Explore Swan Hill: 13 Things to Do in Australia’s Murray Region

Itching for a road trip? Check out Swan Hill. This ripper spot nestled in the heart of Australia’s Murray Region is your gateway to a world of history, artistry, and natural beauty. We’ve visited Swan Hill a few times, and every time we’re blown away by the welcoming from locals – it truly is something special. Whether you’re visiting Swan Hill for a day trip or camp trip, you won’t be disappointed.


This sprawling park covers a vast 1,000 hectares of serene nature, featuring ancient red gum trees, tranquil billabongs, and peaceful lagoons lining the Murray River’s banks. Nature lovers will be in their element with walking trails, cycling tracks, camping sites, fishing spots, and Aboriginal historical sites from the Wadi Wadi people.

The Nyah Recreation Reserve is a spacious camping spot with stunning riverfront views, while the more adventurous can jump in their fourby and venture into the nearby Nyah-Vinifera State Forest for a secluded camping experience.

The iconic Giant Murray Cod

As you roll into Swan Hill Railway Station, take a moment to admire the impressive Giant Murray Cod sculpture, embraced by the sprawling canopy of a massive Moreton Bay Fig Tree. Folks, this ain’t just any fish; it’s a symbol that holds great meaning for those living in and around the basin of the Murray-Darling.

Swan Hill’s Pioneer Settlement

Step into the past at Swan Hill’s Pioneer Settlement. This open-air museum showcases over 20,000 artifacts and 50 reconstructed buildings detailing life on the Murray River between 1830 and 1930 in both Victoria and New South Wales. As you traverse a Mallee street from the 1920s, delight in an authentic horse-drawn cart ride or try on olden-day costumes while admiring views of mighty river banks.

PS Pyap paddle steamer

Climb aboard the PS Pyap Paddle Steamer, an iconic vintage paddle steamer that’ll take you on a journey along Australia’s Murray River. This 60-minute voyage gives travellers a unique chance to discover and appreciate the tranquil countryside location from the comfort of its decks as it cruises upstream towards the historic Murray Downs homestead.

Heartbeat of the Murray Light Show

Head to Pioneer Settlement for a unique experience; the Heartbeat of Murray. A mesmerising, multi-dimensional show combining lasers, light, sound and water sprays that take you on an unforgettable cultural journey, showcasing Swan Hill’s rich Indigenous history.

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Olson Game Birds Farm

If you’re a bird enthusiast, you may want to check out Olson Game Birds Farm while in Swan Hill. As Victoria’s largest game bird farm, they specialise in breeding and rearing pheasants, partridges and guinea fowls – and it’s open to the public (you) to visit.

This gallery is like a hidden gem tucked away in the heart of the Murray Region. Whether you’re an art aficionado or just someone who appreciates a splash of creativity, you’ll find something here to tickle your fancy. This place has everything from stunning paintings and sculptures to thought-provoking exhibitions.

Lake Boga Flying Boat Museum

Aviation and war buffs should visit to Lake Boga Flying Boat Museum. Here, World War II history is made vivid in the form of fascinating wartime artifacts as well as an impressive Catalina A24-30 aircraft.

The museum’s secret communication bunker deserves special mention – this covert structure played its own part during Australia’s involvement with WW2, making it a must-see for anyone interested in aviation or military affairs.

Dining at Family-Friendly Cafes and Restaurants

When the stomach starts to rumble in Swan Hill, there’s no shortage of family-friendly restaurants sure to please everyone at the table. Boo’s Place, Java Spice and Spoons Riverside are all popular eateries that serve a variety of food choices ranging from international flavours to classic dishes.

Swan Hill Food and Wine Festival

If you’re a foodie, make sure to add the Swan Hill Food and Wine Festival every Labour Day long weekend in March to your list! This popular event features stalls loaded with regional produce, entertainment for all ages – including face painting and jumping castles for kids, as well as renowned Murray cod dishes. Stone fruits, yabbies, avocados, and citrus from the nearby Murray region are also favourites at this fun-filled festival.

