Day one

Melbourne to Echuca Moama
About 220km/140 miles, 3 hours

Head north from Melbourne to historic Echuca Moama for your first night on the Murray River. Immerse yourself in the natural wonders of this region with a walk along the river or stop off at Echuca Boat and Canoe Hire for an afternoon punt on the Murray by boat, canoe or kayak. Keep an eye out for azure kingfishers and yellow crimson rosellas as you go.

Day two

Echuca Moama to Barmah
About 30km/19 miles, 30 minutes

In the morning, your first stop is Barmah National Park, a sublime forest and wetlands area stretching either side of the Murray and forming the largest stand of river red gums in the world. The oldest river red gums have been around for over 500 years, and the forest has been declared an internationally significant wetland.

Arrive early for the excellent two-hour Kingfisher eco-cruises that run along a narrow stretch of the Murray most mornings at 10.30am, while Sunday cruises also include Barmah Lakes. Then, if you're still in search of wildlife and waterbirds, make a detour to the nearby township of Picola to see a Superb Parrot against the backdrop of Barmah National Park, depicted as larger-than-life silo art.





Day three

Barmah to Swan Hill, via Barham Koondrook
About 250 km/150 miles, 3.5 hours

Set off for the Murray again on the backroads to Barham Koondrook, a good base to explore Gunbower Island, Australia's largest inland island. You can access Gunbower National Park and its red gum forests by conventional vehicle from Koondrook, Cohuna or Gunbower. Continue on to Kerang Wetlands, an internationally recognised Ramsar wetlands area of lakes, lagoons and marshes supporting a huge population of waterbirds, migratory birds and Victoria's largest ibis rookery – a twitcher's paradise!

Day four

Swan Hill to Mildura, via Balranald
About 315 km/195 miles, 4.5 hours

After staying in Swan Hill, detour on the Mallee Hwy to Balranald to access Yanga National Park, a wildlife haven of riverine forest and lakes on the Murrumbidgee River.

Continue to Mildura, a gateway to the outback and a natural base for visiting remote national parks to the north and south.

Days five to eight

Mildura and surrounds

Near Wentworth, Perry Sandhills comprise 10 hectares of striking red dunes that were once part of the huge Willandra Lakes system and date back to an ice age 40,000 years ago. In Mildura, Kings Billabong is home to majestic river red gums, wetlands and a variety of birdlife and great walking trails.

Be sure to go north to the world-famous Mungo National Park. It's not hard to be awestruck by the ancient dunes known as the Great Walls of China, where you'll discover the park's incredible Indigenous heritage. Then head south of Mildura to Hattah-Kulkyne National Park, on the Murray floodplain, which attracts birds and wildlife superbly adapted to the conditions.

To the west, remote Murray-Sunset National Park has an ethereal beauty, vast open spaces and colourful spring wildflowers, and is best visited with a 4WD in the cooler months.

As with many of Victoria's remote natural wonderlands, your best bet for spotting wildlife (and getting the most out of your journey) is to go with a registered tour company that knows the top spots for explore. Companies such as Discover Mildura and Murray Offroad Adventures offer day trips out of Mildura to these parks, taking the hassle out of the drive for you, and ensuring you get the most out of your visit. Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours offer a four-day tour including Mungo National Park.


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