Go with the flow on the mighty Murray
Culinary delights, sparkling waters and endless summer sun on the Murray.
Here are eight great reasons why you should explore the winding waterways of Australia's longest river – the Murray.
There's a full range of cellar door experiences to be had in the Murray. Along the river from Albury Wodonga to Mildura, you can visit massive international operations or go totally off the grid. Head to historic Rutherglen, for a taste of the rich reds, crisp whites and iconic fortified wines that the region is renowned for. Or dip into smaller, family-run wineries for a glass of great grape, paired with fabulous food.
Treat yourself to fresh Murray region fare. Dine on four courses of seasonal rustic Italian dishes from celebrated Mildura chef Stefano de Pieri, the local culinary hero behind the Gondola on the Murray book and television series. Pair delicious dishes with riverside views at The Riverdeck Cafe in Albury and the Lake Cafe and Deck in Yarrawonga. Or keep it casual with a wood-fired pizza by the water at Cape Horn Winery in Echuca Moama. In Swan Hill, taste delicious local produce at Spoons Riverside or enjoy multiple courses with local wine at the acclaimed Miss Amelie in Wodonga. Make brunch a virtuous affair with healthy, all-plant-based dishes at Sweet Meadow in Echuca.
Houseboats and paddle steamers
Step on board an iconic Murray houseboat. These floating homes come appointed with all kinds of holiday necessities, including hammocks and outdoor spas. Not sure if you're skipper material? All you need to operate a houseboat is a current driver licence and a quick course from an operator. Or let someone else take the helm on a historic Murray River paddle steamer cruise. Options include scenic, lunch or dinner cruises or mult-day trips from two to seven nights. Australia has the most active paddle steamers in the world, and Victoria's biggest fleet is at the Port of Echuca – hop aboard and relive your favourite moments from All The Rivers Run.
From towering river red gums to flourishing wetlands and intriguing desert landscapes, the Murray is teeming with native wildlife. Explore the beautiful national parks to see curious kangaroos and sleepy koalas in their natural bushland habitat. Keep an eye out for the elusive platypus bobbing near the banks at dusk.
Take advantage of the Murray's year-round ski season with an adrenaline-fuelled water-skiing experience. Join the many BYO-boaters or sign up for lessons in riverside towns. Prefer to paddle? Tackle Level 5 rapids with local adventure operators or paddle at your own pace on a solo or guided trip through pristine natural landscapes with picnic-perfect pit-stops.
Go for double helpings of the best from Victoria's food bowl: fresh fruit and vegetables, gourmet cheeses, nuts and excellent freshwater fish. Follow the Farm Gate Trail or choose your own culinary adventure and stock up at provedores and cellar doors, roadside stalls and farmers markets.
With more than 40 golf courses in the region, it's always tee time along the Murray. Spend sunny days on lush fairways and sleek greens with views of Murray River Red Gums. Follow in the footsteps of hometown hero Stuart Appleby at Cohuna Golf Course and five-time British Open champion Peter Thomson, who helped design courses at Thurgoona, Yarrawonga Mulwala and Echuca Moama.
Cactus Country in Strathmerton is home to more than 10,000 varieties of cacti and succulents. Get snap-happy on a self-guided tour through the gardens and head indoors for cactus cake and sombrero tomfoolery. Catch a glimpse of Australian native animals at Kyabram Fauna Park. Located two minutes from Kyabram's town centre, the 55ha park is home to more than 600 species, including koalas, quolls, brolgas and even crocodiles. Step back in time at the Pioneer settlement in Swan Hill, an open-air museum which depicts life as an early settler. Stock up on old-fashioned lollies from the General Store, wander the Golden Harvest Trail and dress up in costume for a fun, family photograph. Continue the history lesson at Echuca Port and Discovery Centre, where you can walk in the footsteps of the town's river pioneers through entertaining tours and interactive displays.