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Reasons why the Murray River region should be on your bucket list

25 June 2023

The Murray River is Australia’s longest and most important river system. In fact it is the third longest river in the world. The Mighty Murray is home to some of the best river cruising in the world. You can experience all the below activities whilst cruising along the river.

With it’s natural beauty, bushland, outback, riverland, native flora and fauna, wineries and breweries and everything in between there are so many reasons why the Murray River region should be on your bucket list.

World Heritage Listed

The Murray River in Australia is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the name “Murray–Darling Basin”. The basin, which spans four states (New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory) is of immense cultural and ecological significance, and is the primary source of water for over one million Australians. The Basin is of profound spiritual significance to the local Aboriginal peoples. It is an important area for recreation, fishing and tourism. The listings outlines the natural and cultural values of the Murray–Darling Basin, with particular focus on its unique wetlands, the River’s role in the Australian and global hydrologic cycle, its species diversity and the cultural values of the basin’s Aboriginal peoples.

Lots of wine

Day tour on Murray Princess Cruise

The Murray River runs through 6 wine regions! You can experience a variety of styles, tastes, landscape & cultures. The most commonly grown varieties in the region are Chardonnay, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon & Mediterranean varieties. The Rutherglen region is known for rich wines deep with soul & character. Echuca Moama wineries are home to unique cellar door experiences with opportunities to meet the local wine makers. Swan Hill is home to crisp wines and full-bodied reds. The Mildura region is home to over 34 wineries with small- and large-scale facilities.

The Murray River region has many award-winning wineries, breweries and distilleries to spend an afternoon in and unwind. It’s definitely a great reason why the Murray River region should be on your bucket list!

Local produce & dining

The Murray River region is part of Australia’s food bowl and is a foodie paradise. The fertile soil produces purple garlic, pink salt, heirloom tomatoes, free-range pork, olives, organic honey and a rainbow of fruit & vegetables. The Murray River Bridge Farmers Markets open every Saturday and features a variety of stalls selling local produce from fruit & veg, organic lamb and freshly baked bread. You can also enjoy a satisfying farmer’s breakfast with a freshly brewed coffee.

The dining options available in The Murray region have grown over the last few years. With an abundance of high-quality produce you can enjoy fine dining or meal options that provide a sample of modern Australian, Asian or Mediterranean flavours.  Dinner by the river, the Mighty Murray River is a must on all travel bucket lists! Have a look at the dining options available here.

Culture

The Murray River region is one of Australia’s oldest living cultural areas. For thousands of years the Murray River brought an abundance to the tribes that thrived off its banks. The river, known as Dhungala in traditional language, winds through Yorta Yorta, Wamba Wamba and Barapa Barapa Traditional Lands. The region is full of artefacts from the past. Scarred trees, shell middens, cooking mounds, burial grounds, marker trees and sacred sites to name a few.

The Ngaut Ngaut Aboriginal Reserve is one of Australia’s most important archaeological sites. Take a walk through Aboriginal dreaming and culture, leaving you in awe of the resourcefulness of the first nations people. Climb the boardwalk on a guided tour through the majestic cliff of an ancient seabed. You will view one of the most pristine stretches of the Murray River. When touring the lower section ancient rock carvings are revealed with the top section displaying remnants of indigenous tools and habitation. Two of our cruises, the Murray Princess 7 Night Upper Murraylands Cruise and Proud Mary 5 Night Cruise stop at this amazing cultural site.

Water sports

The Murray River region boasts a year-round water-skiing system. Enjoy an adrenaline filled experience and join other BYO-boaters or enjoy lessons in one of the many riverside towns. If you prefer to paddle you could tackle the level five rapids with local adventure operators or paddle at your own pace on a guided tour taking in the pristine environment and enjoy picnic spots. Float through the backwaters, creeks and lagoons on dedicated kayak or canoe trails along the Murray River.

National Park

The Murray River National Park is located in the Upper Murray region of New South Wales, Australia. It is a vast and remote park, featuring spectacular river red gum forests, sweeping views, and an incredible diversity of plants and animals. It offers great opportunities for camping, bushwalking, four-wheel driving, bird watching, fishing, boating, and nature observation. There are a handful of facilities, including picnic areas, toilets, barbecues, and designated camping areas. Boat launches and amenities are scattered throughout the park.

Fishing

The Murray River Basin is home to over 46 species of native fish including Murray Cod, Callop, Catfish, Bream, Macquarie, Perch & Redfin. When fishing in the Murray River you must hold a NSW fishing licence even when in Victoria as the Murray River is classed as NSW waters. The river offers fishing opportunities from both on the bank and by boat. The best fishing conditions happen during a period of stable flow after an increase in flow. Due to the extreme variation in success at differing locations and times it is advised that avid fisherman should seek further advice.

Wildlife

Kangaroos on an Adelaide Day Tour

Wildlife along the Murray River is diverse and unique. There are numerous bird species (including waterfowl, waders, shorebirds, raptors, seabirds and passerines) which can be seen in the river’s wetlands and along its banks. This makes it an ideal location for bird watching enthusiasts.

There are also many amphibian and reptile species found in the area, including endangered and vulnerable species such as the Southern Bell Frog, Murray Short-necked Turtle and the Common Wombat. Fish species such as Trout Cod, Murray Cod, Silver Perch and Eastern Freshwater Cod can be found in the river. The Murray River is also home to water-based mammals such as Platypus, Long-nosed Potoroo, Pygmy Possums, River Rats and Water Rats. Along the banks of the river, koalas, wallabies, emus, possums and kangaroos can be found. If you want to view these amazing animals in their natural habitat, then this is one reason why the Murray River region should be on your bucket list.

Flora

The Murray River has some of the most beautiful and iconic riverside vegetation in Australia. It features a diverse array of native plants. Some examples include the river red gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis), reed grasses (Phragmites australis), water ribbons (Triglochin procera), watermilfoils (Myriophyllum), mug tea-trees (Leptospermum lanigerum), sweet pittosporums (Acacia obliquinervia), and giant coolamons (Grasstree).

Cruise

Murray Princess sailing on the Murray River

The most popular way to visit the Murray River region is on board a Murray River boat cruise. There are 3 different and unique Murray River boats to choose from:

The PS Murray Princess is the largest inland paddle wheeler in the southern hemisphere. Built specifically for the Murray River, The PS Murray Princess offers three, four and seven-night cruise along the iconic river system, each departing from the idyllic town of Mannum, located in the Murray River, Lakes and Coorong region.

The Proud Mary was built back in 1982, inspired by the vessels that cruise the legendary Mississippi in the United States of America. The boat features 18 river view cabins, each with ensuites and access to outdoor balcony areas. The Proud Mary offers two and five-night cruises, as well as two-hour lunches on Mondays and Fridays. All tours depart from Murray Bridge, in the Murray River, Lakes and Coorong region.

The majestic vessel, The PS Emmylou, is the world’s only wood-fired cruising paddle steamer offering regular scheduled accommodated river cruises. PS Emmylou paddle steamer offers one to four-night boutique tours along the picturesque Murray River. It departs from the Upper Murray regional town of Echuca, located about two-and-a-half hours north of Melbourne. 

Now that you know all the amazing things the Mighty Murray River has to offer, book your cruise to explore Australia’s largest river system and marvel at its untouched beauty with Murray River Cruises. Step into a world of serenity and calm aboard one of the beautiful boats on the Murray River.