Located on the Sturt Highway 177 klm from Adelaide
on the Murray River
, Waikerie is 'The Citrus Centre of Australia
' partly because it is in the heart of South Australia
's rich Riverland district.
It is a small town sitting on the cliffs above the Murray River
and surrounded by both citrus and stone fruits - apricots, peaches, pears and plums and vineyards
The town itself is located a few kilometres off the Sturt Highway. It is worth diverting for the views across the Murray River
which has carved its way through the landscape. Waikerie is more interesting than most of the towns along the Murray River
. The local council, with a good sense of fun, have provided garbage bins in the shape of oranges to reflect the prevailing local industry. There are also a considerable number of attractive sandstone
buildings and, at the top of the main street, is a huge diesel engine in a small park. Particularly impressive, take Goodchild Street off Peake Terrace, is the Scenic Lookout which is perched on top of the cliffs and offers excellent views across the Murray (with the ferry far below) and also of the large chimney which is now protected by order of the National Trust.Waikerie has an international reputation as an ideal gliding centre. The air is dry and the thermals are ideal. It has actually hosted the world gliding competition.
The world gliding championships were held in 1974 and despite the first two days being lost to rainy weather, it then produced the greatest number of flyable competition days that had ever occurred in a world gliding competition - ten days in a row. The shy Swiss born Australian, Ingo Renner, was leading in his standard class, 15m wingspan, glider at the start of the last day, and had every chance of becoming Australia
's first world champion. Unfortunately a problem developed with his air-brakes and he was beaten into second position by a German competitor, Helmut Reichmann.
Waikerie is the home of another famous Australian glider pilot, Malcolm Jinks. Malcolm started flying gliders as a teenager at the Waikerie Gliding Club, and then over a period of about 25 years won the Australian Nationals about twenty times! He flew a very impressive and large open class glider, called a Nimbus.