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Road trip The Murray with the Salty Travellers

3 Mar 2023 by @saltytravellers

Road trip The Murray with the Salty Travellers

We have been eager to road trip across The Murray and were excited to finally tick it off our bucket list this winter. Along our travels we have explored many different regions, embarking on adventurous road trips across Australia, but the Murray River region is definitely up there with one of our most recommended.

The Murray River is Australia’s longest river, stretching over 2,508kms and spanning across three different states; New South Wales, Victoria & South Australia. With such an extreme length, the Murray River comes with incredibly diverse landscapes and natural attractions that take your breath away.

From mountains, deserts, native bushland, open plains and some of the best wildlife encounters we’ve ever experienced, The Murray is home to thousands of years of culture. This is our journey along The Murray and an insight into the unforgettable memories we made.

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Mungo National Park & Mildura

Our first stop along The Murray was the ancient World Heritage listed area Mungo National Park, an extraordinary place of great significance to the Ngyiampaa, Mutthi Mutthi and Southern Paakantyi people. This unique passage in time is rich in aboriginal history, so being a spiritual and sacred place, we decided to time our visit to Mungo National Park with the June 2022 Strawberry Supermoon. Our guided tour took us deep within the National Park, through the incredible Walls of China. A collection of large yet fragile sand and clay formations.

As we wandered through the natural sculptures, we said farewell to the sun as it slowly disappeared behind the horizon and welcomed the new supermoon as it rose up over the sand dunes. It’s combination of glowing light from the east and west brought unforgettable textures to such a special place.

The dusty road that weaves its way through the National Park makes you feel as though you’re on an Australian Safari, with local emus and kangaroos exploring in the distance and close enough to almost touch them. The designated camping area within the park was the perfect place to unwind by the campfire and enjoy the views of colourful sunrises and sunsets.

After a couple of days in the desert we made our way back to Mildura to board one of the well-known houseboats on the Murray River. We spent the afternoon slowly cruising along the banks and relaxing in the hot tub with some local wine and beer.

Mildura & Wentworth

After a comfortable sleep on the house boat, we were refreshed and ready to see what the town of Mildura had to offer. Starting our morning off right with some of the best coffee in town and a delicious breakfast at Nash Lane.

We spent the day exploring the town centre and down along the riverfront, taking in the views of the large gumtrees that bordered the riverbanks. With plenty of places to relax on the edge of the river, Jasper decided to wet a line and try his luck at fishing.

Before making the short drive out to Wentworth, we stopped to pick up our sandboards from the local sports store in Mildura. We had both never done sandboarding before so we were eager to give it a crack and see how we could handle the dunes. The drive out to Perry Sandhills was idyllic, passing vineyards and farmland on a quiet road.

The sandhills were golden and looked inviting/soft enough to have a go on the boards. We spent the entire afternoon running up and sliding down the dunes, laughing uncontrollably at each other as we tumbled and covered ourselves in sand from head to toe.

We then checked into the Mildura Discovery parks and had a well needed shower to wash the sand out of our hair before we headed out for an Italian dinner at 400 Gradi in the centre of town.

Red Cliffs & Murray Sunset National Park

Waking up in the dark we ventured from Mildura down the highway to Red Cliffs. After a short drive we arrived just before sunrise to brew our morning coffee before walking amongst the cliffs. We admired the stillness and listened to the sounds of the birds. As the morning light hit the red cliffs they began to glow, we snapped some photos, enjoyed our coffee and watched The Murray flow adjacent to the cliffs.

After a short walk along the river, we made our way back up the track to head into the small township of Red Cliffs. We found a sweet little café called Coffee on Indi where we enjoyed a delicious classic breakfast before making our way to Murray-Sunset National Park.

This National Park is Victoria’s second largest National Park and consists of four stunning pink salt lakes that you can see via scenic driving loops or by hiking around them on foot. After spending the afternoon exploring the pink lakes, we made our way to a small free camp at Lake Walpeup to get a head start on the next day’s drive to Lake Tyrell.

Setting up right next to the water’s edge, we made dinner and kept warm by the fire, admiring the starry sky.

