LUXURY GETAWAY: Wow Houseboats is a 12-berth Murray River dream

WOW Houseboats are the ULTIMATE Riverland getaway! The huge 2-storey boat boasts 360-views, 12-berths, neon lights, hammocks, kayaks and more.

Image credit: Wow Houseboats


When the recent South Australian Tourism Commission River Voucher campaign launched this year, it was the perfect opportunity to reacquaint myself with our State’s stunning lower to mid Murray region. Dozens of amazing tourism experiences were on offer, and the thought of helping out the businesses recently affected by the floods seemed like the perfect reason to get out and about. 

A weekend spent travelling down the Murray on a houseboat from Renmark whet my appetite for the unique joy of living on the river, so when I discovered there was a luxury houseboat offering much closer (only an hour from Adelaide), I jumped at the chance to check it out. The added pressure of finding something to do over the school holidays only strengthened my resolve to pack my family’s bags and head for the water. 

Our destination was Wow Houseboats based out of Murray Bridge, and the experience was truly unforgettable, and suitable for any season of the year.

WOW Factor, a luxury 12-berth, 2-storey houseboat was evident from the get-go. Easily the most glamorous houseboat (and possibly the biggest!) along that stretch of the river, Wow Factor managed to turn heads at every bend. But it was the inside of the vessel that really blew us away. 

While we could have taken 12 people on the boat, plus our fur babies (as Wow Houseboats are dog friendly), we’ve found through experience that it can be quite challenging to find a compatible group that size, who are also able to drop everything for a sneaky river getaway.

For this trip, our group of 10 seemed to be the perfect size. With 4 main queen-size bedrooms, and a 3 sofa beds, it was the perfect set up for a few couples and their kids. While the boat is perfect for a group of adults, it also caters for families, so we made the most of the holidays and immersed ourselves in river life!

While it may sound like an exaggeration, it really seemed like every single detail of a guest’s stays on board had been catered for. It certainly feels as though the owners have spent considerable time on-board and figured out exactly what is needed to make the perfect wow-factor holiday. And a holiday that doesn’t need lots of preparation. 

The warmth of the boat welcomes you in like a cosy, unique and boutique luxury holiday home. The cupboards are full of games, cooking condiments, and everything you could ever need on your river adventure. 

The owner’s passion for providing a luxurious and comfortable experience was evident in every corner. The decor was stylish, the furniture was of excellent quality, and the ambiance was warm and inviting thanks of the infrared patio heaters and eight (yes, eight!) air conditioners.

Downstairs, the spacious steering room at the front of the boat, feels more like a Captain’s Quarters, with a super comfy chair for the driver of the boat, a great little office set up complete with computer.

It’s here that you’ll find hours and hours of work by the WOW team, channeled into online videos and instruction manuals in QR codes, explaining every element of the river, how and where to moor the boat at night, activities and things to do, and more. I’m yet to see a more comprehensive ‘instruction manual’. The perfect addition for beginners, so they feel more at ease with the river and their adventure and it certainly made navigating the river an enjoyable and hassle-free experience.

The steering room also houses a couch for those who want to accompany the ‘captain’ and watch as you glide along the river, which conveniently turns into a bed if extra sleeping quarters are needed. 

Behind this area are the 4 bedrooms, 2 with ensuites, and 2 sharing a large joined bathroom. There’s even a laundry on board, along with packed cupboards filled with conveniences to make your stay more comfortable. 

At the rear of the boat is the open plan kitchen and dining area, which overlooks the spacious deck, complete with comfy outdoor sofas come day beds, BBQ facilities, and a huge esky. 

But wait, there’s more. 

Upstairs is a HUGE lounge area, boasting stunning 360-degree views. Endless, plush reclining couches make this room incredibly comfortable, so we could relax in absolute comfort while watching the stunning scenery pass us by. The huge picture windows at the front of the boat allow you to really absorb the beauty of the riverbanks when you’re pulled up at night, filling the glass panes with picture perfect Australian landscapes.

