An unassuming city in regional Victoria (population: over 70,000), Mildura doesn’t get nearly the amount of attention it deserves. Here you’ll find foodie and drinks experiences to rival those of a major city (it’s known as the centre of Victoria’s Food Bowl), as well as dozens of activities that take advantage of its location on the banks of the Murray River, as well as a short driving distance (1.5 hours) from World Heritage-listed Mungo National Park. Swing by its cellar doors for wine tastings, get competitive at go-karts or putt-putt or hire a houseboat, kayak or canoe to see its Riverfront by water. Whether it’s nature, adventure or good food and wine you’re after, Mildura has the scenery, activities and eateries to suit.
Mildura is a six-hour drive from Melbourne, a 10.5-hour drive from Sydney and a 4.5-hour drive from Adelaide. The city has its own airport with direct flights from Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. Not keen to drive? V/Line has an overnight coach from Melbourne to Mildura, leaving from Southern Cross Station, as well as a train service from Melbourne to Swan Hill Station that then transfers to coach.
While summers in Mildura can get hot (the average temperature is 26 degrees) and winters can get pretty chilly (average is 10 degrees), overall the climate here is dry with clear skies. Come in autumn to see the fall foliage. Or time your visit to coincide with one of the city’s festivals, Mildura Summer Festival and Mildura Writers Festival.
Stretching for over 2500 kilometres, the Murray River is Australia’s longest river. And Mildura capitalises on its location along it with plenty of water-based activities. Step aboard one of Mildura Paddle Steamers’ historic vessels Paddle Steamer Melbourne, Paddle Boat Mundoo and Paddle Vessel Rothbury for a lunch, dinner or winery cruise. Prefer to go at it on your own? Hire a canoe or kayak from Wild Side Outdoors or a paddleboard, pedal boat or tinny from Mildura Dockside Marina. Kids will enjoy the water jets at Mildura Water Play Park, located on Hugh King Drive, overlooking the river.
Mildura is home to five wineries, all with cellar doors. Chateau Mildura is the oldest, established in 1888. Trentham Estate has a restaurant where you can dine on the seasonal fare on its lawns or the balcony. And Sunraysia Cellar Door has over 250 wines, as well as olive oils, dried fruit and coffee. Oak Valley Estate and Lindeman’s Wines are also worth visiting. More of a beer fan? Drop by Mildura Brewery to taste its homemade brews. Tucked into a former theatre, the venue is also open for lunch or dinner. Prefer spirits? Swing by Fossey’s, a boutique distillery making gins, whiskeys and vodkas.
When it comes to family-friendly fun, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Mildura. Sink balls in holes at Putt-Putt Fun Centre, an 18-hole miniature golf course, swim at Mildura, ride a train through an orchard and avocado canopy and taste freshly-squeezed orange juice at Orange World and get an understanding of how boats and paddle steamers pass through different sections of Murray River at Mildura Weir and Lock 11.
After some history and culture? For insight into the area’s history, tour Rio Vista Historic House, considered to be Mildura’s most important heritage building. And arts and culture-wise, check out contemporary art at gallery The Art Vault, an exhibition or play at Mildura Arts Centre or a sculpture or installation at the centre’s Sculpture Park.
The city is also filled with countless park areas, perfect for morning or afternoon strolls. Walk along the water on the 4.2-kilometre-long Majestic Murray River Walk. Amble past the old railway yards and a grand homestead now used to display local artwork on the 2.2-kilometre-long Town to Rio Vista Walk. And stride from the Mildura CBD to Arts Centre via the Riverfront on a 3.5-kilometre-long walk, stopping at the many shops and cafés along the way. For more shopping, visit the Sunraysia Farmers Market, which falls on the first and third Saturday morning of every month.
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For a luxury stay, consider four-bedroom holiday home Riverside Luxury Retreat, which has direct access to the Murray River; Indulge Luxury Homes’s properties Marina 4, Dockside Marina or cottage Olive Avenue; or The Frames with its three luxury retreats (Pastiche, Montage and Collage), each with their own heated pool. The Stables on Olive, a two-person holiday home, and Quality Hotel Mildura Grand, with a resort-style pool, are also on the premium end.
The city also has plenty of affordable, yet still comfortable motels, such as Kar-Rama Motor Inn, Mildura Plaza Motor Inn and Seven Pines Motor Inn. If you’re up for a really different kind of holiday, book a houseboat with Mildura Houseboats Hire or All Seasons Houseboats.
Mildura and its surrounds are teeming with holiday parks, some conveniently on the shores of the river. Closest to the city centre are Big4 NRMA Mildura Holiday Park, Apex RiverBeach Holiday Park, Sun City Caravan Park and Desert City Holiday Park.
While you can camp at any of the above caravan parks and others nearby, it’s also worth looking at campsites in Mungo National Park, a park best known for its moon-like landscapes and rich Aboriginal history. Main Camp is close to many of the park’s attractions, while Belah Camp, along Mungo Track, is more remote. If you don’t want to bring your own tent, hire a bunk bed at Shearers’ Quarters. Visit Mungo Visitor Centre in the park for an introduction to the area and more information.
You’ll find most of Mildura’s restaurants and pubs lining Langtree Avenue. Of note is Stefano’s. Opened by celebrity cook and microbrewer Stefano de Pieri and his wife Donata Carrazza, the restaurant is easily the most well-known in Mildura. Settle into its exposed brick interiors inside the Quality Hotel Mildura Grand to tuck into its award-winning, authentic Italian washed down with its specialty wines from South Australia.
Brass Monkey Kitchen + Coffee was inspired by south-east Asian street food. Andy’s Kitchen also serves Asian cuisine. And at The Spanish Grill, you’ll find wood-fired grill meals and steaks. For breakfast, head to blk mlk Speciality Coffee, Two Black Sheep Café or Langtree Café.
Start your trip to Mildura with a visit to the Mildura Visitor Information Centre on Deakin Avenue where you’ll get an overview of the activities and tours on offer. Choose from day tours with Discover Mildura or a guided eco-adventure with Wild Side Outdoors. Hop on a 4WD bus tour with Murray Offroad Adventures. Or cruise along the Murray River all the way to the towns of Goolwa or Echuca on a multi-day journey with Spirit Australia Cruises.
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