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Spend 72-hours adventuring in The Murray

PS Pevensey, Echuca

20 Mar 2023 by Elise Hanslip

Spend 72-hours adventuring in The Murray

Eucalypt forests, sparkling night skies, crackling fires and fresh country air are waiting for you a short drive from Melbourne and regional NSW or a quick flight from Sydney.

Experience the laid-back country charm of the towns nestled on the banks of The Murray and the simplicity and peace of the great outdoors. Farm fresh produce and hand-crafted spirits will nourish your appetite from days spent exploring the landscape by foot, two wheels and air.

Gather your favourite travel companions and take a look at what the Murray River region has to offer in 72 hours.

Day one | Echuca and Moama

Begin your adventures in the river town of Echuca, just under three hours from Melbourne, a road trip from Sydney that’s best made with a few pitstops or a quick flight to Bendigo (just over an hour’s drive from Echuca).

Did you know ‘Echuca’ is a Yorta Yorta word meaning 'meeting of the water' and the town was once the state's largest inland river port with paddle steamers bringing their cargoes of wool for transport to the Port of Melbourne?

Relax in the bushland at Billabong Ranch for a winery tour in true Aussie outback style - on horseback or horse-drawn carriage. You’ll be treated to woodfired pizza and a tasting at Cape Horn Vineyard. If you like to indulge in a little extra luxury, slip into something sure to turn heads with Flash Fairlane, who will chauffeur you in a 1959 Ford Fairlane Limousine to taste award-winning reds in the Heathcote region.

In the afternoon, take a stroll along the Echuca Wharf and admire the history and character of the streetscape before boarding a sunset paddle steamer cruise with Echuca Paddlesteamers on the PS Pevensey.

For your evening, have an apéritif at the Echuca Distillery to taste test their range of hand-crafted spirits made with naturally-derived botanicals. The Lady Augusta Berry Pink Gin is distilled in their Copper Pot Still and infused with blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. Perfect to take home to create impressive cocktails or simply enjoy with your choice of mixer.

After a big day of exploring, settle in for dinner at the American Hotel where you’ll find live music and hearty BBQ smoked meats cooked with ironbark, redgum and mallee root. All meats are free-range, ethically raised and carbon neutral for the sustainability-conscious traveller.

Later, kick off your boots and rest your head at Tindarra Resort fronting the river. Secluded amongst bushland, the resort offers modern Holiday Villa or Studio accommodation options all with access to their large pool, heated spa caves, children’s playground and tennis court.

Day two | Deniliquin

A short one-hour drive north you’ll find your next stop in the town of Deniliquin (Deni). Set on the Edward River with red gum forests and surrounded by outback plains, Deni offers the ideal blend of outdoor beauty and country charm.

Get a birds-eye view of The Murray and gaze upon the outback plains, pink salt lakes and interwoven wetlands with Murray Darling Scenic Flights. Departing from Deni airport, fly over the Moira Lake wetland system, one of the largest of the mid-Murray River valley. Consisting of two large shallow lakes and wetlands of rushes, reeds and grassy plains, you can see colours of gold, pink and green reed beds that change seasonally.

Next, get up close to the eucalyptus forest and pick up your free mountain bike from the Deni Visitor Centre to set off on two wheels in Murray Valley Regional Park. Thrill seekers will be in heaven peddling the network of Mountain Bike Trails following existing kangaroo tracks in the forest which have minimal environmental impact.

Further afield (approximately a one-hour drive from the Deni Visitor Centre) hit the Moama Five Mile Mountain Bike Trail for an exhilarating combo of fast and rolling terrain with wall rides, drops and flowing bridges. There’s also a skills area with a pump track and a fresh inventory of berms, jumps and rollers.

After a high-octane day, it’s time to wind down and connect with the stories and ancient traditions of the region’s traditional owners at the Yarkuwa Indigenous Knowledge Centre. Book a weaving workshop to sit down with local Wamba Wamba women to learn their weaving techniques and craft a mityat (pronounced mee-chart) meaning basket.

In the evening get a taste of #vanlife in Olina the Caravan, a completely renovated 1980 Millard vintage caravan. Olina can be delivered to your chosen location and will make you seriously consider a life of road-trippin’.

Day three | Deniliquin

Start your final day with a relaxed pace and wander along the Beach to Beach Riverside Walk. From McLean Beach, make your way along the banks of the Edward River to the Island Sanctuary. Here you’ll discover native birds, kangaroos and other wildlife that call the peaceful banks of The Murray home. Continue through The Murray Valley Regional Park and finish at Willoughby’s Beach.

By now you’ll have surely worked up an appetite for breakfast. Perch yourself on the timber deck at The Crossing Café overlooking the lawn and peppercorn trees and tuck into a meal from locally-sourced ingredients such as Mexican-style scrambled eggs made with Bundarra Berkshires chorizo, homemade fruit toast with lashings of Pepe Saya butter and jam (also homemade) and ham-hock baked beans.

Car enthusiasts won’t want to leave before checking out The Depot Historic Vehicle and Memorabilia Collection to reminisce days of yonder and learn about the motoring history of Deni. You’ll find Hollywood, trucking, transport, rescue vehicles and more from around the world.

Stick with the theme and slide into the Cruizin Diner for lunch. A 1950s American-inspired Diner filled with vibrant vinyl booths, neon signs, classic tunes and a hearty menu to fill any rumbling tummy.

Later, enjoy live music and your favourite cocktail at speakeasy bar - Storyteller: The Baron’s Tasting House. Relax into a cosy antique leather armchair and try The Sunlit Plain / The Everlasting Stars cocktail featuring a different gin for day or night, the cocktail pays homage to the outback setting this intimate bar calls home.

Depart for your onward journey home, with new memories and wanderlust to experience more of The Murray.