Australian River Cruises

Reading time: 2 minutes



With such sensational rivers of our own to explore, international cruises can wait! From the mighty Murray in the south to the Tweed River in the east, river cruising is a fun way to experience the unique inland wonders of Australia.

All aboard!

Murray River, Victoria

The Murray winds 2570km from the Snowy Mountains all the way to the Indian Ocean, through some of south-eastern Australia’s most fascinating towns.

Drifting along in a paddle steamer is a step-back-in-time experience that allows you to slow down and appreciate the sights you see along the way, from red gum forests and sandstone cliffs to farmland and historic towns – this is living! You can book a two- or five-night stay on the 18-cabin Proud Mary for a little luxury, or step even further back in time aboard wood-fired paddle steamer Emmylou. Emmylou was named after American country singer Emmylou Harris (who has taken a trip on the vessel), and starred in legendary Australian TV series All the Rivers Run.

The paddle steamer carries up to 16 passengers in eight ensuite cabins. Cruises range from 2-6 nights up and down river from Echuca, and include shore tours, riverside campfires and gourmet meals. Echuca is two and a half hours’ drive north of Melbourne.

Photo credit Getty/fotofritz16

Hawkesbury River, NSW

Just north of Sydney lies Wisemans Ferry, the jumping-off point for your very own river adventure. It’s here you can board your own houseboat (no special licence required) for an on-water getaway that really will help you get away from it all.

Treat yourself to a five-star houseboat complete with bedrooms and a heated on-deck spa, or opt for a humble but comfortable houseboat the whole family will feel at home on. Swim ladders off the rear make it easy to go in for a dip, and each houseboat comes with its own dinghy to zip to and from shore for supplies and on-land activities – whether a round of golf, a riverside picnic or an outing to a pick-your-own orchard.

Photo credit Getty/Steveo24

Tweed River, NSW

Birdlife abounds along the peaceful Tweed River, which you can navigate from the comfort of your own houseboat. Discover riverside country towns from historic Tumbulgum to beautiful Murwillumbah (have lunch at the art deco-style Imperial Hotel – you can’t miss it, it’s pink!) or see what’s around the next bend from a lounge chair up on deck. Your own dinghy makes it easy to browse the shops and galleries, go mud crabbing or take a nature hike, before heading off down the river once more.

The waters of the Tweed are calmest in winter and the sunsets you’ll see from your vessel are sure to be some of the fondest memories of your trip.


I grew up in the US, Germany and Australia, so it feels more foreign for me to stay in one place than to move around. Since then, I’ve called Boston, London, Seattle, Brisbane, Madison and Sydney home for study and work as a journalist, travel writer and photographer. I specialize in adventure travel, social issues and interiors/architecture. Home is now an 1890s cottage in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. I traveled to my seventh continent last year – an action-packed expedition to Antarctica – and have memories galore of my travels. Snowshoeing in the Canadian Rockies, galloping with gauchos in Chilean Patagonia, trekking through Japan, and camel riding in Jordan are among the most memorable. My least favourite travel hiccup was being stranded in Cameroon when I should have been winging my way to Paris for a little me-time. You win some, you lose some.


Why You’ll Love Tasmania

None of us could have imagined the unprecedented events that have unfolded in recent months. For most of us, travel ...


The Americas

Santa Monica Must Do Attractions

Discover things to do in Santa Monica. The pier, beach, 3rd St Promenade, Santa Monica Farmers Market & other ...



Best Hotels in the World in 2020

In a bid to discover the world’s most popular hotels of 2020, we used three data points from 2019 based on ...