Tailem Bend

The South Australian town of Tailem Bend on the banks of the lower Murray is an absolutely fascinating place for grey nomads to visit … and to stay.

Sitting at the junction of the Dukes and Princes Highways about 100 kilometres southeast of Adelaide, the town was created when the railway arrived in 1886.

The historic station, which once served as once a significant junction point, closed in 1999 … but now houses a fascinating memorabilia-filled, volunteer-run Rail Museum.

While the station itself is closed, freight trains and interstate passenger trains still pass through the town of about 1,700 or so.

Murray ferry at Tailem Bend
Tailem bend

A children’s play area features a historic steam locomotive. PIC: SA Tourism

For rail enthusiasts, a trip to the children’ playground might also be in order to see the historic RX Class Steam Locomotive which came into service in 1913.

The other must-see for history buffs is Australia’s largest pioneer village, Old Tailem Town, which has 110 buildings offering a glimpse into what life was like here from 1860 onwards.

While to children, it may seem like something out of a history book, the Tailem Bend to Jervois Punt is very much operational and ferries visitors and cars across the Murray to the small settlement of Jervois 24 hours a day.

The Bend Motorsport Park

The Bend Motorsport park is a popular attraction. PIC: SA Tourism

The ferry is needed because there is no bridge here, one of the last towns on the Murray before it merges into Lake Alexandrina.

There are several great spots to enjoy a picnic by the river, or throw in a line, including Fred’s Landing and Dickson Reserve. There are also some beautiful walks along the river, and some wonderful drives. The town, after all, is sometimes referred to as the gateway to the Limestone Coast.

Away from its historical interest and natural beauty, Tailem Bend has put itself in the map for another reason in recent years … it’s the home of the Bend Motorsport Park, which offers ‘revheads’ some serious entertainment with its racing circuit, as well as rally and offroad tracks.

Tailem Bend serves as the commercial centre for the surrounding Mallee area and boasts a wide range of shops and services, as well as several excellent caravan parks close to the Murray, including the BIG4 The Bend which is within walking distance of the Bend Motorsport Park.

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