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Experience the heritage and history of the Murray River

Hannah Nicholas
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Historic paddle steamers on the Murray River
Historic paddle steamers on the Murray River
A Murray River paddle steamer
A Murray River paddle steamer
Experience Victoria's heritage and history
Experience Victoria's heritage and history
Drift down the river aboard Echuca's magnificently restored PS Emmylou relaxing to the sound of water birds and the swish of the paddlewheels.
Hannah Nicholas
A trip to the Murray River region is all about unwinding and enjoying the region's renowned food and wine industry, golf courses, temperate climate and history. Not to mention the mighty Victorian river itself which offers houseboat adventures, historic paddle steamer cruises, endless sandy beaches and bushland settings.

Cruise in style
What started as the only trading route for merchants to transport their wares to the capital Melbourne, the Murray River's rich riverboat heritage today provides a unique experience for visitors.

River boating
Why not take command of your own houseboat and explore the river at your pace? The Murray River provides a wonderful trip for travellers of all ages. Choose an itinerary, or cruise as you please floating from town to town exploring the natural surrounds or dropping in on the restaurants, wineries and golf courses that line its banks.

Options range from boats which cater for two to 12 passengers and all are fully self-contained. For the inexperienced, full instruction is given on operation and mooring — and you will not be challenged by changing tides as water levels in the river remain constant. All you need to qualify is a current driver's licence.

Paddle steaming
The other option is to ride one of the historic paddle steamers. Drift down the river aboard Echuca's magnificently restored PS Emmylou relaxing to the sound of water birds and the swish of the paddlewheels.

Other heritage steamers still carrying passengers include the PS Alexander Arbuthnot, the last steamer built on the Murray during the riverboat trade and the PS Pevensey, once a floating museum. You can also enjoy a unique captain's commentary on board the steam-driven PS Canberra. Built in Echuca, the PS Adelaide is also worth a visit. She is the oldest wooden-hulled paddle steamer still in operation.

Where to visit
These are just some of the options along the way. You're bound to discover plenty more:

Echuca-Moama: Once Australia's largest inland port, the Port of Echuca remains a working port and its wharf and riverfront buildings have been faithfully restored.

Swan Hill: Visit the Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement, a re-created riverside town of the paddle-steamer era which showcases the life of the early settlers. This is also a top spot for fishing, golf and great food and wine.

Cobram-Barooga: The towns of Cobram and Barooga sit either side of the picturesque Murray River. With wide sandy beaches and towering river gums, find a quiet spot to cast a fishing line or paddle a canoe through the river gums. Visit Quinn Island and explore the abundant wildlife.

Yarrawonga-Mulwala: Here you can take a close-up look at colonial history at the Byramine Homestead a National Trust property demonstrating the lifestyle of the region's earliest pioneer Elizabeth Hume. The twin towns of Yarrawonga-Mulwala are also home to Lake Mulwala popular with golfers, anglers and bush walkers.

Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage area: In ancient times the rivers presence was vital to the livelihood of Indigenous Australians. Mungo National Park is part of the Willandra Lakes Region and is well-known for the record it preserves of ancient lives.

Come and experience the Murray River through the eyes of those who have gone before and have an adventure that is truly unique to this historical region.

For more information visit Tourism Victoria

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