2023 High Country to the Murray Delta

2023 High Country to the Murray Delta

It’s by far the largest river in Australia. It begins as a small stream in the Australian Alps and 2520 river kilometres later it empties into the Southern Ocean near Goolwa in South Australia.

11 Days

13 – 23 April 2023

From 4,370.00*

Along the way it meanders through contrasting Australian landscapes and river towns that record the history of what used to be the most important trade route in Australia. The Murray has also allowed the development of Australia’s most important irrigated region and is widely known as the food bowl of the nation. Our tour begins in Canberra with a stunning drive through the Australian Alps to Albury on the Victorian-New South Wales Border. We then follow the river all the way to Goolwa in South Australia. Along the way we will visit historic river towns such as Echuca, Swan Hill and Mannum, see a number of the major river lakes and be entertained and informed by local characters who live by – and are part of – the history of the Murray.

11 days
Twin / Double $4370.00 pp
Single $4950.00
Deposit $500.00

Plus Airfares – Brisbane > Canberra — Adelaide > Brisbane – $TBA

Itinerary

Day 1 (D): Into the Snowy Mountains - Thursday 13 April, 2023

Welcome to our “High Country to the Murray Delta Tour” The best way to access the “High Country” is via Canberra – and that’s where we are off to this morning. On arrival our Touring Coach will be waiting for us. After loading the coach, we are on our way – south to Cooma, home to Australia’s biggest engineering project – the Snowy Mountain Scheme. Originally settled in 1823, Cooma became the headquarters for the building of the Snowy Mountain Hydro Electric Scheme which commenced in 1949. We have planned a stop at Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre – a state-of-the-art visitor facility that showcases the amazing story of the Snowy Mountains Scheme from the early construction days to the role the Scheme plays today in the development of Australia. We then continue to Jindabyne for our first night on tour. The original town of Jindabyne was inundated by the Snowy Scheme and the new township now sits on the shores of Lake Jindabyne (Meal inclusions: Welcome dinner)

Rydges Snowy Mountains Resort, Jindabyne   – 1 night
(Meal inclusions:  Welcome dinner)

Day 2 (BLD): Across the High Country - Friday 14 April, 2023

The Murray River starts out as a small stream near Mt. Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest mountain, on the NSW/Victoria border. The Mount Kosciusko National Park is just 50ks east of Jindabyne. This morning we are going to drive the Great Alpine Road to Thredbo and then Tom Groggin where the Murray River begins. Later we will see Mt Townsend, Australia’s second highest mountain Also on our agenda today is a stop at the Murray No. 1 Power Station to gain our first insight into the amazing feat that is the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme. We then join the Murray Valley Highway near Coryong. We make a stop here at the Man from Snowy River Museum, which links Banjo Paterson’s ballad of the same name to the Upper Murray and Jack Riley. The Man from Snowy River Folk Museum sheds hold some interesting insights into the life of the pioneers and their ingenuity, and it has an extraordinary exhibition of old skiing equipment. We continue to Tallangatta and along the shores of the Hume Weir.

Now on the western side of the Alps we make our way to Albury on the New South Wales Border. Albury (NSW) is separated from its sister city Wodonga (Victoria) by the Murray River. It’s near here where the river widens and meanders through relatively flat country to Mildura and then flows into South Australia. (Meal inclusions: Breakfast & dinner in the motel/Light lunch)

Quality Resort Siesta,  Albury– 2 nights
(Meal inclusions: Breakfast & dinner in the motel/Light lunch)

Day 3 (BLD): The Mitta Valley & Dartmouth Dam - Saturday 15 April, 2023

This morning we are going to tour into the Mitta Valley – home to Australia’s largest man made dam and highest mountain in Victoria. We will be joined by a local “identity” who will take us to the Dartmouth Dam. The dam boasts the highest rock filled wall in the southern hemisphere and, when its full, holds 7 times more water than Sydney Harbour! It will be a fun tour with plenty of jokes and folklore stories along the way. There will also be a stop at the Goulburn Valley Murray Water Lake Dartmouth Information Centre with models of the lake and a short video on the construction process. Lunch will be at the Dartmouth Tavern in a delightful setting on the verandah overlooking exquisite alpine scenery. We are sure to meet resident king parrots, rosellas, galahs and cockatoos. It will be a fabulous day full of great alpine scenery and genuine country hospitality.

