Local Escapes

Floating Mansions Exist In Vic & Here’s Why You Need To Go ASAP

By Ellen Seah
6th Mar 2018

If your dinners for the week look suspiciously instant (no more than three minutes, the packaging assures), here’s something to get breathless about (no, it’s not half-priced Mi Goreng).

Floating mansions *actually* exist right here in Victoria (and no, you don’t need a boating licence to drive one). Have we gone to some kind of Disney heaven?! Completely private, self-sufficient, and ENORMOUS (did we mention that they’re practically floating Toorak mansions?), houseboats are equipped with everything you need for a holiday. We teamed up with Visit Victoria to find out everything there is to know about them.

Some houseboats can house up to 12 guests, making it the perfect #treatyoself getaway combining jaw-dropping nature with a ‘lil (affordable, thank gawd) luxury. If you’ve already cracked your calendar (and contacts list) out, we recommend making a beeline for the Murray region.

Binge On The Best Views In The Murray

Ready to wander? http://bit.ly/2D3vahr

Posted by The Urban List | Melbourne on Monday, March 5, 2018

Starting just 2.5 hours out of Melbourne and home to Echuca, the Murray combines stretches of wide river, serene outdoor adventures and foodie surprises, so there’s something that will interest every mate. A great time to visit is in autumn for mild temperatures and the most vibrant, colourful landscapes, so get there stat.

All Seasons Houseboats

There are a variety of places to hire from along the Murray, but All Seasons Houseboats is the proud owner of a Victorian Tourism Award and five-star floating houses.

Boats range from romantic two-person villas (ahem, dates take note) to 12-people, double-decker mansions. Depending on how much your group is looking to splash (if you’re clever and split it up, nights come as cheap as $50 per person), your temporarily, floating home could include luxury spas, sunbeds, an outdoor barbecue and sound system, private bedrooms (all with ensuites) and—most importantly—a dedicated waterside bar. 

You know where we’ll be working from on Monday.

Murray River Houseboats

It’s all about the details at Murray River Houseboats: fresh flowers throughout the boat (you are on holiday after all), an indulgent hamper on arrival and the finest toiletries and complimentary gifts.

Houseboats range from 6 to 12-people boats, with a variety of features for the holiday you’re after. 10-seat hydrotherapy and therapeutic spa? Open plan living? Fully-equipped kitchen? It’s all here.

Other spots to hire include Murray Downs Marina Houseboats, Belle Casa HouseboatsAdelora Houseboats and Luxury on the Murray.


If you or your friend (everyone has one) is always going at 110%, throw them on a luxury boat and set up around a sun deck with your favourite bubbles. We promise they won’t move for the rest of the weekend. Soak up warm post-summer rays all weekend or jump in the spa if the temperature drops at night, as you roll past some of the Murray river’s stunning scenery.


Fishing has been quietly gaining a reputation in Melbourne. Bubbles, boats and the hush of the outdoors can be pretty addictive—trust us. It helps that you can leave your mother’s incessant phone calling behind, too. Check out more information here.

Kayaking & canoeing

Since you’re cruising down a river already, it would be a shame to not get closer to the water. The Murray offers a variety of water sport experiences, including kayaking and canoeing that allows you to explore the wetlands by weaving through trees.

If you're a newbie looking for a place to start, check out Southern Side Eco's customisable tours, which can combine meandering down the Murray river with gorgeous nature hikes and wine tasting. Check out more kayaking and canoeing information here.

If you’re after something less active and more foodie (who isn’t while on holiday?), check out the open-air barbeque boats on offer. A self-contained, on-board gas BBQ, table, chairs and esky are some of the features you may come across. For more information, check out Echuca Boat Canoe Hire

Walks (if you want to feel land again!)

If you’re craving the feeling of land beneath your feet, dock near any of the countless walks along your trip for some boat-free time. We recommend the River Walk that starts in Swan Hill and is a 4.5km loop. Other tracks include the Barmah Lakes loop, which was established with the help of the local Aboriginal community to teach visitors about the region's history and culture.

Sun Country Food and Wine Festival 2018

Running alongside the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, the Sun Country Food and Wine Festival is a celebration of the region’s locally grown produce. Our pick of the line-up of events includes the Grazing on Garlic event, which yes, is an entire event dedicated to garlic at the gardens of Katamatite Garlic.

Visit a cactus farm

There are ten acres filled with cacti as part of the Sun Country on the Murray. Casually. As part of the Sun Country Food and Wine Festival, the Cactus Country team will host a three-course meal at twilight, plus there's plenty of ridiculously cute cacti-themed food available everyday, only three hours from Melbourne.

Eat Everything

ICMYI: the Murray is filled to the brim with the freshest, local produce (trust us, it'll taste different to your supermarket stuff). Because we know you're all about efficiency, the quickest way to hit up every single producer in the Murray is to waltz up to their doorstep. The Farm Gate Trail lets you do just that: by jumping from farm to farm. Personalise your trail, whether it's a one-day blitz or three-day extravaganza and expect fresh fruit and vegetables; cheeses and chocolates; wines and craft beers. Check out the best producers here.

Echuca Choc Company

When you’re heading home for the weekend, detour to the Echuca Choc Company. A haven of handmade chocolate and free tastings, bundle up a few of your fave products for the trip home.   

So if you've wasted (wasted!) the first quarter of the year on the couch, it might be time to binge watch some autumn Murray views rather than Netflix.

Image credit: Provided.

Editor's note: This article is proudly sponsored by Visit Victoria and endorsed by The Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy. 

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