Swan Hill Farmers and Specialty Market

Discover Swan Hill Farmers and Specialty Market – a haven for fresh produce and local treasures. This friendly market offers a range of quality goods, from fresh veggies to handcrafted treats. Meet local growers and artisans while enjoying a relaxed shopping experience. Whether you’re after farm-fresh delights or unique crafts, this market has you covered. Don’t miss the chance to support the community and soak up the charming atmosphere of Swan Hill’s market scene. Held on the first Sunday of every month.

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Swan Hill Playgrounds

Barry Steggall Park in Swan Hill boasts a unique Murray River-themed playground. It even features an impressive wooden paddle steamer – inspired by PS Pyap – which includes many climbing frames, swings, and water pumps. Pack a picnic blanket and a packet of snags to throw on one of the many BBQs around the park, and make some memories!

Choosing Accommodation in Swan Hill

Swan Hill boasts a wide range of accommodation to fit any traveller’s needs, from family-friendly establishments such as Comfort Inn Campbell to the luxurious Murray Downs Resort and Golf Club. Regardless of whether your budget allows something standard or upscale, this charming township will have just what you’re looking for.

We’ve stayed at the Big 4 in Swan Hill twice and love it. With six kids and a couple of pups in tow, Big 4 is very accommodating – plus, the kids are constantly occupied with the park’s activities. You can read more about our stay at Big 4 Swan Hill here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is interesting about Swan Hill?

If you’re up for an exciting journey, Swan Hill’s the ideal spot, just three and a half hours northwest of Melbourne or five and a half from Adelaide. From fresh produce to spectacular scenery, not to mention amazing Aboriginal culture waiting to be explored, this destination can truly uncover something new.

What region is Swan Hill in?

Swan Hill is situated at the meeting of two rivers, Murray and Little Murray, in north-western Victoria’s Mallee district. This picturesque city, which forms part of the basin & region comprising both these large bodies of water – River Murray and Murray Darling Basin, lies at its eastern edge.

What is the Giant Murray Cod sculpture?

At Swan Hill Railway Station stands a giant blue fibreglass sculpture of the awe-inspiring Murray Cod, representing the deep cultural heritage of its Aboriginal people who have been custodians and users of this area’s rivers. This grand piece serves as an emblem to acknowledge their connection with nature and shows appreciation for their strength in enduring times past up until now. It’s also a reminder that such regional traditions should not be forgotten.

What can I expect to see at the Pioneer Settlement?

Take an immersive journey through the history of the Murray at Pioneer Settlement. Here, you can discover authentic artifacts and replicas to better understand this fascinating past era. Discover stories from pioneers who settled here long ago – learn about their culture and customs for yourself. From the secrets of yesteryear right up until today’s knowledge.

How long is the PS Pyap cruise along the Murray River?

Take a tour of the picturesque Murray River on board the PS Pyap for an hour-long journey. Enjoy gazing at gorgeous red gums, luscious wetlands and lots of wildlife as you pass by. Capture stunning sights from around this river’s banks while cruising along its course.



G’day, I’m Stacey, CAW4D wifey, author of all our CA4WD blogs, and builder of all things website-ey. When I’m not writing about our family’s camping adventures, you’ll find me kicking around on social media with the incredible camping and 4wd community we’ve built.

Ohhh, and sometimes, you may find me doing ‘actual work’…which, ironically, is very similar to what I do ’round these parts – marketing. You can find more of my pen-pedalling atrocities here.

In the meantime, kick back, grab a coldie, and check out some more cool camping content I’ve put together for you here. Cheers.

Wanna hear about a tale about an emergency dunny roll and the Mundi Mundi Bash? Read it here.


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19 November 2023



We’re Stacey and Lee, the creators of Camping and 4wd Downunder. We wanted to create a space to connect with other camping and 4wd enthusiasts who love nothing more than to leave the chaotic, noisy world behind and escape to the bush. If you’ve landed on this website, our guess is you’re one of those people. Our people. Welcome.