Murray Darling Basin  

The new tourism destination

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“Unlike the fixed boundaries that subdivide the Australian continent into six states and two territories, the boundaries of Australia’s regions are not fixed. Instead, regions are defined by a shared sense of place and a common purpose or destiny.”

A sustainable economic strategy

The high profile of the Murray Darling Basin makes it an ideal tourism destination.

This project aims to create real wealth for Murray Darling Basin communities by up-skilling the tourism sector to participate in the on-line environment and make it easy for visitors to plan and book their next holiday in the Basin on the internet.

Our five year goal, is to generate $1 billion in cumulative revenue through new visitation to the Basin attributed to this business model and an appealing and “easy to use” tourism destination website. $1 billion represents an increase in current total visitor nights by 1% each year for 5 years.

Our team has spent over 5 years developing a solid and sustainable business case for this project. We are committed and can make a difference but need support from Federal and State government authorites. A rewarding partnership awaits, we are ready to talk ...


A Regional Tourism Australia project

Regional Tourism Australia's mission is to grow the economies in regional Australia using tourism and well branded websites that promote the wonderful opportunities that regional Australia has to offer.

Our vision for Great Rivers Australia is to inspire major social, economic and environmental benefits in the Murray-Darling Basin to restore confidence in regional and rural Australia as a place to visit, live and invest.

Recent droughts and an increase in the demand for water from within the Murray-Darling Basin has highlighted the need to diversify the economies within the Basin. This, in conjunction with the Federal Governments 'water buy back' activities has placed extra stress on these regional economies.

This project is 'shovel ready' and has the capacity to add a new dimension to the regional economies of the Basin. This is a large, long term project. A number of resources must be developed before the Basin will see quantitative benefits. Our modelling has indicated that this project will take 12 months before generating results, after which time the benefits will increase rapidly.

Key points

  • The Murray Darling Basin is the most well known water catchment in Australia, draining more than 1 million km² and containing parts of 4 states and the entire Australian Capital Territory.
  • The Basin is home to more than 2 million people and is rural in most parts. It is the nation’s food bowl and Canberra lies within.
  • The Basin’s rivers are the lifeline of this inland region. Its states and towns are linked by more than 19,000 km of major rivers.
  • The Basin’s rivers have been featured in documentaries and several well known television series: All the Rivers Run, Two Men in a Tinny and Gondola on the Murray.
Rivers of life

Rivers of life

The Basin’s rivers provide the natural ingredients to draw visitors to and through the Basin.

  • 19,000 km of rivers flow through 14 unique bioregions varying from sub tropical, arid desert, alpine and temperate climates. The rivers feed 30,000 wetlands ranging from estuarine to alpine meadow, freshwater billabongs, shallow ephemeral lakes and deep channels.
  • There are 52 National Parks, 9 Wetlands of International Importance and one World Heritage Area listed in the Basin, which help to protect the biodiversity and cultural significance of this vast region.
  • The Basin is Australia’s food bowl, and many well known food and beverage brands are sourced from more than 100 cities and towns in the Basin.
Tourism snapshot

Tourism snapshot

Tourism performance in the Basin is aggregated from Market Research in its sub-regions.

  • There are 25 state tourism regions in the Murray Darling Basin.
  • There are 54 million visitor nights and $9.1 billion generated in tourism revenue.
  • Tourism revenue is 5% of the total revenue generated by the Basin.
  • International visitors make up 5% - 20% of tourists in the Basin (excluding the ACT).
  • Food and Wine is the most popular experience followed by Nature Based, then Culture and Heritage.
  • There are 10,037 tourism businesses in the Murray Darling Basin.
A consultative approach

A consultative approach

To support the 11 Regional Development Australia Boards in the MDB to grow their tourism industry.

  • Establish a Murray Darling Basin tourism website and on-line support programs.
  • Create a brand identity for tourism in the Murray Darling Basin.
  • Involve the 25 Tourism Regions in creating the MDB tourism destination brand.
  • Recognise and retain existing region tourism brands.
  • Work with the 25 tourism regions to promote their tourism businesses.
Tourism comparison

Tourism comparison

Tourism performance in the Basin is not keeping up with its Capital Cities.

