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Dazzle your way along The Murray with these light shows

9 Jun 2023 by Mel Townsend

Dazzle your way along The Murray with these light shows

There’s no denying it - spectacular light shows are the pinnacle of the winter events calendar in The Murray.

Enhancing the natural beauty and transforming the native bushland, gardens, and waterways of the Murray River into a kaleidoscope of colours, you’ll want to time your stay in the region with one of these sparkling events on the region’s calendar.

1. Aurora Albury, Albury Wodonga

Discover the magic of Aurora Albury every night from Friday 23 June until Sunday 16 July in Albury’s enchanting Botanic Gardens.

Setting the scene for an unforgettable night with vibrant installations, dazzling laser effects, interactive projection, and magical holograms - this is one light show not to be missed!

Featuring multiple artistic projections, lush soundscapes, and digital art experiences illuminating the natural beauty of the gardens, one of Albury’s most treasured icons.

More to explore

Lace up your walking shoes and follow the Wagirra Trail and Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk along the Murray River. The trail links with Wonga Wetlands and features 15 sculptures crafted by Aboriginal artists that tell age-old First Nations stories through contemporary art. For an immersive interpretation of the sculptures, book a tour and taste some of the local bushtucker with Giilanyaldhaanygalang – Wiradjuri Storytellers.

Just a 15 minute drive from Albury Wodonga is Lake Hume, a hub for water and nature-based activities. Cast a line and try your luck at luring one of the lakes freshwater specialities, Murray Cod, Rainbow Trout, Redfin and Golden Perch (making sure you’ve got a Victorian Fishing License first) or grab a paddle and hit the water closer to town with Murray River Canoe Hire.

Slow down for an afternoon and enjoy a picnic on the riverbank at Noreuil Park or Richardson Bend, soaking in the views and listening to the native birdsongs or dine with a view at The River Deck serving up a modern Australian cuisine and (of course) great coffee.

If you prefer your meals on wheels, Eating Travel – custom tours + ebike hire offer a full day foodie tour that’ll have you meeting local growers, distillers and vignerons while tasting the best of the regions local produce.

Follow your stomach into town and enjoy authentic paella and tapas at Saludos Spanish restaurant, a fusion of Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines at La Maison Restaurant, or sip cocktails watching the sun dip below the horizon while overlooking the waters of Lake Hume at The Boat Shed Lake Hume.

2. Mulwala Waterski Club Laser Light and Sound Show, Lake Mulwala

Set on the water’s edge of the serene Lake Mulwala, and its ghostly red river gums join the Mulwala Waterski Club for their Laser Light and Sound Show held for free and year-round every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night.

Throw down a picnic rug, grab a deck chair and keep cosy on the grassed foreshore or ski club deck watching at the laser lights dance in the sky, and reflect on the water to the rhythm of popular songs. Stick around for an extra night as the Friday and Saturday shows differ for a fresh experience.

More to explore

Make the most of your time in The Murray’s Sun Country and enjoy the glorious winter sun while enjoying some of the best river beaches in Australia, ideal for camping, picnicking or a relaxing day out.

Home to an abundance of agricultural land and working farms, the Murray Farm Gate Trail will have you tasting some of the very best local produce while meeting with the farmers, makers and creators who make it all happen.

Olive lovers will want to get their fix at Rich Glen Estate, a family run olive farm producing 150 extra virgin olive-oil based food and natural skin-care products. Alternatively, visit their shops in town, the Rich Glen Provedore for all things food based and the Orangerie for natural olive based skincare and beauty products.

Also on the Farm Gate Trail is Cactus Country, gifting a little slice of Mexico along 12 acres of sandy walkways filled with varying species of cacti and succulents.

