Murray River houseboat hire for holiday fun in the Riverland, South Australia...

Welcome to Griffens Marina Houseboats at Blanchetown, a privately owned and secluded waterfront marina nestled below ancient limestone cliffs, in the beautiful Riverland region of South Australia - the ideal location to hire a houseboat to commence your Murray River houseboat holiday.

Located only 90 minutes from Adelaide through the world famous Barossa Valley, guests enjoy convenient access from the Sturt Highway with secure on site parking and flat lawned moorings for easy loading and unloading of vehicles and houseboats.

About Us

Commencing in 2000, Don and Miriam Griffen made a "river change" to Blanchetown from their farming property and sheep stud in the Mid North of S.A. to start their houseboat hire business. Don often joked that "every one needs a holiday, but not every one needs a ram! " Today the family business is still run by Miriam and their family.

Griffens Marina Blanchetown are a very proud S.A. Tourism Hall of Fame Inductee, and the Griffen family have been providing quality houseboat holidays for 20 years on their very special part of the Murray. Together with their friendly team, they invite you to cruise in style and have an extra special houseboat holiday.

Specialsing in couples, small group and family houseboat hire they want your houseboat holiday to be a truly memorable experience.

They believe there is absolutely nothing better than cruising off into a Murray River sunset with your loved one on a houseboat! 

Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day. Winnie the Pooh

About our section of the Murray

When you holiday on a houseboat at Blanchetown, you will experience one of the very best stretches of the Murray River. Heading upstream from the marina, the section between Blanchetown and Morgan is truly spectacular. Enjoy stunning landscapes, tranquil lagoons, majestic river red gums, wide river expanses, loads of good mooring spots, and abundant birdlife and wildlife.

The weir and lock system along the Murray River controls the flow of water, and being above Lock 1 means there is always plenty of water for houseboats to travel safely. Our section is also one of the most stable stretches of river along the whole Murray system, and Lock 1 has the distinction of being the very first lock, completed way back in 1922.

The magnificent cliffs that line the river, not only provide a haven for nesting birds, and other river life, they also hold many secrets in the form of fossilised shells and ancient sea creatures.

*Please note that due to seasonal conditons our hire boats are currently restricted from travelling downstream towards Swan Reach.

What Griffens Marina offer

Their small (yet spacious) houseboats are very easy to operate, economical to run and have everything on board to make your holiday extra special. Scallywag and Scamp are two of the most comfortable and well appointed small hire houseboats on the Murray, and combined with the great location, you will have an experience to remember.

The larger family style houseboats are also very easy to drive and allow you to enjoy the beauty of the Murray with a bigger group.

Great care and pride is taken during the comprehensive tuition, and every effort is made to ensure you are very familiar with how everything works before you leave the marina. Each houseboat has an operating manual and mobile telephone on board, and the team are only a call away if you have a question!

For your peace of mind, the private parking area opposite the moorings is under 24 hour CCTV surveillance, and if you are travelling with your caravan, there is plenty of room for parking.

As an added extra, there are PET FRIENDLY (dogs) houseboat hire options. They understand how important it can be to include your dog in your holiday activities, so their family houseboat Adventurer and small houseboats Scallywag and Scamp are pet friendly for dogs (conditions apply - please refer to section in FAQ).

If you have a doggy member of the family that needs to travel with you, please enquire when booking.

Miriam and Cosi!

Griffens' News 

October 2020

Thank you to everyone who has holidayed with us since we recommenced in June, and for booking holidays over the next few months. We are still in uncertain times, so please be assured our payment and cancellation policy is very flexible in case there are further restrictions. Fingers crossed SA stays safe and we can continue to welcome you all on board, and we can't wait to welcome our interstate guests back with some borders now re opening!

Of course, the safety of your family and ours is paramount, and we will be following all health and safety measures to ensure we comply fully. We are also an Accredited COVID Clean Practicing Business. There will be a few changes made...but the peace, serenity, beauty and relaxation will be the same, maybe even better! We can't wait to get back out there again too.

The South Australian Tourism Commision have launched their "Welcome back" campaign and we would love to welcome you too.

With big open spaces, fresh air, and nature surrounding you - a houseboat holiday really is one of the best holidays you can have. The calming sensation of being near the water helps restore some balance in your lives and as Cosi says, "everyone should come and have a houseboat holiday on the Murray".

Now is the time to secure your dates for later in 2020 and also into 2021. Being on or near water has been proven to be a huge health benefit, so make sure you try and plan some special river time into your schedule!

Every season is a favourite time to be on the river - the backwaters are brimming with life and there are so many birds around - it is always a joy to see. We can even hire you a double kayak so you can explore, discover and get to places you can't by foot. You will be amazed at the wetland birds you will encounter, and be dwarfed by the giant redgums standing like sentinels in the river.The river is a wonderful playground but remember to always treat it with respect and take care of its unique environment at all times.

We give you plenty of tips and instruction on how to handle your houseboat during your show out lesson, and our instructors love pointing out their favourite mooring spots. You may even get told where the fish have been biting too.

Take care everyone, and we look forward to seeing you.

With our best wishes Miriam & Co.


Due to all the recent fruit fly outbreaks in Adelaide, you cannot bring any fresh fruit or fruiting vegetables into the Riverland, even with a receipt, if it was purchased in a current suspension zone.

PIRSA are updating the suspension zones regularly if there are new outbreaks, so you will need to check your suburb and just as importantly, where you purchase your produce at