From houseboats and pink lakes to sandboarding rust-colour sand dunes and tasting local whisky, this part of Australia has it all.
Besides snacks, podcasts and energy drinks, all good road trips have three key elements; amazing scenery, unique attractions, and comfortable, modern places to stay. The Murray River region boasts all three and more.
Tick a famous paddlesteamer ride off your bucketlist.
The longest river in Australia, the Murray, coils and meanders for 2500km from the Upper Murray in Victoria, to form the border with New South Wales and finish in South Australia’s Great Australian Bight.
As you would expect, there is a tonne of things to do along the Murray River (including putting at one of the 37 golf courses or sinking a line literally anywhere from the shore), but for something a little different, book in a few of these attractions to take your road trip to the next level.
1. Get a bird’s eye view of Lake Tyrrell pink salt lake
A spiritual site of the Wergaia traditional owners, Lake Tyrrell is a gloriously, expansive pink, violet and white salt-crusted basin. Seeing it from up on high with Murray Darling Scenic Flights is a must for any photography buff as it allows you to also experience the mirror effect when the surface perfectly reflects the sky. Not surprisingly, sunset tours are popular.
Take in the otherworldly scenes at Lake Tyrrell pink salt lake.
2. Take command of a luxury houseboat
If you fancy being called Captain, consider hiring out a houseboat from specialists in Echuca Moama or Mildura. You don’t need a boat license to drive (but if you prefer, they can offer pilot assistance) so you can feel free to explore the river at your leisure. They even have pet-friendly houseboats, or for something smaller, try a kayak, canoe or SUP board.
Don the captain’s hat onboard your own hired houseboat.
3. Visit the Walls of China in Mungo National Park
Not only are Mungo National Park’s Walls of China formations famous for their stark beauty, but they also tell of a time when large megafauna roamed these lands. The ancient lakebeds also reveal evidence of Indigenous culture dating back 36,000 years. Today, you can get up-close-and-personal from the wheel-chair accessible viewing platform and lookout.
Watch the sunset change the colours of the earth at Mungo’s Wall of China. (Image: Tyson Mayr)
4. Go sandboarding at Perry Sandhills
Located just six kilometres from the small border town of Wentworth, the Perry Sandhills are both starkly beautiful and rich in heritage. Formed over thousands of years and used as the backdrop for movies and TV, they are also extremely fun to ride down on a sandboard. Don’t own one? Hire one 40 minutes up the road at Intersport in Mildura.
Get your heart racing by sandboarding down Perry Sandhills. (Image: Tyson Mayr)
5. Hop on a mountain bike trail in Murray Valley Regional Park
This diverse regional park is home to Deniliquin and its three Mountain Bike Trails. The terrain is mostly flat, winding through the tranquil red gum forest, and you’ll find a trail with a length to suit you: a 7.6km, 12km or 15km loop. If you don’t have a bike strapped to your car, stop by the Deniliquin Visitor Centre and hire one for free.
Get on your bike in Murray Valley Regional Park. (Image: Ain Raadik)
6. Learn the art of weaving from the Wemba Wemba people
Hosted by the Yarkuwa Indigenous Knowledge Centre staff and Elders, this weaving workshop is hands-on so come prepared to be creative. Not only will you be instructed in the Wamba Wamba traditional weaving technique, but you’ll also begin to understand the importance of weaving in the local economy. Come away with a beautiful mityat (basket in Wamba Wamba).
7. Jump on a Paddlesteamer in Echuca
Arguably the most famous feature of the Murray River is the paddlesteamers that puff up and down its waters at Echuca. Travel in elegant, olden-day style as you take a long or short river cruise. Join the new sunset offering from Echuca Paddlesteamers to experience the river as the sky lights up pink and orange.
Jump on a river cruise with historic paddlesteamers, like the PS Pevensey.
8. Sizzle up a steak on your very own BBQ boat
A man–made reservoir, Lake Mulwala is famous for its clean, glassy water and eerie river red gums poking out of the surface like a Tim Burton film. Sure, you could water ski, kayak or windsurf this lake, but you could also hire a BBQ boat and cook up a feast out on the water with Lake Mulwala Barby Boats. No boat license is needed.
Fire up the BBQ on board a Lake Mulwala Barby Boat.
9. Sample some of Australia’s greatest whisky
Home of the Wiradjuri People, Corowa has a long and varied historical heritage, but these days it’s fast becoming recognised for its whisky. The Corowa Distilling Co is Australia’s first whisky distillery using locally grown ingredients. Housed in a heritage-listed 1920s flour mill, the distillery serves up world-class food and offers whisky tasting and behind-the-scenes tours.
Sip on Australia’s first whiskey with homegrown ingredients at Corowa Distilling Co.
10. Buy local at the Albury Wodonga Farmers Market
When you buy fresh vegetables, preserves, sourdough bread or even a pie at the Albury Wodonga Farmers Market, you’ll be buying directly from the local farmers, chefs and artisans from the Albury-Wodonga region. This popular market is held every Sunday. Our pick? The Peaks Artisan Cheesemakers, Ian’s Dumplings and the Hachibee Honey.
Pick up some Hachibee Honey at the farmer’s market.
Find out more and start planning your Murray River road trip at visitthemurray.com.au.