Pride of the Murray’s new home a cruising hub

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Tickets booked: Richard Kinnon says bookings for a cruise on the Pride of the Murray have been outstanding. Photo by Contributed

The new home of the Pride of the Murray is about to become one of Australia’s biggest cruising hubs.

The arrival of the Pride of the Murray to the Thomson River is expected to help the area attract nearly 28,000 travellers.

Richard Kinnon was surprised by the new status.

“If you’d said to me a year ago that dusty, old Longreach would become a cruising hub in Australia, I would have laughed, but after all the coverage and people seeing her on the way up from Echuca, we’ve been overwhelmed with bookings,” Mr Kinnon said.

“It feels as though everyone who saw her on the road wants to come up to see how she looks back in the water after some restoration work.

“The response has been record-breaking.

“We’ve taken bookings this week for two years out.

“The Pride of the Murray ‘Lido’ deck might not have a spa like those big ships, but she makes up for that in stories and history.

“Imagine if these decks could talk. From the deck you look across Australia’s striking outback and most magic rivers.”

The Pride had her first cruise on Saturday afternoon, 30 boat specialists working on the vessel to prepare her.

The team painstakingly re-corked and tarred the entire giant hull by hand using a 2000-year-old boat technique still used today.

“The Pride of the Murray now looks as good as the day she was first launched,” Mr Kinnon said.

“She has undergone full safety checks; the paint has been touched up and she’s had a clean and polish throughout.

“The team has worked from dawn to dusk and in 10 days it ensured the Pride of the Murray was ship-shape to welcome her first passengers aboard (on Saturday).”