Frequently Asked Questions

Why book with Griffens Marina?

For 19 years people have been enjoying a houseboat holiday from our secluded marina, and owning all the hire houseboats and the marina, ensures you receive personal, outstanding service at all times. We also aim to provide a totally unique and environmentally friendly experience on one of the world's greatest waterways. We are committed to sustainable business practices and encourage our houseboat hirers to treat the Murray and the local environment with the utmost respect so future generations will be able to enjoy this amazing holiday option.

We were thrilled to win  the Unique Accommodation Category at the 2015, 2016 and 2017 South Australian Tourism Awards  and represented SA at the national awards in February 2016, 2017 and 2018. As a result of these 3 wins were inducted into the prestigious South Australian Tourism Awards Hall of Fame.

In June 2016 we were honoured to be announced as a Foundation Member of the Riverland Trust Mark for "Outstanding achievement in the pursuit of a quality tourism experience" and operate under the Trust Marks three pillars of Origin, Quality and Environment.

We are a member of the Boating Industry Association and also the Houseboat Hirers Association, and our business is Australian Tourism Accredited. The Australian Tourism Accreditation Program certifies tourism businesses that meet specific quality assurance criteria ensuring they are committed to exceeding customer expectations with great customer service and the highest standards of business practice. Book with confidence for a quality experience and great customer service!


I've never driven a houseboat before, do I need a special licence?

All you need is a full car licence or boat licence and be over 21 years of age. Our instructors really enjoy teaching new clients how to handle the boats, and even show you how to tie knots for your mooring ropes.

Please note :Due to the nature of a houseboat holiday, you (and/or some of your crew) do need to be able to quickly get off a houseboat to tie the ropes though, and be reasonably steady and agile, as the river bank can be slippery in places and you may encounter some natural obstacles. You also need to be aware that strong wind can effect your travel plans and that you need to make sure you are always aware of conditions and only cruise when safe to do so.

Of course, we offer full instruction on the river rules and have manuals on board for your reference.

If you would prefer to not travel far, you are also welcome to use the marina as a base for your holiday. We have some lovely spots close by and you can enjoy some shorter cruises and come back to the marina each night, and tie up on our riverbank.

Alternatively, you can even just stay at the marina which is fully lawned with flat access, and enjoy the experience of floating in your accommodation. This also allows you to plan some off river visits to neighbouring towns or attractions by road as well.


How many people are allowed on the houseboats?

Maritime regulations state the number of persons on board must not exceed the number of berths (beds)  Children under 12 months of age are excluded.

Scallywag and Scamp can have a maximum of 4 people on board, Reflections 8 people, Adventurer 10 people and Daydreamer 12 people.

When do I pay the deposit and the bond?

Your deposit is due within 7 days of booking, and the balance of hire is due 4 - 8 weeks prior to your holiday. Your deposit can be paid by EFT or credit card and all details are provided on your booking form.

There is also an Agreement form to sign to acknowledge the booking, and the Terms and Conditions for hire.(see booking information)

The security bond is payable on arrival, and all remaining paperwork is completed on the boat with your instructor. We are happy to take credit card details for the bond and hold the number as security. This number can also be used for the fuel payment. Fuel is not included in the hire fee and you are charged for all fuel used for outboard motors and the generator.

How do I contact the marina when we are out on the river?

All of our houseboats are fitted with a mobile phone. Most areas along our section of the river have good coverage, but if you want to ensure coverage overnight, just check your signal before mooring as some of our magnificent clifs may interfere with coverage.

What do I need to bring?

All linen, crockery, cutlery, cooking utensils, cleaning materials, tea towels and toilet paper are supplied, as well as glad wrap, alfoil and bin liners.

Due to limited space in the kitchens, we can only supply a basic range of pots and pans, but there is plenty on board for general use (if you have a favourite recipe we suggest bringing your preferred dish with you so you know your ingredients will fit e.g. lasagna)

During warmer months we suggest bringing a beach towel as the water is fine for swimming (we recommend always wearing a life jacket though) Don't forget your sunscreen and insect repellent!

You will need to bring all your food and drinks (rain water is supplied however you are welcome to bring spring or bottled water if preferred), toiletries and personal items. There are some DVD's, books and magazines on board and each boat has a USB port for your favourite music or movies.. If you need to restock during your holiday, there are shops at Morgan and Waikerie.