(Meal Inclusions: Breakfast & dinner in the motel/Lunch at Dartmouth Tavern)

Day 4 (BLD): Albury to Echuca - Sunday 16 April, 2023

Today we follow the Murray Valley Highway west towards Echuca. First stop is Yarrawonga situated on Lake Mulwala – the next downstream reservoir from Lake Hume. Lake Mulwala was formed by the completion of the Yarrawonga Weir. It was part of the massive Lake Hume project to harness the waters of the Murray for irrigation. We have arranged a short cruise aboard the MV Paradise Queen. The lake is dominated by a vast number of trees standing in the water and the lovely homes along the foreshore. We will cruise past these towering River Red Gums and dozens of sandy beaches whilst enjoying morning tea. Back on the coach we head to Byramine Homestead. This fascinating colonial house was built in the early 1820s by Elizabeth Hume, sister in law of Hamilton Hume the explorer. It is one of the oldest homes in Australia and its name means ‘rustic retreat’ although it was, in essence, a fortress. Elizabeth Hume’s husband had been murdered by bushrangers. To protect herself and her 9 children, the house was built in an octagonal shape to provide a clear view of all angles in the case of attack. Often the family had to hide in the cellar which we can see on our tour. We also enjoy a tour and a light lunch here before our afternoon drive to Echuca. (Meal inclusions: Breakfast & dinner in the motel/Lunch at Byramine Homestead)

Mercure Port of Echuca,  Echuca – 1 night
(Meal inclusions: Breakfast & dinner in the motel/Lunch at Byramine Homestead)

Day 5 (BLD): Historic Echuca - Monday 17 April, 2023

After breakfast this morning we meet a local character who will help us understand the history and stories of the area of the Echuca Port. Our guide will point out areas of interest and fill us with tales of the colourful personalities who “crewed” the old river boats. All the events we learn about happened when trade was booming here at the turn of the century. We spend some time at the Port of Echuca Discovery Centre have a chance to look through Sharps Magic Movie House & Penny Arcade. Lunch is on the river aboard the PS Canberra as we take a 1 hour cruise along the Murray River at Echuca. With 100 years of working life under her hull and having carried hundreds of thousands of people, the PS Canberra is one of the most travelled boats on the Murray River. Back on dry land we reboard the coach for our afternoon drive to Swan Hill. There is another major river lake near here at Lake Boga which is home to the famous Catalina Flying Boat A24-30 – one of only 4 in Australia. The Catalina Flying Boat played an integral part in the allied defence of the South Pacific during World War 2.

Lake Boga was an ideal stretch of water on which the mighty flying boats could alight. We make a brief stop at the Flying Boat Museum. All types of Flying Boats that were serviced at Lake Boga are represented in the Museum – with special sections dedicated to the United States of America and the Netherlands air craft and crew who visited Lake Boga during World War 2. From here we continue to Swan Hill. After checking into our hotel and and having dinner, we are heading to the Pioneer Settlement for the Heartbeat of the Murray sound and laser show. This wonderful new sound and light show is the first of its kind and utilizes water, light, laser, sound and special effects to tell the fascinating story of the Murray – from 30 million years ago to today. The set features 20 water fountains, each of which can spray water up to 40 metres high and is fitted with individually coloured LED light. The show will face the Little Murray River making it the first show of its kind to use a natural river environment and setting as the background. We head back to the motel after a great night. (Meal inclusions: Breakfast & Dinner in the motel/Lunch on Murray River Cruise)

Comfort Inn Campbell Motor Inn, Swan Hill  – 1 night
(Meal inclusions: Breakfast & Dinner in the motel/Lunch on Murray River Cruise)

Day 6 (BD) Swan Hill Pioneer Museum - Tuesday 18 April, 2023

This morning we will be heading back to the Pioneer Settlement Museum. The Settlement was founded to portray the development of inland Australia between 1830 and 1930. Located on the Little Murray River, it contains over 50 historic buildings, many of which carry on the business of 90 years ago. Some of the highlights are –

  • Shops and activities in a 19th Century township, selling food and souvenirs made on site
  • Daily street theatre performances/Free rides in horse drawn vehicles or vintage cars.

