Australia is a relatively dry country, and its rivers are essential sources of fresh water. Some of the longest rivers have had their water regulated by humans for economic and sustainability purposes. Most of the rivers flow through more than one state, for instance River Murray creates the border between New South Wales and Victoria. The river is not the longest in Victoria State because the only section of the river within the state covers only 7 miles. However, the river is the longest in the country.
8. Gascoyne River (Western Australia)
The Gascoyne River stretches for 518.2 miles through the state of Western Australia. The river rises from the Collier Range, draining into the Indian Ocean at Shark Bay. The river’s water is tapped for irrigation, drinking, sheep rearing, and gold mining. The river also sustains several pools which are home to abundant fish species.
7. Goulburn River (Victoria)
Goulburn River flows for 406.4 miles in Victoria State to become the region’s longest river. Its source lies in the Victorian Alps, and it drains into the Murray River near Echuca. Throughout its course, its waters have been diverted to create the reservoirs of Lake Eildon, Goulburn Weir, Eildon Pondage, and Waranga Basin. The diverted water is stored for use in irrigation, water supply, and hydroelectricity.
6. South Esk River (Tasmania)
The state of Tasmania is home to the South Esk River which flows for 152.2 miles within the state. It flows from the Ben Lomond Mountain and joins the North Esk River at Launceston, after which it drains into the Bass Strait as the Tamar River. Its waters are dammed at Trevallyn Dam for hydroelectric power generation. The river is a popular fishing destination for species such as salmon, and it is also used for irrigation, livestock rearing, water supply, and recreation.
5. Murray River (South Australia)
The Murray River flows through South Australia for a length of 434.9 miles to be the state’s longest river. The river’s course starts from the Australian Alps and ends in the Indian Ocean. The river has played a pivotal role in the development of South Australia, and its banks are home to towns such as Adelaide and Loxton. The river has popularized recreational activities in the region such as cruising and watersports. The state has harnessed the river’s water for domestic supply, agriculture, industry, and hydro-electricity generation.
4. Flinders River (Queensland)
The Flinders River takes the crown as Queensland’s longest River, flowing for 434.9 miles in the state. Its source lies in the Burra Range which is part of the Great Dividing Range, and it discharges in the Gulf of Carpentaria after a northwesterly course. Its waters, as well as that of its tributaries, are utilized for agriculture and grazing.
3. Victoria River (Northern Territory)
The Victoria River flows for 316.9 miles through the Northern Territory. Its source is Mount Farquharson, and it drains in the Timor Sea through the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf. The river was discovered by Europeans in 1839 and named after the sovereign of England, Queen Victoria. The river flows through several cattle stations, and its wetlands have been identified as significant ecological wetlands for migratory birds.
2. Murray River (New South Wales)
Murray River is recognized as Australia’s longest river. It flows through three states, including New South Wales, through which it stretches for 1123.44 miles. The river's source is in the Australian Alps, and it flows through numerous terminal lakes before discharging into the Indian Ocean at the Murray mouth. The river is a major freshwater source for domestic supply in New South Wales. Its waters are used for large-scale irrigation and fishing for species like perch, cod, and Redfin. The river also supports the navigation of pleasure boats and boat races.
1. Murrumbidgee River (Australian Capital Territory)
The Murrumbidgee River’s name translates to “overflowing” or “big water” in aboriginal languages. The river flows for 36.661 miles through the Australian Capital Territory, and its total length is estimated at 924.6 miles. The river’s source lies in the Snowy Mountains near Kiandra, and it discharges into the Murray River. Its waters were particularly useful in the irrigation of rice, wheat, and cotton. The capital of the Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, is located in the upper catchment of the river. The river’s headstreams are part of the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme. The river also supports recreational activities including canoeing, fishing, and swimming.
Longest Rivers By Australian State/Territory
|Rank||State/territory||River name||Length (in miles)|
|1||Australian Capital Territory||Murrumbidgee River||36|
|2||New South Wales||Murray River||1123|
|3||Northern Territory||Victoria River||316|
|5||South Australia||Murray River||434|
|6||Tasmania||South Esk River||152|
|8||Western Australia||Gascoyne River||518|
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