A Murray cruise, sculptures in Sydney, sports at The Star and a new north coast waterpark

The stately Murray Princess paddlewheeler carries 120 passengers.
The stately Murray Princess paddlewheeler carries 120 passengers.

The pandemic hiatus in European river cruising has turned the spotlight on our home-grown waterways - king among them, the mighty Murray. And the story of the PS Murray Princess' forbears is an extraordinary one.

The Murray Princess is a true paddle-wheeler - the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, carrying 120 passengers proudly through the Outback. But how did paddlesteamers get on the Murray?

William Randell (1824-1911) was the first man to put a paddleboat on the river. In 1853 he built and sailed the Mary Ann from the spot where the South Australian town of Mannum now stands.

With two carpenters to help, Randell made a careful choice of timber from the hills around the family's mill at Gumeracha. They used bullock-teams to drag the logs to the spot where they were to be cut into planks by pitsaw. A faithful replica of the Mary Ann now sits at Mannum Dock Museum alongside the Murray Princess.

The Murray Princess has dominated the river for decades. Imagine Holidays is handling amazing cruises on the Princess.

Sculpture by the Q

Sydney's Sculpture by the Sea might have been called off for this year, but luckily there is a new oceanside sculpture exhibition. Q Station in Manly will host the inaugural Les Sculptures Refusées, which is modelled on the SH Ervin Gallery's Salon des Refusés, which shows the so-called "rejects" for the Archibald Prize.

The free exhibition runs till November 19. Visit for the sculptures and stay for the tea-infused cocktails and high teas from the new G Tea House (open weekends only).

Explore more: qstation.com

Kick off at The Star

The Star Sydney is ready to celebrate some of 2020's best sporting moments, including the Melbourne Cup and footy finals.

Catch all the hype, buzz and action of the AFL and NRL finals seasons live on the massive LED screen at the 24/7 Sports Bar. There will be guest appearances from Jamie Soward on October 17 and, for the NRL grand final, Luke Pattern on October 25.

Three Star restaurants - Sokyo, Black Bar Grill and Flying Fish - are hosting Melbourne Cup lunches on November 3. Start with a glass of Moet and feast on the likes of Wagyu steak and Moreton Bay bugs, with menus starting from $130 per head.

Fancy staying on for the night at The Star? New packages, called Starcations, have also been released. Designed especially for locals, Starcations start from $219 per night.

Explore more: star.com.au

Darlington Beach makes a splash

Just north of Coffs Harbour, NRMA Darlington Beach Holiday Resort has unveiled a new $1.1 million waterpark.

The fun starts with a dumper bucket and giant leaf rain-shower, a tower with two waterslides, paddle pools and spray tunnels to run through. The waterpark is centrally located within the resort and designed as a safe space for all ages.

The new addition is part of NRMA Parks and Resorts ongoing investment across several of its holiday parks.

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