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Fringed by irrigated land that produces grapes, citrus, olives, avocados and asparagus, the Murray River city of Mildura has the feel of an oasis - the centre of a fertile district surrounded by dry scrubland. Mildura's river setting and sunny mild winters make it a popular holiday destination. Accommodation is plentiful, picturesque paddle steamers cruise the waterways, and sandy beaches and swimming holes line the river banks. Wineries, citrus groves and wayside fruit stalls offer pleasant diversions.
Just beyond the irrigated land of the Mildura area lies the desert of the Australian outback. Two major Victorian national parks, Murray-Sunset and the smaller Hattah-Kulkyne, lie south of Mildura. Both cover semi-arid environments and are best visited in the cooler months. Birdlife is prolific in both parks.