There’s nothing quite like waking up with the sunrise to the gentle rocking of the Murray River, birds chirping nearby. In all honesty, I normally hate birds and get terribly seasick, but this early morning wake-up call can only be likened to a dream come true – so peaceful, and after a stressful week, the perfect ending.
“Having a pelican watch you shower from the deck is a peculiar occurrence, but Chris tells me I’m just holding on a little too tight.”
With a delightfully comfortable double bed, living space and kitchen just big enough for two, and an outdoor deck featuring a barbecue and picturesque views at all hours of the day and night, Bill’s is the perfect location for a romantic getaway or a peaceful solo escape.
From the moment you step on board, you completely switch off, unwind and are set to indulge in a relaxing experience unlike any other.
I turn my phone off to truly take advantage of the serenity.
Built in early 2016 by Chris Clarke, the boathouse has been designed for ecological living but doesn’t scrimp on luxuries (there’s all the mod-cons like heating/cooling, kitchenette and comfy spaces to hang out including a two-person hammock).
It came about through Chris’ search for a healthier lifestyle – he developed the building concept in such a way that the hut could be assembled on any river or lake and survive sustainably.
With each feature first considered for its ecological merit and footprint – from the base board on which the unit is built right through to the paint on the walls – a wide range of locally sourced, non-toxic materials have been used.
You can feel how powerful those seemingly simple design choices are as you take a deep breath in; the air really does seem cleaner and each night I sleep better than I have in a very long time.
To test it out, Chris lived aboard the eco-unit for a couple of months (who can blame him for wanting to give it a lengthy test run?). Asked his favourite part of staying at Bill’s and he struggles to limit it beyond the overall experience.
“The way it all combines together: the way the sun comes up in the right place, and the sun falls through the windows, and you can have a shower with the window down… it’s the way the space connects to the surrounding environment.”
On that note, I broach one of the most interesting concepts in the space: the sliding window in the shower that allows you to literally open up to nature if you so choose.
I remained open minded and gave it a crack. The result? Having a pelican watch you shower from the deck is a peculiar occurrence, but Chris tells me I’m just holding on a little too tight. Perhaps that’s true.
“The pods have a small area and we needed to open them up. We tossed up between indoor and outdoor showers, but this was the cleanest, easiest and most cost-effective way to do it. We needed the confined space to breathe.”
You can also bathe on the deck looking out onto the water. That isn’t quite my cup of tea, but whatever works for you, I say.
For some inspiration to get you through the day, the walls were filled with tiny thoughtful musings, colourful textures and detailed patterns that make this artist delight.
But the real winner is Bill’s clever design: Bill’s Boathouse and his neighbour, The Cube, are test subjects for a more versatile field of tourism stays, and their modular designs can be packed up on a truck and moved within a day if need be. It’s smart architecture, but here’s hoping that never needs to happen.
A few tips to make the most of your stay:
- Bask in the early morning sun with an oversized mug of coffee or herbal tea – you’ll need two hands to drink it so don’t bother taking your phone with you.
- Bring a book you haven’t started, chances are you’ll finish it here.
- If you feel the need to get active, the canoes are an excellent way to explore.
- At night, as the fairy lights glow among the coloured flags, enjoy a nice glass of red as you sink into the beanbags and watch the moon reflect over the water.
We stayed at Bill’s complimentary of Murray Bridge Marina – Camping and Caravan Park.
Got a favourite SA getaway? Let us know in the comments, below.