It would have been lovely to stay at the farm in Jindabyne for a longer time – I think there is so much to see in that area – but we had already booked a week at a self-catering apartment in the Murray Valley.
So we bid farewell to Jindabyne and embarked on a 5 hour drive to Murray Valley. We left soon after breakfast, and took a short lunch break halfway through at a town on the motorway called Albury. (Check out our roadtrip itinerary here.)
We arrived in the Murray Valley in the late afternoon, just in time to take a short walk by the Lake Mulwala observing the ghostly, sun-bleached skeletons of the red river gum trees. Apparently, the wood of the red river gum tree is so hard and impervious that the trees never rot, despite being soaked in the river for over 50 years.
Apart from introducing J to the beautiful countryside beside the mighty Murray River, we also had the opportunity to enjoying some cellar door tastings at several wineries in the Murray Valley.
My particular favourite winery was at Rutherglen. I enjoyed learning about the winemaking process from the knowledgeable winery staff and tasting their selection of wines, especially the rich and sweet Rutherglen muscat. The staff even encouraged our little J to smell (not taste) the wines, and it was interesting to see the reaction he had to the different aromas!
The garden at the Rutherglen is also beautifully landscaped and was very pleasant for a walk. J loved the cool, playful fountains that glittered and splashed – he could watch the water for hours!
On one of the afternoons mid-week, we hired a pair of kayaks from Action Bike & Ski at Yarrawonga and went out for a self-guided tour of the Murray River. That was much easier to do than expected as we were dropped off and picked up downstream at a designated point. The maps provided were detailed and exhaustive, so it was easy to navigate our way down the river.
J stayed with my mother (who didn’t fancy an afternoon in the sun), but a toddler could definitely have come along on the double kayak with a pair of grownups.
The trip downriver was really fun! The kayaks are nice and quiet, having no motor except our human-powered paddles, so it gave us the opportunity to silently glide on the water and see some of the incredible diversity of birdlife that live amongst the lush surroundings of the Murray River.
The river itself is wide and peaceful, with gentle currents, so paddling downstream was a relaxing experience. There were also plenty of sandy beaches where one could stop for a break and a picnic, or even a quick swim in the water – but we stayed on board the canoe most of the time, listening to the birdsong and watching the ripples on the water.