Keep close to Lake Mulwala and explore the waters, a mecca for native wildlife, and birdlife with a peaceful kayak paddle. Take a historical charter aboard Yarrawonga’s only paddlesteamer, PS Cumberoona and enjoy a delicious set menu as you cruise, or fire up the BBQ and cook up your own lunch with Lake Mulwala Barby Boats. The boats seat 10 – 12 people with a sound system to set the tone, a cooler for drinks and of course, an on-board barbecue, no boating or fishing license is required, and you can even bring your furry friends along for the day.

For those itching to tee off on the greens, Blackbull Golf Course’s 18-hole Championship Golf Course designed by course Architects Peter Thomson, Ross Perrett is sure to provide a challenge while Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club’s 45-holes offer river or lake views and plenty of strategic and satisfying layouts. Both courses are in Australia’s top 100 and showcase some of best in The Murray.

Grab a bite to eat or sip your way through the local wine list at Blacksmith Provedore. Nestled on the banks of Lake Mulwala and serving up a range of cheese and meat platters alongside freshly cooked pizzas, Blacksmith Provedore is the perfect place to spend an afternoon unwinding with friends.

3. Heartbeat of The Murray and Legends of the Mallee at Pioneer Settlement, Swan Hill

Set on the banks of the Little Murray River at Swan Hills Pioneer Settlement, Heartbeat of the Murray is a 360-degree multi-media spectacular running year-round. Transporting you back 30 million years before travelling forward to the present day, the light show tells the story of The Murray using water, light, laser, sound and special effects.

The Pioneer Settlement also has an exciting new light show, featuring different stories, created through sound, light and laser coming to the Little Murray River. The show, Legends of the Mallee will launch in July 2023 and will alternate with the original Heartbeat of the Murray show, giving you the choice of two phenomenal and immersive displays or a great reason to stay longer and see them both.

More to explore

Navigate the Pioneer Settlements township by day and take a journey along the Little Murray River aboard PS Pyap for a relaxing one hour cruise upriver. The cruise takes you past the BIG4 Riverside Caravan Park, Murray Downs Marina, historic Murray Downs Homestead, winding the bends of The Murray lined with ancient red river gums.

Spend an afternoon at Lake Boga and visit the Lake Boga Flying Boat Museum. Keeping history alive, the Museum is home to more than 500 artefacts relating to Lake Boga's history and the instrumental role it played during World War II. Known as an aquatic playground during the warmer months Lake Boga is a popular destination for water activities, or keep dry and take to one of the many walking trails, picnic areas or fishing spots along the lake.

Taste olives as organic as they come, try your hand at soap-making or meet Esmee the donkey at Chasney Estate a 14-acre Olive Grove and Lavender Farm located just outside Swan Hill. Growing five types of olives and producing varieties of olive oil, table olives, soaps and other products there’s plenty of sample among the groves.

Take to the fairways of Murray Downs Golf and Country Club and putt along the 18 hole championship course, known as one of regional Australia’s leading resort golf courses.

After working up an appetite, Java Spice brings the tropical flavours of authentic Thai and Balinese dishes to the region. For signature cocktails and tasty burgers, Peachy’s Bar curates a relaxed dining menu using local and seasonal ingredients.

4. Light/State, Mildura

Bringing the sparkle to the Mildura-Wentworth region in late 2023, Light/State is the brainchild of internationally renowned artist Bruce Munro. Following the captivating Field of Light in Australia’s Red Centre, Light/State will bring two world-class light installations spotlighting the mesmerising history, landscape and stories of The Murray. While the installation won’t be ready to visit until later in the year, it’s worth planning the trip early to see the next exciting instalment ready to take the country by storm.

More to explore

Tread the landscape across Mildura and book a tour with Murray Offroad Adventures and discover the region’s rich history and diversity of terrains from wetlands to dunes, pink lakes and of course Australia’s longest river. For vibrant pink salt lakes and an abundance of wildlife, the Murray-Sunset National Park Tour is a must. Head even further off the beaten track and spend a day exploring the lunaresque trails of the Heritage Listed Mungo National Park. Rich in indigenous history the national park is home to the remarkable archaeological discovery of Mungo Lady and Mungo Man, the oldest and most important remains discovered in Australia. The pro tip is to discover the best of Mungo National Park with an experienced NPWS Aboriginal Discovery guide, one of few ways to see the iconic Walls of China.