At 10.30 am there is a 1 hour cruise on the PS Pyap, and then we have some free time to purchase lunch (own expense) before we are off on our way, following the Murray Valley Highway to Mildura for our overnight stop. We will arrive into Mildura just on dinner time and have dinner in the motel restaurant just after arrival. (Breakfast & dinner in the motel/Lunch at own expense at Pioneer Settlement)

Mildura Inlander Resort, Mildura — 1 night
(Breakfast & dinner in the motel/Lunch at own expense at Pioneer Settlement)

Day 7 (BLD): Mildura and the South Australian Riverland - Wednesday 19 April, 2023

This morning we transfer to the Mildura Wharf and board the PS Rothbury for a 1 hour cruise on the Murray River. Built in 1891, the Rothbury was one of the last “working” Paddle steamers on the Murray River. Late morning, we continue west along the Sturt Highway towards the South Australian Border and arrive into the South Australian Riverland Region. By the time we hop off the coach it will be lunch time, which we plan to have in Renmark. From one boat to another but this time, although we will be on the water, we won’t be going anywhere. The Murray River Queen has been refurbished and offers a unique dining experience overlooking the Murray River. When launched in 1974 the Murray River Queen was the largest vessel ever to ply the Murray River and she remains the largest ever side wheel paddle boat and the third largest vessel overall to ever navigate the river. The South Australian Riverland is famous for is produce and along with citrus it is also famous for its wine. Established in 1910, Angove Family Winemakers at Renmark is the region’s oldest winery and home to the St Agnes Distillery and Barrel Halls. Here we are taken on a brief tour and have a tasting of the multi award winning wines and spirits. We conclude our day and drive through to Barmera  – our base for the next three nights. (Meal inclusions: Breakfast & dinner in the motel/Lunch on Murray River Queen)

Comfort Inn & Suites Riverland, Barmera  – 3 nights
(Meals inc  –  Breakfast & dinner in the motel/Lunch on Murray River Queen)

Day 8 (BLD) Historic Riverland - Thursday 20 April, 2023

Today we visit the award winning Banrock Station near Kingston on Murray. Banrock Station lies at the junction of the Banrock Creek and the Murray River. The property was purchased by BRL Hardy in 1994. The 1650 hectare property has just 250 hectares devoted to premium grape varieties such as Semillon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. The remaining land, including 12.5 kilometres of river frontage, adjacent to the Banrock Lagoon and wetlands, is being returned to its native state. We have arranged morning tea here overlooking the wetlands. Our drive from Banrock takes us over the Napper Bridge which crosses Chambers Creek (the link from the Murray River to Lake Bonney) and onto the historic Overland Corner Hotel – a popular rest spot last century for drovers moving stock between NSW and South Australia. The hotel was built from sandstone cut from a nearby quarry and in the 1870’s it was not unusual for as many as 30,000 sheep and several mobs of cattle to be camped here overnight. We enjoy lunch here before the drive back to Barmera.

(Meal inclusions; Breakfast & dinner in the motel/Lunch at Overland Corner Hotel)

Day 9 (BD): Exploring the Riverland - Friday 21 April, 2023

One of the other major Riverland towns is Loxton – and that is where we are off to this morning. Loxton on the Murray was first settled by people of (predominantly) German origin, who were escaping religious persecution. This proud German heritage is still evident today. Much of the town’s fascinating history is on display at the Loxton Historical Village. The town was not settled until Cobdogla Station was established in the 1850’s. A William Loxton was a stockman on the Station who lived, with his wife Mary, in a slab hut on the riverbank. A replica of this hut was built in 1970 on its original site and this was the beginnings of the Loxton Historical Village. From Loxton we head into Berri for some free time for lunch before our afternoon visit to Bella Lavender Estate. We have arranged afternoon tea with time to take a walk in the garden and check out their range of products for sale such as homemade soap, shampoo lip balm and arthritis cream.

