Paddle steamers, luxury houseboats, canoes and skis, wineries, restaurants, markets and tees: eight top reasons to visit the Murray this summer.
1. Cactus Country
Make prickly pals with the most Insta-ntly likeable cactus garden in the country. Cactus Country in Strathmerton is home to more than 10,000 varieties of cacti and succulents, and has more than 20,000 Instagram followers. Get snap-happy on a self-guided tour through the gardens and head indoors for cactus cake and sombrero tomfoolery.
2. Riverside wines
The age-old water-and-wine combo proves itself once more with the winery equivalent of a swim-up bar on the Murray River. Hitch a ride on a paddle steamer or moor your houseboat and wander up the banks to Trentham Estate winery where cellar door tastings and gourmet luncheons are served with glorious river views.
3. Culinary legends
Treat yourself to four courses of seasonal, rustic Italian fare from celebrated Mildura chef Stefano de Pieri, the local culinary hero behind the Gondola on the Murray book and television series. With two hats from The Age Good Food Guide, Stefano's is as iconic as the Grand Hotel it's housed in.
Solve the summer holiday-house-or-boating-holiday quandary with a houseboat. Fully equipped and appointed with all kinds of summer-holiday necessities (think hammocks and outdoor spas) these floating homes offer the best of both worlds. Not sure if you're skipper material? All you need to operate a houseboat is a current drivers licence and a quick course offered by an operator.