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Common Questions



River Murray High Flow

  • What is a River Murray High Flow Advice? A High Flow Advice is not a flood warning but an alert of a higher-than-average river current. The flow identified in a High Flow Advice is a figure that may occur, and subsequent forecasting will refine the figure. The High Flow Advice aims to raise alertness and monitoring in the community of the danger associated with flows in the River and prevent unnecessary losses to the community.
  • Is it safe to go to the River Murray? Yes, people are encouraged to enjoy the River Murray while being aware of the hazards and acting responsibly to stay safe. As mentioned in the High Flow Advice, the River Murray flows are higher than normal, and the main river channel may contain debris and other submerged hazards and will be harder to navigate by swimming or boat.
  • What is at risk of being flooded? When the flow at the SA border is in the range of 40 to 60 GL/day, there is a small likelihood of extra inundation in the River Murray. The River channel will transport the extra flow through the locks and weirs, which causes a higher river current.

Up-to-date River Murray salinity, flow and water level information can also be accessed at the SA Water and Murray-Darling Basin Authority websites:
River Murray real-time water data
SA Water River Murray info – levels, flows etc.
Murray-Darling Basin real-time water data

Source: WaterConnect SA

How far in advance should I book?

  • We require a 6- to 8-month security deposit; otherwise, the houseboat will be available to other hirers.
  • Full payment must be made at least 8 weeks before the commencement of your hire.
  • If you book less than 8 weeks before the commencement of your hire, then full payment must be made within 5 business days of making your booking or before the commencement of your hire, whichever is earlier.

Car Parking for Guests

There is a $10 per car/trailer per day in the lock-up facility. Long-term parking is not permitted on the reserve for hire vessels.

Who can drive the houseboat?

  • You must be twenty-one (21) years old and hold a full car licence issued by an Australian State or Territory to drive the Wow Factor. If you hold an international licence, please notify us, and we will verify if you can drive the Wow Factor.
  • If you are unlicensed, you will not be able to drive Wow Factor, and if no appropriately licenced person is present at boarding, you will be converted to a static hire.
  • You consent to us taking a copy or image of your licence for our records, administration, and recovery actions.
  • You acknowledge and agree to follow all laws, regulations, and rules.

Maximum Passengers

  • No more than twelve (12) passengers are permitted on the Wow Factor at any time. Passengers under one (1) year of age are exempted from this requirement. If you exceed more than twelve passengers over the age of one year, your booking shall be cancelled, and no refund shall be provided to you.

Driving the houseboat

  • The Wow Factor is a large two-storey houseboat. If it is driven at the not recommended engine RPM, it has the potential to use 40 litres of unleaded fuel per hour. To reduce the risk of running out of fuel, the maximum permitted engine hours before refilling is 15 hours.
  • Running out of fuel in the middle of the river will likely result in an accident when the wind or current moves the houseboat into other boats, bridges, cliffs, jetties, pontoons, etc. This will put you at significant risk of losing your bond and $5,000 in excess. 
  • Wow Factor must not be driven when the visibility is low, it is raining, foggy, misty, or there is smoke haze or glare.
  • It is an offence to drive any houseboat under the influence of alcohol (.05) and/or illicit drugs.
  • It is an offence to drive the vessel between sunset and sunrise.
  • It is an offence to operate the vessel downstream of Wellington Ferry.
  • Driving Wow Factor during windy conditions is risky. If the wind is blowing at more than 30 km/h, driving the Wow Factor puts you at risk of an accident, losing your bond, and having to pay your excess.
  • The upstairs steering is not to be used. This station has been decommissioned. 
  • Do not store fuel on the houseboat. It is an offence to store fuel outside of Wow Factor’s approved tanks.
  • Always keep a proper lookout and be aware of your location. You can view the river markers every 2 km, showing you the distance and location of where you are on the river. Riverglen Marina is 102 km from the river mouth. Mannum, for instance, is approximately 150 km from the river mouth or 48 km from Riverglen Marina.  
  • The motors must be off whenever swimmers are in the water, or the rear platform is being used.

