Riverfront Caravan Park
In Renmark we stayed at the Riverfront Caravan Park, a most beautiful - and beautifully located - park. It was aptly named and we were given a site right on the edge of the Murray River with grass and trees all around. Ducks and purple swamphens abounded, as did gulls and many other birds. There was even a pair of pelicans dozing in the afternoon sun.
A perfect location. What more could we have wanted?
Incredibly, we have some more wonderful friends in Renmark. We first met Gavin and Joanne in Tumby Bay during the Christmas of 2004, then later in a drive-through bottle shop in Port Augusta where we were both stocking up for happy hour - yes, we discovered we were both in the same caravan park! You can say what you like about happy hours but we've met many lovely people that way. We stayed in touch with Gav and Jo and called to see them in Renmark in April of 2005. They kindly offered to take us on the Murray River in their boat but Pam had . . . well, she'd chickened out, there's just no other way to put it. She has a 'thing' about going on water in anything smaller than the QE II. She's not letting it beat her, however. She went on a houseboat recently, remember?
In October of 2006, Jo heard that Pam had leapt from a perfectly serviceable aeroplane at 14,000 feet. No way was she ever going to wriggle out of a nice, gentle boat trip on the river after that. No more chicken, her goose was cooked, so to speak, and Jo is NOT a woman to be trifled with. (Miss Hodgson, my head mistress in junior school, would spin in her grave if she knew a pupil of hers was ending a sentence with a preposition. Sorry, Miss.)
And so it came to pass that one Sunday, at the river's edge in Renmark, stood a determined young lady holding the painter of a boat . . .
Jo, waiting for Pam to board. Does she look as if she'll take 'no' for an answer?
In fact, I'm not sure if Pam or I were the wobblier on boarding. I thought I had my sea legs after the houseboat but obviously not. Gavin took us down the river to the next weir then back up, past the town and the old paddle steamer wharf, to a lovely quiet section of the river where we disembarked - more wobbling - for afternoon tea in the bush. You can just see the red esky on the boat (above). Let me tell you, it didn't just contain tea. But I'm getting ahead of myself and starting a sentence with a conjunction. Sorry, Miss. Firstly I must show you the proof that Pam actually did venture forth in a small boat on the Murray River.
Are you looking Pat, Tracy, Elaine and Judith in Perth? Note the purple hair, the spray from the bow, the
tachometer reading 2,500 revs and the white knuckles. It's her alright and she's really on a moving boat.
What should we pass on the river but a wonderful old paddle steamer, the P.S. Industry. I won't tell you about her now because I've sneaky feeling that we'll be taking a ride on her before another Sunday has passed. Here, however, is a picture of her passing us.
Paddle Steamer Industry on the Murray River
On later returning down the river, Gavin was able to drop us right at our door since the caravan was moored - sorry, parked - right at the water's edge. That was when the fun started. The bank was a bit steeper here and Pam was struggling. Jo was ashore holding the boat against the bank. I was ashore pulling on Pam's arms, and Gavin was in the boat pushing from behind. For an instant it was touch and go how the situation was going to resolve itself, then up the bank she came and down on my back went I, all of us laughing and nobody with a hand free for a camera.
Gav and Jo came around for happy hour every evening, and every night it was dark by the time we staggered back to our abodes. From the caravan there was a quite spectacular view down the river to the lights of Renmark. I can't resist showing you this picture, taken at dusk.
As the light faded the night creatures emerged. Unfortunately most of them were mosquitoes, but not all.
A fairly tame pair of possums. One would take food from our hands while the other watched from the tree.
Sorry but this picture is a fake. The reflection on the water is from the afternoon sun.
From the caravan park, looking up the Murray towards Renmark. What's that moored up there?
A close up. The left boat is an old barge under restoration. Half hidden to the right is the Paddle Steamer Industry.
Beyond is the Renmark Hotel, home of excellent food and wine.
We have many more pictures to show you of the Murray and the activities on the river so I'll place as many as I can on Page 65 while cutting my cackle to a minimum. Who just cheered?
Footnote: This re-working of Page 64 was completed on 14th June 2013. It conforms to HTML5 and CSS level 3.