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Discover Murray River Heritage Trail - NSW, Victoria & SA
The Discover Murray River Heritage Trail
The Murray River region was a frontier in the 1800s, a place of legendary tales including explorers, bushrangers, pioneers, inventors and experiences for you to discover.
The Discover Murray River Heritage Trail is the only source to sea trail through New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia that uncovers Australia's fascinating river history. Discover the stories from the Man from Snowy River to the Coorong in South Australia, home to Storm Boy.
Discover Murray offers you some amazing and interesting stories of the Murray River and Mallee regions that have shaped Australia's culture, tradition and heritage. When you explore the stories of our region you'll begin to see the rich experiences to connect with. The Murray River is a fine thread that runs through Austalian communities and within each community are their own unique stories you can appreciate and learn to enjoy and experience.
Murray Mallee stories started over 40,000 years ago with evidence of Aboriginals living by the now dry lake beds of the World Heritage Willandra Lakes and Mungo National Park. Before Europeans began to populate the area, the Murray River region had the largest amount of Aboriginals living by its banks and around the billabongs.
Within the region you'll find a diverse and interesting range of regional museums, pioneer parks, historic villages, historic town walks, riverboat trails, bushrangers and the unique architecture of thriving river and mallee communities. What's great about our region is it's so friendly. You can explore and find low cost, relaxing experiences and gain a new insight into Australia's rich heritage that began it's European roots in 1824 when Hovel and Hume discovered the Murray at present day Albury Wodonga.
We'd like to encourage you to read about or write your own Discover Murray Mallee story and contribute to recording the legacy of our authenic region.
Start your journey in the Albury Wodonga region, where European explorers Hamilton Hume and William Hovell crossed the river in 1824 on an expedition to find a way between Sydney and Bass Strait; you can still see a tree marked by the explorers in Albury’s Hovell Tree Park.
Discover Albury’s fascinating heritage on a self-guided walking tour of central Albury’s historic landmarks: download the free app from www.visitalburywodonga.com.
Albury Wodonga also had a significant role in post-war Australia, as it was near here that Australia’s largest migrant centre was established, becoming the first ‘Aussie home’ to over 300,000 migrants from more than 50 countries. At Bonegilla Migrant Experience Heritage Park, guides will take you through this fascinating era of multicultural Australia.
Also worth a visit is the Army Museum Bandiana, the largest and most diverse military museum in Australia.
Take time to head 60km north of Albury to explore the unique Holbrook Submarine Museum, which features HMAS Otway, a control room, working periscope and 3D hologram experience of tales of life in a submarine. On the return journey, take a guided tour through the fascinating Jindera Pioneer Museum.
Driving west, stop in at the historic town of Howlong and walk the ‘historic circuit’ before moving on to Corowa, which played a unique part in Australia’s Federation. Visit the Federation Museum for the full story. Across the river, Rutherglen is renowned for its award-winning wineries and has some interesting goldrush-era architecture.
Yarrawonga Mulwala is a popular tourist and watersports destination on Lake Mulwala, but also has an interesting history. Nearby Byramine Homestead was built in 1842 by explorer Hamilton Hume for his sister-in-law Elizabeth and brings to life those tough pioneering days, while the Yarrawonga Mulwala.
Pioneer Museum features an extensive exhibition of early pioneer days.
If you’re interested in old cars and planes, stop at Tocumwal to visit the collection of classic cars, trucks and farm vehicles at Chrysties Museum, or fly through to the Tocumwal Aerodrome Museum, that during WWII, was the site of the largest aerodrome in the southern hemisphere.
Across the river in Nathalia, the Barmah Forest Heritage and Education Centre showcases stories from Aboriginal occupation to pioneering cattlemen and timber workers. Follow it up with a visit to the nearby World Heritage listed Barmah National Park and Wetlands.
Next stop is Echuca Moama, the Murray’s most authentically historic town with its well preserved port area, Australia’s largest fleet of paddlesteamers and a genuine All The Rivers Run old time feel.
In the port area, explore the newly opened Port of Echuca Discovery Centre, sneak underground at the Star Hotel, ride a horse-drawn carriage and feel that frisson of excitement when the whistle toots from an old paddlesteamer. Also worth a visit in Echuca are the National Holden Museum and Great Aussie Beer Shed, paying homage to two Aussie icons!
Detour north of Echuca through stunning pastoral land to Deniliquin, where you can visit the local historical museum. Continue back to the Murray on the backroads heritage drive to Gunbower Island, Australia’s largest inland island and home to a magnificent River Red Gum forest, at Koondrook-Barham. Visit the 1889 Arbuthnot sawmill, which is still operating today, and take the interesting River Red Gum Statue walk. From here, take the heritage drive to Swan Hill via Kerang and Lake Boga, where you should pay a visit to the fascinating Flying Boat Museum.
Swan Hill is an historic riverside town worth at least an overnight stop for the Pioneer Settlement, an excellent re-creation of a 19th century river port town, complete with period costumed characters, old time lolly shops, vintage car rides, and a spectacular nightly sound and light show. Daily cruises on the PS Pyap leave from the wharf at the Settlement.
The final stop is Mildura, a lively town with one of the region’s most colourful heritage stories. Canadian brothers George and William Chaffey arrived in Australia in 1886 and developed the irrigation system that turned a harsh land into a fertile fruitbowl.
Don’t miss the Rio Vista museum while following the historic Chaffey Trail. Mildura also boasts some fine art deco architecture and paddleboat cruises, including the steamer PS Melbourne. Journey another 30km west to visit historic Wentworth at the confluence of the Murray and Darling rivers.
About 180km northeast of Mildura or Wentworth, Mungo National Park should be an obligatory stop on your historical tour of the Murray. It’s an important archaeological site, and the best way to visit the park is on a guided tour with an indigenous guide from Mildura or Wentworth.
Itinerary text courtesy of Visit the Murray
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