Mooring the houseboat

  • Please check our list of recommended mooring locations in public parklands and reserves.
  • Under no circumstances is the boat to be moored against any private or public jetty/pontoon, boardwalk or pier. Doing so will likely result in damage to Wow Factor and the pier. You will lose your bond if you do this.
  • If guests bring a ski boat or jet ski, they must secure these watercraft(s) to the side of the vessel.
  • Be aware of gum tree branches doing damage to the top storey of the houseboat. Even if the branches do not strike the houseboat, the wind may change and blow the boat into the branch(es).
  • Caution must be used when using the gangplank. The river is unpredictable, and misuse is likely to cause the front glass sliding door to break, causing significant expense. The wind, or wakeboard boats, is sufficient to push the boat into the riverbank and gangplank through the front glass door. The repair cost approximately $600 plus GST.
  • The vessel should be firmly roped (both sides and fore and aft) to the bank during mooring. All four ropes should be firmly tied to suitable trees or posts.

While on the houseboat

  • You must not venture out of the permitted areas on the houseboat– living space, the outdoor area inside the railing, and, the swim deck when Wow Factor is stationary with motors off.
  • While the vessel is in motion, no one should have any part of their body outside the railings.
  • While on Wow Factor, children must be supervised at all times.
  • Do not jump into the river from the top deck. 
  • No one must be on the swim deck whilst the boat is in motion.
  • Do not climb over the balcony through the windows to reach upstairs.
  • This is a smoke-free vessel. Do not smoke at any time on the vessel, including in outdoor areas. 
  • The vacuum cleaner is only meant to be used inside the boat, not in any of the Wow Factor’s wet areas, such as around the spa, outside of the lower deck, or outside of the upper deck.
  • There aren’t any fly screens upstairs. For safety reasons (to avoid people jumping from the window), these windows are only to be opened 50 mm.
  • When the deed is done (using the toilet), remember to half-flush on the left and full-flush on the right. Do not flush anything except toilet paper and human waste. Please use the bins to dispose of feminine products, paper towels, tissues, wipes, etc.
  • No drinking glass in and around the spa. Do not sit, stand or walk on your cover, try to avoid pets sleeping on your cover or kids jumping on it. 
  • Bean bags have a maximum weight limit that they can bear. Different sizes of bean bags have different weight limits. A small bean bag can hold a small kid. In contrast, medium and large-sized bean bags can hold only one adult at a time. Children under 100 kg are allowed to use the bean bags while watching TV from the spa.


  • Candles, incense, or mosquito coils must never be burned on the boat as they are a severe fire risk. 
  • Naked flames or fire are strictly forbidden on the houseboat.
  • Fire extinguishers are provided for emergencies only. If they are used other than in an emergency, there will be a refill charge of $100 per item. 
  • The portable fire pit on the front pontoon will only be used onshore. The firepit is never to be used for the Wow Factor, which will cause you to lose your bond and excess.
  • Lifebuoys and emergency lifejackets are provided for emergency situations only. Using them for non-emergencies is illegal.
  • Beware of the Fruit Fly! If you’re planning a trip to the Riverland, check the list of fruit and vegetables on the fruit fly website to find out what you can pack. Avoid a fine by packing carefully. Check more information here.

Campfires and Barbecues

Q1: Can I have a campfire on the riverbank?

A1: Campfires are allowed in some areas, but regulations vary. Always check local rules and any current Fire Danger Season or Total Fire Ban restrictions before lighting a campfire.

Q2: What is the Fire Danger Season, and how does it affect camping and cooking on the riverbank?

A2: The Fire Danger Season is a period when bushfires are more likely and dangerous. During this season, restrictions on campfires and cooking may apply. Ensure you’re informed about the season’s dates and guidelines.

Q3: Are there designated areas for campfires and barbecues along the riverbank?

A3: Some locations offer designated fireplaces and barbecue areas. Please use these designated spots when available and comply with local regulations.

Q4: Can I use my own barbecue or cooking equipment along the riverbank?

A4: In many areas, gas or electric barbecues are allowed, but open flames may have restrictions. Always follow local guidelines and consider using designated cooking facilities.

Q5: How should I dispose of cooking waste and garbage while camping?

A5: Pack out what you pack in. Bring trash bags and take all waste with you. Leave the riverbank as pristine as you found it.

Q6: Are there any safety precautions I should take while cooking outdoors?

A6: Yes, safety is paramount. Maintain a safe distance from tents and flammable materials, use stable cooking equipment, and have a fire extinguisher or water source nearby.

