Forget man-made boundaries, the mighty Murray River is a natural boundary that connects Australia’s three south-eastern states. From its source in the NSW Snowy Mountains it forms much of the border with Victoria before flowing into the sea at Goolwa in South Australia. Each state has its own Murray Region, but here’s five of the things I love most about this beautiful waterway across all three states.
Do ‘Love Life’ Houseboat, Mannum (SA)
Being ON the river is the way to experience it. Ochre cliffs reflect the setting sun and corellas in gnarled river gums herald sunrise. Birdlife abounds – egrets, ibis, cormorants, pelicans, ducks, swans and swooping swallows. Houseboats come in many forms, ‘Love Life’ is certainly one of the most luxurious.
Stay Steam Packet Inn, Echuca (VIC)
Crucial to early river trade, the port of Echuca is now home to restored sight-seeing paddle steamers. The old wharf area is a small living museum, well-preserved historic buildings are labelled with info plaques, and this comfortable waterside inn, built in 1879, offers good B&B.
Eat Stefano’s, Mildura (VIC)
I love Italian food for its simple, delicious flavours and genuine hospitality. This rustic yet elegant cellar restaurant nails both. Add some great wine matches, many local from unusual varietals, and a short walk upstairs to the comfortable Mildura Grand Hotel when it’s over, and I’m one happy traveller.
Drink Pfeiffer Wines, Rutherglen (VIC)
The warm wine region around Rutherglen produces some of Australia’s best fortified wines. At their rustic creek-side winery, Robyn and Chris Pfeiffer produce Seriously Fine (fino-style) and Seriously Nutty (amontillado-style) as well as award-winning muscat and topaque (previously tokay).
Natural History Mungo National Park (NSW)
Not exactly on the river, but just 90km north-east of Mildura, this World Heritage listed site is a haunting landscape of sand dunes and dry lake beds. Some of the world’s oldest ritually-buried human remains have been found here, dating back over 40,000 years.