The Murray River, Camping Swan Hill Vicinity: best places
Need a budget holiday? The wish list includes water to swim, fish or simply relax by with a decent pub nearby. The Swan Hill surrounding district offers plenty of choice for locals to get out of Melbourne, for out of state visitors to explore Victoria’s backyard as well overseas visitors to find an Aussie experience complete with small town grit. The landscape tells the story of a dry land with river systems pushed to their limits and of survival of people and animals. It is a chance to immerse yourself in the Australian story.
Absolute river frontage combined with a short 1km walk to the town centre makes BIG4 Riverside a great family choice. Kids will be entertained in the splash park with a giant tipping bucket, jumping pillow, go karts, adventure playground and more. Couples do not miss out with apartments and spa cabins for a dash of personal comfort. Accommodation ranges from non-powered sites, powered sites, superior cabins, apartments and spa cabins. The toddlers pool is a family favourite. There is a school holiday programme giving parents space for a restorative coffee at the onsite cafe.
What to do nearby:
- Pioneer Museum
- Heritage carriage ride
- Breakfast by The Murray
Nestled among ten acres of landscaped gardens the holiday park is ideal for an impromptu game of cricket or to catch a frisbee. Kids will be entertained in the splash park with a giant tipping bucket, jumping pillow, go karts, adventure playground and more. School holiday programmes including pancake breakfast and go karting. Accommodation ranges from non-powered sites, powered sites, superior cabins, apartments and spa cabins. The toddlers pool is a family favourite. The park is approximately 1 ½ km from the heritage precinct.
What to do nearby:
- Day cruise on the Murray
- Watch, Heartbeat of the Murray 360c degree multi-media spectacular
- Explore Lake Boga aviation flying boat museum
THE MURRAY - IN THE VICINITY OF SWAN HILL
- South of Swan Hill: Lake Boga, Lake Charm & Lake Kangaroo
- North of Swan Hill: Kyalite
- East of Swan Hill: Moulamein (Riverina Region)
- West of Swan Hill: Tooleybuc, Nyah
SOUTH OF SWAN HILL
Lake Boga is a drawcard for military history buffs. The lake was the RAAF Flying Boat Repair Depot. The Catalina Flying Boat Museum is located on the original site in Willakool Drive. The Observatory and Glass Studio is another must see just south of Lake Boga Caravan Park on the Murray Valley Highway. Lake Boga Caravan Park is lakeside Lake Boaga. Accommodation ranges from non-powered, powered sites, ensuite cabins amenities block, communal kitchen and kiosk with essential supplies. There is a playground and jumping park. There are outside BBQ facilities for park guests. The caravan park is a favourite for many with forward bookings required especially during the school holidays. Lake Boga is approximately 20 minutes drive from Swan Hill.
What to do nearby:
- Lake Boga flying boat selfie
- Lunch at Commercial Hotel with a classic Aussie lunch or dinner
- Watersports galore choices
Lake Kangaroo has a classic Aussie caravan park with clean, tidy amenities. From powered to unpowered sites, communal kitchen and bathrooms including shared public lounge with pool table. The caravan site is a favourite with fishing fans and bird watchers. The park does not have a kids playground. There is a boat ramp.
What to do nearby:
- Fishing (non-powered boats recommended – see travel pack information)
- Exploring Lake Kangaroo, as a very shallow lake it is a great place for kids to explore a freshwater environment
- Spring wildflower trail
Lake Charm has three caravan parks. Lake Charm is 19 km from Kerang. The area is a popular destination for waterskiing, boating, fishing and scenic drives. It is south of Swan Hill, the nearest large town.
Lake Charm Caravan Park is beside the general store with sites on Racecourse Lake. The camp site does not have a boat ramp.
A classic Aussi campground with non-powered and powered sites. Shared kitchen and bathroom facilities.
Pelican Waters Lake Charm has absolute lakeside accommodation from non-powered sites, powered sites, cabins, ensuite cabins with air conditioning and shared facilities.
