The Murray River sits in the Murray-Darling Basin, draining most of inland Victoria, New South Wales, and southern Queensland from the western side of the Great Australian Divide.
It is Australia’s longest river at 2,508 kilometres! An iconic Australian region that spoils you with diverse landscapes, amazing food and wine producers. The mild, warm and dry climate combine to make some of the most stunning camping experiences along its way.
Having fond memories of previous camping holidays on the Murray, we headed for Gunbower for a weekend of bush camping.
Gunbower in Brief
Gunbower is a rural township in northern Victoria, 201 kilometres north of Melbourne and 40 kilometres north-west of Echuca. It is situated on the Murray Valley Highway and adjoins an intensively meandered Murray River area to its north. The area includes the Gunbower Forest, containing mainly state forest (195 sq km) but also some private land.
Gunbower is renowned for its fishing and nomads travelling with a tinnie (small aluminium boat) will relish the opportunity to explore Gunbower Creek. Gunbower Island which is the largest inland island in Australia and home to superb wetlands and the Kow Swamp (a freshwater lake) – It is a popular site for recreational fishing.
The Camping Trip
We packed the car and headed to Gunbower in northern Victoria, towing our XTrail camper trailer. There are numerous free campsites along the banks of the Murray river. It did not take us long to find our camping spot in the Gunbower area – a secluded riverside bush site with great views of the Murray.
It was pretty easy to get our camp set up, prepare the fire pit, and collect wood for the fire; as there was of plenty of wood from the broken tree branches on the ground.
As we were walking around and looking at the river, we noticed that the water level was quite low, with many fallen trees in the river and root systems exposed. The good thing was the broken branches provide valuable nesting hollows for birds.
The river red gum tree is iconic and unique to the Australian bush. it is seen along many watercourses across inland Australia, providing shade in the extreme temperatures of central Australia.
However, these Murray’s river red gums are particularly prone to dropping large branches without warning, so be mindful where you pitch your tent or park your camper trailer.
As the night approached, there is nothing quite like sleeping outdoors under cover of the clear skies. It was a remarkable experience!
The next day we woke up early to the sounds of chirping birds and were greeted by the morning view of the glassy Murray river. It was a great start to the day.
There were no facilities where we camped. However, we were very well prepared for everything including the flies! We brought our no-fly zone tent as an additional daytime area. So, we could relax, read our books and keep away from the flies.
There is something very special about camping alongside the Murray river. From hearing the sounds of the laughing kookaburra at dawn and dusk, to sitting among the majestic river red gums, and seeing variety of birdlife such as galahs, cockatoos, cockatiels, various parrots and kookaburras. It was a great ambience.
It was only a weekend getaway; however, it was an amazing experience to escape from our busy city life to the bush surrounded by nature, relax and do absolutely nothing! Love it!