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7 natural wonders in The Murray you need to know about

Mungo National Park. Image credit: Destination NSW

3 May 2021 by Hannah Statham

7 Natural Wonders In The Murray You Need To Know About

Flanking the banks of Australia’s longest river, The Murray is best enjoyed once you step outdoors.

Instead, the Murray region is best described as outdoorsy, with a landscape that flourishes from the rise and fall of its famous river system.

Its geography is one of contrasts, from lush green farmland to ancient rock formations that beg for adventures on four wheels, two feet, two wheels or boat.

This holiday season, escape your four walls and explore the great outdoors with these natural wonders in the Murray, most of which are conveniently linked together by this national park trail.

1. Mungo National Park

You don’t need a rocket ship to get to Mungo National Park, but once you arrive, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve travelled into space.

Mungo National Park’s landscape more closely resembles Mars than the quintessentially leafy expectation of Australian national parks.

Its lunar-esq landscape is defined by the rise and fall of dried lake beds and sand dunes that make Mungo National Park worthy of UNESCO World Heritage-listed status as part of the Willandra Lakes Region.

Beyond its geography, Mungo National Park makes history as the burial place of Australia’s oldest known human remains (along with past human footprints), Mungo Lady and Mungo Man, which are said to be 42,000 years old.

To start your adventure, pop by the Visitor Centre at the entrance to the park to collect a map to inform your visit or tour with an Aboriginal guide to see these significant archaeological sites.

2. Red Cliffs

Keep your camera handy for photographs of the iconic red cliffs found in the Victorian town named after its famous asset, Red Cliffs.

From the Red Cliffs lookout, you can capture the vista of the 70m bright red cliffs reflecting off the calm water of the Murray River.

For a day out in this natural playground, discover the Red Cliffs Reserve, where within its 21 hectares you’ll find Aboriginal middens and site of the historic Carwarp pump boiler which was once used to draw water over the cliffs and into the region’s irrigation channels.

3. Murray Sunset National Park

Few national parks are as photogenic as the Murray Sunset National Park, whose instagrammable Pink Lakes have put this park in the north west corner of Victoria on the tourist map.

Whether you explore the park on four wheels, a canoe or two feet, prepare to be mesmerised by the pink salt lakes, which are the piece de resistance of the largest national park in Victoria.

While much of the park is off-road vehicle friendly only, you’ll only need a two-wheel drive car to visit the pink lakes, accessed via Linga.

For those following #visitthemurray and expecting pink perfection, be prepared the Pink Lakes change in colour and can be anywhere from white to dark pink depending on the season of your visit.

To truly see how this national park earnt its name, book a campsite for the night for front row seats to mother nature’s evening performance.

4. Barmah National Park

Discover the largest stand of River Red Gums at Barmah National Park whose famous foliage dates back over 500 years.

Standing up to 30 metres tall, the geology of the region can be put down to its relationship with the Murray River, which regularly floods the park, turning it into a wetland.

Its regular flooding regime affords this park a diverse natural habitat, ripe for exploration.

One of the best ways to explore this park is at oar’s pace, taking one of the four canoe trails through the park.

With nothing but the sound of the paddle hitting the calm water, you’ll be in prime position to see and hear the 220 species of birds, especially waterbirds, recorded in this national park.

Be aware conditions can change in parks for many reasons so be sure to check Parks Victoria for updates prior to travel.

5. Murray Valley National Park

Explore the red river gums and Ramsar-listed wetlands that make up the 102,800 acres of the Murray Valley National Park.

Explore by foot, bike or boat to see why this national park is so worthy of protection with over 60 threatened native animals and 40 threatened plant species.

If you’ve packed your binoculars, be sure to pay a visit to Reedbeds Bird Hide to stakeout the yellow rosella.

6. Woomargama National Park

Lace up your hiking boots, the 24,185 hectares of Woomargama National Park is your next outdoor escape.

There’s no shortage of space at this national park which wears the title of the largest protected area west of the Great Dividing Range, making it a mecca for camping, hiking and 4WDing near Holbrook and Albury.

Follow in the footsteps of Australia’s early explorers taking the Hume & Hovell Walking track or choose from the 100km of unsealed trails throughout the park.

Short on time? Take in the views from Hanel’s or Norths Lookout, which provide panoramas of the Snowy Mountains across the Riverina region.

7. Wonga Wetlands

If you’re as into your birdwatching as you are your bushwalking, make tracks to the Wonga Wetlands, five minutes from the Albury CBD.

Three kilometres of flat walking trails weave through the wetlands made up of lagoons and billabongs, connecting you with the red river gums and birdlife that make these wetlands so popular.

You’ll want to pack your binoculars for twitching with over 154 species identified in the wetlands, with six bird hides for spotting birds in a natural setting.

To get a lay of the land and plan your self-guided tour of the Wonga Wetlands, pay a visit to the 1890s homestead which has been refashioned into the Visitor Information Centre.