Many visitors to Mildura bound for the orchards and vineyards will discover that, like many of the street names in Broken Hill, that honour its roots as a mining town, several streets in Mildura are named after the fruits that are grown here. Orange, Lemon, Lime, Cherry and Olive are just a few of them.
This part of northwestern Victoria (and southwestern New South Wales) is known as Sunrayasia. The region produces 80 per cent of the country’s dried fruit and 85 per cent of Victoria’s wine-making grapes, not to mention a fair chunk of Australia’s citrus fruit harvest.
As Mildura Tourism says: “It starts with the river.” George and William Chaffey, Canadian brothers, founded an irrigation settlement along the banks of the Murray River in the 1880s. When soldier settlers and migrants from Ireland, England, Greece, Italy and the former Yugoslavia arrived, they brought with them the cultivation skills that helped to make Mildura the food bowl of Victoria.
The climate is Mediterranean – hot, dry summers (December to February and mild winters (June to August). The wettest months are between May and October.
Christmas, Easter and the school holidays are high season times. The Mildura Wentworth Arts Festival takes place in March, and the Mildura Golf Week and the Mildura Writers’ Festival are in July. The Wintersun Festival is in mid-August and the Tour of the Murray River is at the end of August/start of September. The Mildura Country Music Festival is in September and the Mildura Jazz and Wine Festival in November.
The winter months, June, July and August in particular, are low season times with the exception of winter festivals.