This 10-day itinerary from Albury to Mildura covers the Murray’s key natural wonders and it can be followed in either direction or tailored to meet your time and budget.
Day 1 & 2
Albury Wodonga is the first major stop on the Murray as it flows down from the mountains. Upstream, visit Mt Granya State Park, a nature lover’s paradise with views of Lake Hume. The Wonga Wetlands, about 7km west of Albury on the Murray floodplain, is a system of billabongs and lagoons providing a habitat for birdlife and a haven for birdwatchers and bushwalkers.
Continue on the Riverina Hwy through Corowa to Yarrawonga Mulwala and Cobram-Barooga. A natural highlight of this stretch of river is the sandy beaches, including Thompsons Beach, Australia’s largest inland beach, at Cobram.
Follow the Murray Valley Hwy via Nathalia, where you can visit the impressive Barmah Forest Heritage & Education Centre, and finish your day in Echuca, an historic town with some excellent river walking tracks. Alternatively uncover some of its historic treasures at the Port of Echuca Discovery Centre.
- Albury – Yarrawonga: 90km, 1 hour
- Yarrawonga – Echuca: 150km, 1 hour 40 minutes
Day 3 & 4
First stop today is Barmah National Park, a sublime forest and wetlands area straddling the Murray and forming the largest stand of river red gums in the world. The oldest river red gums have been around for over 500 years, and the forest has been declared an internationally significant wetland. Arrive early for the excellent Kingfisher eco-cruises that run along a narrow stretch of the Murray most mornings at 10.30am.
Drive north towards Deniliquin, crossing the Cadell Fault, a natural ridge created by earthquakes thousands of years ago. Stop off at Mathoura, which has easy access to the Murray Valley National Park, a superb place for bushwalking and camping around the Murray and Edward rivers. Continue up to Deniliquin to explore the Island Sanctuary, a natural island formed by the Edward River.
Head back down to the Murray on the backroads to Koondrook Barham, a good base to explore Gunbower Island, Australia’s largest inland island. You can access Gunbower National Park and its red gum forests by conventional vehicle from Koondrook, Cohuna or Gunbower, or for those with more time and a 4WD, take the 354km River Red Gum Drive.
- Echuca – Barmah: 31km 25 minutes
- Barmah – Deniliquin: 77km, 56 minutes
- Deniliquin – Koondrook Barham: 103km, 1½ hours
Continue on to Kerang Wetlands, an internationally-recognised Ramsar wetlands area of lakes, lagoons and marshes supporting a huge population of waterbirds, migratory birds and Victoria’s largest Ibis rookery – a twitcher’s paradise!
North of Swan Hill, call into the Nyah Vinifera State Forest, an enchanting little area of riverside red gum and box tree forests.
- Koondrook – Kerang: 24km, 20 minutes
- Kerang – Swan Hill: 59km, 40 minutes
From Swan Hill, detour on the Mallee Hwy to Balranald to access Yanga National Park, a sublime area of riverine forest and lakes on the Murrumbidgee River.
Continue on to Mildura, a gateway to the outback and a natural base for visiting remote national parks to the north and south. Near Wentworth, Perry Sandhills comprise 10 hectares of striking red dunes that were once part of the huge Willandra Lakes system and date back to an ice age 40,000 years ago, while in Mildura, Kings Billabong is home to majestic river red gums, wetlands and a variety of bird life and great walking trails.
- Swan Hill – Balranald: 100km, 70 minutes
- Balranald – Mildura: 162km, 1¾ hours
On the final days, you can go north to the world famous Mungo National Park. It’s not hard to be awestruck by the ancient dunes known as the Great Walls of China and discover the park’s incredible indigenous heritage.
Otherwise, head south of Mildura to Hattah-Kulkyne National Park, on the Murray floodplain, which attracts birds and wildlife superbly adapted to the conditions. To the west, remote Murray Sunset National Park has an ethereal beauty, vast open spaces and colourful spring wildflowers, and is best visited with a 4WD in the cooler months.
- Mildura – Mungo National Park: 180km, 4½ hours
- Mildura – Hattah: 65km, 45 minutes