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Top 8 must do experiences in Swan Hill

Lake Boga. Image credit: Ewen Bell via Swan Hill Inc

28 Mar 2023 by Mel Townsend

Top 8 must do experiences in Swan Hill

From paddlesteamer rides to olive farms, international cuisines and historically significant settlements, there’s more reasons than simply being a watery oasis to put Swan Hill on your radar for a family getaway.

Don’t just take it from us, join Macca and the crew at What’s Up Down Under as they show you the best touring routes and destinations to visit in Swan Hill as you catch episodes 31 and 32 of season 13 on 10play.

Ready to hit the road and make memories that last a lifetime? Buckle up and check out these must do experiences in Swan Hill.

1. Soak in the serenity at Lake Boga Caravan Park

An aquatic hub for water sports, bird watchers, and nature enthusiasts, Lake Boga is a magnet for sun lovers all year round.

Located just 15 minutes from Swan Hill, the lake gifts a three kilometre oasis perfect for swimming, fishing, and waterskiing, or slow it down with a gentle kayak or SUP while soaking in the peaceful sounds of the outdoors.

For the best seat in the house and the lake on your doorstep, Lake Boga Caravan Park is the ideal base for holidaymakers. Situated right on the banks of Lake Boga, park a caravan or pitch a tent on a lakeside site, alternatively if camping isn’t your idea of a relaxing getaway, hire a self-contained cabin for all the creature comforts of home with delightful views of the lake from your private deck.

The caravan park also welcomes furry family members and provides plenty of activities for everyone with kayaks available for hire, onsite BBQs, and a camp kitchen, along with pedal karts and an inflatable jumping pillow (the kangaroo jumper) keeping everyone entertained.

2. Calling all olive lovers to Chasney Estate

Tucked away in Tresco, 20 minutes out of Swan Hill, you’ll find Chasney Estate, a small family-run olive grove and lavender farm. Practicing sustainable farming, Isabel and Gary Chasney produce a range of products from olive oil to table olives, soaps, olive paste and olive jam as well as essential oils thanks to their focus on growing healthy food by building healthy soil. The farm is powered by off-grid solar and water, keeping the land as natural as possible.

When visiting you’ll likely be greeted by Esmee the donkey before wandering the grounds and tasting their produce. Not ready to leave yet? Enjoy a farm stay among the olives and lavender at the Olive Grove Retreat – tiny home. The tiny home runs entirely on solar energy and is the perfect stay providing all the necessities needed for a cosy stay for two.

3. Visit the Lake Boga Flying Boat Museum

Keeping history alive, the Lake Boga Flying Boat Museum is home to more than 500 artefacts relating to Lake Boga's proud history during World War II. The lake played an integral roll during WWII resulting in the No.1 Flying Boat Repair and Service Depot. The depot was built on the shores of Lake Boga and used as a safe haven for flying boats and amphibians where services men and women worked to repair damages and observe take-off and landing on the lake.

The circular circumference of Lake Boga made it the ideal site to build the hangar as there were unlimited choices for takeoff and landing in all directions and plenty of land around the foreshore.

Now, the Museum pays homage to the hard-working service men and women who worked at the site while displaying a range of wartime treasures, preserved for future generations.

The museum's star attraction is the historic Catalina Flying Boat, representing the type and size of aircraft used as patrol bombers during the war.

4. Taste the flavours of Bali at Java Spice

Dreaming of a tropical vacay? Look no further than Swan Hills, Java Spice. Step inside the reclaimed teak buildings and Balinese thatched huts and prepare your palate for the tropical flavours of authentic Thai and Balinese dishes.

Inspired by their travels through South East Asia, owners Trish and Pete fell in love with the cuisine throughout Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, bringing a taste of their holiday back home they created Java Spice.

Open daily for dinner serving up a choice of entrees and mains accompanied by rice and Achar, Thai pickled veggies, or pick from their choice of three banquet menus shared with a minimum of four people; keeping it simple, the popular picks or the best of the best.

5. Spend the day exploring Pioneer Settlement

There are few places that will have you feeling like you’ve stepped through a portal and found yourself transported over 150 years into the past, and Swan Hill’s Pioneer Settlement is likely to do just that.

Wander the streets of the Mallee Township, and experience Australian history come to life. Sweet tooths must find their way to the General Store and enjoy old fashioned lollies from humbugs to raspberry drops. Find yourself enthralled by the blacksmith's work, feeling the heat as they operate the forge, using fire and physical strength to create just about anything from iron.

The best way to explore the town is with a complimentary ride by vintage car or horse and carriage rides, head to the souvenir shop for a memento to take home, or snap a family photo dressed in costume.

After you’ve spent the day exploring, head back to the Pioneer Settlement at night and settle in for the the world-class Heartbeat of the Murray laser spectacular.

Set on the banks of the Little Murray River, the show uses water, light, laser, sound and special effects to transport you back 30 million years telling the story of The Murray.

6. Cruise the Murray River by paddlesteamer

Enjoy a gentle chug following the bends of the Murray River aboard the Paddlesteamer Pyap (PS Pyap). Originally used as a floating general store, the PS Pyap travelled the lower Murray River, stopping at small towns and farm stations along the way and selling goods to settlers.

Nowadays you can board the paddlesteamer for a one-hour cruise departing daily from the Pioneer Settlement wharf and cruising upriver past the BIG4 Riverside Caravan Park, Murray Downs Marina and the historic Murray Downs Homestead serving snacks and beverages on board.

7. Test your swing at Murray Downs Golf and Country Club

For golfing enthusiasts and amateurs, Murray Downs Golf and Country Club is the highest-ranked golf club in the Murray River region, claiming the place of 39 out of Australia’s top 100 golf courses.

The highly regarded 18-hole championship golf course is known for its year-round beauty, and challenging layout.

After a day spent on the greens, make your way to The Club House café or bistro open every day for lunch or dinner as well as breakfast on Saturday and Sunday overlooking the golf course.

Mix up the golfing for a round of lawn bowls on one of Murray Downs’ three grass bowling greens with eight rinks for a round of social or barefoot bowls.

If you’re eager to keep as close as possible to all the golfing action, stay at The Murray Downs Resort and you can be out the door and on your first tee in minutes.

8. Enjoy the ultimate family getaway at BIG4 Swan Hill

When it comes to accommodation options, BIG4 Swan Hill has you spoilt for choice. For those looking to pitch a tent or park the caravan, you’ll find varying sites from powered to unpowered and with or without an ensuite alongside access to the camp kitchen and BBQs.

If you’re after something a little more structured, stay in a deluxe family, two or three-bedroom cabin, or opt for a spa cabin, villa, or two-bedroom apartment, gifting all the creature comforts of a home away from home.

Here’s the fun part - BIG4 Swan Hill is packed with activities for families of all ages. The Splash Park features water slides, tunnels, water pistols, and a giant tipping bucket perfect for burning energy while cooling down on a hot day or jump in and swim laps of the park’s swimming pool.

For activities away from the water, enjoy a round of mini golf, have fun on the jumping pillow, race with the pedal go-karts or head to the games room.