In this fast-paced world of constant screens and distractions you can’t beat a good old road trip to still the mind and calm the soul. Throw the Murray River region into the mix and you’ve hit the jackpot. The Murray River is nothing short of majestic – as the longest river in Australia it’s the lifeblood of the region, with a little bit of everything on offer.
From wakeboarding and mountain bike riding for the more adventurous, hiking and kayaking for the explorers or fishing and relaxing by the campfire for the chillers, a road trip by the Murray has you covered. After a big day on the river, there’s also a number of top class food and wine destinations for you to sample the best local produce this region has to offer.
Meandering Into Moama
Spirits are high as we move further from all evidence of the big smoke, edging closer to our first destination. We’re Murray River-bound and excitement builds with each kilometre as the road winds us closer to promises of adventure and escape.
Our first stop is Moama, a sleepy town teeming with history, nestled on the bank of the Murray. We head straight for the paddle steamers — after a morning of driving what better way to unwind than to cruise gently down the river. We soak it up, sailing past ancient white gumtrees, feeling as though we’ve stepped back in time.
There’s no shortage of camping options along the river, and we find ourselves a secluded bank to set up. Rising at the break of day, we’re ready to get some early morning kayaking in. We hit the early morning glassy water, gliding through serene lagoons and backwaters begging to be explored. A few near-capsizes later and we’re cruising, taking in the sights as the rising sun sends shafts of light through the bush. This caps off our time in Moama perfectly and we’re amped to keep exploring further upstream.
Hidden Gems In The Murray Valley National Park
Departing Moama, it’s on to the more remote Murray Valley National Park.
The Murray Valley National Park is home to the largest River Red Gum forest in the world. An important site for the Yorta Yorta people, the cultural significance of this place is palpable. After getting ourselves lost exploring the park we stumble upon the Reed Beds Bird Hide. This area is home to a host of rare bird species and the bird hide is the perfect place to observe them, with sweeping views over the wetlands.
There’s no better place to sit around a campfire than on the banks of this untouched part of the river. There are various camp options in the park, with the added luxury of bathroom amenities. We were lucky to find the Edward River Bridge campground, a patch of secluded paradise. Time to set up the hammock, get a fire going and kick back!
Rising at the crack of dawn, we sneak in one more cast of the line before heading further north. The early morning glassy river is sublime for fishing as the sun rises slowly through the gumtrees, warming us for a big day ahead. Three hours pass in no time and even though we catch zilch it’s worth every second. There’s great fishing here, with plenty of Murray cod, catfish, bream, perch and redfin to be hooked and cooked. Dinner fresh off your line, does it get any better? (Disclaimer: we didn’t manage to quite pull this off, but even 2-minute noodles taste good under the stars).
The Murray Valley National Park is the perfect destination to get reacquainted with nature. You can’t help but be touched by the ancient majesty of this place, far removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. While the Murray towns often steal the limelight, this hidden gem of a park is a little slice of unspoilt heaven.
Autumn In Albury
Tunes are pumping and vibes are high as we head further up the Murray towards Albury. Kangaroos and galahs dot the landscape as we cruise past farmlands — even our bad singing can’t ruin the peacefulness of this place.
It quickly becomes clear that Albury is a top mountain bike riding destination, with multiple trails to choose from. We opt for the scenic route, riding along the Padman Park trail that snakes along the river with awesome views of the valley from the top. There’s plenty of extreme trails around to appeal to the most intrepid of riders, with gnarly tracks found at Nail Can Hill. The area is beautifully mountainous, making for ripper bike riding with autumn trees dotting the landscape and the big old Murray winding through.
After a big few days on the river, The River Deck Cafe is a must for all foodies. An ever-changing menu showcases the flavours of the region, complemented by a striking view. It’s the ideal stop for brekky or lunch to reflect upon your epic road trip adventures. After 3 nights of campfire dinners we were stoked with locally smoked bacon, homegrown zucchini fritters and top quality coffee.
Just as we think the fun’s over, we stumble upon the most insane sight while cruising out of Albury. Lake Hume is shrouded under a thick carpet of mist, the tops of the trees eerily sticking out like an apparition. This scenic lake is just begging to be kayaked, water skied or simply soaked in and enjoyed as we did, feeling as though we were floating above the clouds.
The Murray River Has It All
If you’re craving outdoor action, get off the beaten track and take time to explore the glorious Murray River district. Catch a fish, paddle down the river, hike or ride one of the many trails — there are options galore, making for an adventure-packed road trip. The Murray region has so many untouched areas and scenic spots waiting to be discovered. My advice? Get exploring!
- Drinking water
- Bikes/Kayaks (if you have them, otherwise there are plenty of places to hire)
- Food and cooking utensils for the national park
- Fishing rods
Start And End Points
Start in Melbourne and end in Albury.
Distance Driven & Time Taken
4 days, approximately 500 kilometres. See here for more info on the Murray River Drive.
Why wait? Start planning your NSW Road Trip.
Photos shot by @ainraadik and @ben.savage
Love a good road trip? We got you covered…