Getty Images/iStockphoto

Murray River

On the lowest gradient of any Australian river, the slow-flowing Murray hooks through 650 South Australian kilometres. Tamed by weirs and locks, it irrigates the fruit trees and vines of the sandy Riverland district to the north, and winds through the dairy country of the Murraylands district to the south. Raucous flocks of white corellas and pink galahs launch from cliffs and river red gums, darting across lush vineyards and orchards.

Prior to European colonisation, the Murray was home to Meru communities, with Ngarrindjeri lands around Murray Bridge and closer to the sea. Then came shallow-draught paddle steamers, carrying wool, wheat and supplies from Murray Bridge as far as central Queensland along the Darling River. With the advent of railways, river transport declined. These days, waterskiers, jet skis and houseboats crowd the river, especially during summer. If your concept of serenity doesn't include the roar of V8 inboards, sidestep the major towns during holidays and weekends.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Murray River.