Great Australian Rivers Tour
Travelling the Darling and Murray Rivers
Following our greatest river systems and discovering delicious food and wine, wildlife, historic townships and pristine conservation parks along the way and sleeping in a luxury houseboat are key feature of our Great Rivers Tour.
Stretching from Lightning Ridge, in New South Wales’ north, to Lake Alexandrina, Lake Albert and the world-renowned Coorong National Park in the South Australia, this diverse region showcases some of Australia’s iconic landscapes, picturesque river ports, historic outback communities, spectacular nationally and internationally-listed national parks and conservation reserves, important Aboriginal sites, abundant wildlife and productive farming land. Citrus, stone fruit, olives, honey, dates, almonds, wheat, cotton, grains, yabbies, sheep, cattle and vineyards are grown or raised along this route. We will be making stops to taste the local produce or sample the wines at well-established vineyards, or perhaps we’ll stop at one of the small craft brewers to see how they are getting on.
These rivers are long, very long. We will travel down the Darling River and join the Murray River at Wentworth. Then along the Murray River through South Australia to the mouth of the river at The Coorong. The combined Darling and Murray River is 2,844km long from its longest tributaries in the Darling Downs of Queensland state. Our tour is only 2,600km long which takes a minimum of 8 days but we recommend allowing a couple of extra days to travel more slowly, have a rest day or to undertake more activities along the way. With more time, this tour can incorporate some adventure activities including paddle steamer cruises, kayaking expeditions, hiking and mountain biking trips, birdwatching, fishing or longer tour on a luxury houseboat.
Pressed for time? The Great Rivers Tour can start at Bourke, Menindee (Broken Hill) or Wentworth. This will reduce the number of days of the tour to 7, 5 and 4 respectively. Or combining our Food and Wine Tour with part of the Great Rivers Tour will take between 5 and 6 days minimum. If you are really short on time, or just want to travel the rivers by air, our charter flight tour takes a minimum of 4 days and you will have fantastic views all the way.
Major attractions include the opal mining town of Lightning Ridge, remarkable Mt Oxley, the Aboriginal paintings of Gundabooka National Park, the abundant birdlife at Menindee lakes, taking an Aboriginal guided tour of the World Heritage listed Mungo National Park, visiting Australia’s first Biosphere Reserve, the Morgan Conservation Park (famous for its untouched lagoons, swamps and creek systems), the ochre-coloured cliffs of Ngaut Ngaut Conservation Park and the Coorong National Park (now recognised as a wetland of international significance).
Along the way we will stay at great Outback Bed locations and experience real outback hospitality and home cooked country food featuring fresh farm grown organic produce. Depending on the season we will also experience farm activities and community events. Our accommodation will range from renovated farm quarters to luxury house boats. You can even try sleeping under the stars in a swag laying in front of a camp fire.
Where: Starting in northern NSW, follow the Darling and Murray Rivers through New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia states to the Murray mouth at the Southern Ocean.
When: On demand.
Duration: Recommended minimum of 9 days and 8 nights.
Tour Size: Maximum number of participants is 7 plus guide.
Fitness Level: Low to reasonable level of fitness required. Some short hikes and getting on and off river boats.
Best Season: All year round but Spring and Autumn are best with winter also good particularly in the northern sector.
Cost: See appendix or email for more information.
The driving distances in this tour can be long. The number of days the tour takes can be increased so daily travel is reduced or more rest days are enjoyed. The tour can also be shortened with the omission of some destinations to fit the number of days you have available for your adventure holiday. As an example, the tour could start at Broken Hill or Bourke which would take 2-3 days off the itinerary. Talk to us about customising this tour.
This tour can go in either direction. If starting in Lightning Ridge (or finishing) you can be collected from Dubbo airport or railway station. Allow an additional half day travel and 1 additional night for a transfer from Dubbo to Lightning ridge and an additional fee for transport and accommodation.
This tour is not a round trip. If you wish to return to your starting point with us allow an additional 2 days and 1 night of travel and an additional fee for transport and accommodation.
Lightning Ridge to Bourke
Bourke to Louth
Louth to Menindee
Menindee to Pooncarie (Bindara Station)
POONCARIE TO WILKADENE
WILKADENE MURRAY RIVER HOUSEBOAT
WILKADENE TO THE MURRAY MOUTH
MURRAY MOUTH TO ADELAIDE
Longer Tour Variations
WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND ADDING AT LEAST ONE OF THESE GREAT OPTIONS:
Want to travel at a slower pace? incorporate a rest day? or spend more days doing your favourite activities? or perhaps shorter days involving less driving? Here are some suggestions but there are endless opportunities. Lets us know your timeframes and interests and we can design a tour just for you.
Additional 2 days (1 night)
Leaving Bindara Station we will travel on to Pooncarie for lunch at the old wharf on the Darling River before driving onto Mungo world heritage national park. At Mungo we will walk with an experienced National Parks Aboriginal Discovery guide back in time on the famous Walls of China. These sites have immense cultural significance. You’ll be welcomed to Country and learn about the 40,000-plus years of Aboriginal cultural history of Lake Mungo and the Traditional Owners. You’ll also hear about about Willandra Lakes.
For the night we travel to beautiful Lake Paika Station is one of the oldest properties in the area. In 1899, Lake Paika & Paika Creek became the site of Australia’s first environmental movement to protect a wetland. Lake Paika is nestled on a peninsula of Lake Paika. This 450ha natural wetland, recently reinstated after more than a 100 years of being “stranded” from its Murrumbidgee River. Improved biodiversity of wildlife and vegetation regeneration has already occurred in response to watering. Take a step back in time, unwind, relax and enjoy unique accommodation in the restored self-contained workmans’ quarters. Di at Lake Paika is a great cook, we will have dinner out doors overlooking the lake with a campfire in cooler months to keep us warm.
- Transport in a luxury 8 seater vehicle.
- All meals unless specified on a free-time day including winery luncheon.
- Water and water bottles.
- Entrance fees where applicable.
Why not check out some of our other tours.
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Photo Friendly 9 Days Up to 7 People All Weather The Corner Country Explorer Tour has a focus on Aboriginal culture, history, nature and outback