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When is the best time to travel on the Murray River?

28 October 2021
Murray River Dawn

Many people are asking when is the best time to cruise on the Murray River. The short answer is all year round – it is beautiful, and each season has something to offer.

Murray River cruises run all year round; despite popular belief, the conditions are ideal for river cruising in both the hottest and coolest months of the year. 

The lower Murray River experiences beautiful long summer days between December, January, and February. Enjoy daylight until around 8.30 pm and temperatures between 16C and 34C. This may sound a little warm for some people, however with the cool breeze as you meander up the mighty Murray River, there is a natural cooling effect on board. All cabins on overnight cruises have an air-conditioning unit, so you can set your cabin for the temperature that suits you. It also provides a great reason to enjoy a cool drink with your fellow travellers on deck. 

Autumn and Spring along the Murray River does not vary as much as you may think from Summer and Winter conditions. Autumn temperatures from March to May range from a low of 5C to a high of 27C. When Spring comes around in September, October, and November, the temperature range is 5C to 25C. 

If you choose to travel in Winter, in the months of June, July, and August, the temperature ranges from 2C to 17C, and the days are much shorter, with daylight until 4:30 pm. You will need a jacket in winter, and most of the rainfall occurs in winter, although the area is regarded as dry with low levels of rainfall. 

These wonderful holiday weather conditions also ensure there is a range of local produce, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, olives, and nuts, from local agricultural land.  Amazing river red gum forests, wetlands teeming with birdlife, native wildlife such as eastern quolls, kangaroos, platypus, sugar gliders, wallabies, koalas, ringtail possums, and quaint river towns to explore. With so much to do and see in the area, there are a number of add-on trips or day tours to enjoy while in the area. 

You might even decide to cruise along the Upper and Lower Murray River to get the two different experiences. It is a very different river along the Upper Murray River at the Echuca/Moama end to the Lower Murray River and the Adelaide end.

Travelling in school holidays?

Many people say they prefer not to travel in the school holidays. We get it, you may want to cruise that is relaxed and quiet. However, you may want to consider a school holiday river cruise in Australia as they are very different from the Ocean Cruise ships where kids clubs is the main selling point. The overnight cruises on the Murray River do not offer kids clubs or kid-centric activities, and you won’t get phone service in some places! As a result,, the people you are cruising with are the same sort of happy retiree or adult family groups all year round. Murray River Cruises are ideal for having a family holiday with elderly parents or getting together with a group of friends. 

What to pack?

It is suggested that you pack a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, and some long-sleeved shirts for sun protection while cruising on the Murray River. Packing a jacket for the cooler days and nights ensures you are comfortable, whatever the weather conditions. Bring some comfortable walking shoes to explore the area when the boat stops a log of the river. You may want to throw in some swimmers for the summer months, as you can swim in selected locations along your cruise. Always check with the crew before jumping in, as they will know the best places to swim along the Murray River.