(Meal inclusions: Breakfast & dinner in the motel)

Day 10 (BLD): Heading Downstream - Saturday 22 April, 2023

This morning we travel past Waikerie and Blanchetown where the first of a series of seven locks on the Murray in South Australia is located. At the time Blanchetown was an important riverbank terminal where goods were offloaded from paddle steamers to be cleared through the local Customs House. Further downstream is Mannum – home to the Mannum Dock Museum of River History. We take a look before lunch at the Pretoria Hotel. We continue to Goolwa where the Murray River finally enters the Southern Ocean. Goolwa is an aboriginal word meaning elbow and is situated on the bend in the Murray River, opposite Hindmarsh Island. On arrival in Goolwa we board the “Spirit of the Coorong” for a cruise to the Mouth of the Murray River. The cruise takes us through the Goolwa Barrage, one of 5 constructed in the 1930s to separate the sea water from the fresh water of the river. From here the river mouth and the entrance to the Coorong are 4kms further on and, depending on the tide, can be freely accessed. (Meal inclusions: Breakfast & dinner in the motel/Lunch in Pretoria Hotel Mannum)

Lady Bay Hotel, Normanville – 1 night
(Meal inclusions: Breakfast & dinner in the motel/Lunch in Pretoria Hotel Mannum)

Day 11 (B): Heading Home - Sunday 23 April, 2023

We travelled nearly the entire length of the Murray River and unfortunately our tour has come to an end. After breakfast and some free time, we travel into Adelaide for our flight home.

(Meal inclusions; Breakfast in the motel)

All itineraries are subject to change due to occasional restrictions in opening times or days of some attractions. We cannot be held responsible for any changes due to closures or inclement weather.

Tour Inclusions

  • Coach T/fer – Sunshine Coast to Brisbane Airport
  • 10 nights’ accommodation as per the itinerary
  • 10 x cooked breakfasts, 10 x 2 course dinners & 7 lunches
  • Virgin Australia – Brisbane/Canberra TO BE ADDED (Day 1)
  • Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre – entry (Day 1)                
  • Rydges Snowy Mountains Resort – packed lunch (Day 2)
  • Dartmouth Tavern – lunch and local guide (Day 3)                            
  • MV Paradise Queen – morning tea cruise (Day 4)                             
  • Byramine Homestead and Brewery – tour and light lunch (Day 4)             
  • Port of Echuca Discovery Centre – local guide (Day 5)             
  • Sharps Magic Movie House, Penny Arcade & Fudge – (Day 5)
  • Murray River Paddlesteamers – luncheon cruise on the PS Canberra (Day 5)                 
  • Flying Boat Museum Lake Boga  – (Day 5)               
  • Pioneer Settlement  – Heartbeat Laser Show (Day 5)                         
  • Pioneer Settlement  – Day (Day 6)                        
  • PS Melbourne/PV Rothbury -1 hour morning tea cruise (Day 7)   
  • Murray River Queen – lunch in Renmark (day 7)    
  • Angove Winery Renmark  – tour and tasting (Day 7)                      
  • Banrock Station Wine & Wetland Centre – tour, walk & morning tea (Day 8)       
  • Overland Corner Hotel – pub lunch (Day 8)                        
  • Loxton Historical Village – (Day 9)                   
  • Bella Lavender Estate – tour & afternoon tea (Day 9)
  • Stop to view Lock 1 at Blanchetown (Day 10)                        
  • Mannum Dock Museum and Visitors centre (Day 10)                                             
  • Pretoria Hotel Mannum – lunch (Day 10)                               
  • Spirit Australia Cruises  – 90 minute Murray Mouth Cruise (Day 10
  • Virgin Australia – Adelaide to Brisbane
  • Coach T/fer Brisbane to Sunshine Coast

Accommodation

  • Rydges Snowy Mountains Resort, Jindabyne  – 1 night
  • Quality Resort Siesta,  Albury– 2 nights     
  • Mercure Port of Echuca, Echuca – 1 night    
  • Comfort Inn Campbell Motor Inn, Swan Hill – 1 Night
  • Mildura Inlander Resort, Mildura — 1 night
  • Comfort Inn & Suites Riverland, Barmera – 3 nights       
  • Lady Bay Hotel, Normanville– 1 night                                                         

Airline

  • Virgin Australia

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Coolum Tours and Travel
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