QUICK GUIDE TO HOLIDAYING THE MURRAY RIVER
Last Christmas we wanted to try something different. Instead of staying at home and having everyone come to us, with all the headache, chaos and hassle that it brings, we left the city and headed for some holiday peace and tranquillity exploring the Murray River.
I had fished the Murray River before with my mates, but this time with the family I got the chance to explore the area and get to know this beautiful part of Australia. I was surprised by the selection of activities on offer.
We followed the Mid Murray Self Drive Eco Tour Drive Victoria, which is basically a 130km loop with the most places to stop and take a good look at in all 3 states. The kids were kept entertained, but at no point did it feel like a kid’s holiday where I was dragging my feet. The region kept me utterly enthralled but it was important to pick and choose where to spend time because the drive can easily take up the best part of a full day without breaking a sweat.
AN OVERNIGHT PADDLESTEAM BOAT CRUISE
In Echuca Moama, we took an overnight cruise on a Paddlesteamer. Undoubtedly a highlight, we took the PS Emmylou out overnight. The ship is a traditional wood fired paddlesteamer and the kids loved the opportunity to help the engineer load logs and help the captain steer the boat. For us, it was a paradise. Good food, a great sunset and then a cacophony of animal sounds to send us to sleep.
CANOEING AND KAYAKING
We did some kayaking from Tocumwal Timeout Resort to Barmah – Millewa Forest. We woke up early and dragged to kayak to the river, past a crowd of watching kangaroos. The paddle was fantastic. The water was flat and calm, we passed Spoonbills on the banks and then picnicked in Barmah Forest before returning home.
There are also a number of overnight canoe trips down the river you can do with informative guides. Due to time restraints, we were limited to day trips, but these were incredibly rewarding trips in themselves. For a real challenge, try the Murray Marathon, a 5-day canoe race, spanning 404km Yarrawonga to Swan Hill. It takes place every December.
I was able to sneak off for a day and get some me-time on the river. The Murray River is home to Murray Cod, Catfish, Trout, Bream, Perch, Redfin, Herring and many more species of fish. The day was slow, but it wasn’t surprising I ended up catching a few European Carp. They are considered a pest in the Murray River (and Australia) so the rule is you don’t throw them back in, no matter how many you catch. Most anglers simply knock them on the head and leave them on the banks.
If golfing is your thing, there are more than 41 golf courses in the region and provide an excellent day off the water. Being the only golfer in my family, I was unable to hit the links, but have given myself a reason to return; a Murray River golfing trip.
GASTRONOMY AND WINE
The Murray River region is home to pink salt flakes found 13km from Mildura. It is collected from the brine in the Mourquong Salt Mitigation Basin. It is used in a number of products from the region, including potato chips. The personal highlight was the Murray River salted caramel ice cream with macadamias. The salt makes it incredibly moreish and it really hits the spot after a day exploring.
The region is also famous for its wine. We certainly made the most of this and indulged. It was Christmas after all.
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