Looking for things to do in Mildura? I’ve got you covered.
I have driven through Mildura so many times in the last few years, and every time I’ve said “I really need to stay here for a few days and look around”.
It wasn’t going to be my first visit – I had been here with a friend’s family as a teenager and again when my children were very young, but a lot has changed in the twenty or so years since then, and it was time for a revisit.
We stayed for two nights in Mildura as part of a larger trip from Adelaide across to the Snowy Mountains. We were only travelling from Loxton in SA, so had almost two full days to explore.
I had a huge list of things I wanted to do and see, but as usual, the weather gods conspired against me.
No, not rain for a change, this time it was around 40 degrees both days, making it almost impossible to spend much time outside doing the hiking and outdoor exploring I love.
Still, we found more than enough things to keep us busy in that time – in fact, there are still more things to do in Mildura next time we visit.
Mildura sits on the traditional lands of the Ladji Ladji Tribes.
Top Mildura Attractions
These are the must-do attractions in Mildura that I think everyone should try to fit into their itinerary. Most of them I was able to do, but there were a couple I missed.
Take a Paddle Steamer on the River
If you lived in Australia in the ’80s, then you probably swooned over Singrid Thornton and John Waters in the mini-series “All the Rivers Run” and wished you could live on a Murray River paddle steamer too.
Well, you can live out those long-held dreams and travel back in time as you cruise the Murray River aboard one of these vintage river vessels. These relaxing river cruises offer a unique perspective on the town and its rich river heritage.
There is a range of cruises available, from a simple two-hour cruise along the river to cruises that include meals, cruises that take you to wineries, or even longer multi-day cruises.
We took the two-hour cruise. Usually, these cruises are on PS Melbourne, but it was on PS Rothbury during our visit.
There are two cruises daily, leaving at 10:50 am and 1:50 pm. Strange times, you may think, but they are so that the boat can make it to Lock 11 just in time to go through it – which is fun to watch if you haven’t done it before (I hadn’t).
FUN FACT: The NSW/VIC border sits at the high water mark of the southern bank of the Murray River - so as soon as you set foot on the paddle steamer, you are in NSW.
Taste the Local Beverages
I was going to just list this as wine tasting, but not everyone loves wine, and there are other options in town, so I think you should put at least one of them one your itinerary
Any area worth its salt in Australia will have at least one winery to visit, and Mildura happens to be right at the heart of the second-largest wine region in the country, the Murray Darling region.
During our visit, we went to the most popular (and closest, which is probably why it’s the most popular) cellar door, which sits just over the river on the NSW side of the border, Trentham Estate.
With a beautiful location on the banks of the river, this is a great spot to try their range of wines, or you can just choose your favourite and sit out on the grassy riverbank and enjoy it.
The best part – the tasting (up to six varieties) is free.
The Mildura Brewery & Pub is located right in the centre of town in the historic Astor Theatre, one of Mildura’s beautiful art deco buildings.
We popped in quickly looking for a place to escape the heat for a few minutes and rehydrate before continuing. I’m not a beer drinker, but my husband proclaimed the pale ale to be perfectly drinkable.
It’s not all beer here, there are plenty of other options for the non-beer drinkers out there. I had a wonderfully refreshing (and cold!) virgin mojito.
Sadly we did not get to try out Fossey’s Distillery on this visit – simply because we were in town on a Monday and Tuesday, and they are only open Thursday to Sunday.
Fossey’s has a range of delicious-sounding gins, including the intriguing Pepperberry and one of my favourite flavours elsewhere, Desert Lime. For special occasions, you just have to try the Hot Cross Bun or Christmas Pudding gin.
It’s not just gin here though, they also have a range of whisky, vodka and rum – and some rather interesting Outback Moonshine. Who wants to go taste that and report back?
Explore the Streets on Foot
In my opinion, the best way to really get a feel for a place is to spend some time pounding the pavement. Even though it was incredibly hot, we spent some time walking around the city centre to explore.
You could wander aimlessly around the city, or you could wander with a purpose. Here are three ideas to help you explore Mildura by foot.
Midura Street Art
This is the walk we did – or at least we did the majority of it, then cheated and jumped in the car for some outliers (I think that’s allowed when the footpath was nearly melting our shoes!)
I picked up a list of all the murals in the city centre from the Visitor Information Centre and set off to find them all.
Read more in the Mildura Street Art post
Art Deco Buildings
Another of the things to explore is the incredible art deco architecture Mildura has in buckets. There are some fantastically preserved buildings around, particularly on Langtree & Deakin Avenues.
Again, pick up a brochure from the Visitor Information Centre to get a list of all the buildings, and learn a little about their history as you walk too.
Mildura’s Riverbank Precinct is home to a range of attractions and activities, from galleries and cafes, the paddle steamer wharf, water play areas and even Lock 11.
It is also the perfect place for a walk.
Stroll as much or as little as you like, stopping along the way and enjoying the Murray River – which is exactly why Mildura is where it is today.
