Swan Hill is a city in the Murray region of Victoria. It lies on the south bank of the Murray River. With a population of around 11,000 in 2018, the town is full of country charm and interesting cultural and historic attractions, without the crowds of a large regional centre.
In the Aboriginal Dreamtime, the hunter Totyerguil ran out of spears while chasing Otchout, the cod, near Swan Hill. The cod squirmed and thrashed around so much, a large channel opened up, which became the Murray River. Aboriginal people have lived in the area for at least the last 9,000 years. The Swan Hill area is the traditional lands of the Wemba-Wemba and Wati-Wati people. The Wemba-Wemba people call the town "Matakupaat" (place of the Platypus).
The area was given its current name by explorer Thomas Mitchell, while camping beside a hill on 21 June 1836.
Swan Hill's location at the northern extreme of Victoria means that Melbourne is a major gateway for (and source of) travellers. Road access is very good and connections to surrounding towns are reliable.
Swan Hill is the northern terminus of the Swan Hill railway line, served twice daily by V/Line trains from Melbourne. The train journey takes 4.5 hours and departs from Southern Cross Station in Melbourne, the terminus for all country services. Unlike other routes, this line requires reservations and paper tickets (Myki cards are not valid for travel past Eaglehawk) which can be purchased from Southern Cross (or other V/Line stations), on the V/Line website or by calling 1800 800 007.
The Murray Valley Highway connects Swan Hill to Mildura, Kerang, Echuca and Albury-Wodonga. Melbourne can be reached in about 3.5 hours via Bendigo (Calder Freeway) and Kerang (Loddon Valley Highway).
The V/Line coach network operates several routes that pass through Swan Hill. The daily Mildura–Albury-Wodonga service passes through around lunchtime and reaches either end from 6-8pm. The Mildura–Ballarat–Mildura loop service also passes Swan Hill. There is also a connection to Melbourne with a train connection in Bendigo. Reservations are required for V/Line coach services in this area.
The gateway to Victoria is Melbourne Airport (MEL IATA), which serves many domestic and international destinations.
The regional airport at Mildura (MQL IATA) is connected to Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Broken Hill, but flights can be expensive. Access to Swan Hill is by bus.
- 1 Swan Hill Aerodrome (SWH IATA), Back Boga Road, about 3 km south of Swan Hill, ☏ +61 3 5036 2333 (for general enquiries; council offices). Swan Hill's small airport is operated by the local council and does not host scheduled services, but pilot training does occur there. Most small aircraft can use the airport for free. There are public toilets and a taxi phone at the airport's terminal building.
The centre of Swan Hill is quite small and easily navigable on foot.
The town has two local bus services operated by Swan Link (Swan Hill Bus Lines) which travel around the northern and southern suburbs of the town respectively. The buses run hourly from 8AM-6PM during the week and 8AM–12:30PM on Saturdays.
The Swan Hill–Tooleybuc bus route (operated by Swan Hill Bus Lines connects Swan Hill with the smaller towns of Nyah West, Nyah, Wood Wood, Piangil and Tooleybuc, NSW.
There is a bus which connects Swan Hill with the tiny towns of Wycheproof and Lalbert on Thursdays, departing Wycheproof in the morning and returning in the afternoon. There is also a service to Lake Boga and Ultima on Thursdays which extends to Sea Lake on Fridays (both services arrive in Swan Hill in the morning and depart in the afternoon).
- 1 Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery, Horseshoe Bend, Swan Hill, ☏ +61 3 5036 2430. Tu-F 10AM-5PM, Sa Su 10AM-4PM. The gallery hosts a growing collection of Australian works, and presents touring exhibitions and events throughout the year. Entry by donation.
- 2 Burke and Wills Fig Tree, Curlewis St. Local legend says that on their way north to the Gulf of Carpentaria, explorers Burke and Wills planted this fig tree in the yard of a local doctor. Located next to the Best Western Travellers Rest.
- 1 Pioneer Settlement, Monash Drive, Swan Hill, ☏ +61 3 5036 2410, toll-free: 1800 981 911, firstname.lastname@example.org. Open every day 9:30AM-4PM except Christmas and Boxing Day. A twee look back at white Australia's roots, complete with 1850s cottages, horse-drawn carriages and river cruises. Visitors can craft their own rope, churn butter and have a 'WANTED' poster of their face printed. Tea rooms serve Devonshire teas, and the settlement also includes an obligatory lolly shop.
