The Murray River is the longest river in Australia, spreading across over 1550 miles. It offers a deluxe experience for those who wish to take up a scenic river cruise. Let's explore why.
Unlike most Australian river cruises, a Murray River cruise is perfect for people who are looking for a three- to eight-day vacation. They can enjoy some of the best cruising options, including a cruise from Renmark to Mildura (which should take three nights), from Wellington to Border Cliffs, and a longest cruise - from Goolowa to Mildura, which is a full seven nights (or 876 river kilometers) long.
Murray River in Renmark, Australia
By Spitzhofer.B (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
Most of the cruises end up in Mildura - a city torn between solitude, celebrations and a vibrant culture. Mildura supplies 80% of its region with grapes and is a city rich with tasty wines, has a thriving art culture and is a hub for watersports and one that is ideal for hot air ballooning.
All of these cruises are usually one way, so you can sit back and soak in as much of the scenery of Australian wilderness as you can, especially considering that the average a mileage the cruise covers is about 100 river km per day. You can be sure that the cruise will neither be too slow and boring, nor too fast that you will miss anything important.
During the cruise, you will be able to indulge yourself in magical scenery, such as beautiful farmlands that are ever expanding, steep cliffs, all of the ever-changing, amazing river lands, and a variety of flora. You might catch a glimpse of fauna that is unique to Australia like kangaroos, koalas, or some of the 350-plus species of birds that inhabit the riverlands.
Koala Bear in Southern Australia
By Diliff (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
Over the years, the Murray River has brought wealth and abundance to tribes living around it. The culture dates back 40,000 years. You can still see some of the ancient artifacts along the road, such as traps for fish, canoed trees or boundary markets still being made by Aboriginal people on the river living the lives similar to their ancestors.
You may be able to visit traditional sites of the Aboriginals, but always keep in mind that at the heart of their culture is respect – so don't remove any objects, including rocks, from the Aboriginal sites you visit.
The Goolwa to Mildura route is one of the longest routes you can take at almost 900 km. Crossing the gigantic Lake Alexandrina and a section of the River Darling, this cruise lasts for 8 days and 7 nights, with a coach transfer from Adelaide to Goolwa on the morning of departure.
An 8-day cruise from Echuca to Mildura will introduce cruise enthusiasts to 826 kms of some of the most exciting river views in Australia. Due to variations in water levels, however, this cruise is only available during late November and Early December.
Paddlesteamer on the Murray River in Echuca, Australia
By Steve Bennett (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
At the other end of the spectrum, Renmark to Mildura offers one of the shortest cruises you can take at around 320 kms over the course of 4 days and 3 nights. It covers the River Darling upstream through the beautiful orchards and vibrant vineyard of the Riverland and Sunraysia districts.
If going off the beaten track (or churned water, in this case!) then Albury to Echuca offers a length of water that is more often tackled by tinnies and canoes than by cruise boats. Over the course of 6 days and 5 nights travellers can see its isolated river sections and unpredictable water levels. This one is strictly for the adventurous!
Wellington to Border Cliffs covers 5 days and 4 nights of luxurious cruising where shore excursions and hotel accommodation intersperse the beautiful surroundings of Lake Alexandrina.
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The author, Anita Reid, is a fun-loving, adventure crazy mother of two (being a mother proves the crazy part at least!) She and her family live in Brisbane outskirts, often visit the wonderful Mildura and enjoy a stress-free life full of joy.