Paddle-wheeler cruises in Longreach
Thousands of travellers are expected to cruise Longreach’s Thomson River in future years, thanks to the arrival of the 100-year-old paddle-wheeler, Pride of the Murray.
Grazier and co-founder of Outback Pioneers, Richard Kinnon, recently organised the move of the 100-tonnes, 25-metre Pride of the Murray, 1750 kilometres from Echuca to Longreach.
“The response has been record-breaking and we’ve taken bookings for two years out!” Mr Kinnon said
“With every Starlight’s Cruise Experience cruise you’re virtually guaranteed a memorable sunset, a million stars, Australian wildlife, bush poetry, the swaying coolabah trees, a stockman’s dinner and loads of laughs.”
To get the Pride of the Murray ready for its first cruise was a huge marine effort, with more than 20 boat specialists working on the vessel. The team painstakingly re-caulked the entire hull by hand, using oakum and tar, just as shipwrights have done for thousands of years.
“The Pride of the Murray now looks as good as the day she was first launched,” Mr Kinnon said.
“She has undergone full safety checks; the paint has been touched up and she’s had a clean and polish throughout.
Longreach Mayor, Tony Rayner said the Pride of the Murray’s journey to the region had ignited everyone’s interest, with many wanting to hop on board.
“I think the whole town has bought a ticket to welcome the Pride of the Murray,” he said.
“I have to admit, when Richard first floated his dream of bringing it Longreach, I thought he was mad.”
Councillor Rayner said the Pride of the Murray was another significant addition to Longreach’s impressive collection of Australia’s outback pioneering historical artefacts.
As at July 2022, tickets for Starlight’s Cruise Experience were $125 for adults, $120 concession and $95 for children. The four-hour experience included the cruise, stockman’s dinner around the campfire on the riverbank, entertainment plus the Sound & Light Picture Show.
All of the Outback Pioneers’ experiences and accommodation can be booked at www.outbackpioneers.com.au