautiful Murray River. Thanks to Bob West from Riverland Canoes who took us on a fantastic one hour canoe trip up river. A magical way to start the day. As the sun slowly lifted on the horizon the river awoke around us. We came back to Chowilla for a hearty cooked breakfast and ready for the day ahead.

Properties north of the Murray River are in thousands of acres. Jock took us around the Chowilla property with a great tour of the floodplains, rivers and creeks. Chowilla is one of the Murray's icon sites of important environmental significance and has a program to ensure the region's valuable river red gums are watered and protected. The Chowilla property has many creeks and water ways that are all connected to the overall viability of the region. Morning tea was in a beautiful lagoon that was last watered 12 months ago. We saw a phenomenal and diverse landscapes, flora and fauna. Kangaroos, emus, parrots, ducks, galahs, Major Mitchell Cockatoo, Wedgetail Eagle and more.

Connected to Chowilla is the NSW border. We saw a brick cairn erected by Charles Todd in 1868 marking the 141st Meridian of Longitude, the proclaimed boundary between the colonies of South Australia and New South Wales. We then ventured to Cal Lal where Paul Cohrs from Murray Darling Holidays showed us the original post office built in 1885. Behind the old post office is Salt Creek with an abundant bird life and great sights to see.

Lunch was with Paul and Belinda Hansen at Kulcurna on the Murray River in NSW. Their Great Great Grandfather moved into the region in 1854 and his family have been there ever since. Paul and Belinda prepared a wonderful lunch and we enjoyed the amazing and peaceful views while listing to Paul's diverse range of fascinating stories about the region. This included great stories of his heritage from the well kept diaries including how the paddle steamers plied the Murray's waters in the late 1800s and early 1900s. From Kulcurna we headed back to see more of Chowilla Station and eventually made our way back to Renmark for the completion of the famil.

Again, these famils build on the Murray's unique Australian story. It was a great experience and showcases the Murray River Tri-State as a fantastic National Landscape opportunity. What was evident what the authentic and genuine experiences of our region and the heritage and passion of the river communities. This is great as we enthusiastically move forward our Murray River Tri-State National Landscapes application. Click here to return to National Landscapes page. | Learn about the National Landscapes Program.

Olivewood, Renmark

Main building of Olivewood Inside of Olivewood displays Incredible and diverse collection of local memorabilia.

The Pikes River Woolshed

The Woolshed accommodation near Lyrup, SA Anne from Ruston's Roses reads the specifications and information on the Sun Farm Views across Pikes River to the 135,000 litre rainwater tank and luxury couples retreats currently under construction
National Landscapes committee discuss Australia's great Murray-Darling River's junction, Wentworth
Andrew (in yellow) explains the Pike River Woolshed Sun Farm, Lyrup, South Australia

Ruston's Rose Garden, Renmark

Lunch at Ruston's Roses, Renmark. Largest Rose Garden in the southern hemisphere Range of Lotus cars in the main reception draws in diverse customers Reception, dining and local arts and crafts at Ruston's Roses

Customs House

Plaque for Customs House as heritage listed property only a few kilometres from the Victorian/NSW border Customs House building built 1884 Paul explains the houseboating operation from Customs House and future opportunities

Wilkadene, Murtho

Wilkadene Homestead built 1913 Original Wilkadene Cottage built 1859 Group check out inside of 1859 cottage in remarkably good condition
Tom explains the future vision for Woolshed micro-brewery in the historic shearing shed. First beer will be Amazon Ale after Amazon Creek Tasting one of Tom's homebrews. Beautiful rich German flavour, nice View of Headings Cliffs from the lookout

River Rambler cruise and Headings Cliffs

River Rambler waiting to depart at Murtho Landing Cruising past the spectacular Headings Cliffs Incredible Headings Cliffs made from limestone and sandstone
Sunsetting on Headings Cliffs Paul, Jack and Fleur enjoying the stunning river views Nice wine, biscuits and cheese on the cruise up the Murray
Looking back on the cliffs as we cruise the Murray Allan the captain from Renmark Cruises enjoys a cuppa and describes many of the river's features and landscapes Beautiful roast dinner in the Shearer's quarters at Chowilla. Great company and warm fire

Chowilla Station

Canoeing at sunrise on the peaceful Murray River at Chowilla Station
Shearer's quarters, early morning at Chowilla Preparing for early morning canoe trip Jack enjoying the early morning canoe experience
Incredibly serene canoeing experience along the Murray at Chowilla Bob paddles into the glassy waters on sunrise at Chowilla A lone houseboat on a stretch of river with no one for miles, Chowilla
The old sheep shearing shed at Chowilla Shearer's quarters in the morning The group gather to discuss unusual growths on red gum at Chowilla
Werta Werta Lagoon with regrowth after being dry for 12 months Morning tea on the famil at Werta Werta Lagoon Yummy pikelets, cream and jam with a nice coffee / tea for morning break in the bush...wonderful

Cal Lal, NSW

Marker indicating the 141st Meridian by Charles Todd in 1868. Indicates the SA-NSW border The Tareena Post and Telegraph Station built 1881 Jack and Claire photographing a painting in the Post Office
Paul Cohrs explains to the group the landscape and history of the Post Office and region The famil group checks out the Salk Creek on top of a levy bank The Cal Lal Cemetery containing graves of the pioneers of the region in the days of Australia before federation

Kulcurna, Cal Lal, NSW

The property of Kulcurna, NSW was brought in 1907. The house was built in 1922 Old pump house at Kulcurna used to pump water up to the top of the cliff for flood irrigation in the early days Paul shares with the group his families heritage and stories that make the character of the region
National Landscapes committee at the top of a ridge at Perry Sandhills, Wentworth
March 2009 famil, Riverland, South Australia   Back to National Landscapes page
May 2009 famil, Mildura & Wentworth   National Landscapes Program

Renmark | Customs House | Lyrup | Chowilla Homestead | Kayaking & Canoeing


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