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Experience the ultimate light show in The Murray

Yana Waingi and Kartini Waingi, Swan Hill and Robinvale. Image credit: Swan Hill Inc

3 Apr 2023 by Mel Townsend

Experience the ultimate light show in The Murray

After a holiday with a little extra sparkle? Time your next getaway in Swan Hill or Robinvale with the river lights show.

Head to the ‘Yana Waingi’ Walk in Lights, showing from 21 – 30 April 2023 held at Riverside Park, Swan Hill and immerse yourself in a kaleidoscope of vibrant colours as the park is illuminated each night. Wander past light sculptures, interactive projections, laser effects, and magical holograms as multiple artistic projections and soundscapes bring the experience to life.

Showing in Robinvale from 4-7 May 2023, the ‘Kartini Waingi’ Water Lights gives visitors an unforgettable night-time water laser show experience. Lighting up the mighty Murray River, the show unfolds the stories of the region through vibrant colours, highlighting the diverse and rich culture of Robinvale.

Prepare to be dazzled and book your best holiday yet with our guide on everywhere to eat stay and play while in region.

How to get there

Hit the road and make your way to Swan Hill. From Melbourne, it’s just under four hours or, Melbourne to Robinvale is just over five hours, give or take a couple of pitstops along the way. Or make the most of the new V/Line fares to regional Victoria with daily caps of $9.20 on week days or $6.70 for weekends.

Alternatively, fly into Mildura and hire a car, making the drive to Robinvale in an hour and Swan Hill in just over two hours.

If you’re road-tripping from regional NSW or Adelaide you’ll want to update your Spotify playlist and make the most of your time on the road with an overnight stay to break up the travel time.

Where to eat

In Swan Hill

When it comes to coffee, there’s no need to overdo it. Arc Espresso embodies simple fare, serving up the perfect espresso teamed with freshly made pastries, muffins and slices.

For health gurus, find a tasty collection of toasties, salads, soups, and smoothies at Modern Natural. Sit and sip a matcha or golden latte or opt for their delicious salted caramel smoothie filled with health goodies like dark roasted peanut butter, dates and bananas.

Cocktails on the mind? Treat yourself to Peachys Bar lineup of cocktails, burgers and starters which include the moreish likes of BBQ lemon pepper wings, mozzarella sticks and loaded fries. Make your way to happy hour on a Friday from 5.30pm and sample their signature cocktails and rotating specials.

When it comes to home-style cooking, Colombo's Cafe & Pasta Bar knows just how to hit the spot. Combining Italian flavours with much loved Australian cuisines, Colombo’s curates a delicious menu from breakfast to lunch and dinner.

Bringing fine dining to the Swan Hill region in 1988, Quo Vadis Restaurant has journeyed through many changes over the years with one constant remaining– their good food and great service.

Dine alfresco and peruse their menu of pasta, risotto, gourmet pizza, and all the favourites from chicken parma to pork belly and scotch fillet or head to their pizza bar and opt for a tasty takeaway meal.

In Robinvale

As the name suggests, you’ll find the The Robinvale Corner Store located right on the street corner of Robinvale serving up tasty takeaway from their famous country fried chicken to burgers, fish and chips, and homemade sausage rolls. Open daily from 6am until 9pm, grab a coffee or milkshake at any time of the day for a quick pick me up.

Dine overlooking views of the manicured fairways and greens at Robinvale Golf Club Bistro. Tuck into bistro classics like chicken schnitzel , grilled or battered fish served with chips, alongside pasta, rice and pizza dishes.

Save room for their delicious desserts – think tiramisu, stick date pudding, and chocolate brownies before grabbing a club and heading outside for a round of golf. If you’re keen to squeeze more golf into your agenda, book a room and stay at the golf club.

Where to stay

In Swan Hill

Secure a site overlooking the Murray River at Big4 Riverside Swan Hill slipping seamlessly into the relaxed Murray River lifestyle. Camping not your cup of tea? Opt for a cabin or glamping tent and sip coffee from the deck each morning.

For accommodation with loads of activities, Big4 Swan Hill delivers. Book a superior cabin, apartment, spa cabin or ensuite and powered camp and caravan sites and explore the kids activities like mini golf course,go-karts, splash park, bike track and more.

