Our Story

A Journey of Resilience, Innovation, and River Dreams.

A Journey of Resilience, Innovation, and River Dreams

Our relationship and passion for the river extends decades, in fact more than 100 years with our Grandmother and Grandfather Doris and Edmond Broadbent born in Corowa on The Murray in the 1800’s. I remember spending our school holidays camping at Yarrawonga with Mum and Dad when we were little and driving ‘up to the river’ from Melbourne as soon as we got our licenses for weekends and to watch the iconic ‘South 80’ in Echuca.
Struggling hard in Melbourne and working damn hard we afforded our very first houseboat in the early 80’s for our family holidays. We were moored in Moama, had many friends visit, how good was life?! So carefree and holidaying on the Murray are amongst our very best memories ever, swimming and enjoying the endless sunshine.

Life changed with the sale of our river holiday destination coming to an end. It was our dream to one day sail the entire length of the Murray. Our wishes came true unimaginably with the good fortune of discovering the amazing River Dream Boatel in Mannum which was advertised for sale. We rang the broker, he said ‘Sold’. No more words to be spoken. You see we had driven from our home in Queensland all the way to Mannum, South Australia just to see this incredible boat, only to be told she was sold. When we visited her she was in disarray, only to have just been taken out of the water to be slipped and all furnishings, plates and more all over the place but I could see her beauty shining through. She warmed my heart. I stood my ground. I said ‘this is her’, we must be able to buy her. The broker said ‘’No, she is sold.’ Of course, she was so good, we wouldn’t take no for an answer. Driving back across regional South Australia there was silence. It was a long drive in the dust and through the outback roads but our spark of enthusiasm and positiveness won out, the sale to the previous buyer fell through and in a miracle she was ours.

We now had the opportunity to fulfil our dream – to cruise the length of the river as we had passionately wished for all our lives. After all the Murray is the life blood of regional Victoria, full of history and she is incredibly beautiful. Just to get out of town and experience the river is such a golden opportunity not many get to experience. And so our journey began on Australia’s most opulent 5-star Houseboat. Three and a half years of blood, sweat and tears we cruised and experienced the Australian bush like so few have ever experienced her before. Our unique design was light years ahead of any other vessel that was cruising the Mighty Murray. Schools closed down, people came for miles, and hundreds of folk lined the river banks just to get a glimpse of this ‘Floating Palace.’ Bridges were lifted that hadn’t been lifted in many years just to let us flow through. We were making history!
At last we cruised into Moama aboard our glistening ‘Floating Glass Opera House.’ Our late Father John, had written a detailed and enthralling tale of the characters we had met and the experiences we were so lucky to have enjoyed. He called the book ‘A Trip of a Lifetime’. It sure was! What we didn’t know was that respected Skippers and Captains were whispering ‘they’ll never make it – not in a vessel that size”. We proved them wrong!

With our 64 tonne prestigious riverboat in Echuca/Moama, we immediately decided this ‘Big Girl’ craved a much wider and diverse part of the river, from where Alan had so skilfully cruised from, steering uncontrollably through the Bitchum Pups, narrowly missing jutting out massive pipes just centimetres from our two storey boat windscreens. It was a huge endeavour with a skipper, navigator and man looking out for river markers so that we would not hit reefs and sandbars. We knew that in the past, in these waters, others had not been so lucky. Ten hours per day we drove across three States and back down stream again to where the river was wider, and ‘at pool level,’ controlled by Locks, where the locals were friendlier and the sunsets more magical.

We had enjoyed our trip so much with our majestic ‘Royalty of the River,’ we thought it prudent to give others the opportunity that we had experienced to cruise the Murray in style and grace. And so, after having been retired for 20 years, we decided to launch ourselves into the corporate world again and offer our opulent River Dream Boatel to adventurers and explorers much like ourselves.

Today, after being awarded multiple ‘Achievement Awards for Excellence in Customer Service,’ by our guests and by industry reviewers, we are proud and passionate to welcome others who appreciate the finer things in life to explore the magic of Australia’s most iconic River Murray in absolute luxury onboard our River Dream Boatel.

Alan and Cheryl King.

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