Lake Tyrell & Swan Hill

It was an early start to get on the road before dawn and make the sunrise at Lake Tyrell. We arrived at The Point Sky Lounge Boardwalk to watch the sun come up over the pink lake. There had been a fair bit of rain during the weeks leading up to our visit so there was an incredible amount of pink colouring from the algae. We spent the early morning taking in the view as well as capturing some photos of the awesome boardwalk that goes out over the lake.

At 10am we met Peter from Murray Darling Scenic Flights for our flight over Lake Tyrell. He picked us up at Sea Lake’s small country airstrip and showed us just how beautiful the lake is from above. Gliding over all the small different islands that scattered across the lake making it incredibly photographic. We opened the window of the plane whilst in flight to capture a series of aerial shots of the landscape before making our way back. Peter and his wife Wendy were so accommodating during the experience, even allowing us to park our 4WD Troopy next to the plane for a quick photo!

You couldn’t wipe the smiles off our faces after that as we made our way to Swan Hill, a small town situated right on the Murray River. When we arrived we headed straight to The Pioneer Settlement, a bygone world where you can experience real Australian history of blacksmiths, classic shops, cottages and the Lower Murray Inn. It’s like stepping back in time or walking through a western movie set!

As soon as night fell we decided to dine in at Peachy’s Bar, a groovy little restaurant in the heart of town. Indulging in cocktails and a hearty dinner, we were ready to sit back and enjoy The Heartbeat of the Murray, a laser light show against the background of a 9-metre water screen. Using water, light, laser, sound and special effects to tell the story of The Murray, it transports you back through 30 million years and how The Murray has evolved to what it is today. A must-see If you get the chance!

Echuca Moama

The following morning we packed up camp and set off for our drive to Echuca and Moama. A thick fog covered most of the drive all the way from Swan Hill to Echuca. Once we arrived in town, it suddenly began to break up. Perfect timing for our Winery Paddle Steamer experience on board the Canberra!

We had never been on one before and immediately loved the classic look of the timber boat. As it chugged its way slowly down river, it weaved along the riverbanks giving us perfect views of the Murray before dropping us at Morrison’s Winery and restaurant. There we enjoyed a selection of meals and delicious wine by the outdoor firepit, soaking in the beautiful vineyard views. The perfect combination for a relaxing Sunday afternoon before riding the paddle boat back to the port.

Later that afternoon we checked into our glamping tent at Talo Retreat, Moama. We cracked open a local bottle of wine and relaxed in our very own secluded outdoor spa bath, watching the sunset. The wining and dining didn’t end there though, we made our way back into Echuca to have dinner at The American Hotel. A perfect Sunday evening spot with a wide variety of tasty meals and the biggest sticky date pudding we’ve ever had!

Echuca & Deniliquin

Being our last day of the trip, we enjoyed a little sleep in enjoying the comfort and warmth in our glamping style tent. Before making the drive further north to Deniliquin, we decided to enjoy our morning coffee down on The Murray and watched the paddle steamer boats cruise past. It was a beautiful sunny morning, the perfect weather to finish off an amazing roadtrip. We jumped in the car and headed up to Deniliquin, checking out the Ute muster museum and the famous reutilise Ute sculpture. They love their Utes around here!

In the afternoon we decided to relax down by the river. Perched up in the sand on McLean beach, we soaked up some of the warm sunshine. Jasper even had a dip in The Murray to freshen up! After enjoying Deni’s well known beach we were really excited to check out The Depot, a recently new attraction on the map where you can see an incredible, historical collection of old cars and memorabilia. From Cadillacs to Bentleys, fire engines, buses, kombi’s and much more. It’s by far one of the best classic collections we’ve ever come across. Plus not to mention the coolest diner café right next door with yummy lunch options and awesome milk shakes!

We couldn’t have asked for a better way to finish off the week. The Murray River region truly is a special part of Australia. With its diversity, the Murray River has something for everyone. Whether you’re hungry for adventure and eager to experience fast pace activities or you want to just slow down and go with the flow, it has got you covered.

There is still so much more to explore and we cannot wait to come back one day and plan another road trip!

Follow in @saltytravellers footsteps with this itinerary or follow their socials for more adventures around Australia.