MURRAY River Paddlestemaers has cemented its reputation as a tourist magnet after being named one of the best historical tours in Australia by travel website Flight Network.
Beginning in 1996, Murray River Paddlesteamers started its first cruises along the Murray with the PS Pride of the Murray.
The company has since expanded to include the PS Emmylou and the hundred year old PS Canberra.
In March 2015 the business was purchased by brother’s Craig and Rohan Burgess and Neil Hutchinson.
Today the business continues to grow and expand on strong foundations which was acknowledged in 2016 with the business winning gold at the Regional Tourism Awards and silver in the Victorian Tourism Awards.
The company added to the trophy cabinet when it won silver in the 2017 Victorian Tourism Awards for unique accommodation.
Director Craig Burgess said authenticity was the reason for the businesses runaway success.
“Seeing and hearing the working steam engine and even having a go steering the boat with the skipper is a highlight that many Australian kids have grown up to remember about Echuca,” he said.
“We have a lot of visitors who bring their own kids back recounting stories about their own riverboat adventure.
“There is nothing like cruising along the Murray and hearing the whistle blow.”
The most popular boat, the PS Emmylou, is the only wood fired paddlesteamer in the world offering regular multi-day river cruises.
Since introducing Emmylou to the international market, Mr Burgess said the company had taken on a lot of feedback to help attract international visitors.
“Our cruises provide an authentic historical river cruise of a bygone era. Guests love that we can pull into the side of the river and within 10 minutes be sitting around a camp fire watching the sun set while surrounded by native animals,” he said.
“It’s not just about the boat and the river, it’s about the whole regional experience. We worked with Bendigo Tourism to partner up on drive routes that get people out of Melbourne with great things to do along the way.
“We introduced off boat half day excursions to some of our great local attractions like Kingfisher Cruises and the Dharnya Centre in Barmah, plus the glorious Cape Horn Winery.
“We also took on the feedback that the cabins need to be updated to include ensuites and cruises needed to be longer, so we are delighted that this work will be done during winter 2018 ready for spring cruising.”