Our family houseboat holiday on the Murray River.
I have been offline for a week because we have just had a houseboat adventure and I took a week off writing.
While I had intended to journal the family holiday every day, relaxation mode was engage as soon as we left the dock and after days of exploring the river, eating, swimming, eating some more and sitting in the spa the days started quickly slipping by.
The houseboat adventure was a family holiday celebrating Stacey’s 30th birthday.
OMG my firstborn is 30!!!!
My children and respective partners all came and one special friend of Stacey’s. Of course Miss Lily and Master Mason were aboard as well.
The houseboat was luxurious by name and luxurious by nature.
It was absolutely stunning. We expected the equivalent to a floating caravan but got so much more. The boat we are on had 5 bedrooms each with a king size bed, 2 bathrooms each with a double shower and twin sinks. A spacious kitchen/ living area. Upstairs is an outdoor kitchen, BBQ, dining setting and 10 person spa.
The river level was quite full so navigating a fairly simple affair and docking achieved once was a simple repetition of bumping gently into a sand bar , running out a small gangway and tying up. I say simple because I left all practical details to the children. I organised the boat and they were put in charge of food and catered for the whole weekend and Chris was put in charge as Captain.
Our Captain and Crew
Chris and Hayden perfected launching and docking. The cheeky rats even moved the boat during one of my naps. My usual excellent science of direction was completely bamboozled and I had no idea if we were upstream or downstream, on the NSW or Vic bank. Hilarious!
A word about Vic vs NSW banks. We quickly learnt to berth on the Vic side of the Murray River. Some NSW people are frankly mean, arrogant and hold firm to the belief the water is firmly attached to land they call THEIRS! Despite being crown bush land and no signs saying “Private. Keep your Houseboat outta here” we were moved on by one very rude man who gave his children a lesson in arrogance.
Fortunately there are lots of spots, many with sandbars to tie up the boat.
Babies on a houseboat.
The 2 babies on board, our beloved Mason and Lily were model passengers. As neither are crawling, life was pretty easy. They may be too young to really appreciate the enormity of the adventure but loved the family time. Both love the water and have had a ball both in the spa and on the river bank.
Coffee on the houseboat
I misread the consumer information and this particular craft does not have the coffee machine to suit my coffee pods and the cheaper “other” brand was spat out by all who tried it. On day two I weakened and we popped back into Echuca and had a coffee fix.
Buying a new coffee machine was very tempting. Stacey thought this quite reasonable while Gemma on my other shoulder said this was ridiculous and I really should take a good hard look at my coffee addiction if I was that serious! She is right, as usual. The coffee consumption was seriously curtailed!
Houseboats are noisy
The boat was not as quiet as I expected.The spa makes spa noises but the generator noise I had not factored in however I did appreciate all the modern privileges that came with the package. This was no camping trip to which we are accustomed. On board was a dishwasher, washing machine, oven, all the appliances one could want. TV in lounge, top deck oh and one for each bedroom too. However when the generator shuts off for the night peace and quiet drops over us all like a blissful soft blanket.
The river is stunning. Once the powerboats and jetskis stop playing the sounds of nature tunes in. Chris caught a Murray cod which he BBQ’d and was devoured quickly. Nothing beats a freshly caught fish.
The smell of the Australian bush is like a tonic to the soul. The beautiful River red gums stand majestic along the bank. Even those that have fallen and provide a natural reinforcement to the bank are beautiful and provide home to lizards, birds and fish.
Fellow river users
Other humans using the river are for the most part respectful and friendly. The one or two morons I would like to pat on the head with a fry pan have mostly been Jet skis show ponies and one particular gentleman seemed to be scanning the Murray River for a mate.
Only in a David Attenborough voice could one describe his behaviour adequately.
“See here now the male of the species playing on his motorised craft in a chaotic dance. He rises up, seeking female company, oblivious to his competitors armed with bottles and fishing rods. He brazenly pumps his fist at the end of a flabby arm in the air. His vehicle raises high like a stallion and his comb over flips in disarrays. He pays no heed to the speed restriction signs displayed by the species authorities and roars up and down the river in a flash. Sadly this year, his efforts are in vein and he is unable to breed. Back to his cave he goes to seek solace in fluid companionship.”
Whenever another craft passes us the houseboat bobbed gently in the water in a soothing way that soon became familiar. There is really no option but to relax on a houseboat. One is in full mobile range so access tour social media addictions can be maintained if required. We found the boat spacious enough to each find personal space easy to manage and of course docking along the river provides the opportunity to stretch the legs, take a bush walk or swim in the river.
Simple food made a simple holiday.
My children catered well and starvation was never a problem. It was simple fare of good old Aussie barbecue, salads and lasagna. One or three platters kept us all satisfied and the good old chocolate ripple cake made an appearance too.
In all this was a blissful relaxing few days on the Murray River with my wonderful children and their partners, a good friend of Stacey’s and of course Lily and Mason. All I can say is that if you ever have the opportunity for a houseboat holiday …TAKE IT!