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Winter: The Best Time to Relax on the Murray

10 May 2024

Winter: the best time to relax on The Murray

As the cold settles in and we say goodbye to autumn, winter unveils a different kind of magic along The Murray. Whilst the warmer months have the obvious pull and promise of bustling beaches and water sports, it’s the quieter stillness of winter that affords a more genuine opportunity to wind down, reconnect and sink completely into the serenity of The Murray.

For seekers of respite from the hectic pace of life, winter offers the opportunity to slow down, unwind and reconnect with nature and our people. Think strolling along secluded bush pathways, winding along the river’s edge and taking things at a more peaceful pace.

The Murray is of course renowned for its beaches and whilst they welcome the summer crowds for good reason, the cooler months offer an almost secret oasis of stillness where those in the know can find a serene escape. Kayak or paddleboard along the still winter waters, where the only disruption are the birds and wildlife made bold by the quietness of the river and the distinct lack of summer revellers. Build a campfire and picnic along the sandy shores of any of the 100 incredible beaches and feel a little smug about the fact you’ve discovered this hidden winter time gem.

Find sanctuary amidst the ancient forest at Barmah, where the country’s largest stand of towering river red gums and the tranquil winter waters offer a calm refuge from the demands of real life. Various marked and easily accessible trails exist within the Barmah National Park, affording visitors a peaceful and easy meander revealing remnants of the landscape’s rich heritage. Ancient Aboriginal oven mounds and native wildlife feature readily, yet as its winter, anything that slithers takes their hiatus from the cold, leaving visitors to explore in peace and get a little lost in the best way possible.

For adventurous souls seeking an outdoor experience that feels like a world away though really just down the highway, Ulupna Island is the perfect setting. With free camping and more glam options available, sunrise here just hits different in winter, with the golden light cutting through the trees and morning fog, and the local kangaroos greeting the morning and adding to the wonder. And at night time, gather the crew, snuggle around the crackling campfire, a glass of red in hand to stave off the winter chill, and look upward to the star lit sky and share stories about the day’s adventures.

And if you really, really need to escape and feel like you’ve travelled far from usual life though don’t have the capacity for anything more than a couple of hours away, transport easily to the very unusual wonder that is Cactus Country. Here, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d arrived in Arizona or the Andes, where no one would bat an eyelid about ordering a margarita in the middle of winter or a cactus ice cream at the bright and wonderful cantina-style cafe. Clear the camera’s cache and wear your brightest and best as you definitely need evidence of this exotic adventure, and the picture opportunities here amongst the 12 acres of exotic cacti are totally stunning.

As the frosty cold settles in, there’s a yearning for the comforting embrace of nourishing winter fare to warm our bellies and nourish our souls. Here the warmth of the communities make up for the cold in the air and food becomes a source of comfort and joy.

Indulge in the very best of farm fresh produce and gourmet delights along the Murray Farm Gate Trail, where visitors can sample the region’s best offerings straight from their source. Journey from Bundalong to Barmah, discovering the freshest homegrown delights, lovingly crafted by local producers and ideal for winter picnics in the golden winter sun. Each stop along the trail offers a little taste of the warmth and richness of these locally sourced goodies, from artisanal cheeses, olives and other gourmet treats to (of course), delicious locally grown wine. The Farm Gate Trail itinerary points you in the right direction to the region’s dedication to quality and hospitality.

So pack your scarves and beanies, leave the real world behind and get ready to embrace a whole new side of The Murray. Winter has arrived, unveiling the Murray’s hidden treasures as an amazing, easy winter getaway—a time to slow down, reconnect with friends and family, and appreciate the quiet stillness that awaits as this beloved summer destination transforms into a perfect winter escape.