Swan Hill is located on the banks on the mighty Murray River, in northern Victoria and there are heaps of Swan Hill activities and attractions for everyone to enjoy.
The Pioneer Settlement is located on the banks of the Marraboor River (the ‘Little Murray’) and it is a very popular Swan Hill attraction. The Pioneer Settlement is the place to come if you want to feel like a Pioneer from the early days in the Mallee! Purchasing an entry ticket will actually get you a free second day of entry, so if you miss out on anything from your first day, you’ve got plenty of time to go back and check it all out again. There are horse & carriage rides, vintage car rides, blacksmithing demonstrations, pioneer cottages and homesteads, a bakery and best of all, an old-fashioned lolly shop where you can buy your favourite boiled lollies (humbugs or raspberry drops, anyone?). When you need a caffeine recharge after all that exploring, ‘Spoons Riverside’ is a great place grab a coffee and some yummy morning tea or lunch.
If you’re wanting some time on one of Victoria’s best golf courses, head across the river (yes, it’s technically NSW, but it’s only a five minute drive across the border!), to Murray Downs Golf & Country Club. The club is a previous winner of the Victorian PGA ‘Course of the Year’ title and is well-regarded amongst the top resort courses in the country. You might even be “lucky” enough to share the fairways with some of the local kangaroos.
For those looking for more of a cultural experience, the Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery is recognised as having one of Australia’s most comprehensive collections of naïve art. The gallery itself feature beams and columns from local redgum timber and the wall panels are made from locally hand-crafted mud bricks! The exhibitions are always changing, along with displaying items from the gallery’s permanent collection. The Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery is right next door to the Pioneer Settlement. If you’re after some quiet time in the outdoors, make your way down to Riverside Park – it’s located right on the river and has lush parklands, perfect for picnics. You can also sit on the ’10 steps’ (exactly how many steps will be visible on any day depends on the height of the river) and take in the beautiful landscape.
No visit to Swan Hill is complete without a couple of classic photo opportunities, so you can really prove to people you’ve “been there, done that”. The “Burke & Wills Tree” is a Moreton Bay fig tree that was planted in 1860, to commemorate the famous explorers as they went through Swan Hill. The “Burke & Wills Tree” is thought to be the largest Moreton Bay fig tree in the country and its gnarly roots showing above the ground make a great backdrop for a photo. If you’re wanting a photo that’s a little more cheesy and tourist inspired, there’s an 11 metre, giant Murray Cod out of the front of the Swan Hill Railway station – it’s 11 metres long and is a replica of a murray cod, a fish that’s very popular in the region.
Those keen on water sports can make their way to Lake Boga, 14km south of Swan Hill. Although small in population, Lake Boga is a natural lake that has a lot of swimming spots (and boat/jetski launching spots!) for some splashing about. Lake Boga also has the Flying Boat Museum, home of the historic Catalina Flying Boat and the site of the RAAF repair depot, housed in the original communications centre used in the Second World War.
Swan Hill is also a great climate to grow wine and there are a number of terrific wineries in the region including Buller Wines and Andrew Peace Wines. Many local restaurants serve local wine, giving you the perfect reason to stop and enjoy a long, leisurely lunch or dinner at one of the many cafes and restaurants!