At a staggering 2,508 kilometers, the mighty Murray River eventually becomes one of the world’s largest river systems and runs through nearly every state of Australia. Although every part of the Murray River is picturesque, it’s in New South Wales where you can witness the magnificence of this river up close.
The mighty Murray River Drive encourages curious caravanners to slow down and appreciate places around our greatest river that they may have missed before. The drive – which you could do in a brisk few days or a relaxed week – starts at Mount Kosciuszko National Park in the state’s south east and ends as close to the border as you can get. It then tracks inland through a series of welcoming communities that have been built on the great river’s back.
Obviously the first place to start is at the Murray’s headwaters in the Mount Kosciuszko National Park. As the name suggests, this park is home to Australia’s tallest mountain and a national treasure: Mount Kosciuszko. Located within the iconic Snowy Mountain Ranges, Mount Kosciuszko stands at an impressive 2228 meters tall. Obviously hiking is hugely popular in this region, with day hikes starting at either the Charlotte Pass in the north or Thredbo in the south.
From the top, you’ll find yourself in the centre of the Snowy Mountain Ranges, with towering mountains and crisp blue sky for as far as the eye can see. Observe the native wildflowers in full bloom, watch a crimson rosella or wedge-tailed eagle fly overhead, see if you can spot a glacial lake from above or simply sit down and take in your surroundings. Want to visit the peak but don’t care for hiking? Adrenaline junkies can ride a mountain bike up most of the way up to the top and then climb the final few kilometers, or those who’d prefer to simply watch the scenery pass by from above can take a chairlift from Thredbo, which will take you part of the way.
It’s recommended that you visit the park during the warmer months or before the start of winter when there is no snow on the mountain. While this recommendation is mostly a safety concern – as the mountain gets very slippery during the winter – it’s also for aesthetic reasons as Mount Kosciuszko is the most picturesque during the summer. If you are visiting in the winter months, then the park’s close proximity to Thredbo and Charlotte Pass make it ideal for skiing and snowboarding. Mount Kosciuszko National Park is also home to the Snowy Mountain Scheme, Australia’s largest hydro-electric complex. This is where you can really see the headwaters of the Murray, as water from the Scheme moves through the Murray Power Stations and into the Murray itself.
As you begin your journey west on the mighty Murray River Drive, after four hours you’ll find the city of Albury and its twin Victorian city Wodonga. If you’re looking to spot the Murray River in all its glory then Albury is the place to go, as the river flows through both Albury and Wodonga. Albury’s Wagirra Trail is the best way to follow the Murray, as this five-kilometer trail runs parallel to the river. Hire a bike and enjoy a pleasant afternoon cycle along the river or simply go for a stroll and follow the Murray the entire way. For the local Aboriginal community, the area is important because of the natural resources it provided. Not only did the Murray River provide a drinking water or fishing, the sap from the native trees was used to glue items like tools together, while the seeds were crushed and turned into a type of cooking flour. Traditional stories are being retold through the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk, a series of sculptures that dot the Wagirra Trail. There is also accompanying audio in both English and the traditional Aboriginal language of Wiradjuri that visitors can access through their smart phones.