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Road trip through nature with Nathsway

13 Oct 2023 by @Nathsway

Road trip through nature with Nathsway

Worth its growing popularity among holiday-goers, the eastern section of the Murray boasts a spectacular diversity of landscapes from the golden canola fields of Howlong to the heritage-rich town of Corowa.

Sitting alongside one of the longest navigable rivers in the world, the Murray River, this beautiful region is one of the best holiday spots in driving distance from Melbourne (or Sydney). Along the way, you'll learn about federation, search for canola fields, see wildlife and wilderness, enjoy world class food and wine, and discover the local Aboriginal culture.

Admittingly, my last visit to this region was at six years old when my parents drove me and my siblings to Sydney. We made a quick stop off at Corowa along the way and I unfortunately remember very little of this trip so I am keen to rediscover this section of The Murray.

Mulwala and Corowa

Just a three-hour drive north of Melbourne, I started my adventure at Mulwala to take in the ghostly river red gums of Lake Mulwala. Located right across the New South Wales and Victoria border, the town of Mulwala is famous for it’s outdoor activities including fishing, water-skiing and bike riding.

I decided to have lunch this afternoon at Blacksmith Provedore, an elegant dining destination with stunning views of Lake Mulwala. You would be forgiven to think that you’re back in Melbourne as the coffee is nothing short of exceptional and the minimal fit-out looks like a dream. This could possibly be the most Instagrammable restaurant outside of the city!

A visit to Mulwala would not be complete without going for a bike ride! I rented a bike from the Sports Power in Corowa but you can also hire bikes at Bike Locker in Yarrawonga to tackle the 43km Corowa Mulwala Cycle Trail. This beautiful track links the towns of Corowa and Mulwala and skirts the mighty Murray River. Be sure to have a rest at the new 200 metre boardwalk over Lake Mulwala as the views over the river gums is extraordinary.


The next location I visited on this epic trip was the historic town of Corowa. Located roughly 30 minutes east of Mulwala, this heritage-rich town was the birthplace of federation and is widely renowned for it’s fantastic food and wine producers. Take a stroll on the main street or visit the Corowa Federation Museum to learn how this small picturesque town helped form a unified federation in Australia.

Families will love a visit to the Corowa Art Space, a community art space that hosts exhibitions and events by local talented artists and community groups. I was lucky enough to check out the ‘Bald Archy Prize’ which was hosted here in September and I found it hilarious to look at all the different portraits of infamous celebrities here in Australia.

After an incredible first day exploring, I spent the night at Circa 1936 which is located smack bang in the middle of town and just minutes from the famous Rutherglen wine region. This luxury boutique hotel is one of the most stunning accommodations I’ve stayed in and you can really tell that it was designed with a sense of relaxation and comfort.

I made an early start at Doc Yarrum Café, where you can choose between a relaxed breakfast or delicious coffee. This modern café at the heart of Corowa is a must visit for serious foodies and there are plenty of indoor and pet-friendly outdoor dining options for your furry friend.


Howlong is one of the most beautiful towns in the Murray; drive alongside vibrant canola fields on the Riverina Highway and continue driving about 20 minutes to the pretty town of Howlong. First discovered in 1836, Howlong is one of the top spots to fish for the elusive Murray Cod and it’s a great spot to enjoy the beauty of The Murray.

Take a short stroll along the 13km Howlong History Trail to discover the town’s stunning colonial history or lay down a picnic rug at the Howlong Memorial Park to enjoy a nice barbecue as the Murray River flows by. For a more formal affair, the ½ Acre Coffee Lounge and Nursery offers a mouth-watering all-day breakfast with a relaxing atmosphere.


I drove one hour north-east from Howlong to the unusual town of Holbrook. Located about halfway between Melbourne and Sydney on the Hume Highway, Holbrook is home to a fascinating naval heritage which dates back to the first submariner to receive the Victoria Cross, Lieutenant Norman Holbrook.

At the centre of town you will find the Holbrook Submarine Museum which features a fascinating collection of submarine memorabilia. You can also discover the decommissioned HMAS Otway submarine which is the perfect spot for a selfie with the family! When I was a kid, my parents would often stop here for a photo on the journey to Sydney to snap a photo of me and my siblings!

Across the road from the submarine, you will find the recently renovated Holbrook Hotel which is definitely worth a visit for lunch or dinner! From farm-fresh produce to ethically raised meats, this hotel offers scrumptious food and excellent service.

Woomargama National Park

Drive 50 minutes from Holbrook to visit Woomargama National Park, the largest protected area of forest west of the Great Dividing Range. This expansive park is home to a number of fantastic walking trails for hikers, and birdwatchers can enjoy looking out for the regent honeyeater, superb parrot and powerful owl.

Visit the Wambariga 'Yambla View' Lookout, a scenic spot offering views of Murray Valley, Snowy Mountains and Riverina. Located just 100 metres from the car park, this gorgeous lookout is a fantastic place for a picnic. Be sure to read the interpretive signs which will help you recognise some familiar towns and mountain peaks in the distance.

Albury Wodonga

Your final day in the Murray should include exploring the major regional twin cities of Albury Wodonga. Home to a lush riverside setting, thriving arts scene and amazing food and wine, it’s no wonder why Melbournians and Sydney siders choose to stop here when crossing the border.

To get a quick lay of the land I opted to take to the skies with a Helifly scenic helicopter flight. The evening views were incredible over the city and the green rolling hills in the distance were lit with yellow tones from the setting sun but the stand-out was the impressive waterfalls from the Hume Dam that flow into the Murray River.

Drive 6 kilometres outside of Albury to embark on the gorgeous Wonga Wetlands trail which winds it’s way through beautiful native wetlands. This wonderful loop walk took me roughly 30 minutes to complete and I had multiple wildlife encounters including a mob of kangaroos, a laughing kookaburra and a gorgeous swamp wallaby.

Grab a locally roasted coffee at the amazing River Deck Café and take in the beauty of the Murray River from its infamous seating deck. Stop past Bistro Selle at night for delicious European food with a focus on regional and seasonal produce. Tucked away down Amp Lane, Temperance and General is Albury’s original laneway bar where you can enjoy expertly mixed cocktails as well as a variety of local beers and wines.

For those staying the night, the good news is that there's another Circa property in Albury Wodonga too. With luxurious art-inspired rooms and all the comforts of home, Circa 1928 was the perfect place to recharge and reflect on my trip through The Murray.

I spent my last morning learning about the local aboriginal history and culture at the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk. This 10km return trail commences at Kremur Street and features 15 stunning contemporary Aboriginal artworks. Be sure to stop for a break at Albury’s new Riverside Precinct which has an elevated boardwalk with epic views of the river below.

Follow in @nathsway's footsteps or follow his Instagram or TikTok for more adventures around Australia.