  • Holidays planned on the internet range from 15% to 36% in Basin regions compared to 42% to 49% in the 5 capital cities attached to the Basin.
  • On-line bookable products as a percentage of products listed on the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse range from 17% to 42% in the Basin states compared to 39% to 65% in the Basin’s Capital cities.
  • International visitors make up 4% to 20% of visitor nights in the Basin regions (excl. Canberra) compared to 36% – 73% of visitors to Brisbane (54%), Sydney (73%), Melbourne (66%) , Adelaide (48%) and Canberra (36%).
  • There is no tourism destination website for the Murray Darling Basin.
One river system, a new destination

One river system,
a new destination

The Basin has world class natural and cultural assets, stories and experiences that are linked by one river system, but separated by State Tourism websites.

  • A destination website for the Basin will provide incentives for more remote tourism businesses to use the internet and become on-line bookable.
  • A destination website will facilitate river map searches and holiday planning across state borders.
  • A new Australian destination website - Great Rivers Australia © - will attract more visitors to Australia and the Murray Darling Basin.
The website

The website

The Great Rivers Australia website will be unique.

This website will showcase best practice methodologies in design, usability and innovation. It will become the pinnacle of tourism based internet promotions. We are not interested in developing another ‘one of the crowd’ type website that feature a disjointed array of Basin locations, businesses and activities.
  • A well branded, easy to use website featuring: things to do, special places, food, wine and nature experiences, facilities, weather and flow updates.
  • On-line bookable accommodation and tours for businesses in the Basin.
  • The website will feature web-cams and flow conditions to promote river holidays.
  • On-line support services will increase participation in the on-line environment.
  • The website will promote the uptake of the National Broadband Network.
  • Social media and Search Engine Optimisation will increase traffic on the website.
Environmental benefit

Environmental benefit

The website will increase the value placed on the Basin’s natural and cultural assets, especially the value placed on rivers and environmental water.

The website will:
  • Promote tourism within the Basin to complement the increased environmental flows in the Basin’s rivers.
  • Target nature tourists and promote experiences in nature.
  • Promote the preservation of natural habitats.
  • Reward consumers who book on-line by investing profits in the restoration of native fish habitats.
  • Promote sustainable fishing throughout the Basin.
Economic impact

Economic impact

Increased economic activity and diversification in the Murray Darling Basin.

  • The development of a new tourism destination within Australia will complement the 25 existing tourism regions in the Murray Darling Basin and support Australia’s national tourism target of $140 billion revenue by 2020.
  • Modelling of a 1% increase in visitor nights every year for 5 years will generate $1 billion additional tourism revenue and create 3,000 new jobs in the Basin.
  • The website will increase occupancy in accommodation and facilitate new tourism business development and new tourism related businesses.
  • The project will be a catalyst for infrastructure upgrade, product and service quality increase.


Working together towards a common goal.

This Project complements:
  • National Long-Term Tourism Strategy (NLTTS)
  • The 2020 Tourism Industry Potential
  • Tourism Australia, Parks Australia – National Landscapes Program
  • State and Regional Tourism Targets
  • State Tourism – regional Destination Action Plans
  • The Murray Darling Basin Authority - Basin Plan
  • The MDBA Native Fish Strategy
  • The Regional Development Australia (RDA) Fund and RDA Regional Road Maps
Points of difference

Points of difference

An industry led tourism website with on-line support services and tailored mobile software applications to facilitate journeys within the Murray Darling Basin.

  • Facilitating flow of visitors from capital cities into the Basin.
  • On-line geographical holiday planning along Australia's greatest rivers.
  • Emphasis on sustainable use of the Basin – recreation, food and wine, boating, celebrating nature and culture.
  • Promoting regional authenticity – food from the 'home of food', low carbon miles.
  • Corporate social responsibility – using profits to restore native fish habitats.
  • A unified resource promoting four States and a Territory.
  • Nature’s Supermarket – promote gathering of wild food – fishing and yabbying.
  • Flow on benefits - internationally promoting the Basin.
  • Assisting regional business with an on-line presence and access to on-line bookings.


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Photos © Copyright 2017 Italo Vardaro

Website (v2.0)  by: Modern Web  |  Last updated: 12/08/2017  |  Partner program: RvTrips

PO Box 323  Forster NSW 2428
P: 1300 993 274