Uncover hidden gems
Discover unexpected spots along the mighty Murray and journey through the region’s rich history of paddle steamers, pioneers, and breathtaking natural landscapes. Step outside of the tourist hot spots and enjoy local hospitality in quaint towns along the riverbanks, or head inland to meander through national parks and gaze at luminescent lakes.
Image: Koondrook Retreat
Nestled along the southern banks of the Murray River is Koondrook, a quiet town popular for fishing, camping and canoeing. Head to the Koondrook Waterfront to embark on a number of idyllic trails, including Goanna Walking Track which loops through the Gunbower State Forest and returns to the centre of town. Visit the historic Arbuthnot Sawmills, where you’ll learn about the local timber trade.
Call into the Long Paddock Food Store for a spot of brekkie or lunch, or pop into Bundarra Berkshires Free Range Pork for a tour of the free-range pig farm accompanied by a tasting and charcuterie masterclass. Travel a few kilometres across the border to a slice of heaven under the gum trees in Barham, and sip shiraz, tempranillo and cabernet sauvignon at Barham Vines.
Image:All Saints Estate Cellar Door
Just across the bridge from Corowa, is lesser-known Wahgunyah. Home to one of Victoria’s oldest wineries, All Saints Estate, the small town is the perfect spot to indulge your tastebuds with Wahgunyah’s quality food and wine offering.
Take in 360 degree views of manicured English gardens at All Saints Estate and sip hand-crafted wines from antique vines at their new cellar door. Hungry? Savour the menu of family recipes lovingly cooked from local produce, accompanied by a glass of muscat at the estate’s restaurant, KIN. Alternatively, enjoy woodfired pizza, fresh platters and crunchy salads at the All Saints’ casual eatery, Bonnie.
Collect a picnic hamper from Pfeiffer Wines and sit back on the famous Sunday Creek Bridge with your selection of local delicacies and premium wines, or cook up a storm on the barbie with one of the vineyard’s ‘do it yourself’ barbecue packs. Enjoy a lazy Sunday afternoon with a glass of bubbles at Cofield Wines, or head across the bridge and sample something a little stronger paired with a sweet treat at Corowa Whisky and Chocolate.
Image: Cactus Country
Laze the day away with beach hangs, a spot of golf or a stroll through a desert inspired cactus haven just a short drive from Cobram in Strathmerton. Thompson's Beach, listed as one of Tourism Australia's 'Top 20 Beaches for 2022', is Australia’s largest inland beach shaded by towering red gums. Here, you can get active on the water with an array of water sports or just relax on the sand with a book. Top off your beach day with a spot of nostalgia at The Corner Shop Gelato and Espresso Bar, where you can satisfy your sweet tooth at the lolly bar, munch down a toasted sandwich or try the artisanal gelato.
For a more otherworldly experience, marvel at the blooms, shapes, and sizes of the spiky cacti at Cactus Country. Discover more than 4,000 species of cacti and succulents and refuel with cactus cake, cactus cider or honey collected from on-site beehives at the café.
Image: Lake Boga at sunset
Immerse yourself in modern history at Lake Boga, where you can see how a once quiet cul-de-sac was transformed into a flying boat repair depot during World War II. Visit the Lake Boga Flying Boat Museum to learn more, or soak up the area and its natural beauty with a spot of water-skiing or kayaking. Just a short drive from Lake Boga is Pioneer Settlement. Here, you can explore a bygone era on a horse drawn carriage through a street of 1850s pioneer cottages. Continue your pioneer exploration with a cruise down the Murray on the PS Pyap, which was originally built in 1896.
Chase a sense of serenity with a morning yoga or meditation session with Swan Yoga Bliss, then refuel over brunch at Boo’s Place Lakeside, while basking in the tranquillity of Lake Boga.
Shop local, and visit the 14-acre olive grove and lavender farm at Chasney Estate, where you can purchase oils, olives, soap, and a host of other handmade products, or stay overnight in one of their tiny homes surrounded by rows of olive trees. Other top spots to explore include Spoons Riverside – a waterfront restaurant that doubles as a gift shop and local provedore, and of course, the Murray Downs Golf and Country Club – a renowned 18 hole championship golf course.
Image: Kyabram Fauna Park
Travel approximately 30-minutes from Echuca to Kyabram, a small town dedicated to agriculture and fruit growing. Make a pit stop at Kyabram Fauna Park, part of Zoos Victoria, to see more than 600 native Australian animals in the flesh. Meander through open woodlands and lush wetlands spotting everything from koalas and kangaroos to flying foxes and quolls. Before you leave, enjoy a spot of lunch at the park's cafe while watching the meerkats play in the adjacent enclosure.
Discover a vast network of outdoor art both in the town, and nearby as part of the Silo Art Trail. Check out the water tank art painted by Jimmy D’vate, which features spectacular depictions of local wetlands and native birdlife, including the golden whistler and red-capped robin. Venture further afield to sight the Rochester Silo Art, also crafted by the talented Jimmy D’vate, which depicts a wrist-winged squirrel glider, an azure kingfisher and a paddle-shaped platypus.
Image: Kayaking at Gunbower Creek
Uncover paradise in Cohuna, a 15-minute drive from Gunbower, where native bushland, eye-catching lagoons and eco-tourism experiences reign supreme.
Paddle the Cohuna Lagoon during a Gunbower Creek and Cohuna Lagoon Eco Tour, or get comfy in a canoe and experience the tranquillity of the wetlands surrounding Safe’s Lagoon on the Gunbower Island Canoe Trail.
Explore the Gunbower State Forest in four wheels along the Gunbower Island Forest Drive. Take the half-day drive through Australia’s largest inland island and soak up a number of historical and ecological sites. Sit back in comfort with Wetlander Cruises and dine to a cacophony of chirping birds and the backdrop of surrounding bushland.