Australian River Cruises

Australian river cruises are available along several rivers generally as day cruises. There are travel companies that feature houseboat rentals along some of the rivers, and very few that offer traditional overnight river cruises.

The rivers in Australia tend to be shorter than other rivers around the world that offer river cruises. Some are less than fifty miles long and are often connected to several other bodies of water, including other rivers, lakes, creeks, bays and the Indian or Pacific Ocean.

Most rivers in Australia are located on the continent’s eastern side.

Overnight River Cruises

The Murray River is 1,476 miles long and is the longest river in Australia. It rises in the Australian Alps. The river forms the border between New South Wales and Victoria and flows through several lakes before emptying into the Indian Ocean

The Murray is the only river we found that offers overnight cruises as a traditional river cruise. Some cruise lines that offer overnight itineraries are listed below:

  • Captain Cook Cruises
  • Proud Mary

Day cruises as well as houseboat rentals are also available on the Murray River.

The Murray River in Australia.

The Murray River

Houseboat Rentals

Although, traditional overnight cruises are not featured on most of the rivers, there are houseboat rentals available for some Australian river cruises. We’ll explore two of them.

The Hawkesbury River is located in the southeast portion of Australia - near Goulburn in New South Wales. It is only 75 miles long but is one of the major rivers in that region.

We found 2 companies that offer houseboat rentals on the Hawkesbury River:

  • Hawkesbury River Houseboats
  • Holidays Afloat

The Blackwood River – located on the southwest coast of Australia - also has river houseboat rentals available. The river is 186 miles long. It  begins near Quelarup – where the Arthur and Balgarup Rivers meet.

One company offering houseboat rentals on this river:

  • Blackwood River Houseboat

Another river we’ll mention is the Tweed River. It flows for about 50 miles, and is connected to 8 other rivers and creeks in eastern Australia. The Tweed River borders Queensland and New South Wales.

Houseboat rental companies on the Tweed River include:

  • Berger Houseboats
  • Tweed River Houseboats


Day Cruises

Australian river cruises are also offered as day cruises or sightseeing cruises for the rivers already listed plus many other rivers throughout Australia. We’ll look at a few of them on this page.

The longest river in southeast Queensland is the Brisbane River. It’s 214 miles long and flows from Mount Stanley through the city of Brisbane and empties into Moreton Bay. A unique feature of this river is that it has 16 major bridges crossing it.

Cradle Mountain on the Gordon River in Tasmania, Australia

The Gordon River is located on the island of Tasmania, which is located off the southeast coast of Australia. It is one of the 5 major rivers of Australia and is a major waterway through the island itself.

Originating in Central Highlands, the Gordon River flows along uninhabited wilderness. It is divided into the Upper Gordon, Gordon Splits & Lower Gordon. The lower part of the river is a World Heritage site that features a cold-climate rainforest and unique plants and trees.

Another river found in Tasmania is the Tamar. It’s located in Launceton and flows for 43 miles.

Swan River Near Perth Australia

Swan River in Freemantle with View of Perth Skyline

By Photograph by Greg O'Beirne (Own work) [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC-BY-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The Avon River is located in Gippsland, Victoria, Australia. It rises in the hills south of Corrigin as the Avon River and flows 224 miles until it meets the Swan River in Perth, Western Australia. The Swan River is only 37 miles and empties into the Indian Ocean at Fremantle.

You’ll also find day cruises along the Yarra River in Melbourne, Victoria. This river originates in the Yarra Ranges and flows to the west through the Yarra Valley and empties into Hobsons Bay. It’s longer than some of the other rivers we’ve mentioned – measuring in at a little over 150 miles in length.

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Lauri Wakefield is a travel writer who specializes in  river cruises in Europe and the U.S. Connect with her on Twitter and Google+.

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