The Murray River is the longest river in Australia, extending from the Australian Alps to the ocean at Lake Alexandria. It meanders 2,375 kilometers and passes across inland plains, functioning as a natural border barrier between New South Wales and Victoria. Being the longest river in a generally arid continent, the river serves important ecological, cultural, and economic roles.
Many of the ancient aboriginal tribes of Australia depended on the river for their source of water, food, irrigation, and transportation. Just like in any other ancient cultures, rivers like the Murray River is revered for both its practical merits and religious or mystical appeal. One of the earliest known myth about the river was about the Great Ancestor. Based on the oral traditions of the peoples of Lake Alexandrina, the river was created by the tracks of Ngurunderi, the Great Ancestor, as he pursued Pondi, the Murray Cod.
Europeans have explored Australia as early as 1606 when the Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon and company landed on one of Australia’s shores. However, it took several centuries before the continent was colonized. It was also much later that the Murray was explored. It was only in
1824 that the river was encountered by the European explorers Hamilton Hume and William Hovell.
When Europeans colonized Australia, the Murray remained important in so many ways. Permanent settlements were founded along the riverbanks, which eventually developed into towns, cities and states. The river continued to be used as a major source of water for agricultural use and domestic use.
Long before European exploration and colonization, the river was not thoroughly used as a transportation system.
Indigenous tribes mostly used rafts and small kayaks in crossing and traveling along the river. Some areas are isolated and are not readily accessible.
When the Europeans arrived and started colonizing the continent, steamboats became the dominant means of transportation. Some steamboats were mainly used to transport goods while others were used as ferry boats, transporting people.
However, when railway systems were established, river transport began to decline. Currently, the river is not anymore used as a major transportation system. It is now being used mostly for recreational purposes. Murray is now a major tourist attraction.
Murray has become a popular holiday destination for both domestic and foreign tourists. The idyllic sights of the river and the surrounding areas are perfect for relaxation. Vacationers can spend days and simply do nothing but unwind and have fun. Luxury houseboats are among the most popular accommodations that can be rented.
They serve the dual function of shelter and transportation in the river.
Various businesses are offering recreational activities for vacationers along the Murray. These range from water sports to social activities. Vacationers can choose from a wide range of attractions and activities, from historic walks to modern-day entertainment centers. Visitors can also go shopping or simply commune with nature.
Golf clubs, restaurants, amusement centers, hotels, and resorts are within convenient reach along the Murray. Some people, however, prefer the peaceful ambience of pleasure cruise in the river.