It starts as a tiny stream located within the Australian Alps region of New South Wales … from there it flows through some of this country’s most stunning regions, taking the scenic route all the way to the Southern Ocean, near Adelaide in South Australia. Travelling through the land with ease, for a distance of 2520 kilometres, it is a natural beauty that is as enchanting as it is endearing. There truly is something special about the Murray River.
If you want to experience a journey that is completely unique, that will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed, and that will truly take you into the depths of nature, The Murray River has everything you could ever want – and much more.
The Murray River, also known as the Murray Mallee, has many regions, but there are 5 landscapes that sum up “The Mighty Murray” – From the Mountains, to the Steep Banks & River Gums, the Mallee and Outback, and Golden Limestone Cliffs, to the Plains, Lakes and Mouth - each of these landscapes is teaming with diverse and contrasting scenery, wildlife and locals.
“There was movement at the station for the word had passed around ...” ... who doesn’t know that fantastic poem written by Banjo Patterson that was inspired by a local stockman Patterson met on the Murray River? Not only is it a great verse, but it was also the inspiration behind the ever popular Man from Snowy River Australian TV show in the 1990s. Or, perhaps you were one of the many Australians who watched in awe, admiring the beauty of the landscapes in the 1980s TV show All the Rivers Run, which was filmed along the Murray River. If you have ever fallen in love, or admired, either of these, you have fallen in love with the Murray. And what an amazing and inspiring place it is!!
The Murray River is the 16th largest river in the world and has been around for 40 million years, when forces of water and geophysical uplifting caused the valley to take shape. As the river journeys from State to State, it is not alone and it feeds from both the Darling River (which starts in Queensland and ends on the Murray at Wentworth) and the Murrumbidgee River.
It is the third longest navigable river, following the Amazon and the Nile, and of the 2520 kilometres, there are 1986 kilometres from Goolwa to Yarrawonga that you can travel along without any problems. You will travel through three states along the Murray – from New South Wales, through Victoria (along the border between the two) and into South Australia. Take a houseboat out for a few weeks and float your way along from one end to the other, or you can choose a faster path if you wish to see more in less time, grab a hire car (or your own if you live nearby) and take a drive along the river’s edge. You can drive from one end to the other, and detour to some of the amazing towns and villages, national parks and natural wonders along the way.
This is exactly what I did. While you could start and end much further out than I did, my journey started in Mildura (in Victoria, around an hour from the South Australian border) and I worked my way East towards the mountains of New South Wales, before flying home from Albury. Although I missed out on the South Australian trail along the Murray River, I have no doubt it is well worth exploring if you get the chance. From Renmark, around 1.5 hours from Mildura, to Lake Alexandrina near Goolwa, where the river finally makes its final leg of the journey into the ocean, the South Australian Murray River landscape is teaming with billabongs, golden limestone cliffs, gorgeous villages, national parks and even fossils dating back millions of years.
For 12 days I drove along the highway – following the Sturt Highway to Robinvale, then the B400 gets you all the way to Albury from there – where it seems overtaking lanes simply don’t exist. I stopped at the towns and villages, chatted with the locals and met some colourful characters, admired the beauty of both the river and the environment surrounding the waterways, had a history lesson and was enchanted with the heritage that exists in this beautiful area.
In short, in 12 days I fell in love with the Murray River.