"The Murray" Top 5 Page for this destination Australia Things to Do Tip by iandsmith

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  A different kind of river
by iandsmith

The Murray is one of Australia's "great" rivers. Why put that word in inverted commas? Well, by world standards it really doesn't have much of a flow. Let's be brutally honest and admit that it's actually listed as the world's slowest flowing river! In the old days, during drought, it used to stop altogether. Even more frankly, it's not that huge as far a width goes.
What it does have is character, and there's no better place to feel that character than at Echuca. For years this was a key transportation hub until a key event occured - the railway arrived. Overnight, literally, the paddle wheel owners walked off their boats and left the hulks to rot which they were doing quite happily until someone thought one might be worth restoring and, hey presto, a new tourist industry.
There's now about 14 of them along with a foreshore museum and many original buildings from the time restored in lovely heritage colours.
Over all the Murray, there are more paddle steamers than on any other river on earth.
The only original wood fired steamer in the world, the Marion, still plies its way along here. It's a three tiered tourist boat these days and burns 12 ton of wood per day.
Other places on the Murray to visit for this type of tourism include Swan Hill and Mildura (famous for its citrus and winery industries).
In fact, the Murray basin supplies 40% of Australia's produce, irrigation having been made possible by a series of weirs. They also had the side effect of causing salination which fortunately today has been decreased by half.

Directions: All along the river

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Sep 3, 2003
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