There is a licensed kiosk opened in the summer season.
Lake Charm Foreshore Caravan Park The boat ramp is not in the park but is beside it with the Powerboat Club on the other side of the boat ramp. There are non-powered and powered sites on the lake foreshore. Communal shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. There is no kids playground.
What to do nearby Lake Charm:
- Lake Charm hosts Ski Racing Victoria events.
- Kangaroo Lake is very popular for ski boats, fishing, swimming and canoeing
- Duck hunting in season
NORTH OF SWAN HILL
A great pub place alternative, camping in a classic Aussie campgrounds. According to the local pub owner, “This delightful caravan park in Kyalite is situated on the banks of the Wakool River, with just a short distance to the Edwards River, Kyalite is rumoured to be the best inland fishing spot for Murray Cod.” The camp grounds are managed by the pub. There are powered, non-powered sites, camp kitchens and bathroom facilities. For out of state visitors and overseas visitors you will be fully immersed in a local rural community.
What to do nearby:
- Explore the local rivers
- Support fish restocking programme sponsored by Kyalite Pub The fish release is on the Sunday of the Victorian March long weekend and open to all comers. So if you are recreating in Kyalite’s fabulous Regional Parks on the day, or just on a day trip, bring the kids and let a few fish go in your favourite spot along the Edward or Wakool Rivers.
WEST OF SWAN HILL
TIP: A PIECE OF HISTORY DETOUR
Tooleybuc – a piece of history
The Ring Tree is a surviving relic of aboriginal boundary markers. The tree is a result of bending and tying small branches of living trees together to indicate aboriginal Tribal boundaries many hundreds of years ago. Nearby is Lake Poomah, a favourite for water skiing and picnics by the lake shore.
Nyah Recreation Reserve offers a free camping ground. Visitors must have self-contained vehicles.
The nearby Nyah-Vinifera Park offers bush camp sites. Nyah State Forest borders the banks of the Murray River. There are no toilet or water supply facilities.
EAST OF SWAN HILL
Moulamein was once the largest agricultural hub in the Riverina district with a thriving wharf. The rivers Edward, Wakool and Niemur rivers, along with the Billabong Creek run through the centre of town and feature some of the best fishing spots in the area. The rivers are subject to drought with low levels of rainfall severely affecting the river quality and flow.
Moulamein Lakeside Caravan Park is beside picturesque Lake Moulamein. Sites range from ensuite cabins to powered and non-powered sites with shared communal facilities. Lake Moulamein is well known for boating and fishing. There are kayaks for hire. There is a boat ramp adjacent to the caravan park and no kids playground.
What to do nearby:
- Heritage river walk past the preserved remains of the wharf and old bullock dray
- Visit the local ethnographic museum narrating the story of shearing and the importance of the river as a transportation hub
- Relax in the shade of willows around the lake shore
Travel Pack Information
- Lake Kangaroo, Lake Charm and other shallow water reserves are part of the wetlands area of Australia. “Kerang Wetlands, comprise an extensive series of over 100 freshwater, brackish and saline lakes and swamps on the floodplain of the Loddon River where it enters the Murray valley, in the vicinity of the town of Kerang, in northern Victoria, south-eastern Australia. They are important for a variety, and sometimes large numbers, of waterbirds.” Wikipedia Birdwatchers hot spot. The wetlands are adversely affected by land clearances and / or drought conditions with sality becoming an issue.
