The Murray Darling Basin is Australia’s largest river system. Roger Vickery and his mate Dave Archer, from ARB Toowoomba, followed the rivers from the Toowoomba Range to the Southern Ocean, about 2000 kilometres away.
The idea was to follow a raindrop that falls in Toowoomba to where it flows into the sea in South Australia. The first stop was to the town of Hebel on the border with New South Wales. It’s home to a general store that offers accommodation and meals; across the road is the charming Hebel Hotel.
Over the border is the town of Bourke, which lies on the banks of the Darling River. In the old days, Bourke was one of the busiest water ports in the world.
A great route to take when following the Darling River is the Darling River Run. It goes through little bush towns like Louth and Tilpa, and offers up plenty of outback beauty.
Just outside the town of Wilcannia is a great place to rest your weary head when on the Darling River Run. ‘Warrawong on the Darling’ is a beautiful tourist park on the banks of the Darling River that offers camping sites, modern cabins and country hospitality.
The Darling River meets the Murray River at the town of Wentworth, near the South Australian border. Being at the junction of the two rivers made Wentworth a major player in the paddle steamer era. It was even in contention to be the nation’s capital.
Not far from Wentworth is Lake Victoria. It is a naturally occurring shallow lake that acts as an ‘off river’ storage, helping to regulate flow of the river into South Australia.
Once in South Australia, there are many beautiful towns to explore, like Renmark and Waikerie, home to the Riverland Enduro Off Road Race.
A great spot to pull up and enjoy a beer and some lunch is at the historic Overland Corner Hotel. It’s the region’s oldest standing structure and has been welcoming visitors for 160 years. They even make their own beer, Overland Corner Gold.
There are towering sandstone and limestone cliffs to enjoy in this part of the world. A great spot to pull up and enjoy wonderful views of the river is in the town of Mannum. The Mannum Riverside Caravan Park offers cabins, plenty of space for caravans, and is walking distance to town.
The town of Birdwood is home to an incredible museum that every car lover has to visit at least once in their life. The National Motor Museum has an amazing collection of over 350 cars, many of them iconic. Recently John Rooth, better known as Roothy, donated his famous 4WD Milo to the museum, so it can be admired by visitors for generations to come.
The Murray River meets the Southern Ocean at Goolwa in South Australia. Four-wheel drives are able to access the river mouth by driving up the beach, but it is important to check tide times, as the water rises quite dramatically.
When staying in Goolwa, a great option is the Goolwa Camping Tourist Park. It’s got the lot: room for tents, family cabins, villas, playgrounds–and it’s close to town and the beach.
To undertake a four-wheel driving adventure such as this, be sure to head into your local ARB to get the best advice and equipment.