Experience the heritage and history of the Murray River

September 2011 News Hannah Nicholas - travel.msn.co.nz

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.


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