- River Walk. Starting at the Pump Station, Milloo Street, the 4.5km walking trail leads walkers along the Murray and past many of the town's attractions. The easy walk ends north of Pental Island Bridge and takes around two hours to complete. Free.
- Swan Hill Food and Wine Festival. Every Labour Day weekend the town comes alive with a celebration of local food and wine. Live music, a farmers market, restaurant specials and river cruises are highlights.
- 2 Swan Hill Jockey Club, Swan Hill Racecourse (access off Gray St), ☏ +61 3 5032 2110, fax: +61 3 5032 2242, email@example.com. The Swan Hill Jockey Club meets 12 times each season, including the Swan Hill June Racing Carnival held over the June long weekend, which attracts 9,000 people each year.
The town centre is home to a varied assortment of stores selling unique products and local specialties.
- 1 Cafe 202, 202 Beveridge Street, Swan Hill, ☏ +61 3 5032 1200. M-F 7:30AM–5PM, Sa Su 8AM–5PM. Good café serving the usual selection of drinks and small meals. Caters to vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets.
- 2 Niko Niko, 174 Campbell St, Swan Hill, ☏ +61 3 5032 9080. M-W 11:30AM-2:30PM & 5:30-8:30PM, Th-Sa 11:30AM-2:30PM & 5:30-9PM. Serves Japanese and Korean food at reasonable prices.
- 3 Java Spice Thai Restaurant, 17 Beveridge St, Swan Hill, ☏ +61 3 5033 0511. Tu-Su. Serves Thai and South East Asian dishes in a garden full of imported teak buildings. Java Spice was listed in the top four Thai restaurants in Victoria in the 2010 The Age Good Food Guide. Also delivers to the Swan Hill area and you can order takeaway online.
- 4 Quo Vadis, 255-259 Campbell St, Swan Hill, ☏ +61 3 5032 4408. Family-owned restaurant serving Italian favourites with both indoor and outdoor seating.
- 5 Spoons Riverside, 125 Monash Drive, Swan Hill, ☏ +61 3 5032 2601. Su-W 8AM-5PM, Th-Sa 8AM-11PM. Overlooking the Murray and situated between the Pioneer Settlement and Art Gallery, Spoons serves local produce in a modern Australian style. The restaurant also serves weddings and functions.
Swan Hill is surrounded by a fertile wine region. The grape vines are often irrigated from the river.
- 1 Comfort Inn Lady Augusta, 375 Campbell Street, Swan Hill, ☏ +61 3 5032 9677, firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheap and cheerful motel close to attractions. Free Wi-Fi, Foxtel (pay TV) and pool. $120-156.
- 2 Murray Downs Resort, 5 Murray Downs Drive, Murray Downs NSW, ☏ +61 3 5033 1966, toll-free: 1800 807 574. Located 3 km out of town across the river in New South Wales, Murray Downs incorporates a golf course and dining options with live entertainment on Saturdays.
- 3 Best Western Burke and Wills Motor Inn, 370 Campbell Street, Swan Hill, ☏ +61 3 5032 9788, fax: +61 3 5033 1104, email@example.com. Four-star motel close to the train station and most of the town's attractions. Has an onsite restaurant (Charlie Grays), Wi-Fi, pay TV and an outdoor pool.
- 4 Best Western Travellers Rest Motor Inn, 110 Curlewis St, Swan Hill, ☏ +61 3 5032 9644, fax: +61 3 5033 1127, firstname.lastname@example.org. A standard motel next to the Burke and Wills fig tree, about 100 m from the main shopping strip and the Pioneer Settlement. Amenities include: satellite television, Wi-Fi, pool and spa.
Internet is easy to find around the town. Swan Hill is well covered by the 3G mobile networks, and Optus and Telstra's 4G service in the town centre.
- 1 Swan Hill Regional Library, 53 Campbell St, Swan Hill, ☏ +61 3 5036 2480. The library offers free Wi-Fi as well as computers with internet access (bookings recommended). Printing, fax and photocopying are also available for a small fee.
- 2 McDonalds, 424-426 Campbell St, Swan Hill, ☏ +61 3 5032 1444. Offers fast free Wi-Fi.
Mildura is a natural choice for those heading west along the river. Echuca and Shepparton are located to the east of the town on the road to Albury-Wodonga. Kerang or Bendigo are on the way to Melbourne, a short drive from Swan Hill.
|Routes through Swan Hill|
|END ←||N S||→ Kerang → Melbourne|
|Mildura ← Robinvale ←||W E||→ Kerang → Albury-Wodonga|