The Murray’s most famous native is the majestic river red gum, a towering eucalypt providing shade and wildlife habitat all along the river. The largest red gum forest in the world can be found at Barmah and Murray Valley National Parks, where a narrow section of the Murray frequently floods, creating ideal conditions for growth.
The oldest river red gums here have been around for over 500 years, and the forest has been declared an internationally significant wetland. As the river swells and broadens, it flows towards a completely different environment – the semi-arid desert region of the Mallee in northwest Victoria and the red sands, dunes and saltbush of the NSW outback. South of Mildura, Hattah-Kulkyne National Park, on the Murray floodplain, attracts birds and wildlife superbly adapted to the conditions.
The freshwater Hattah Lakes are seasonally filled by creeks connected to the Murray. To the west, remote Murray Sunset National Park has an ethereal beauty, vast open spaces and colourful spring wildflowers. Environments range from billabongs and floodplains near the Murray River to grasslands, native pine woodlands, Mallee scrub-covered dunes and saltbush flats.
To the north, Mungo National Park is the focal point of the Willandra Lakes World Heritage area, where the shifting sands of this extraordinary outback landscape have created the impressive Walls of China, a huge formation of sand dunes.