Best of all, the lounge room big enough to accommodate the entire group. So many houseboat living areas act more as break away spaces due to space limitations on board. Not here. The entertainment options are also endless, from a 55-inch Smart TV and Xbox to hundreds of DVDs and board games. There’s even a karaoke machine if you’re in the mood. 

The boat’s exterior is equally impressive, with neon lights that added a touch of glamour during the evenings. Oh, and the disco ball above the huge spa adds an extra sparkle. Can’t forget to mention that! The top deck living area is spacious, with plenty of furniture configurations to suit your group. We set up two long bar tables along the rear railing, giving us the perfect place to sit for our daily happy hour, while we absorbed the picturesque river views.  There’s also great outdoor lounges to complete the offering, alongside an outdoor bar complete with a fridge and freezer.

Then there’s the ample offering below deck to ensure every base is covered. Hammocks, heated deck chairs, sporting equipment if you want to kick a ball around on the banks. Everything you’d need to set up a campfire on shore. Camp kitchen stuff. Firewood. A Kayak. I mean, NOTHING is lacking. 

It’s the perfect set up for people who don’t want to stress about what to take, or those from interstate or overseas who may be traveling to Murray Bridge straight from the airport. You don’t even need to bring extra towels. Just pack your clothes and some food, and you’re set. There’s even a new one way option you can choose that is exclusive to WOW Houseboats.

If you just want to see as much of the river as possible, or you’re travelling on to another destination, you can have the team from WOW pick you up from Adelaide and take you to the boat. Then you can spend your entire trip travelling in one direction, where your next tour bus can pick you up, or the WOW team can get you. On a normal trip, you’d just go as far up the river as you can, before you turn around and travel back to your starting point.  This allows guests to enjoy an Adelaide Hills tour the day they onboard WOW Factor and a Barossa Valley tour on the way back to Adelaide after their seven day 144km cruise to Swan Reach.  

It’s really the perfect convenient holiday on the water. And best of all, you’re supporting a family owned business that’s still recovering from the impact of the recent once-in-a-century floods. 

The river has returned to the incredibly beauty it’s known for, and the boom in bird life is incredible to witness. The sunsets over the water, and the phenomenal clarity of the stars, are things you’ll never forget. 

Whether you’ve managed to score a River voucher from SATC, or you just know a sensational group of friends or families who are looking for a memorable holiday, I really can’t recommend this experience enough. 

Some tips:

  1. Plan Ahead for Mooring: Unlike some areas along the river where you can easily find spots to tie up each night, navigating the Murray River from Murray Bridge onwards requires careful planning for mooring. Speak to the WOW team to ensure you know the best locations to stop each night to avoid potential difficulties in finding suitable spots before dark.

    For anyone who isn’t confident or experienced in mooring boats, never fear, Wow Houseboats have an extremely unique offering – they have a whole host of videos (using a drone) to show you how to do everything easily.
  2. Bring Essential Supplies: The Wow Houseboats include over $1800 worth of consumables and essential supplies! It’s very well-catered for and has all the amenities, but stock up on any specific groceries and personal items you want before embarking on your adventure.

Todd and Kate have poured their hearts into creating a houseboat holiday that stands out for its luxury, comfort, and attention to detail. Whether you’re traveling with family or friends, Wow Houseboats will undoubtedly leave you saying “Wow!” too.

If you any more convincing, head to Wow Houseboats YouTube Playlists where there are videos on EVERYTHING you need to know! Plus, it showcases the passion Todd and Kate have for their houseboat and holidaying in the lower- to mid-Murray.

To BOOK NOW and to find out more information head to:

EXCLUSIVE TO Glam Adelaide readers: Book for Monday to Friday to get 4 nights for the price of 3, or 7 nights for the price of 6! The booking must be made in 2023 for travel in 2024. Be sure to select ‘Glam Adelaide’ from the drop-down menu (how did you hear about us) when booking to enjoy the Wow Houseboats experience!

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