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Murray River

The ‘mighty’ Murray River forms part of the border between New South Wales and Victoria and many cities and towns along the way bear dual names because of that fact. The river starts in the Snowy Mountains and works its way to the sea through Encounter Bay in South Australia. It is Australia’s longest river with a length of 2,600 km. In the 1850’s the river was used to transport food and supplies to the many isolated towns, but the construction of railway tracks and roads later brought to an end the ferrying of goods by barge. In the 1960’s then the old riverboats were rediscovered and transformed to be used for tourism and recreation. The banks of the Murray River are flanked with beautiful red gum trees and many sandy beaches which are ideal for relaxing or trying out water sports. Before the first settlement in Australia the Murray River was an important natural resource for Aboriginal people; these days it is still one of the best fishing locations in Australia where one can find species like perch, catfish, yabbies and murray cod. For those who prefer to keep their feet dry, there are also plenty of vineyards and golf courses along the banks of the river.
More than a hundred years ago, paddle steamers used to venture up and down the length of the river, transporting agricultural produce from riverside townships to lonely outposts along the riverbanks. There are a number of paddle-steamers offering leisure cruises on the Murray. The Proud Mary sails from Murray Bridge and the Murray Princess has its home port at Mannum. The major South Australia river town is Murray Bridge, which is situated 80 km southeast of Adelaide and about an hour's drive from the state capital. It is a great spot for water sports, particularly water-skiing. At Murray Bridge and Mannum, and in most towns along the Murray River, houseboats are available for rent. While the age of the paddle-steamer trade may have passed,  the river towns (and a few well-preserved steamers themselves) remain.