COMING SOON: Have you seen the Bruce Munro light installation near Uluru called Field of Light? Well, sometime in 2024, two separate light installations will be appearing somewhere in the Mildura-Wentworth region. They probably won't be on the scale of Field of Light, but they instead will reflect the history, landscape and stories of this area.
More Mildura Activities
Once you have ticked those things off the Mildura list, you can spend the rest of the. time on any of these attractions or things to do.
Mildura Riverfront Gallery
As you walk along the riverfront, duck into the Mildura Riverfront Gallery. This is a lovely little working art space, with some great art on display.
There are over thirty local artists who contribute to the gallery, and most of the artworks are for sale, so you can pick up a unique souvenir of your time on the river.
It was also fun to see several artists at work during our visit, creating and chatting. You may even see one of the workshops in progress as you visit.
The Chaffey Trail
The Chaffey Trail will take you to twelve of the most significant historical sites in Mildura. They all contributed to making the area the irrigated oasis it is today, in an otherwise arid part of Australia.
While the area around Mildura was originally settled by the Jamieson brothers in 1847 and officially named Mildura in 1858, it wasn’t until later that the irrigation potential was recognised.
The Chaffey brothers developed an irrigation system in Ontario Canada, and were invited to Australia to do something similar here. They arrived in 1887 and created the Mildura Irrigation Colony.
You will find signboards at each of the twelve sites explaining their significance, and more information at the Visitor Information Centre and on the website.
Mildura Arts Centre & Rio Vista Historic House
The Mildura Arts Centre is the heart of the region’s cultural scene, offering an array of exhibitions and performances.
Next door, the Rio Vista Historic House, once a grand family home, now showcases the history of Mildura through its elegant, preserved interiors )and is part of the Chaffey Trail)
NAP Contemporary is yet another art gallery in Mildura. It’s a space where art comes alive, featuring cutting-edge exhibitions from local and national artists.
Here art enthusiasts and novices alike can immerse themselves in the vibrant contemporary art scene – which is often more interesting to me than traditional art.
Mildura Holden Motor Museum
Is there a more iconic Australian car than the Holden? I don’t think so.
The Mildura Holden Motor Museum is a treasure trove of Holden vehicles, displaying a collection that spans the history of this iconic brand.
This is a nostalgic journey through Australia’s automotive heritage, and any car enthusiast will enjoy taking a look.
It was too hot for this during our visit, but I would have loved to explore the Etiwanda Wetlands.
It is an oasis where you can enjoy birdwatching, take peaceful walks, and have the chance to connect with nature not too far from the bustling life of Mildura.
Australian Inland Botanic Gardens
I had heard mixed reports about the Australian Inland Botanic Gardens, but we had time for an early morning walk before Orange World opened so stopped in.
To the average observer (that is, me!) for the most part it looks like a big patch of native scrub. But there are a few fun things to see and do.
I loved seeing all the Sturt Desert Peas in flower – these are so unique. We made the walk to the Wow Tree, a mallee tree estimated to be 2500 years old, and the nearby shelter with a ceiling made from seedpods
There are many other areas here too, such as the children’s garden and the rose garden, and a cafe and function centre too.
On Saturdays, there is a train tour that runs through the gardens at 11 am, which could be worth taking to learn more.
The River Runs Through Dynamic Art Installation
The River Runs Through Dynamic Art Display presents an immersive experience, unfolding stories and history of the Murray River through visually stunning art installations that engage all of your senses.
Merbein Lookout & Blandowski Stairs
The Merbein Lookout is the highest point in the district and is a great place to take a look at the Murray River from above.
There is a short walk nearby to the Blandowski Stairs which take you down to Chaffey landing on the banks of the river.
It was too hot for us to go down (or rather, for us to climb back up again), but we did enjoy the views of the river.
SRS Benetook Farm
SRS Benetook Farm is described on its Facebook page as a “social enterprise that provides meaningful training & support for people with disabilities.”
For visitors, it’s a great space to enjoy exploring the farm activities, even joining it on activities such as picking strawberries or feeding the chooks.
There is a playground area for kids, including a maze and jumping pillow. Kids will also love the pedal cars, the pet hotel and the vintage Melbourne tram.
SRS Benetook Farm is open 9 am to 4 pm every day.
Fossick for Treasure at Woodsies Gem Shop
At Woodsies Gem Shop, every visitor gets a chance to marvel at the stunning array of gems and minerals on display.
Whether you’re shopping for a unique piece of jewellery or just browsing, Woodsies is a gemstone enthusiast’s paradise.
Get Zesty at Orange World
Orange World is a citrus wonderland where you can take guided tours, learn about citrus farming, and sample delicious, fresh produce.
If you are travelling with children, Orange World will be something they will love. It’s an experience that can add a “zesty” twist to your Mildura adventure.
Sadly, we arrived at the stated opening time, and everything was closed. We waited a few minutes, but knowing we already had more to do on our list, we didn’t wait long.