For activities of the leisurely style, pack your best golf clubs and head to Murray Downs Resort located on the grounds of The Murray’s number one golf course. Grab a room for the whole family or opt for a smaller unit or self-contained apartment and make the most of your time on the greens.

After something a little more “off-grid”? Enjoy a farm stay among the olives and lavender at Chasney Estate’s Olive Grove Retreat – tiny home. Running entirely on solar energy the tiny home makes for a cosy stay for two under a blanket of stars.

For water sports lovers, head to the watery oasis of Lake Boga and pitch a tent, park up your caravan or book a cabin overlooking the water at Lake Boga Caravan Park. Hire a kayak, or SUP and enjoy peaceful mornings on the water.

In Robinvale

For those wanting to stay close to the Kartini Waingi - Water Lights in Robinvale, unwind at Robinvale Riverside Caravan Park situated on the banks of the Murray River. Park your caravan or pitch a tent in one of the prime positions and cast a line, fishing right out your caravan door.

Alternatively, rest your head at the Robinvale Bridge Motel, with a cosy queen, king, single or family-sized room and spend some downtime enjoying the pool, cooking up a storm on the BBQ or head to The Jack Bar & Bistro for a mean feed.

Where to play

In Swan Hill

It’s true, no trip to Swan Hill is complete without snapping a selfie with the town’s giant Murray Cod! Pull out your phone and capture that money shot with the infamous fish outside near the visitor centre.

Of course, if you’re a keen fisherman or looking to cast a line, try your luck luring a famed Murray Cod of your own by casting a line into one of Swan Hill’s many waterways. If you haven’t got gear of your own, head to one of the many bait and tackle businesses in the region who are more than happy to load you up with bait, rods, lures, and a fishing licence along with sharing their local knowledge of where the fish are biting.

Step back in time and spend a day exploring Pioneer Settlement, arm yourself with a map and navigate the township by foot, horse and carriage or a vintage car ride. Wind your way across the settlement taking in each experience from the music shop and drapery to blacksmith demonstrations, woodturners and the Kaiser Stereoscopic Theatre.

Enjoy a one hour cruise down the Murray River departing daily from Horseshoe Bend Wharf at the Pioneer Settlement aboard the Paddlesteamer Pyap. Head back at night and discover the little Murray illuminated by light for an exhilarating sound, light and laser show experience – the Heartbeat to The Murray.

For lovers of performing arts, you’ll want to catch a show at the Swan Hill Town Hall Performing Arts Centre. Originally built in 1935 the art deco space still pays homage to many of the original features, regularly hosting events from professional touring shows to theatre, music, circus, cabaret, dance and comedy.

Spend a day on the lake and explore the watery oasis of Lake Boga, just 15 minutes drive from Swan Hill. Hit the water and launch a kayak or SUP for a gentle paddle or pick up the speed and explore the lake by boat.

For those who prefer to step it out, lace up your walking shoes and wander along one of the many walking trails, keeping an eye out for the turtles in the lagoon and an abundance of waterbirds.

Keep up your step count and experience the natural beauty of Nyah Vinifera Park. Lining the banks of the Murray River the park is home to an ancient red gum forest, beautiful billabongs and lagoons making for a flourishing ecosystem of native wildlife and plants.

Pitch a tent and cast a line if you’re keen to stay a while longer, or make use of one of the many picnic tables throughout the forest and enjoy lunch surrounded by the great outdoors.

In Robinvale

Test your swing on the manicured fairways and greens of Robinvale Golf Club. Set out on the 18-hole course for a round or two of golf before settling in for a meal at the Sandbunker Bistro. Stay a little longer, enjoying all the activities at the resort including the kids game area and stay in one of the self-contained king, twin or deluxe two-bedroom units.

For lovers of all kinds of wine, you’ll want to go wine tasting at Robinvale Wines. Designed to resemble a Greek temple, the winery evokes flavours of the Mediterranean built from ancient Mt. Gambian limestone that helps to maintain a cool temperate cellar. Sample their variety of organic, bio-dynamic and preservative-free table, sparkling and fortified wines, or opt for a delicious non-alcoholic option like sparkling strawberry, mango, ginger, Moscato or grape juice.