How do you get power on the boat?

All boats have a stand alone power system of a generator, large batteries and an invertor system to convert the power to use on the boat. All your lights, TV and sound system work through the invertor system, however if you are running items like a toaster, dishwasher, hair dryer etc you need to have the generator going. Generally you need to run the generator a few hours each day to keep the boat charged, and this can be done while you are cruising along! All appliances on board have been chosen for their low energy use, and we ask that if you are planning to bring electrical items with you, please let us know so we can check compatibility for you.

I have a CPAP machine - can I use it on the houseboat?

Absolutely! All you have to do at night time is plug your machine into an invertor power point which has constant electricity - just bring along an extension cord or we can supply one for you. Remember to let us know before hand so during your show out lesson the closest power point can be shown.

How far can I travel?

Our marina is above Lock 1 which puts you on one of the best and most stable river stretches along the entire Murray River!

The average cruising speed for houseboats is 6 - 7km per hour, so where ever you go, it is at a slow and leisurely speed. The marina is located around the 277km mark (measured from the Murray Mouth), Morgan is at 320km and Waikerie 382km. It takes about 7 hours to travel to Morgan, 11 hours to Caudo Vineyard and 17 hours to Waikerie. Most people find they don't go much further than Morgan though, it is so peaceful travelling for a few hours each day, then just tying up for the afternoon and relaxing.

During your show out lesson the instructors discuss your journey with you, point out suggested mooring spots on the maps and discuss what to look for when choosing a spot. There is enough fuel on board each boat (when driven at recommended speeds) for a return trip to Waikerie if desired. However, due to seasonal conditions and shallow sections of the river, we are currently recommending that you only travel as far as Caudo Vineyard (*around 348 mark) 

If you are interested in day trips, you can be picked up from your houseboat and taken to other Riverland towns and venues e.g. Waikerie, Banrock Station Wine and Wetland Centre and even the Barossa Valley for wine tasting.

Please note: due to seasonal lower river levels below Lock 1 between Swan reach and Blanchetown, our hire boats are not permitted to travel downstream.

What does a Fruit Fly free Zone mean?

The Riverland is a Fruit Fly Fee Zone, which means you are not allowed to bring any home grown fruit and vegetables into the region, as protection for the thriving horticultural industry. 

You can only take into the Riverland fruit fly exclusion zone :

  • fresh fruit and fruiting vegetables accompanied with an itemised receipt proving it was purchased from a South Australian shop.
  • cooked, processed, preserved, stewed, dried, frozen or canned fruit and fruiting vegetables.

You cannot take in the exclusion zone:

  • home-grown fruit and fruiting vegetables
  • fresh fruit and fruiting vegetables purchased from a shop interstate
  • fresh fruit and fruiting vegetables purchased from a South Australian shop unless you are carrying itemised receipt proving its purchase location.

Please note recent changes to the law when travelling from interstate - there is now ZERO tolerance for any fruit or vegetables in your possession when crossing the border into SA and you will receive an on the spot fine if carrying any. All produce must be disposed of in the bins prior to the Yamba Checking station, or other zones, when entering SA.

For more information please check out

Is the Murray safe for swimming and kayaking?

Absolutely - the Murray River is a fresh water river that is safe for swimming and a variety of water activities.

It is very important though to be safety conscious at all times, wear a life vest when ever you are in the water and never dive/jump off the houseboat or the bank in case there are submerged objects.

Kayaking is a fabulous way to enjoy the river and adds another dimension to your houseboat holiday. Again, always wear a life vest and remember that wind and currents can make paddling more difficult at times, so a good tip is to head into the current first and that way you have an easy return to your houseboat! 

We have double kayaks for hire (including life vests) if you would like to explore a little more! 

Please remember you are responsible for your own and your children's safety, so be water safe at all times.

I would love to try fishing but don't have any gear, can you help?

We have shrimp nets on board the boats for you to catch bait, and we can hire you fishing tackle and rods. It's so relaxing to throw a line in the water, and wait for that first bite! Callop (golden perch) are highly desired fish and are great eating and if you are lucky you might even find a yabby or two! We provide information on board the houseboats plus you can visit

What happens if I damage the boat?

