Murray River - The Mississippi of Australia
A diverse river landscape with historical pioneer villages accompanied by the melodious sound of a paddle steamer, excellent wines and local delicacies - Huckleberry Finn could hardly feel any more at home. A trip to the Murray River is a unique adventure of nature, culture and cuisine.
Geography - Australia's longest river
The Murray River has a length of over 2,500 kilometres, which makes it the longest river in Australia. Together with its tributary rivers, it constitutes the fourth largest river system on earth. It rises in the Snowy Mountains and crosses several climate zones (alpine, subtropical, temperate, dry) along the borders of the states of Victoria and New South Wales, through South Australia to the Indian Ocean. Its greatest tributaries are the Darling River and the Murrumbidgee River. They are part of the Murray-Darling Basin, which has an area of almost one million km².
Nature - A diverse river landscape
The course of the Murray River is characterised by a diverse nature. Travellers see gorges, cliffs, mountain ranges, vineyards, fruit gardens, pastures, wheat fields, shrubland, lakes and marshes along the river, which is almost 3,000 kilometres long. Many areas have an endemic flora and fauna, which consists of reptiles, kangaroos, wombats, wallabies, emus, pelicans and cormorants as well as of eucalyptus forests. In addition, the Murray River and its tributaries are home to numerous species of fish such as the Murray cod. Due to the dry and rainy seasons, the water level is subject to constant changes and both droughts and floods occur. There are over 40 nature and national parks in the vicinity of the Murray River. Examples are the Murray River National Park, the Murray-Kulkyne Park, the Murray Valley National Park and the Murray-Sunset National Park.
Culture - A significant trade route
The banks of the Murray River were already settled by several tribes of Australia's native inhabitants 40,000 years ago. They used the river for exchanging goods, ways of living and ideas as did the European settlers in the 19th century. The latter arrived around 1830 and used the river as a trade route for the transport of important goods such as livestock, wool, wood and food. Besides the cities of Albury, Swan Hill, Mildura, Darling Rivers and Murray Bridge, the town of Echuca was one of the region's most important traffic hubs. Like in many other towns along Murray River, visitors can marvel at historical houses, unique museums and charming paddle steamers in Echuca. The town's harbour district, which has been protected since 1975, is a special attraction since it once accommodated the country's most important inland harbour. The Old Tailem Town Pioneer Village – the greatest pioneer village in the whole of Australia - is equally worth seeing.
Experience - Wine and aromatic salt
The area around the Murray River, especially that around the Murray-Darling Basin, is one of the most fertile regions in the country. Wool, wheat and milk products as well as rice, fruit and vegetables are grown here. In addition, wine-growing and salt production are important parts of the regional economy. Almost 40 percent of the grapes used for the Australian wine production come from this region. The local wines and the peach-coloured Murray River Salt are popular souvenirs for family and friends at home. The gourmet salt, which is produced in the Murray-Darling Basin, has a uniquely mild aroma and melt's in your mouth. The delicate flakes are called the "Silk of Salt" among connoisseurs.
Activities - Romantic cruises on the Murray River
The highlight on many travellers' holidays in the region is a boat trip on the Murray River. Countless operators offer river cruises with old paddle steamers but tours with rented houseboats are equally popular. In addition, the river is a paradise for anglers, canoeists, kayakers and water skiers. If you want to stay on shore, you can go hiking on the numerous hiking trails in the nearby national parks. The banks of the river are also suited for camping trips and birdwatching. The Murray River and the surrounding area are home to an impressive avian fauna with over 300 types of waterfowl and countless migrating birds which are waiting to be discovered.
The region around the Murray River can be travelled at any time of the year. In summer (December to March), you should always have sunscreen with you because the UV index is very high in Australia and you often have eight hours of sunshine per day at this time. Travellers are also advised to watch out for strong currents as well as for boulders and floating tree trunks while swimming in the Murray River.
The Murray River is a great travel destination for adventurers, lovers of nature and gourmets. Its diverse landscape, the wonderful sunsets and the nostalgia of the paddle steamers captivate all holidaymakers.