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Mannum – Paddlesteamer history; great watersports fun close to Adelaide

Source: Discover Murray River

Set on the broad reaches of the Lower Murray, Mannum is approximately 1 hour 15 minutes from Adelaide via the South Eastern Freeway or the scenic route through Gumercha, Birdwood and Palmer. Mannum enjoys some of the best cruising waters on the entire Murray system and a number of houseboat operations are based in the town.

William Randell, romantic son of a pioneer pastoralist, fulfilled a lifelong dream when he launched a paddle steamer named Mary Ann at Noa-No on the Murray River in 1853. That launching 5km upstream from the present town of Mannum paved the way for the glory days of the paddlesteamer era in south-east Australia.

Randell, in fact, was also instrumental in the founding of Mannum through his decision to move his entire river boat transport operation from Noa-No to the site of the town in 1853. The boiler of his historic steamer is the centrepiece of the Mary Ann Reserve. The Paddle Steamer Marion, which was built in 1897, was pensioned off as a Lake Alexandrina pleasure craft for a number of years before being refitted to operate as a cruise craft out of Mannum.

The name Mannum comes from the aboriginal name for the area, Manyum or Manumph.

Visiting Mannum? Get the free Murray River App

Attractions Near Mannum

The Mannum Bowling Club on the banks of the Murray River, overlooks Mary Ann Reserve’s tranquil picnic setting. A short walk from town brings you to the exciting nine hole fully greened, tree lined fairways of the Mannum Golf Club.

There are many tourist and native walks in and around Mannum. Just past the ferry and caravan park is a peaceful bird sanctuary with great picnic grounds. On the outskirts of the town the nature lover will discover the magnificent Mannum Waterfalls. The falls generally flow in winter and it’s not recommended you walk from Mannum township in summer.

Mannum is a great base to explore the nearby regions of the Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula and along with old ware and photographic museums, Mannum offers water sports, fishing and dining in a serene and picturesque river setting.

Enjoy the winter sunshine and the shady river spots in summer and whether you visit for the day or stay for a few, Mannum is full of exciting and interesting things to do.

  • Houseboat capital of Australia
  • Mary Ann Reserve/playgrounds and BBQ’s
  • PS Marion, River Expedition, PS Murray Princess paddlesteamers
  • Murray River Cliffs Drive and Mid Murray Self Drive Eco Tour
  • Mannum Historic Walks and Mannum Scenic Walks
  • Bowling Club
  • Mannum Canoe Trail
  • Jester Boat Cruises
  • Mannum Golf Club
  • Mannum Gem & Mineral Museum
  • Mannum Waterfalls
  • Community Sports Centre
  • Museums, Antique and Craft shops
  • Experience Australia’s largest open range zoo – Monarto Zoo.

Mannum Contact Information

Mannum Visitor Information Centre

6 Randell Street, Mannum SA 5238
Ph: 1300 626 686

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