The houseboats are all fully insured, and providing the terms and conditions are adhered to, the limit of liability is usually the insurance excess of $1000.00.

Wilful or negligent damage is not covered and is the responsibility of the hirer.

We recommend travel insurance.

What is the weather like in the Riverland?

The Riverland has a fabulous Mediterranean climate. The average temperature in winter is 16.2 degrees, generally with calm, sunny days. The nights can be cold so remember to pack a jacket or a warm jumper. The average summer temperature is 32.5 degrees, and can get quite hot - the perfect place to cool off is of course the river! The temperatures are generally a few degrees warmer than Adelaide and the average rainfall at Blanchetown is only 290 mm, with more sunny days than the Gold Coast!

What do I need to know about fire danger and can I have a small campfire on the riverbank?

Camp fires are normally permitted between mid April and October unless there is a total fire ban due to unseasonable conditions. We strongly encourage you to only use small amounts of wood and not burn large branches that may provide habitat and shelter for small animals. Please do not remove any branches from trees or shrubs. You are welcome to bring along firewood to use on your holiday, and we provide spades so that all campfires can be safely extinguished.

Fire danger

The Murray River is, and has been, susceptible to bush fires. On days of high fire danger you need to think about where you will be for the day and what you would do in the event of a fire. During Fire Danger Season there are strict conditions for lighting a fire, including a campfire. The Fire Danger Season is generally from 1 December to 30 April (however, this period can be adjusted according to seasonal conditions). All fires are prohibited on Total Fire Bay Days.

Total Fire Ban Days

When a Total Fire Ban is declared, all fires are completely banned. Fire ban information is broadcast on radio and television from 4pm the previous day and applies for 24 hours (midnight to midnight). Further information can be obtained from the Bushfire Information Hotline on 1300 362 361 or the CFS website at Severe penalties apply for the lighting or maintaining of fires on Fire Ban Days.

The Murray is a unique environment - how can I help protect it?

The saying of "leave only footprints" is the ideal way to approach your holiday. We have rubbish bins and recycling tubs on board for all rubbish and bottles etc, so please make sure nothing is left on the riverbank. We have environmentally safe products on board for your use, and suggest you buy phosphate free soaps and shampoo's at all times. Noise travels along the river, so please have your generator turned off by 10.00pm, and only use lights as needed. Be aware of your obligations as a river user, including speed limits and safe passing distances and be courteous at all times. If you are bringing along a ski boat, make sure you follow correct fuel handling guidelines to prevent accidents and spillages. No fuel is to be carried on the houseboat or decanted on board.

Can I buy ice at the marina?

Yes, we have block and crushed ice for sale. Just let us know your requirements and we can have it on board when you arrive!

Can I bring my dog on holiday?

We understand that dogs can be an important member of your family, and we are happy to welcome well behaved dogs on board Scallywag, Scamp and Adventurer. We ask that you bring all bedding, food and drink bowls, leads and old towels - in case the water is tempting for a swim! Remember though, that too much water can be harmful for your pet, so like children, they must be supervised at all times.

Your dog is NOT allowed on any furniture or in the bedrooms (preferably only on the deck areas) and we appreciate you keeping all areas of the boat free of any dog hair.

Most importantly, your dog must not wander at any time as there are native animals and livestock grazing on the flood plains, and make sure they are securely restrained at night time. Always keep your dog on a lead when walking, and be aware of snakes during warmer months.

Please be aware that noise travels long distances on the river, and barking may disturb near by land owners.

Non compliance of our pet conditions may result in forfeiture of bond. If you have any questions please contact us!

Where do I park my car/trailer/caravan when I am on holiday? Is it secure?

You park your cars opposite the moorings at the river front. We have plenty of room for cars,trailers and even caravans, and the only access is past our residence.

For added security, we have surveillance camera's on the riverbank and sensor lighting. 

Can I tow my ski boat on the houseboat?

We have ski boat hitches on the side of the houseboats ( Daydreamer has 2 v's at the rear of the boat) and most vessels can be attached. Please be aware that some boats are low though, and it is at your own risk to assess the suitablity of doing so and to consider the actions of wake and waves. 

Miriam and Cosi!

Griffens' News 

September 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 when borders reopen too!

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