Kick back and enjoy the botanical flavours of Fossey's Distillery at their Ginporium in Mildura’s CBD. Go the full Monty with a tasting paddle, a classic gin and tonic or choose from the line-up of signature cocktails. For those keen for a local flavour but don’t fancy gin, rest assured the vodkas, whiskies, rums and even moonshine are equally as tantalising.

Sample the award-winning flavours of Trentham Estate Winery. Set on the banks of the Murray River, the cellar door and restaurant offers tastings of a variety of blends paired with their seasonal menu. While the menu changes seasonally, the Murray Cod is usually always a fixture and one of the favourites.

Launch a kayak on the Murray River or paddle like royalty along Kings Billabong, a haven for birdlife, perfect for keen twitchers.

Time your trip with the Sunraysia Farmers Market held on the first and third Saturday of each month. Discover a range of locally grown, fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs, delicious treats and handmade goodies.

5. Natural light shows in The Murray

While light shows illuminate The Murray with dazzling colours, there are few things that compare to the natural beauty of the region.

Photographers flock to the salty landscape of Murray Sunset National Park gifting a glowing reflection across the water at sunrise and vibrant pink hues during the dry season. Try your eye at astrophotography as the milky way erupts in all its glory blanketing the dark sky with a blanket of constellations.

Plan your trip to the ancient terrains of Mungo National Park with the cycle of the moon and book a Full Moon Tour. Watch as the moon rises above the lunettes casting a breathtaking glow over the dunes for nature’s answer to a light show.

For a unique stay with all the comforts of home, Starry Nights Luxury Accommodation at Moira Station offers views of the glittering stars above from your king-sized bed through retractable glass ceilings. Located on the edge of Murray Valley National Park between Echuca and Deniliquin, the stay encourages time spent in nature.

6. Moama Lights, Echuca Moama - partially cancelled

Murray River Council has had to make the unfortunate decision to cancel the lights component of the Moama Lights festival due to the rising water levels in Horseshoe Lagoon.

While the lights are out, the rest of the festival will continue through to July 23 so don't cancel your trip just yet. Enjoy the outdoor ice-skating rink, the American Hotel beer garden, food trucks and roving entertainment all set up in the Kerrabee Soundshell area. With plenty more to do in and around Echuca Moama, now is a great time for a winter escape.

All ticket holders for the lights event will be fully refunded the value of their ticket/s, please be patient as the ticket agency works through this over the coming week. Ticket holders will be contacted via email to notify them of the cancellation and provide instructions on how to request a refund.

More to explore

Extend your stay in Echuca Moama and curb a long weekend or midweek break by the Murray River. Explore Australia’s paddle steamer capital by day and head to the Port of Echuca Discovery Centre walking the path of Echuca’s river pioneers and learning more through interactive displays. Get a real-life taste of colonial river life and book a paddle steamer ride, gently following the curves of the river and discovering more about a bygone era.

If you’ve packed your clubs, a round or two at Rich River Golf Club is a must. Tackle the 36 hole championship golf course, test your swing at the 17 bay driving range or state of the art golf simulator, or enjoy a social afternoon on one of the three tennis courts, bowling greens or croquet courts.

Spend an afternoon sipping wine while overlooking views of the mighty Murray River at Morrisons Riverview Winery & Restaurant and Cape Horn or head to the local and award-winning Echuca Distillery sampling gin, tequila or whisky infused with native flavours.

Head a little further off the beaten track with pedal-powered assistance from Green Pedal E-Bike Hire and Cycling Tours or mix it up with a horse trail ride at Billabong Ranch Adventure Park following the waterways and bush tracks with your noble steed.

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