Through the Murray’s Green Basin

Mildura Travel Blog

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Warracknabeal

After two nights in the Grampians we were back on the road. Our plan was going north until we reached the Murray, and then follow the river downstream.

Warracknabeal is a country town somewhere in the farmlands of Victoria between the Grampians and the Murray Basin. On the way along Henty Highway we made a brief stop to have a quick look at the town - I could not resist a place with a name as wonderful as that. I am not even sure how to pronounce the name correctly.  It was Easter Sunday and very quiet in town.

I liked the facade of the Victorian hotel with its lace-like iron railings. These buildings are so typical for Australia. This style can be found in all older towns.

On this trip we learned that a settlement qualifies as a town if it has a grain storage, a petrol station, a general store and a pub.

Quarantine station at the entry to the Murray region
Any further buildings are optional. Beulah is a good example.

Ouyen is another of those country towns with the typical architecture of the late 19thand early 20thcentury. The pie from the pie shop was a disappointment, though. Was it fault of the pie, or our German tongues?

The Murray being a fruit-growing region, quarantine restrictions apply when entering the area. No fruit or plant material may be carried in. The road passes through a checkpoint, and every single car is checked thoroughly. The zone is still free of fruit flies and similar pests which would cause significant damage to the harvest, that’s why. The checks are annoying but should be respected.

We had half an onion left in our fridge (which we declared) and they let us keep it because it was already peeled and cut.

Murray sunset

That night we feasted on a selection of delicious Murray fruit that we had obtained from a store. We picked a campground near Mildura as overnight stop, close by the river. The campground itself was not much to write home about, but we were rewarded with a beautiful Murray sunset. My lousy photo gives but a vague idea of the colours in the sky.

In the next morning we continued our drive, now in western direction on the Sturt Highway. The state border to South Australia welcomed us with the next checkpoint. Again, no fruit, no plant products… We had finished all our purchases from the evening before for breakfast, so there was no problem.

A bit further we crossed the Murray and soon after decided to leave the main highway to see more of the river landscape.

Swan Reach ferry

In Berri we stopped for a picnic in the park by the riverside. The landscape is rather flat in that area. The large river flows calmly and lazily. House boats were passing. That looked like a pleasant way to spend a slow, relaxed holiday.

Further downstream the river changed its face. It had dug a deeper bed into the ground. Cliffs accompanied the outward side of the river bends.

Bridges are rare. Only major highways have them. The nearest possibility to cross the river was a small ferry at Swan Reach.

There we experienced an even more efficient way of alcohol-testing. No barriers, no checkpoint were needed. A single policeman was enough to conduct the checks. They simply put him on the ferry and he tested all the drivers one by one. F said that he had never before been required to “blow”, but now for the second time in two days.

Heading straight west we reached our next destination, the Barossa Valley.

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Warracknabeal
Warracknabeal
Quarantine station at the entry to…
Quarantine station at the entry t…
Murray sunset
Murray sunset
Swan Reach ferry
Swan Reach ferry
Warracknabeal
Warracknabeal
Warracknabeal
Warracknabeal
Warracknabeal
Warracknabeal
Pastures on the way to the Murray
Pastures on the way to the Murray
Beulah grain storage
Beulah grain storage
Ouyen
Ouyen
Ouyen
Ouyen
Ouyen
Ouyen
Farm among the vines
Farm among the vines
Sculpture in Mildura
Sculpture in Mildura
Campground in Mildura
Campground in Mildura
Campground on the river bank
Campground on the river bank
Murray evening sky
Murray evening sky
Typical highway scenery
Typical highway scenery
Quarantine checkpoint on the state…
Quarantine checkpoint on the stat…
Quarantine checkpoint on the state…
Quarantine checkpoint on the stat…
Murray bridge near Renmark
Murray bridge near Renmark
On the Murray bank in Berri
On the Murray bank in Berri
House boat on the Murray
House boat on the Murray
Cliffs by the river
Cliffs by the river
Mildura
photo by: Adrian_Liston