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!"

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 over 20 years on their very special part of the Murray. Today this specialist family business is still run by Miriam and her family.Together with their friendly instruction and maintenance team, and professional service providers they invite you to cruise in style and have a fantastic houseboat holiday.

Catering for 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, and restrictions may also apply upstream due to high flow advice, when applicable, from DEWNR..  

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  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.

Warm greetings...

Griffens' News 

Aaah Winter, you arrived with some fury and cold, but thankfully have settled down (mostly!) to our much loved calm, sunny days and cold nights - perfect for sitting on the riverbank making memories toasting marshmallows and counting stars!

As we dive into the rest of 2022, there is a healthy high river flow at the moment due to all the interstate rains, so we strongly suggest you don't plan to travel far, and just find a lovely spot to moor and enjoy being on the river. 

Spending time on the river is the best way to bring some peace and balance back to your life, to be at one with nature and have a totally secluded, self contained holiday - and as Cosi from South Aussie with Cosi says, "everyone should enjoy a houseboat holiday at least once in their lives!".

It is great to be welcoming you all on board, and wonderful to have so many first time houseboat hirers who have loved their holiday experience and have already booked to come back again! We have also enjoy hearing comments like "this is the best holiday I have had in 30 years" and "the kids had a ball and didn't even care about no WiFi!"

Of course, the safety of your family and ours is paramount, and we will be following all health and safety measures to ensure we continue to comply with health guidelines. In additon, our business is an Accredited COVID Clean Practicing Business. Please also be assured our payment and deferral policy is flexible too.

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.

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.

With big open spaces, fresh air, and nature surrounding you - a houseboat holiday really is one of the best holidays you can have. 

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

With our best wishes Miriam & Co.


There have been changes to the Fruit Fly rules, and all host fruit and vegetables are now banned from entering the the Riverland, even with a receipt. There are still plenty of options though that you can bring in, so please check out the PIRSA website for all the updates, and we have also drawn up a shopping list to help you which we will provide when you book!