A short stay goes a long way

Paddle steamers, luxury houseboats, canoes and skis, wineries, restaurants, markets and tees: eight top reasons to visit the Murray.

1. 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.

2. Culinary legends

Treat yourself to fresh Murray region fare. Dine on four courses of seasonal rustic Italian dishes from celebrated Mildura chef Stefano de Pieri, the local culinary hero behind the Gondola on the Murray book and television series.

In Corowa, taste organic chocolate alongside a wee dram at Corowa whisky and Chocolate, or get grazing on cheese platters and boutique beer and wine at Blacksmith Provedore in Mulwala. Make brunch a virtuous affair with healthy, all-plant-based dishes at Sweet Meadow in Echuca.

3. Houseboats and paddle steamers

Step on board an iconic Murray houseboat. These floating homes come appointed with all kinds of holiday necessities, including hammocks and outdoor spas. Not sure if you're skipper material? All you need to operate a houseboat is a current drivers licence and a quick course from an operator.

Or, let someone else take the helm on a historic Murray River paddle steamer cruise. Australia has the most active paddle steamers in the world, and our biggest fleet is at the Port of Echuca – hop aboard and relive your favourite moments from All The Rivers Run.

4. Events

The Murray is a magic spot to revel in authentic Aussie culture, toe-tap to tunes at top music festivals and admire the prowess of local sports competitors in action. Pull up in Wodonga in March for the North East Food and Wine Festival, and arts of the unexpected kind at the Upstream festival.

Bring your swag and a copy of Banjo Paterson's classic poem for the Man from Snowy River Bush Festival in Corryong, joining the locals to celebrate and learn about Australian bush culture.

5. Water sports

Take advantage of the Murray's year-round ski season with an adrenaline fuelled water-skiing experience. Join the many BYO-boat-ers or sign up for lessons in riverside towns.

Prefer to paddle? Tackle level five rapids with local adventure operators or paddle at your own pace on a solo or guided trip through pristine natural landscapes with picnic-perfect pit-stops.

6. Local produce

Go for double helpings of the best from Victoria's food bowl: fresh fruit and vegetables, gourmet cheeses, nuts and excellent freshwater fish. Follow the Farm Gate Trail or choose your own culinary adventure and stock up at provedores and cellar doors, roadside stalls and farmers markets.

7. Golf

With more than 40 golf courses in the region, it's always tee time along the Murray. Spend sunny days on lush fairways and sleek greens with views of Murray River Red Gums. Follow in the footsteps of hometown hero Stuart Appleby at Cohuna Golf Course, and five-time British Open champion Peter Thomson, who helped design courses at Thurgoona, Yarrawonga Mulwala and Echuca Moama.

8. 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.

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