- Lake Charm history Lake Charm strong indigenous links as well as part of the irrigation systems for Victoria. Boating on Kangaroo Lake & Visiting Kangaroo Lake. Our shallow lake makes for some significant challenges. Kangaroo Lake gets its name from its shape which resembles a Kangaroo with its head (North end), pouch or hands (mid-east side), and feet (south end). The north end is an established no motorized boating area. Peil Creek runs into the north end and Heins Creek delivers water over the dam and runs into Lake Michigan. There is one primary boat landing designated by the Town of Baileys Harbor on the mid-east side of the lake, off of Highway 57. There is adequate parking, boat ramp, and an adjacent pier. “Lake Michigan-size” power boats, and in particular, larger inboard or inboard/outboard motors, are generally too large and powerful for our shallow lake. The “power” disturbs the bottom of the lake preventing the establishment of healthy plants needed for fish. At the primary boat launch and some other lake access points, you will find some “Warning Signs” about the critically important practice of making sure your boat and trailer is cleaned before and after you enter/exit the lake to avoid the spreading of invasive species. To help prevent spreading aquatic nuisance species, fishermen and boaters should familiarize themselves and comply with Wisconsin aquatic nuisance species regulations. Being familiar and complying with these warnings cannot be over emphasized. The KLA and Wisconsin’s DNR strive to manage the spread of invasive species, including Eurasian Milfoil and Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS), a deadly fish virus, and can only be successful with everyone’s cooperation and vigilance. Here’s a great video on why keeping your boat clean is important. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with the shallow areas of the lake. There are several rock piles and extended shorelines that can be disastrous for a power boat or a mid-sized sailboat with a deeper draft. The south end of the lake contains a Slow No Wake zone identified with buoys designed to help protect the remaining bulrushes. These important plants prevent shoreline erosion and provide habitat for invertebrates that provide food as well as shelter for young fish. Bulrushes should not be disturbed anywhere in the lake. State boating regulations require that all motorboats must operate at speeds below Slow, No Wake speed within 100 feet of the shoreline, dock, raft or designated swim area. Therefore, for those towing water skiers, the pick-up and drop-off sites should be at least 100 feet from the shoreline. Note that for Jet skis (PWC) the Slow, No Wake speed zone extends to 200 feet from the shoreline. Per the regulations, Slow, No Wake speed means “a speed at which a vessel moves as slowly as possible while maintaining steerage”. There are additional regulations for towing a person on water skis or other devices with which you should be familiar.These regulations are intended to protect the safety and biology of the water along the shores. KLA encourages voluntary slow, no-wake zones of 500 feet from the shore and encourages motor-boaters and jet skiers to avoid shallow portions of the lake where possible.Kangaroo Lake is an ideal lake for canoeing, kayaking, and windsurfing. It is an excellent way to enjoy and learn about the lake’s ecosystem and shorelines. There is a small swimming ara on the mid-west side of the lake at the end of Kangaroo Lake Beach Road.The causeway that separates the north end of the lake from the south end, has four large culverts that allow access for fish and provides an enjoyable fishing experience for the entire family even without a boat. It is important to be familiar with Wisconsin’s fishing regulations. Please note: there is a special minimal size of 18 inches and bag limit of three for walleye in Kangaroo Lake, beyond the standard State of Wisconsin size and limits (Administrative code NR 20.20 (15)(d). This is to help the walleye population through enabling more fish achieve breeding age.From Boating Information Kangaroo Lake Association
- Quirky fact Prime Minister, Sir John Gorton’s family home and farm being opposite Gorton Point. Lake Charm settlement has a general store and a motor garage in the village. In 2014 there were 17 pupils at the school. An inn was opened at Lake Charm in 1858, being on the route for a mail and coach service between Kerang and Swan Hill. A store and post office were later added. In the late 1860s farm selections were taken up, and a school was opened in 1879. After the railway line was opened through Lake Charm in 1890 dairy produce was more easily marketed, and the local creamery was bypassed for the Kerang butter factory when it opened in 1905. A public hall and mechanics’ institute were opened in 1892.
- Kyalite has a very small population of less than forty permanent residents. Yet in the vicinity is Australia’s largest commercial pistachio nut farm. The Kyalite Hotel was established in 1858 and has been beautifully restored, complete with pressed iron walls. A caravan park is attached to the pub while the general store cum BYO restaurant sells local souvenirs and Aboriginal craftwork. It is a very popular area with campers, fishers and shooters. The nearby Kyalite State Forest covers 577 hectare and with the Wakool River supporting wildlife.
The journey is worth it.