They may have been just a little late opening, or maybe they close on days of extreme heat. Either way, we will have to try again next time we are here.
Look Out for Markets
There are a number of markets that happened periodically in and around Mildura, although sadly (but not surprisingly) none for our Monday/Tuesday visit.
Look out for these:
- Sunraysia Farmers Market (1st & 3rd Saturday, 8-12)
- Red Cliff Country Market (1st Sunday)
- Merbein Markets (3rd Sunday)
Visit Nearby Red Cliffs
Take a drive to the town of Red Cliffs, about fifteen minutes from the heart of Mildura.
The Red Cliffs lookout offers breathtaking views over the river and the nearby cliffs. The cliffs’ rich, red hue is especially stunning at sunset, making it a photographer’s dream.
While in town check out Big Lizzie, a huge tractor used in this area to help move timber. Lizzie was built in 1914 and her size is incredible – she’s about 5 metres tall. I barely came up to the top of the wheels.
If you’re here on a Sunday, the Red Cliff Historical Steam Railway runs once or twice a month, so you may be able to jump onboard for a ride.
Learn About Lock 11
Lock 11, part of the Murray River’s irrigation system is not just a feat of engineering but also a picturesque spot for a leisurely walk or a picnic.
We wandered down to take a look and discovered that watching boats navigate the lock is surprisingly captivating.
Take a read of the information boards while you are here and learn about the lock system that is in place right along the Murray River.
Also, take note of the flood levels over the years on the markers near the lock. It’s just incredible to imagine how much water was here.
Shop Until You Drop
Mildura has the Langtree Mall in the centre of the city which is home to all the standard shops to pick up anything you need.
There are also a few interesting shops in Mildura you may like to check out:
- Bushells on Tent Ye Olde Lolly Shop
- Coward’s Cakes (Mildura’s oldest bakery)
- Santa’s Magical Workshop (May-December, Red Cliff)
- The Antisocial Collective (streetwear store started here in Mildura)
Day Trips From Mildura
Sadly I did not have time to do any of these day trips this time, but if you are looking to explore further afield, here are some ideas.
We didn’t go to Wentworth on this trip, but I do remember visiting years ago when I was in Mildura. On that trip, we visited the Old Wentworth Gaol, and that’s still one of the top attractions.
The Wentworth Pioneer Museum is home to some full-sized replica megafauna skeletons found nearby as well as over 3000 other local artefacts and exhibits.
Wentworth sits at the junction of the Murray and Darling Rivers which you can view from the viewing platform or by taking a walk through the Junction Island Nature Reserve.
Get active with some sandboarding at the Perry Sandhills, or join a kayak tour with Moontongue Eco Adventures.
Mungo National Park
This will be on my list for sure next time I am in Mildura. I will make sure I stay long enough to do it as I had major FOMO this trip and seriously considered doing a tour rather than spending the time exploring Mildura.
It’s a bit under two hours each way from Mildura, and while you can drive it yourself, I think this would be a good opportunity to jump on a tour. There were many of them advertised all over town – even my accommodation had two different options.
Why a tour? not only does it save you from all the driving, but a guide to this stunning remote landscape will be invaluable.
Mungo is one of only 16 UNESCO sites in Australia and is best known as the home of the Mungo Man & Mungo Woman, which at more than 40000 years, are the oldest human remains found in Australia.
Walpeup Silo Art
We didn’t see the Walpeup silo art while we were in Mildura, but we did pass through on our way back to South Australia.
It’s a little under 90 minutes to drive from Mildura to Walpeup (just over an hour from Red Cliffs), and there isn’t a whole lot more to see in town other than the silo, but if you love seeing the silo art and you have time, why not take a look!
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TRAVEL PLANNING ESSENTIALS
Find flights – I always use Skyscanner as my starting point when searching for flights. One search will give many options including airlines I may not have thought of. This means I can find the best possible flights to suit my needs
Book accommodation – my go to is always Booking.com for the best places to stay. It’s not just hotels anymore, but hostels, apartments, B&Bs and more. I love that the bookings are usually cancellable, and that I can book now and pay later.
Hire a rental car – RentalCars.com is my go to here. It allows me to do just one search and it finds cars from many of the different supplies, so no checking multiple websites to compare.
Get travel insurance – you would have heard by now that saying “if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel”. If we’ve learnt anything from the last couple of years it should be how essential travel insurance is. I use CoverMore for my insurance.
Pick up an eSIM – I tried an eSIM on my last trip and it was fantastic. I set it up before I went so it was ready as soon as I landed, and I still had access to my home number for emergencies. Get your own eSIM at Airalo.
Book activities, tours & attractions – I use a few different websites for this. Viator and Get Your Guide tend to be the first places I look. In Asia, Klook often has more options, and in Australia it’s Experience Oz.
Manage your money – the best way to manage your different currencies is with an account from Wise. You can hold money in many different currencies, and use them with the ATM card or from your phone.
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