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NATURAL WONDERS The Murray excels in natural wonders, but it's the sheer diversity of landscapes and environments that will astound you. Just as the early explorers discovered, from High Country to semi-desert, it's a place of rivers, lakes, River Red Gum forests, national parks, native riverine bushland, and plentiful bird and animal life. From its beginnings in the mountains, the Murray meanders through world renowned wetlands, the world's largest River Red Gum forests and bird filled lake systems to starkly beautiful outback plains of sandhills, saltpans and Mallee scrub. The Murray is joined on its journey by the Murrumbidgee and Edward rivers, each with their own thriving ecosystems. You can see a huge amount of this incredible diversity in just a few days of touring. Spend some time here and you'll meet some of the incredible native residents, from kangaroos, emus and goannas, to kingfishers and cockatoos. The many national parks along the Murray give you a ringside seat to take in the flora and fauna which make this area unique, with 35 endangered species of birds, 16 species of endangered mammals and over 35 different native fish species living within its varied environs. The Murray's most famous native is the majestic River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis), a towering eucalypt providing shade and wildlife habitat all along the River. The largest Red Gum forest in the world can be found at Barmah and Murray Valley National Parks, where a narrow section of the Murray frequently floods, creating ideal conditions for growth. The oldest River Red Gums here have been around over 500 years, and the forest has been declared an internationally significant wetland. Gunbower Island, formed by the Murray River and Gunbower Creek into Australia's largest inland island, is home to a large Red Gum forest and wetland area with some of the region's best sandy river beaches, camping, bushwalking and wildlife-spotting. It's easily accessed from Koondrook, Cohuna or Gunbower. Another natural highlight is the 'Lake District' between Kerang and Lake Boga, where a system of 22 lakes, lagoons and marshes form an internationally recognised Ramsar (International Convention on Wetlands) site which provides a habitat for an amazing population of waterbirds, migratory birds and more than 150 species Take a 4WD trip through beautiful river red gum forests. Look out for native wildlife, including grey kangaroos, wallabies, goannas, koalas and emus, as well as kookaburras, mallee fowl and numerous species of parrot at any of the national parks along the Murray. Find a secluded beach campsite along the Murrumbidgee River at Yanga National Park. Soak up the spectacular Mallee sunsets and floodplain birdlife at Hattah-Kulkyne National Park near Mildura. HIDDEN GEMS 6

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