In the last of our $500 weekends; Berri in South Australia certainly comes to the party!
Berri is a charming town of 7000 people in South Australia's Riverland on the Murray River. Much of the area is irrigated, creating a lush environment, making it a major producer of large quantities of dried and dessert fruits, citrus, canned fruits, wines and spirits. There are many parks and gardens along the riverfront, which was once a refueling stop for wood-burning paddle-wheelers.
Berri is a popular destination for South Australians looking for a getaway weekend, offering fishing, water sports, camping and houseboating. We put Megan and Daniel, Lucy and Jack to the test to see how much they could do with $500 on a weekend in Berri.
From Adelaide to Berri (a 480km round trip) we allowed $65 for petrol. They had dinner on the run before heading off, so that was a saving.
The family decided to stay at the award-winning Berri Riverside Caravan Park, just a stroll from town. There is a range of accommodation options, from powered sites to deluxe two-bedroom units, which is what the family chose.
The park is on eight hectares, right on the Murray, and has plenty of playing space, a solar-heated pool, shady playground, lots of cycling space and excellent barbecue facilities. Two nights there cost $170.
Breakfast was prepared with ingredients brought from home (another saving) and dinner on Saturday night was had out. Lunch was taken on the banks of the river. A picnic of sandwiches, cakes and soft drinks cost $35.
Renmark, just 15 minutes away, is the home of houseboats. Our family took a two-hour cruise, which included a running commentary, afternoon tea and spotting kangaroos and koalas along the way. The cost was $60 for the family.
Monash Adventure Park is free of charge. There are towers to climb, giant swings, a flying fox, a rope bridge and a maze. It has good picnic areas and little shops to buy treats from.
It's pleasant to wander through town and hard to miss the main attraction the Big Orange. And the Berri Arts Centre has local and touring exhibitions of fine arts and crafts.
Wilabalangaloo, managed by the National Trust, is 100 hectares of flora and fauna, river views, walking trails, a museum and a tiny historic paddle-wheeler. Canoes can be hired for $25 a day.
Dinner was at the family-friendly Cobdogla Club. Meals are very reasonably priced and there is a children's menu with fish and chips or schnitzel and chips for just $5.50. The budget of $50 was more than enough.
Money left over was spent on buying delicious fresh fruit from a roadside stand.