Cruising down Broken Creek with Kingfisher Cruises
Author: Kingfisher Cruises
Images: Kingfisher Cruises & Visit The Murray
Barmah’s Kingfisher Cruises is celebrating this week after being inducted into Ecotourism Australia’s Hall of Fame.
Passionate eco-tourism advocate and owner/operator at Kingfisher Cruises, Benita Cox has been recognised for 20 years as an eco-warrior and was overjoyed after what has been a challenging year ‘off the water’ due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Along with many other tourism operators along the Murray River, Kingfisher Cruises was forced off the water for 8 months and only began welcoming guests back again on 23 November 2020.
Eco warrior Benita Cox of Kingfisher Cruises and swans on the mighty Murray
Benita has missed cruising the world heritage listed wetland, and 25,000 years of indigenous culture, and also missed the wonderful people who help make her business a success.
“All of my guests are different, and this makes every cruise different. I love the passengers who engage with me and all on board and being a small vessel, this happens daily! I love engaging with my guests’ diversities and cultures, but most of all I love helping them all make new memories,” Benita says.
Located 30 kms from Echuca-Moama, Benita and her Kingfisher Cruises crew do not underestimate the importance and sheer beauty of their stretch of the Murray River known as the Barmah Choke.
When Benita graduated with a double degree in Applied Science, Parks, Recreation and Heritage, and Applied Science Ecotourism 20 years ago, and fulfilled a childhood dream of becoming a park ranger, she could not imagine the life-long love affair she would have with the majestic wetlands of the Barmah State Forest.
Her passion for nature saw Benita become one of the Australia’s first eco-qualified guides and the induction of Kingfisher Cruises into the Ecotourism Hall of Fame is vindication of a lifelong commitment to the Barmah wetlands, home to the largest stand of River Redgums in the world.
Benita explains that some of the trees in this internationally recognised wetland stand at 30 metres and that some are estimated to be an incredible 500 years old.
Visitors to the region can witness both the culture and natural wonders, including the brilliant blue Azure Kingfisher (the boat’s namesake), white-bellied sea eagles, wedge-tailed eagles, and many other water birds.
Guests who cruise the ancient waters are often surprised and amazed by close encounters with local wildlife including emus, turtles, and snakes and the many hundreds of migratory birds passing through from Alaska, Siberia, and China.
The Kingfisher is a comfortable, all-weather, flat bottomed vessel that usually seats up to 30 passengers. Current COVID-19 restrictions allow only 20 passengers per cruise and bookings are essential. Child and family concessions are available and the Kingfisher cruises five days a week, excluding Tuesday and Friday. Due to seasonal water levels cruises may be suspended briefly in late May-July.
For more information, visit www.visitthemurray.com.au/products/kingfisher-cruises or contact Kingfisher Cruises on 03 5855 2855.
Moving with the times
In the not too distant future, we hope to emerge from COVID-19 travel restrictions. As part of Council’s approach, it has been investing in new ways to reach more visitors with the information they need to get the most out of their holiday in our beautiful region. Mayor Libro Mustica said times were changing, Council must adapt and this was an opportunity to bring visitor information to where the visitors are.
All aboard for a cruise into our heritage
There is little doubt that at a time like now we often reflect on the past, letting our minds wander through history. Stepping back in time is also a great way to reconnect with the places we wish to explore and characters who we’d love to meet again.
Sometimes it’s the little things that matter most
There has never been a more important time to reach out to our friends and family. There is little doubt that we all know someone who must be feeling the challenges served up by COVID-19. For some of us, it is juggling the needs of home schooling while trying to look professional on yet another video-conference. For others, it might be the challenges of running a business or trying to access health care across State borders, tackling significant financial pressures or trying to recover from the devastating bushfires.