Four Days: 25th – 28th September 2019
Twin Share: $1195 per person. Sole Use: $1390 per person.
- Home pick-ups & set downs (most metro areas – please contact us for details)
- Picnic-style morning teas & all meals as per the itinerary
- All accommodation & admissions to all attractions
- Experienced & informative tour driver/guide.
Mildura is renowned for its big blue skies, Mediterranean climate, lush produce and fascinating local history. This is all located near the region’s life source—the magnificent River Murray. During our stay we take two very different cruises on two different rivers: a dinner cruise from Wentworth which travels the Murray and the Darling, as well as trip on an historic paddle vessel departing from Mildura. Join us as we sample local produce, explore the heritage and enjoy the changing landscapes of this beautiful Riverland destination.
Day One – WEDNESDAY 25 SEPTEMBER 2019
(includes light lunch and three course dinner)
We depart after completing home pick-ups (limited areas*). Soon we leave the suburbs and make our way north, stopping to have morning tea in Gawler. We continue along the Sturt Highway through Blanchetown and on to Waikerie where we enjoy our light lunch.
Refreshed, we drive through the Riverland, passing Cobdogla and Barmera on the way to Renmark where we pause to stretch our legs.
We then head for the Victorian border and towards our destination of Mildura, located in the Sunraysia region and set on the banks of the magnificent Murray River. It is a major agricultural centre known widely for its grape production and supplies about 80% of Victoria’s grapes.
We check into our accommodation for the next three nights at the Best Western Chaffey Motor Inn (Ph. 03 5023 5833) where we can unpack and settle in before gathering to enjoy dinner together.
Day Two – THURSDAY 26 SEPTEMBER 2019
(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)
We wake in Mildura this morning, in the region discovered by explorer Captain Charles Sturt in the 1830’s. The settlement of Mildura was established in 1887 and its name was taken from the Mildura homestead, an early sheep station which covered most of the area. The Murray and Darling Rivers with their surrounding natural pastures brought settlers and drovers to its banks, but after a major drought from 1877-1884 the state government was forced to develop the irrigation of the area. After breakfast we set out on a town tour to discover more about the area with the assistance of a local guide.
Following our tour, we visit the Mildura Visitor Information Centre where we enjoy morning tea in the café, with time to explore the permanent interactive displays and learn more about the region. The complex also incorporates the library and aquatic centre.
Next we visit the Mildura Arts Centre, located near the banks of the Murray River. The centre is home to a performing arts theatre, regional art gallery and collection, sculpture park and the stately Rio Vista Historic House. There’ll be time here to enjoy the history and exhibits, before a delicious light lunch at the Centre.
Woodsies Gem Shop is home to a private collection of gems, rocks and crystals from around the world and we’ll be taking time to look at this incredible collection this afternoon.
Displayed in an “Aladdins Cave” – a man-made creation that feels like a real underground treasure trove, there is time to browse the huge range of jewellery, novelties and giftware, all beautifully displayed.
We return to our accommodation in the afternoon for a bit of relaxation and time to freshen up for this evenings attraction. Our driver takes us the short distance over the New South Wales border to Wentworth, located at the confluence of the Darling and Murray Rivers. This town was once the busiest inland port in New South Wales and at the time of Federation, one of the locations considered for the Australian capital. By the late 1800s the rivers were busy with the traffic of boats carrying supplies to, and carting wool from, the region’s stations and homesteads. Wentworth developed quickly and became a grand town.
We depart the historic port on a wonderful dinner cruise. Travelling along both the Murray and Darling Rivers this cruise offers a wonderful perspective of the river as we relax in the comfort of a modern air-conditioned boat. Take in the magnificent scenery of the river in the evening and listen to the informative commentary as we enjoy a fish and chip dinner! After disembarking we return to our accommodation in Mildura for a restful night.
Day Three – FRIDAY 27 SEPTEMBER 2019
(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)
We cross the bridge again this morning, to the other side of the river, for our visit to Orange World, a 50 acre orchard in Mourquong. We are taken around the picturesque property on a tractor train where we see many varieties of citrus and avocado trees and enjoy an educational and informative tour. We can sample their fresh orange juice and there is a range of souvenirs and gourmet foods available to taste and purchase, including home-style citrus marmalades, orange blossom honey, citrus soaps and other local produce.
Australia’s most unique Botanic Gardens are also situated here in Mourquong. These award-winning inland gardens are the first semi-arid botanical gardens in the southern hemisphere and an outstanding example of what a community can achieve. There is a wide variety of Australian and exotic plants and a rose garden featuring over 1600 colour co-ordinated bushes.
Returning to Mildura we board one of the wonderful paddle vessels for a delightful two hour luncheon cruise. These vessels date back over 100 years to the days of steam power and all of them come with a fascinating story. For example the PV Rothbury was built as a tow boat and is known for being one of the fastest paddleboats having won several national challenges. The PS Melbourne is famous for still having its original, functioning steam engine.
While cruising, we can relive the sights and sounds of the pioneer days, giving us a completely different experience to yesterday’s cruise. This unique river journey takes us downstream through Lock 11, which was built to bypass the weir across the river. We experience the workings of a lock as the Melbourne is lowered to the downstream level and raised again on the return journey. You can also see the fireman tend the boiler as we enjoy the magic of the old engine driving the massive gears of the paddlewheels. An informative and comprehensive live commentary of the river and its history, fauna and flora is also conducted throughout the cruise.
After a splendid day we head back to the hotel to relax for our final night together on tour.
Day Four – SATURDAY 28 SEPTEMBER 2019
(includes cooked breakfast and two course lunch)
After breakfast, we farewell our hosts and depart west for South Australia. Once across the border we continue along the Sturt Highway and meet the Murray River once more in Renmark where we stop to stretch our legs and enjoy morning tea.
From Renmark we journey through Monash and detour to the Goyder Highway towards Morgan, where we will enjoy our two course lunch. In the 1800’s Morgan was home to hundreds of paddle-steamers being one of South Australia’s busiest river ports.
Refreshed, our afternoon drive takes us along the Thiele Highway. Named after Australian author Colin Thiele whose most well known book was Storm Boy, we continue our travels through Eudunda where he was born. Passing along the edge of the Barossa Valley and Gawler, we pause for a comfort stop before entering the suburbs of Adelaide. Late afternoon we return everyone to their homes after soaking up the best of Mildura and its wonderful river scenery.