How lucky! Smack bang in the middle of one of Australia’s great food bowls, the Murray region is a feast waiting to happen.
Whether you’re craving something fancy to delight the palate – fine dining, artisan producers and maybe a drop of sun-drenched wine – or a simple picnic in a riverside park with just-picked farm gate produce, you’ve landed in the right place.
All along the river are delightful wine regions, from large-scale producers to boutique cellar doors producing crisp whites and full-bodied reds. You can even combine a winery visit with a paddleboat cruise – a quintessential Murray experience.
Another special feature of the Murray are the weekend farmers’ markets, where the producers gather together and allow you to browse a smorgasbord of fresh fruit, vegetables, sauces and artisan foods from Albury to Mildura and everywhere in between. Even outside weekends, you’ll often chance upon roadside produce stalls while touring the Murray.
The dining scene in the Murray has blossomed in recent years, from country-style cafes and bakeries to fine dining restaurants, winery restaurants and a growing trend in multicultural eateries. You’ll still find country pubs serving generous meals, but also a delicious blend of Modern Australian, Asian and Mediterranean flavours. Restaurants like Jim McDougall in Stefano's Cellar in Mildura, Java Spice in Swan Hill continue to receive rave reviews.
Another culinary highlight of the Murray is the numerous food and wine festivals that pepper the annual calendar. The Swan Hill Region Food & Wine Festival (March), Numurkah Food Bowl Festival (October), and Mildura Jazz Food & Wine Festival (November) each combine the joy of the grape harvest with the region’s finest foods, while the Merbein Great Australian Vanilla Slice Triumph in August celebrates this humble Aussie sweet.
Nothing is better than enjoying a sumptuous dining experience right on the banks of the mighty Murray River. Suggestions for some of the best riverside cafes or restaurants are:River Deck Cafe in Albury, the Lake Cafe and Deck in Yarrawonga and KU de TA Cobram. In Echuca Moama, you can dine by the river at Cape Horn Winery, Morrisons Winery and Perricoota Station's the Packing Shed Restaurant. In Swan Hill, Spoons Riverside is a must visit, whilst in Mildura, you have a choice of Trentham Estate Winery, Gol Gol Hotel and the Dockside Cafe.