The Murray River

A section of the Murray River during flood, with brown water and trees growing out of the riverbankThe Murray River is Australia’s longest river, and the third longest navigable river in the world (after the Amazon and the Nile). It stretches for just over 2500 kilometres from Kosciusko National Park in New South Wales to the Indian Ocean at Lake Alexandrina in South Australia. The Murray River forms the border between New South Wales and Victoria, and it was here that we were keen to look for the wildlife that depend upon it.

We would not be able to cover the whole of the length of the river in one trip, so we decided to concentrate on the area around the twin towns of Echuca and Moama. Echuca lies on the Victorian side of the border, and is the closest point on the Murray River to Melbourne. From the 1860s to the early 1900s it was a booming town, becoming the largest inland port in Australia. Moama is on the New south Wales Side of the border but, although it was established in 1840, it was not connected to Echuca until 1878, when a temporary wooden bridge was completed across the Murray River.

Murray River Wildlife

The banks of the Murray River are home to a huge variety of wildlife, as you would expect for a river that crosses through three Australian states, with perhaps the most famous being the Murray Cod. These huge freshwater fish can grow to over 180cm in length and weigh over 110kg!

One of the Australia’s Wildlife team members, Peter Rowland, spent several weeks travelling the length of the Murray River on a wildlife photography trip in 2002, and then went back and spent a week camped on the river bank near Moama in 2007. Back then the river levels were very low, as the region had been in drought for many years. On this trip we were delighted to see the water levels much higher, and the mighty Murray River, and the neighbouring River Red Gum forests, looking very healthy.

We spent a few days photographing the wildlife on the banks of both sides of the river in September, and will definitely be going back to the area again for a more comprehensive look around. Some of the wildlife we saw is shown in this gallery:

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