Your experience of the Murray River depends on where you start. Visit for the day from Melbourne, explore the river mouth from Adelaide, or base yourself in small towns such as historic Echuca and Moama, foodie Mildura, or prosperous Murray Bridge. Multi-day cruises often start from Mannum or Murray Bridge with pickup from Adelaide.
Old-fashioned paddlewheel vessels are the classic way to explore the Murray, whether for lunch, dinner, sunset, or a multi-day adventure. Houseboats are a recipe for a memorable vacation. Alternatively, enjoy a range of watersports, including kayaking, waterskiing, powerboating, and jet-skiing.
Things to Know Before You Go
A Murray River cruise offers a leisurely view of nature and the water.
The Murray River moves slowly but can have strong currents. Ask locals before you swim.
Some Murray River cruise ships and houseboats have wheelchair access. Check with your tour provider.
How to Get There
The Murray River wiggles and winds its way across 1,558 miles (2,508 kilometers) of Australia, rising in the Australian Alps in New South Wales and meeting the ocean at the Murray Mouth near Adelaide in South Australia. Echuca, Moama, Mildura, Mannum, and Murray Bridge are riverside towns; from Adelaide or Melbourne, you’ll need to travel.
When to Get There
It’s possible to enjoy the Murray River at any time of year. High season is the Australian summer school vacation in December and January; Christmas, New Year's, and weekends are particularly busy. For a more serene experience, visit in spring, roughly September to November.
Paddle Steamers on the Murray River
It was in 1853 that William Russell and Francis Cadell opened up the Murray River to boat transport by navigating it for the first time, and flat-bottomed paddle steamers rapidly became the favored mode of travel. By the early 20th century, however, the river freight trade was dying. Today, the only working paddlewheel boats on the Murray River are tourist vessels.