Enjoy the Nor-West Bend Scenic Loop Drive towards Waikerie, Blanchetown and Morgan that takes in the western part of the Riverland. Heading towards Waikerie, take the free 24 hour ferry across the Murray River at Cadell towards Taylorville and Gluepot Reserve (unsealed to Gluepot) or call in on Lock 2, continue on past Weston Flat. Follow the signs to Waikerie and across the free 24 hour ferry to the Waikerie riverfront. Once you’ve explored Waikerie head out to the Sturt Highway towards Blanchetown with picturesque cliff views and follow the road back to Morgan and then Cadell.
Cadell was named after Captain Francis Cadell who, with Captain William Randell, initiated steam navigation on the Murray Darling river system. Originally set up as a Soldier’s Settlement, Cadell now is a very small community with the district’s orchards and vineyards dominate the valley. It is situated in an ancient river loop or basin near the great Nor West Bend. Enjoy the Graeme Claxton Reserve just down from the free 24 hour Ferry (Ibis). You can also enjoy the Cadell Wetlands as part of the Waikerie Bird Watcher’s Trail or the interesting Cadell Museum and Interpretive Centre open for bookings 0427 846 623.
Head across the free 24 hour Waikerie ferry called Heron. Head left towards Morgan on the original Overland Track between Adelaide and Sydney used as a rovers highway during the 1800s.
Situated 64km north of Waikerie on an unsealed road, Birds Australia Gluepot Reserve is Australia’s largest community managed and operated conservation reserve. The reserve is managed and operated entirely by volunteers. Some 54,000 ha is size, it is home to 18 nationally threatened species of birds, 53 species of reptiles and 12 species of bats, some of which are nationally threatened. Enjoy the Michael Hyde Visitor Centre on your trip. Gluepot Reserve is part of the Waikerie Bird Watcher’s Trail
Call in on Lock 2 off the Overland Highway and learn a little more about the Murray River’s Locks and Weirs. Completed in 1928. The Lock and Weir serves as one of 12 between Blanchetown and Euston (NSW)/Robinvale (Victoria). A majority of locks were constructed between 1922 and 1935. Each weir has a lock constructed next to it, to facilitate navigation. The Locks and Weirs are managed by SA Water on behold of the Murray Darling Basin Authority. Water craft use the lock for navigation and its use is free.
Heading west along the Cadell Valley Road to Ramco where you can take in Hart Lagoon and Ramco Lagoon are part of the Waikerie Bird Watcher’s Trail. Heading further west you’ll get some wonderful views of the floodplains back towards Broken Cliffs and the valley below.
Hogwash is a popular free camping site but closeby you can enjoy the flavours of Caudo Winery right on the banks of the Murray River. Hogwash Bend is part of the Waikerie Bird Watcher’s Trail where you may get a glimse of the endangered Regent Parrot.
Blanchetown’s early importance related to service as a stopover and watering place for mail contractors and coaches. The area is strongly associated with explorer John Eyre who lived nearby at Moorundie. Blanchetown also is home to Lock 1, the first on the Murray River built in 1922. There was some 60,000 tons of stone and hundreds of red gum piles driven 30 feet into the river bed during construction. Blanchetown offers spectacular cliff top views. Make sure to drop in on Burk Salter Wines and enjoy their cellar door and tours.
Morgan has a vibrant local history and local historic town walk. The Port of Morgan was a hive of activity and only second to Port Adelaide in South Australia. the massive timber wharf (once 190m long) was busy with paddle steamers of the late 19th century. You can visit the local museum in the Landseer building or enjoy the local river front. You can also experience the historic Morgan Walk that takes in the sites of this historic town. Enjoy the Morgan Conservation Park as part of the Waikerie Bird Watcher’s Trail. Crossing the Morgan Ferry (Coot) you can head south towards Blanchetown.
Like the pages of a geological book, the layered limestone cliffs between Overland Corner and Mannum are millions of years old. Some of the steeply cut cliffs were created between 25,000 and 16,000 years ago and are a repository of fossils and Aboriginal artifacts. The ochres of the cliffs are best observed in the early morning and afternoon. Enjoy the lookout at Pelican Point as part of the Waikerie Bird Watcher’s Trail.