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5 ways to experience the Murray River

Perry Sandhills, Wentworth. Image credit: Destination NSW

4 Aug 2021 by Mel Townsend

5 ways to experience the Murray River

If you’re looking for a mid-week escape or a long weekend getaway, then jump in your car and road trip your way to the Murray River.

Regardless of where you’re travelling from, with everything from natural wonders and secluded camp spots to wineries and art galleries, it’s well worth the time on the tarmac for a Murray River experience.

With so much to explore it's time to buckle up and hit the road with these five must-do experiences along the Murray River.

1. Don your art critic hat and explore the local galleries and art trails.

First up, you’ll want to set your Google Maps to the heartbeat of all things art and culture in the Murray River region, the Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA). Bringing the best of Australian and artists from around the world to The Murray, when it comes to modern and contemporary art MAMA has got plenty of exhibitions for you to savour.

Take a stroll from Albury’s Kremur Street to Wonga Wetlands along the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk. This self-guided trail spans across 5.3kms and is lined with contemporary Aboriginal sculptures to discover along the way. It’s the perfect way to get out and enjoy fresh air while embracing a fusion of art, culture and nature.

Immerse yourself in Aboriginal art and culture at the Barkindji Wiimpatya Murra Centre (BMEET). Located in Dareton and showcasing a collection of authentic indigenous art ranging from painted kangaroo skins and emu eggs to didgeridoos and boomerangs, this gallery has cultivated a space where local indigenous artists can feel inspired and supported.

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any more deeply rooted in Australian culture, the Barkindji Wiimpatya Murra Centre is also home to the largest playable didgeridoo recorded in Australia aka the Ridgy Didge Record Breaker.

2. Camp or glamp in style

With several Murray Valley Regional Parks and Murray Valley National Parks spread out through our region, there’s plenty of places to pitch your tent to enjoy some much needed respite.

To base yourself right in the thick of river activities, nature walks and peaceful bird watching, pitch your tent at one of these Murray Valley Regional Park campgrounds – Edward River Bridge campground (Mathoura), Willoughby’s Beach campground (Deniliquin), Mulwala campground (Mulwala) and Benarca campground (Benarca).

Bring your pup along for your camping trip, just remember they’re only allowed to explore Murray Valley Regional Park with you, as dogs are not permitted in national parks.

If you’re after four walls with your accommodation, haul up in a cosy cabin right on the sandy river beach bank of the Edward River at Mclean Beach Holiday Park or book a glamping tent or cabin at BIG4 Holiday Park to have the Edward River on your doorstep.

Nestled along the edge of the Murray Valley National Park you’ll find Gulpa Retreat Tourist Park. A restful bushland retreat spoiling you for accommodation choice with deluxe cabins, glamping tents and powered campsites. Make your way into Murray Valley National Park and its towering Red Gum Forest, launch a kayak into the river for a paddle, or simply enjoy the many walks throughout the park.

3. Explore natural wonders

If there’s one thing The Murray is good at, it’s providing adventurous landscapes from moon-like terrains to ancient dune formations and kilometres of unsealed trails begging to be explored.

Affording 333 hectares of endless dunes, you’ll find Perry Sandhills located just six kilometres west of Wentworth. With its vast red sand and desert landscape, the site is full of Indigenous, cultural heritage, known to uncover many ancient artefacts and fossils, with geologists tracing the area to be at least 40,000 years old.

If you’re looking for a nature escape with an ‘out of this world’ description, then make your way to Wentworth’s Mungo National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage-listed park is as much an archaeological haven as it is rich in lunar-esque natural beauty starring towering quartz and clay dunes.

Explore Mungo National Park by car or foot on the self-guided Mungo Loop Track.

Perhaps exploring dense bushland is more your thing? If so, Woomargama National Park may be more up your alley, located 20km south-east of Holbrook and 30km north-east of Albury. Home to Australian wildlife including several endangered species, it's the largest protected area west of the Great Dividing Range.

With over 100 kilometres of unsealed trails to explore it’s a 4X4 drivers dream, and with a couple of campgrounds there’s plenty of room to set camp a little further off the beaten track before hitting the walking trails.

4. Have a tipple at the hands of a local vintner

Fancy a bit of wine touring?

Flyfaire Wines is a sustainable winery that’s just as committed to producing delicious high-quality wines as they are to reducing their environmental impact. You’ll find their vineyard and cellar door in Woomargama National Park near Holbrook where you can taste their wines before touring the property and picnicking by their private waterfall.

Let the Old School Winery and Meadery romance you in the ancient art of mead making. Mead is a wine technique first recorded in medieval times, involving the production of wine crafted from honey. You’ll find their cellar door in Womboota alongside their family pottery studio.

Set on the banks of The Murray River in Moama Morrisons Riverview Winery, Restaurant and Brewery (literally) bring the vineyard to the river. Settle in for an afternoon of wine tasting and lunch at their restaurant.

5. Take a walk in nature

With hundreds of kilometres of bush, river crossings, wetlands and parkland sanctuaries the very best way to immerse yourself in the Murray River lifestyle is to get out in nature on foot.

Tucked between the Edward River and Billabong Creek, Moulamein River Walk does not disappoint. This self-guided tour will have you learning about the heritage and Aboriginal culture of the area while passing historic landmarks, the Moulamein Wharf and ‘The Big Tree’ - thought to be the largest red gum tree in the world.

For a dog-friendly stroll take the 5km Gulpa Creek Walk, in Murray Valley Regional Park. With the river red gums lining the creek, it’s a peaceful backdrop to stretch your legs with your furry friend in tow.

If you’ve got a good eye and you’re keen to spot a yellow rosella or perhaps a kingfisher catching lunch make your way to the Reed Beds Bird Hide boardwalk.

From Aboriginal communities to early explorers – Burke and Wills, it won’t be long before you become entrenched in the significant history of Yanga National Park.

Make your way lakeside to the Yanga Lake Walking Track and get lost in the tranquillity of the area, you may even cross paths with a couple of emus or glimpse an echidna and with over 150 species of birds, you’ll want to keep your eyes to the sky.