Perched on the edge of the NSW outback, Mildura is an oasis on the Murray River boasting Mediterranean-style sunshine and a laid-back outdoor lifestyle.
There’s so much to see and do in this regional town from boarding a paddleboat to venture down the Murray to indulging in fabulous food and wine.
Here are ten great things to do that will keep you busy and introduce you to Mildura, where chances are you will want to return for another stay.
Try a Gin
1. Head to Fossey’s Distillery – it’s fun and caters for both gin and whisky lovers and has a good wine list.
“Fancy an Earl Grey Tea” – I’m asked as I check out the menu at Fossey’s in a sunny vine-covered courtyard in central Mildura.
“Er … no thanks – I don’t drink tea”- I reply.
But as the waiter gives me a wink – I realise it’s Earl Grey Gin he’s offering poured from a teapot and served in a teacup.
Fossey’s showcases fabulous gins and craft distilling that’s done on-site. We order a paddle of gins to try, and although it’s difficult, we manage to taste test six.
The Desert Lime Gin , Frontignac Gin, Shiraz Gin , Broken Heel Gin – named for Broken Hill, Kaffir Leaf Gin and Old Man Saltbush Gin are outstanding with their individual tastes and flavours.
My favourite – the Shiraz Gin won hands-down – and tea has never tasted so good as the Earl Grey Gin.
There’s a good range of mocktails as well including Ver- Gin, Bloody Shame, Fossey’s Fanfare, Nojito Mojito and Ginnyless Gin Ginger.
I can’t wait to try the Christmas Pudding Gin.
Owner Steve Timmis is known as the “ginovator” and opened Fosseys’s six years ago.
It’s got a big following.
Board a Paddle Steamer
Paddle steamer on the Murray River at Mildura
2. Board a paddlesteamer and venture down the mighty Murray. Mildura Paddlesteamers offer a range of cruises aboard the three vessels in their fleet; the Paddle Steamer Melbourne (1912), Paddle Vessel Rothbury (1881) and the Paddle Boat Mundoo (1987).
We cruised on the Paddle Steamer Rothbury and loved watching the river traffic. The two-hour cruise included a comprehensive live commentary about the Murray Darling River system and the environment, plus the history of the paddle boats.
It’s a bird lovers’ dream and mesmerising watching the scenery change along the river.
Mildura Paddlesteamers is a family-owned and operated business, now into the third generation, after it was established by Captain Alby Pointon and his wife Freda, in 1955.
It goes through Lock 11 and the captain explains the workings of the lock.
Cross the Murray River for a Wine Tasting
3. Pop across the river for lunch and a wine tasting at Trentham Estate on the banks of the Murray at Trentham Cliffs, NSW. It is a short 15 km scenic drive from Mildura. Established half a century ago, the vineyard produces wines blended from grapes picked and crushed at optimum ripeness to produce the perfect flavour. Winemaker Anthony Murphy has refined his art with 20 years of experience, to produce their full flavour, structure and varietal character. We enjoyed a delicious riverside lunch of salt and pepper squid and a mushroom and grilled veggie stack with haloumi, after taste-testing the excellent award-winning wines.
Taste Stefano’s Treats
4. Stefano’s is a name synonymous with Mildura. Award-winning chef Stefano de Pieri has helped put Mildura on the map with his fabulous dining experiences.
He prepares a different menu every day, combining the rich diversity of traditional Italian cuisine with local produce, served in Italian banquet-style at a set price per person.
Ours was a culinary adventure with subtle flavours, fabulous textures and a gourmet surprise with each course.
Stefano’s Cantina is situated in the original cellars of the Grand Hotel and opened in 1991.
The restaurant cellar features a display of frosted mirrors from the 1930s that visually narrate the story of the Mildura settlement.
It offers a unique culinary experience and exceeds expectations. stefanosrestaurant.com.au
Bunker down in Urban Chic
5. Rest your head in a groovy abode where it’s rumoured British chef, Heston Blumenthal, stayed. Indulge Apartments on Eighth Street represent shabby chic at its best. Once a butchery, the self-contained premises is full of atmosphere and there’s plenty of room. The urban chic property with period features, is nestled amongst cafes in the heart of the CBD, offering state of the art appliances and fittings, an eclectic mix of uber cool old and new stylish furnishings, two bathrooms, large luxurious spa, ambience inspiring feature fire place, modern kitchen, a spacious open plan dining and living area, and the security of a lock up garage.We loved our stay. Mountain bikes are provided.
6.Head out for breakfast to Stefano’s Cafe and sit under the grapevines. The menu features a fabulous array of local produce and great coffee.
The cafe also stocks Stefano’s take-home produce including pasta sauce, preserves, olive oil, vinegar and his own wines. The cafe gallery showcases the work of local artists.
For river views and great food Cafe 1901 is located on the Mildura Riverfront, colloquially known as The Rowers, between Jaycee Park and Mildura Water Play Park. It’s a great location matched by excellent food and treats.
7.Woodsie’s Gem Store is a treasure trove of glittering delights. You will find all things bright and beautiful here including a garden maze and jewellery shop. You can also learn how stones are cut or explore Aladdin’s Cave.
Hire a Houseboat
8. Hire a houseboat with family and friends and discover the wonders of this part of the world. There are several companies offering a variety of houseboats from the luxe to budget.
Mildura Houseboats provides award-winning spa houseboats and boasts a fleet of 15 houseboats now making it one of the largest providers of luxury houseboat accommodation within the region.
With the option to select a prepared package itinerary or cruise the river at your own leisure, there is plenty to do along the way.
The houseboats are easy to drive with full instructions provided. Staff are on call at all times to assist guests.
Wander along the Murals Walking Trail
9.The Murals Walking Trail spans decades and showcases great artwork by local and visiting artists. Some work dates back to the 1940s.
The starting point is the historic Matthews and McCreath Plumbing sign. the historic signwriting has been preserved on the side of what is now a residential building. Close by is the historic Cottee’s sign on a former cordial factory. There are nine murals that capture the history of the city.
Taste the Salt
10. Murray River Salt was established in 1983 from underground saline water at Hattah, 70kms south of Mildura. Salt flakes are produced by the Murray RiverSalt and Trade Company.
For more information: visitvictoria.com