Q7: Can I fish in the river and cook my catch on the riverbank?

A7: Fishing is often allowed, but you may need a fishing license. Comply with local fishing regulations and practice sustainable fishing.

Q8: Do I need a permit to camp on the riverbank?

A8: Permits may be required for camping in certain areas or during specific seasons. Contact local authorities or park offices for permit details.

Q9: How can I minimise my environmental impact while camping and cooking on the riverbank?

A9: Follow Leave No Trace principles: reduce campfire impacts, dispose of waste properly, respect wildlife, and leave the environment undisturbed for future generations.

Q10: Can I cut down or trim trees or bushes on Crown land for firewood or other purposes?

A10: No, you are not allowed to cut down, lop branches from, or damage any tree or bush, whether alive or dead, on Crown land without prior consent.

Q11: Is it permitted to collect firewood on Crown land for campfires or cooking?

A11: No, collecting firewood on Crown land is not permitted. Please bring your own firewood or use designated firewood sources where available.

Q12: What if I need to remove vegetation on Crown land for a specific reason?

A12: To remove vegetation on Crown land, you must obtain consent from the appropriate authorities. Contact your local DEWNR (Department for Environment and Water) regional office to arrange for the necessary permissions.

Q13: Are there additional consents required under specific laws for vegetation removal?

A13: Yes, in some cases, you may need other consents under laws such as the Native Vegetation Act (1991) or the Development Act (1993). Be sure to check with the relevant authorities to ensure compliance with all applicable regulations.

Q14: Can River Red Gums be cleared on Crown land?

A14: No, River Red Gums, regardless of size, are not permitted to be cleared on Crown land.

Q15: Where can I find additional information about riverbank camping and cooking regulations?

A15: For detailed guidelines and specific regulations in your chosen area, learn more here – https://wowhouseboats.com.au/campfires-bbq-staying-safe-and-compliant/

Will I be charged extra for using the spa?

  • No, you will not be charged extra for the spa. If however, you do not wish to use the spa, we can remove this from the package and offer a reduced rate on your total booking. (The spa will be locked if you choose not to include the spa in your package).

Can we bring dogs with us?

  • We love welcoming furry friends aboard the Wow Factor for an unforgettable houseboat holiday! To ensure the best experience for both you and your beloved dog, we kindly ask for some information during the booking process. This includes your dog’s breed and size, as well as if they are toilet-trained. Please note that a fee of $50 per dog per day will be required to cover any additional cleaning and maintenance costs.
  • We require you to bring dog essentials, including dog towels, beds, and bowls. Please note that dog towels should be used to dry your dog regularly and before coming inside. Please do not use bath towels for your dog. We have additional dog towels, beds, and bowls for rent should you be unable to bring your own.

Where can we buy groceries?

  • Murray Bridge has several supermarkets, grocers, butchers, and bakeries to choose from (please contact Wow Houseboats for more information and delivery options).
  • Wow houseboats can also arrange for premade meals to be available on the boat before departure upon request (please contact Wow Houseboats for more information). 
  • We encourage you to review the fruits and vegetables at risk from fruit fly here.

Is there freshwater on board?

  • We provide you with plenty of fresh water onboard for drinking.

Do I supply my own ice?

  • At the moment, we have eskys and ice can be purchased from the Riverglen Marina. In the future, we will be purchasing an ice machine to further provide a “wow” experience for your houseboat holiday.

Do I supply my own firewood?

  • We provide wood for campfire cooking; outside of fire ban season, provisions for having a fire on the riverbank apply.

Can I fish from my houseboat?

  • Yes

Fuel Transport

  • Fuel can be carried in an unoccupied craft under tow. However, it must not be carried onboard Wow Factor.

Refuelling the houseboat

  • If you are planning a longer trip, you need to let us know so you can be trained on how to refuel the houseboat safely.
  • The port side is the unleaded tank, and the starboard side is the diesel tank. A plastic pipe in the outside port side cabinet is designed to fit onto the fuel tank inlet that must be used to refill the houseboat. This pipe builds up head pressure, and the houseboat cannot be refuelled without this pipe being fitted. We need to know if you are refuelling at Mannum Waters or Long Island and on what days and how much fuel you are expecting to purchase so we can let the marina know to have the required fuel ready.  
  • Putting the wrong fuel in the tank will significantly damage the Wow Factor and cause you to lose your bond and likely your excess. 
  • With respect to Mannum Waters, please follow these instructions on how to secure the houseboat to the fuel station/pontoon similar to the pump-out procedure, plus use the pumps and pay for the fuel – A step-by-step guide on how to refuel at Mannum Waters
  • For longer trips, we can arrange for unleaded fuel and diesel to be delivered to Swan Reach on a Friday, subject to availability and notice. At the time, the fuel truck will deliver fuel next to the pump-out station. This option needs to be planned in advance.

