After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the iconic Deniliquin Ute Muster has returned to its pre-pandemic glory.

“You can take the girl out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl,” I say to my wife, Carly as she slips on an old pair of RM Williams boots and slaps on her much-loved cowboy hat. “Yee-haw, it’s fair-dinkum beaut to be back on me old stomping ground,” she chuckles.

We are visiting Carly’s hometown of Deniliquin with our nine-year-old daughter, Lyra, and six-year-old son Moe. It’s our first family trip to one of Australia’s most iconic country festivals: the legendary Deni Ute Muster.

Deniliquin Ute Muster

Since its commencement in 1999 the festival has developed a unique blend of activities and entertainment. It has two night-time concerts featuring the best Australian and international country and rock musicians. Throughout the day a variety of emerging music artists perform on the day-stage. On Friday the main stages were light up with performances from Darlinghurst, John Williamson, Felicity Urquhart and Josh Cunningham, Ian Moss and Troy Cassar-Daley, Busby Marou and The Angels. On Saturday, the line-up included Hurricane Fall, Sara Storer, Shane Nicholson, Round Mountain Girls, Jessica Mauboy, Shannon Noll and international country superstar, Brad Paisley.

Not surprisingly there’s plenty of ute-themed competitions including – The Australian National Circle Work Championships, Ute Show’N’Shine award, Ute of the Year title plus a number of Ute driving competitions.

There’s also the annual Guinness World Record attempt for the blue singlet count, a Bull Ride Spectacular, trade stalls, catering sites, a Carnivale Corner with children’s activities and rides, a Ute museum, two licensed bars and a wine bar.

The Ute Muster is obviously Deni’s claim to fame. But the area has SO much more on offer.

For visitors interested in history and the arts, the Peppin Heritage Centre and the Visitors Information Centre offer a complete history of the region. Originally the town’s first public school, this building is named after the Peppin family who ran a sheep station at Wanganella, just outside of Deniliquin. The museum is dedicated to the Peppins who in the 1800’s developed a Merino sheep breed that could survive in the severe Australian conditions. Today the Peppin bloodline produces more than 90% of the nation’s flock.

Around the corner in Cressy Street is the Town Hall, constructed in 1876. Italianate in design, this building was popular for holding balls, picture shows and many other functions for local residents. A prominent resident, Captain Landale donated the clock tower in 1904.

Within the main shopping precinct lies the Waring Gardens and Lagoons, originally a chain of waterways linked to the Edward River. The gardens are home to numerous grand Moreton Bay figs, palms, willows and other trees which date back to the 19th century. There’s a couple of interesting sites within the gardens including the ANZAC monument, soldier statue and sculpture of the three Muses. It’s a great spot for a picnic or to just relax under the shade of the giant trees.

One of the more unusual attractions in town is ‘The Ute on the Pole’. Situated on the edge of the Edward River and beside the National Bridge, this local icon attracts many curious visitors. Built in 2001, the classic Holden WB perched on top of the pole is certainly a peculiar sight. However, this celebrated monument proves that the Deni is definitely the ute capital of the world.

Winding its way through town, the Edward River is one of Deni’s most popular hangouts for locals and visitors. McLean Beach is one of Australia’s largest inland beaches and provides a great spot for swimming, kayaking, water skiing, picnics or just relaxing in the sun. Locals refer to McLean Beach as the ‘Bondi of the Outback’. Without the sharks of course! However, I do come across a red-bellied black snake sunning itself on the hot sand.

Also nearby is the world’s largest system of River Red Gum forests including Murray River Reserve, Gunbower National Park, Gunbower State Forest, Koondrook State Forest, Perricoota State Forest, Murray Valley Regional and National Parks, and Barmah National Park. Highlights include the Murray River, sandy beaches, lagoons, waterbirds, wildlife and aquatic plants. A wide range of camping and picnic grounds plus an extensive network of forest trails make this protected area a great place to visit.

The Court House, situated on the corner of Wellington and Poictiers Streets is also an impressive National Trust building.

In the gardens adjacent to the Heritage Centre is the colourful mosaic ute artwork. Completed for the Ute Muster in 2008, a group of volunteers carefully coated a ute with tiny mosaic tiles. Alongside it is a Long Paddock sculpture entitled ‘shod’ which depicts a giant half of a bullock’s shoe.

Deniliquin is the perfect base from which to explore a couple of interesting touring routes.

The Backroads Trail showcases themes of heritage, environment, food, wine and culture. The trail encompasses the rolling plains country between Echuca-Moama, Barham and Deniliquin and features farm gate enterprises such as olive producers, avocado growers, food-stores and cellar doors. Signposted interpretive sites along the route also allow you to see how the land was shaped from Dreamtime prehistory to the present day.

Interesting sites include the Redgum Chainsaw Sculptures at Barham-Koondrook and the pioneer cemetery and Reed Beds Bird Hide both near Mathoura. Located within the Murray Valley Regional Park the bird hide is a paradise for all kinds of feathered friends. An elevated walkway with information panels leads to the hide overlooking the reed beds.

The Long Paddock Touring Route is a longer itinerary that involves a network of tracks and towns that were used by former stockmen. Following 610kms of the Cobb Highway the route starts from Echuca/Moama on the Victorian border. It then passes through Deniliquin, Hay, and Wilcannia, leading to the outback towns of Bourke, Broken Hill and White Cliffs.

The Long Paddock is the slang name for the stock routes that traverse Australia – open expanses of unfenced fence land that can be used by anyone to move stock in times of drought.

The touring route takes visitors through some of the most unique landscapes in the country including the Hay Plains renowned as the flattest place in the southern hemisphere. It also crosses some of the most historically important agricultural country in Australia. The Australian Shearers Hall of Fame at Hay is a ‘must see’.

Visitors can download a touring guide which outlines all of the towns and villages along the Long Paddock route split into regions, including the Murray Region, Deniliquin Region, Hay Region, Conargo Region and the Central Darling Region.

The twin towns of Echuca/Moama is an easy 75km drive south from Deni. Here, you can explore the historic port of Echuca which is one of Australia’s top heritage icons and the home to the largest paddle steamer fleet in the world. Surveyed in 1854, Echuca quickly became a thriving inland port, with paddle steamers ferrying supplies throughout Australia’s interior via the river network. Today, Echuca/Moama boasts a variety of activities including historic attractions, quality festivals, sporting facilities, museums and unique river experiences.


Deniliquin is located at the intersection of the Riverina and Cobb Highway approximately 725kms south-west of Sydney and 285kms north of Melbourne.

Visitor Information Centre

Freecall: 1800 650 712

Email: info@deniliquin.nsw.gov.au




The town has a good selection of caravan parks, motels, holiday houses, bed and breakfast, farm stays and even a few house boats.

Big 4 Deniliquin Holiday Park

This award-winning holiday park located on the banks of the Edward River has two swimming pools, heated water splash park and water slide, bike pump track, giant jumping pillow, mini-golf, barbecues, two private pontoon boats for hire, tennis/basketball court, playground, water sports, boating, skiing, luxury cabin accommodation and plenty of camping/caravan sites.

Address: Ochtertyre Street Deniliquin
Phone: 03 5881 1131
Email: info@big4deniliquin.com.au
Website: www.big4deniliquin.com.au

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