This past weekend we went on a little getaway to stay at the gorgeous dog-friendly accommodation The River Block. Located in Bookpurnong, on the outskirts of Berri, this character home has been lovingly renovated into a modern 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom home, whilst retaining a lot of it's original features and charm.
Our journey started early Saturday morning in Adelaide, picking up our friends to travel the nearly 3 hours to get to Bookpurnong. Along the way we made a couple of stops, the first of which being in Tanunda for breakfast at the Red Door Espresso. They have dog-friendly outdoor seating both on the front verandah and in a little back courtyard.
We then headed on our way towards the Riverland, travelling from Tanunda to Waikerie (approx. 1 hour 15 mins). We wanted to stop and have a look at the stunning Waikerie Silo Art. These silo's were were the fifth silos to be completed in South Australia and are the 25th to be included in the Australian Silo Art Trail Collection. Titled ‘Healthy River Healthy Community’ these silo's were painted by Jimmy DVate from Melbourne and Garry Duncan from Kanmantoo. For those who have a bit of time to explore there is also the Waikerie Cliff Top Walk and Scenic Lookout starting right next to the silo's – we're definitely keen to check this out next time we are there! After viewing the silo's we drove into the town centre to have a look at Renmark artist Jacqui Mason's Yellow Rosella "angel wings" located in the White Street carpark. You'll definitely want to stop here for an instagram worthy snap.
We then travelled approximately 45-50mins from Waikerie to The River Block – make sure if you're ever visiting that you read the arrival documents properly and don't head down the wrong driveway like we did! Once we were on the correct driveway there was a sense of anticipation and excitement, from the little red dirt road you would have absolutely no idea of the gorgeous view and home that await you at the end.
Check-in was simple and contactless, with a key box located on the side of the property. While we emptied the car, the dogs made the most of sniffing every plant possible, and running zoomies all over the huge grassed area – Morty even decided he felt like a quick dip in the lake... but changed his mind quick smart! The property includes a completely fenced in back yard for those pups who can't be trusted out the front, they still have plenty of room to run around and explore. We were also greeted with the sweetest little gift from another local Riverland business Pet Bowl Co. A gorgeous personalised bowl for Morty and Rick & a very yummy smelling personalised candle for me, complete with a picture of the boys on it.
The home was nice, bright and modern, absolutely loved all of the green features (a little bit biased as that's my favourite colour) and the small touches - the palm tree featured on the front door matches the palm tree towel hooks in the bathroom perfectly. The main bedroom features a stunning artwork painted especially for them by Aurora Art in Victoria, as well as an absolutely glorious king bed with plenty of pillows to choose from if you're fussy.
After unpacking and a quick outfit change due to Morty's dip in the lake we decided to head into Renmark to visit 23rd Street Distillery for a late lunch and some absolutely delicious cocktails. The distillery has plenty of dog-friendly outdoor seating, including umbrellas for warmer days. As well as having a huge grassed area where you can sit should there be no free tables. We tried the 23rd Street signature fries with truffle oil, parmesan and parsley, and delicious purple gin & lemon & sparkling wine cocktails. For those not designated driver, you can also choose from a range of tasting flights.
We headed back to The River Block to watch the sunset over the lake, which was stunning, can only imagine how nice it is there in summer! For dinner we made a booking at the Loxton Hotel – would definitely recommend booking as they were completely full inside. However thanks to having the pups with us, we had prime position on their balcony right in front of the fire. They have a great menu and drink options, and water bowls on the balcony for the dogs.
After dinner we headed back to The River Block and settled in front of Netflix, the property has three heaters throughout so even though it was freezing outside it was nice and toasty inside. They also have a cupboard full of games in case you don't feel like watching tv!
After a great night's sleep in an extremely comfortable bed and a coffee out on the front porch, we headed to the the highly recommended Arrosto Coffee located in the old Renmark Firestation for breakfast burgers and one of the best coffees I've had in a long time. Whilst we were there I also grabbed a bottle of their very popular cold drip concentrate. They had plenty of outdoor seating out the back, as well as water bowls and puppuccinos available for the dogs.
Unfortunately it was then time for us to head back to Adelaide, however there's still a number of dog-friendly activities to do in the Riverland that we didn't have time for, so we will definitely be heading back!
Some other dog-friendly things you can do are:
- Breakfast at Pen & Lu, Loxton
- Wander along the riverfront in Renmark
- Visit Coosh & Co, Renmark
- Woolshed Brewery, Murtho
- Brunch/lunch at River Jacks & walk along the river, Berri
- Barmera Bakery have dog biscuits available, Barmera
- Lake Bonney, Barmera
If you've made it this far – The River Block have kindly offered a discount for any of our friends who want to book a stay with them this year, mention Morty & Rick in your booking comments to receive $100 off. Valid for 2022 bookings only! You can check out their website here to book.
I'll wrap up by mentioning the amount of photo opportunities around the property, be it amongst the mandarin trees (delicious too), in front of the bright green door or the old wooden building that was the original Bookpurnong post office!