How much fuel will the houseboat need?

  • The houseboat has a 600-litre petrol fuel tank for running the vessel and a diesel tank for the generator. These will always be full when hired out. When the boat is returned, the petrol and diesel tanks will be filled, and the amount used will be taken from the bond provided for the hire. The diesel and petrol fuel will be charged at the rate Riverglen Marina sells the diesel and petrol to Wow Houseboats.
  • The houseboat takes diesel to run the 22 kva Omar generator, the largest generator we know of on any hire/drive houseboat on the Murray River.
  • It is very economical, and on a two-week trip from Renmark, we used 16-20 litres an hour. We will record how much diesel is used for hiring/driving to provide an average diesel consumption. The diesel is filled on the starboard bow side of the boat and requires a 1m extension piece to be connected to provide the required head of pressure to fill the tanks.
  • Wow Factor had one guest that used 570 litres of fuel in 18 hours of the return journey from Riverglen to Mannum. That was 32 litres per hour, and they only had 1 hour left before they ran out of fuel. This instance would suggest that this guest travelled with a high RPM on a return trip to Mannum. They could have refuelled at Mannum Waters or Long Island Marina on the way back to Riverglen Marina but chose not to.

How to pump-out black water?

  • Wow Factor’s black water tank capacity is 3,000 litres of black water // 6 litres are used for a full flush // 3 litres are used for a half-flush.
  • Pump-outs will be required on longer bookings, and guests are to follow the procedure on the boat and at the pump-out station. Due to the significant risk of damage and loss of bond, if the sewage overflows from the toilets into Wow Factor, we recommend pumping it out every three days.
  • Do not leave rubbish along the riverbank. Please check our document – River Waste Disposal Stations – where you specifically can dispose of your rubbish and bottles/cans.

Returning the boat

  • On your last day, Wow Factor must be returned to Riverglen by 10 AM (ACDT). All your belongings and you must be off the Wow Factor before this time. 
  • The Wow Factor must be returned as tidy and clean as it was at the start of the hire.
  • If Wow Factor is not returned on time, it can interfere with the next guest’s booking, including the fact that they cannot leave the marina after their show out to start their holiday. We will need to compensate them with 25% of the daily rate for their stay in the marina overnight, which will come from the guest who returned the boat late. In addition, we need to compensate the Wow Houseboats staff at $250 per hour, which will also come from the bond.
  • Please return the boat in a clean and tidy condition. Otherwise, an excess cleaning charge will be incurred.
  • You are responsible for the BBQ being clean on return. We charge $100+GST for professional cleaning if this is not done. 
  • All damage or loss of equipment must be reported. We reserve our right to charge you for any loss or damage.

How you are likely to lose your bond and the $5000 insurance excess?

  • Mooring the houseboat against any public or private pier, pontoon, boardwalk or jetty as the handrail and bump strips will be damaged. You are also likely to damage others’ property while mooring against these. 
  • Running out of fuel. 
  • Houseboat rescue of pulling the boat from the riverbank when the river level drops and not following the mooring instructions. 
  • Using incorrect mooring methods (securing the vessel correctly as taught in the show out). 
  • Failing to keep Wow Factor floated. 
  • The bump strips are damaged by not mooring a ski boat or jet ski against the boat correctly.
  • Driving the houseboat from the upstairs helm. 
  • Driving at night or downstream from the Wellington Ferry. We track Wow Factor 24 hours, 7 days per week. 
  • Smoking on the vessel and repair from smoke and butt damage.
  • Returning the vessel late.
  • Not pumping out for longer hire/drive bookings and overflow of greywater/sewage (we never want this to happen).
  • Driving the boat into gum trees when mooring or having the boat blow into trees once moored when the wind shifts direction.