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Discover the magic of the Murray

Discover the magic of the Murray

At 2508 kilometres long, the Murray is best known for being Australia’s longest river, as well as the third-longest navigable river in the world (after the Amazon and the Nile!). The Murray is also an amazing ecosystem in which local flora and fauna thrive, and the water feeds a range of other incredible rivers in the region – including the Darling, Murrumbidgee, Lachlan, Loddon, Goulburn, Edward and Ovens rivers. The Murray and the surrounding rivers, which shoot off into Victoria and New South Wales, are known as the Murray–Darling Basin – an ecologically rich region that is environmentally, culturally, and economically significant to a thriving Australia.

Many of the towns along the Murray were greatly impacted by the devastating 2022–23 floods. To support the local communities as they continue to rebuild, pay a visit to the region’s many fascinating small towns, and shop locally. There’s no better time to rediscover the Murray! Not sure where to start? Here are just three towns that should be on your Murray to-do list!

Goolwa, South Australia

Start your Murray River journey in Goolwa, at the mouth of the river. This South Australian town – only about an hour from Adelaide and 20 minutes from Victor Harbor – is, quite literally, a water haven. The historical river port sits on the banks of the Lower Murray at the tail end of Lake Alexandrina on one side, and looks to the Southern Ocean’s salty waves on the other. In Goolwa, you get the best of both worlds – and the same can be said for the town’s plentiful offerings. If you’re a classic car enthusiast or history buff, make a beeline for the Goolwa Motor Museum, which is home to 45 vehicles from the 1920s to the 1970s, including some unique one-offs. For the art admirers, Goolwa’s Artworx Gallery and accompanying gift shop features stunning works from a range of local and national artists.

Swan Hill, Victoria

Unhook your rig at one of the Swan Hill’s many caravan parks, and gear up for a day at the Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement, where the region’s rich history comes to life. Set on three hectares of land next to the Little Murray River (a branch of the larger Murray), the Pioneer Settlement features real-life Mallee cottages, schools, shops, a hotel and a large collection of working farm machinery from the pioneer days. Walk down the historical streetscapes and be transported to the past for a day, or even enjoy a horse-drawn cart ride through the grounds!

What would a trip to Swan Hill be without a visit to (and a fun photo of) The Giant Murray Cod? The Swan Hill Railway Station is home to an 11-metre-long Murray cod statue, which was originally built as a giant prop that was featured in the 1992 movie Eight Ball.

Albury, New South Wales

If you’re looking to get back into nature, the Albury Botanic Gardens is a perfect place to spend an afternoon. Stroll along the many walking trails, which meander through the gardens’ four-hectare grounds, and admire more than 1000 plant species. There’s also a rainforest collection, a children’s garden and playground facilities – making it the perfect destination for the whole family. For those wanting to pedal their way around Albury–Wodonga, take the bikes on the Wagirra Trail and Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk. As you ride alongside the Murray, you’ll find the landscape dotted with a series of incredible, contemporary Aboriginal sculptures that tell the sacred stories of the Wiradjuri people.

This is just a sneak peek! To find out more, read the Spring 2023 edition of Caravanning Australia.

Pictured: Fishing in the Murray. Image courtesy of South Australian Tourism Commission

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