The river cruises in Swan Hill is operated at the Pioneer Settlement open air museum. The cruise is on the PS Pyap, a paddlesteamer built at Mannum in South Australia in 1896, and was a floating store for the Eudunda Farmers Cooperative, selling to settlers and settlements along the Murray River before being sold for use in woodcutting and fishing.
The PS Pyap was updated by the Pioneer Settlement when they acquired it, replacing the hull with steel, updating the engine to a diesel engine, and replaced the decking with polished red gum. The updates have kept the original lines and shape of the paddlesteamer.
The cruise departs from the wharf in Pioneer Settlement at 2.30pm each day. On weekends and during the Victorian school holidays, an additional cruise departs at 10.30am, but this is only available if you have purchased entry to the Pioneer Settlement also.
The cruise goes along the Little Murray River passed the Swan Hill Caravan Park to join the Murray River. It then continues along the banks of Pental Island towards the Murray Downs Marina, and passed the Murray Downs Homestead.
The Murray Downs Homestead was built in the 1860s, and originally on a 180,000 acre property, and had up to 16 staff to run the home. The property is now 100 acres and privately owned, so it can’t be visited as a tourist, but it can be viewed from the cruise along the Murray River.
A river cruise and entry ticket is available with a discount from purchasing them individually.
To get there:
If coming into Swan Hill from Lake Boga along the Murray Valley Hwy, continue for 900m after passing the Welcome to Swan Hill sign, and turn right into Gray St, with the brown sign for River Cruises just before it. Follow Gray St for 270m, and the parking area is straight ahead, with the Pioneer Settlement on the left of the parking area.
If coming into Swan Hill from the North along the Murray Valley Hwy, on approach of the large roundabout, take the first exit veering to the left. After 1.4km, turn left at the next roundabout into McCallum St, and then immediately right (50m) into Monash Drv with the brown sign. Continue for 1.3km, and turn left into the parking area for the Pioneer Settlement.
If coming into Swan Hill from the West along Sea Lake-Swan Hill Rd. Sea Lake-Swan Hill Rd becomes McCallum St, and goes passed the Swan Hill Showgrounds. Continue for 1km passed the showgrounds, and turn right into Monash Drv, just before crossing the bridge over the Murray River. Continue for 1.3km, and turn left into the parking area for the Pioneer Settlement.
Cost: Adult $23.50, Child (5-16) $16.00, Concession $18.50, Family (2 Adult, up to 4 Children) $63.00, Family Additional Child $15.50
Cost Cruise and Pioneer Settlement entry: Adult $46.50, Child (5-16) $35.00, Concession $40.00, Family (2 Adult, up to 4 Children) $125.00, Family Additional Child $15.50
Hours: Mon-Fri 2.30pm, Sat-Sun 10.30am and 2.30pm, Victorian School Holidays 10.30am and 2.30pm, Christmas Day Closed, Boxing Day Closed
Wheelchair accessible: Yes, some parts are not accessible