You may heard of the Deni Ute Muster, an iconic Australian festival that sits on the distant end of the quirky scale. We’re talking world-record breaking ‘Blue Singlet Counts’, Whip Cracking Championships, and of course an unfathomable herd of utility vehicles.
Rural Australiana is rife with character and eccentricity and the country town of Deniliquin is no different. Perched upon the banks of the Edward River and tucked away on the inner fringe of New South Wales (a punchy 725km south west of Sydney), ‘Deni’ has a few surprises up it’s sleeves for the curious traveller.
We were recently tasked with scratching at the surface to uncover it’s adventures. Rob Mulally was tasked with blowing off the rodeo dust and digging a little further...
The drive into Deni is a special one. Desolate roads that are straighter than Hugh Hefner guide visitors across pancake flat plains into a nature-scape of forest, river and lagoons. Roads give way to trails that weave through the Riverina; you just have to decide whether to explore it by bike, boat, foot or ute.
This winding river is the pulsing artery of Deni, which between the months of October and May becomes an aquatic playground. Pretty much any activity you can dream up can be done here; canoeing, kayaking, water-skiing, wakeboarding, fishing...you name it. If you don’t have all the gear in your garage there are providers here who will show you the way.
Paddling through the Red Gum Forests of the Murray Valley National Park is our favourite river experience in the region; a 3 day trip along the Edward River Canoe & Kayak Trail that combines self-propelled adventure with secluded camping (the best kind of adventure as far as we’re concerned). You’ll be pitching canvas among nature’s open zoo creatures within the world’s largest conservation area of red gums (over 100,000 hectares!).
Dotted along the river are various beaches to wallow away the hours too - make sure to check out Mclean Beach and Willoughby Beach for some prime down-time.
The Edward River is home to the Murray Cod, a whopper of a freshwater fish that has kept many an angler up at night with the woulda coulda shoulda’s. During last year’s ‘Deniliquin XXXX Gold Fishing Classic’, one lucky punter hooked a beast that tickled the one metre mark! With a $70,000 prize pool up for grabs it’s an event that’s not to be sniffed at, so maybe time your trip for February next year?! If you’re keen for a cast you can choose to take off to the quieter forest waters in a rental boat or try your luck from the banks.
If throwing frontside 360 ‘whirlybirds’ off the back of a speedboat is your thing, then Deni has glass-like river conditions for you to perfect this wakeboarding manoeuvre. Few us have a speedboat in the harbour though so get in touch with the Deniliquin Boat Club who’ll be able to organise a day out for you, whether you’re wanting big air hang-time or less graceful face-splants on a mono-ski.
No adventure escape is complete without a night at the million star hotel. Thankfully there are some suitably remote pockets of river paradise for you to stick your pegs into for the evening. As well as Willoughby’s Beach Campground and Twin Rivers there are several award winning caravan and holiday parks that ooze ‘pure serenity’. Further into the National Park there’s a bountiful supply of suitably beautiful camping spots too.
Whether it’s a dedicated Deni-escape or just a 1 day stop off on a longer drive into the guts of Australia, Deniliquin is a place that is brimming of surprises and should be firmly placed on your road trip itinerary.