The Murray River Walk
I rolled over and pondered my footwear.
My boots were made for walking, and that's just what they'd do, if only I could drag my tired trotters out of bed.
I was aboard the 10-berth, five-room houseboat named 'Desire', on a four-day, three-night cruise/hike, foodie’s getaway on the Murray River – Australia’s longest waterway at 2,508 kilometres.
I felt less Nancy Sinatra and more Tina Turner, since I left my good job in the city and hitched a ride on the riverboat. But there were no big wheels turning on this vessel; it was powered by dual 75-horsepower outboards, as it purred serenely away from riparian Renmark in South Australia.
This adventure is one of the country’s Great Walks and there are about a dozen of them up and down the vast island nation, from the Top End to Tassie.
It’s rated ‘easy’ as it’s mainly flat terrain, and by the end of day two, having clocked up 24 kilometres, I was inclined to agree.
There were no soaring mountain passes to tackle, but still the senses were treated as we soaked up the diverse flora and fauna along the riverbank and explored the tributaries and ancient oxbow lagoons.
More house than boat - or high-end luxury apartment - that floated, Desire was a welcome sight at the end of each day’s tramp.
oohs and ahhs of enjoyment at every mouthful
In the evening, fine wine and great conversation flowed as the guests unwound in Desire’s well-appointed living room.
Some guests took a dip in the rooftop hot tub, while others simply relaxed with a book.
Joining the miscellany of travellers were a couple celebrating their 47th wedding anniversary. It's a salute-something-special kind of holiday for many travellers, who were mostly in their 50s and 60s.
We came for the river; we came for the scenery, the wildlife, the wine and of course the food.
At our last supper together the ambient music was drowned out by the oohs and ahhs of enjoyment at every mouthful, as the yabby bisque with lemon myrtle and cream disappeared from bowls at lightning speed.
There was lots to talk about on an eight-hour walk each day but even more over a glass of Alex Russell Alejandro Prosecco at the last supper.
Sleep came quickly on our final night, but so too did the buzz of the alarm clock which I beat into submission.
Just one more snooze.
Later at breakfast, one of the ladies from the forward cabin, grabbed my hand.
"Haven't you noticed?"
"What's that?" I replied.
"There's no hand sanitiser!"
I found myself about to make oblique amends for its absence, as she continued.
"Isn't it fabulous!"
"None of this sanitised theme park nonsense."
And she was right.
Go to murrayriverwalk.com.au
Murray River Walk
Access the walk at Renmark, a comfortable three-hour drive from Adelaide.
Duration: four days and three nights.
Distance: 40km walking and 70 km cruising.
Day 1: Renmark to Headings Cliff - 10km walk and 15km cruise.
Day 2: Headings Cliff to Chowilla Creek - 14km walk and 5km cruise.
Day 3: Chowilla Creek to Queen's Bend Cliffs – 12km walk and 7km cruise.
Day 4: Queen's Bend Cliffs to Wilkadene Woolshed Brewery – 35km cruise.