Best ways to enjoy the Murray River

From fishing and paddling to tranquil picnics and horseback rides, there are countless ways to enjoy Australia’s longest river. One of the most popular ways to enjoy the river is by paddle-steamer or houseboat, but there are plenty of other pleasures to be found along the Murray River. Best ways to enjoy the Murray River
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Best ways to enjoy the Murray River

From fishing and paddling to tranquil picnics and horseback rides, there are countless ways to enjoy Australia’s longest river.


Australia’s longest river starts as a tiny stream in the Australian Alps before winding more than 2500 kilometres (1500 miles) through five distinct landscapes in three different states to empty into the Southern Ocean off South Australia. One of the most popular ways to enjoy the river is by paddle-steamer or houseboat, but there are plenty of other pleasures to be found along the Murray River.

Fishing on the Murray River, South Australia

Tackle the king of the river

For anglers, there’s no bigger prize than hooking a Murray Cod, Australia’s largest freshwater fish. If you go in search of this mighty fish be prepared for a battle – a Murray Cod can measure more than a metre long and weigh more than 25 kilograms (55 pounds). Other desirable species include golden perch (also known as yellowbelly), trout and freshwater crayfish. You’ll need a NSW fishing licence even if you are standing on the Victorian bank of the river. (No license is required for the South Australian part of the Murray, although size and bag limits apply.) Point yourself towards the prime fishing spots of Mungabareena and Heywood’s Bridge in Albury-Wodonga, Yarrawonga, Kings Billabong near Mildura, and Paringa and Katarapko in South Australia. 

Paddle along the calm waters

Hop into a kayak or canoe and explore this tree-lined river a stretch at a time. Paddle 66 kilometres (41 miles) from Albury to Howlong on a two-day adventure organised by Murray River Canoe Hire. In South Australia’s Paringa, Canoe the Riverland will drop-off and pick-up from designated points – or you can follow a self-guided trail through wetlands to see the birdlife. The company also runs sunset and moonlight paddling tours. Downstream at Berri, Canoe Adventures leads two-hour sunset kayak tours of the wetlands of Gurra Gurra Creek – this is the best time to catch the rich colours of the sandstone Bookpurnong cliffs.

Houseboat dining on the Murray River, South Australia

Enjoy a scenic picnic spot

There are many great spots for a picnic along the Murray River. In Albury, stroll or cycle the 15km Wagirra Trail – five kilometres (three miles) of the trail, known as the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk, features work from local Aboriginal artists. Interpretive panels and videos illuminate the cultural significance of the river. At Gol Gol, across the river from Mildura, James King Park offers a picturesque view over the waters; there are also stunning river views from Mildura’s Apex Park, which features a riverside beach and barbecues. At Wentworth’s Junction Park, wind your way up the viewing tower to see the confluence of the Murray and Darling rivers before cooking a barbecue lunch.

Morrisons Winery, Moama, Victoria

Sample fine fare with a river view 

Soak up the scenery while someone else does the cooking. Albury’s The River Deck is tucked under the elm and plane trees of Noreuil Park. Sprawl on the deck in warmer months (in between refreshing dips in the river) or head inside to the cosy fireplace when it’s cooler. Mildura’s Dockside Café overlooks both the Murray and the Dockside Marina – see the comings and goings of various houseboats while enjoying a meal with an aquatic view. At Echuca, catch a lift on a paddle-steamer to lunch at Morrisons winery at Moama.

Horse Riding, Barmah National Park, Victoria

Ride among the red gums

Travel across creeks and explore trails through magnificent red-gum forests with Echuca’s Billabong Ranch. The company offers a range of trail rides that suit beginners through to more advanced riders. Try the one-hour bush and creek trail ride; more confident riders can head out for three hours to explore the Murray and Goulburn rivers and canter beneath the gum trees. The ranch also offers horseback and horse-and-carriage tours to Cape Horn Vineyard on the banks of the Murray.

The Murray River, Echuca, Victoria

Feel the vibes at a riverside music festival

There’s plenty of culture to be enjoyed along the river year-round. Echuca hosts the Riverboats Music Festival each February. The contemporary music festival takes place in a natural riverside amphitheatre, with the music accompanied by a chorus of native corella birds at sunset. On the weekend before November’s Melbourne Cup, Mildura hosts a jazz festival that runs the gamut from traditional to avant-garde in a variety of venues around town.