Berri is a stunning riverside township established in 1911 and settled by the explorer Charles Sturt.
The name Berri is from the Aboriginal Meri people whom first lived on this land and means ‘a wide bend in the river’.
Proclaimed a town in 1911, it remains one of the most important centres in the Riverland.
A stop-off in Berri is a must while on your Riverland adventure! A multi-cultural experience where you can enjoy riverside cafés and a stroll down the main street. If you are looking for some fun, come in November when the region’s largest outdoor festival, the Riverland Wine and Food Festival, is held on the picturesque riverbank and features the wine and produce of the region plus live music.
Climate and geography
Berri exists in a semi-arid location, and is surrounded by mallee scrub. Located 31 metres above sea level, Berri has a dry Mediterranean climate with seasonal temperatures a few degrees above Adelaide’s temperatures and weather patterns also similar to Adelaide.
Jan to Feb
River valley soils, mallee soils
Things to do, places to go
As one of the five main centres of the Riverland, there is plenty to do and see in and around Berri. While in town take a stroll down the main street and window shop the quaint local boutiques. Enjoy a coffee at the Visitor Centre located on the Berri Riverfront and pick up some local tips. Wander along the riverfront walk and enjoy the majesty of the river as it flows past as it has done since time began. Wineries (including the largest in the Southern Hemisphere), cellar doors, and local food producers abound in this area so take your pick of which to visit. The river itself also offers plenty of fun – waterskiing, river walks, and boating.
The Berri Visitors Centre shares a spot on the waterfront at the bottom of Vaughan Terrace with the Alba Café. This is a popular gathering point for Berri professionals and tourists alike, not undue to its waterfront location, alfresco dining and proximity to the visitor centre itself.
The river itself offers the opportunity to engage in plenty of fun including fishing, waterskiing, boating and swimming. A boat launching marina is located opposite the Berri caravan park on the waterfront. Martin’s Bend wetland offers educational walk and water sports and nearby is the “Katarapko” section of the Murray River National Park which is a popular area for camping, bushwalking, canoeing, birdwatching and looking at other native animals.
Vines were established in the Berri area as early as 1919, when the Soldier Settlement Bill brought many new Australians to the area and the Berri Co-operative winery and distillery was founded.
Today, Berri and its surrounding lands remain instrumental in the region’s wine producing psyche and many established wineries and vineyards call it home. Indeed Berri Estate, the largest winery and bottling facility in the Southern Hemisphere is located here.
Wine grape fruit is grown and produced in a warm, dry, Mediterranean climate featuring cool winters with some rain and warm, dry summers. Soils are diverse depending on where in the Berri region vines are located, and the proximity of the river. However, there are two main types. River valley soils on the lower ground are mostly loams and clay, while Mallee Soils on the higher grounds are windblown sand over lime and clay layers.
Both red and white, and traditional and alternative varieties can be found along this stretch of river and are grown with much success.
More about Berri
Berri was first explored by European settlers when Charles Sturt navigated the mighty Murray River. Both historically and in modern times it is one of the Riverland’s largest centres. A refuelling stop for paddle steamers, it was proclaimed a town in 1911 and remains one of the most important centres in the Riverland today.
With the arrival of irrigation in 1910, horticultural and viticultural endeavours began. Vineyards and fruit orchards were established, with the Murray River giving life and bounty to its ancient red loam. A distillery was established in 1918 and rail arrived in 1928. In 1943, “Berri Juices” (Berri Ltd) were first produced. By the 1950s, Berri (and other Riverland towns) dominated the local economy with fruit and their products. Horticulture – in particular oranges and grapes – is still strong in the area with some 3000 hectares of irrigated fruit orchards.