The Australian river cruise scene is set to be revived with the launch of brand new itineraries onboard a luxury $6.75 million ship.

Shaking up the domestic cruise industry, APT in a chartering partnership with Murray River Paddlesteamers, will launch three brand new exclusive itineraries on the PS Australian Star, the world’s only wood-fired, 5-star paddlesteamer.

The almost $7 million vessel features just 19-cabins with each stateroom opening onto the deck, a design feature APT was involved in to ensure the vessel meets standards suitable for its guests. 

Will APT be able to make the Murray Australia’s hottest river destination?

Queen Cabin onboard PS Australian Star

By all counts it looks as APT Travel Group‘s involvement is gearing the Murray River as Australia’s first high-demand inland river cruise destination.

David Cox, CEO of APT Travel Group, told Cruise Passenger: “We are thrilled to see the enthusiastic response from Australians for our new luxury river cruising venture on the Murray River”.

“The demand has been remarkable, with bookings exceeding our initial expectations. This collaboration with Murray River Paddlesteamers offers a unique and nostalgic travel experience, and it’s clear that Australians are eager to explore the natural beauty and heritage of their own backyard,” he said.

APT Travel Group, general manager product and operations, Mladen Vukic added they anticipate a surge in demand for domestic luxury river cruises.

“We’re excited to bring a whole new level of luxury to cruising the Murray, elevating the appeal for people travelling to this gem of the Australian outback,” Vukic said.

PS Australian Star

Caddell Dining Room PS Australian Star river ship
Caddell Dining Room onboard the PS Australian Star

PS Australian Star will debut in 2025 after being built in a specially designed shed beside the Murray River in Mildura. When it sets sail, the 38-guest ship will be the largest paddlesteamer in the Southern Hemisphere.

“We’re confident our inaugural season will sell quickly, with Australians keen to experience the birth of a new era for river cruising in this country,” Murray River Paddlesteamers Director, Craig Burgess said.

Wood Fired Steam Engine APT
An authentic 1907 wood-fired steam engine for the ship recently arrived in Mildura

The all-inclusive cruise features fine dining, a panoramic lounge, outdoor relaxation spaces and a suite of onboard amenities. With just 38 other guests, some of the APT-exclusive signature experience highlights include lunch at The Mill in Echuca, wine-tasting, an after dark port tour to uncover ghost stories and a journey through St. Anne’s Winery.

“Not only will your journey be encompassed by luxury every step, but our guests will be hosted by an APT cruise director, ensuring personalised service and expert guidance throughout the voyage,” APT’s Vukic said.

Trips to satisfy the senses

APT Travel Group
Guests guided through Perricoota Station

Headlining the new trips is the 8-day Retreat to the Murray, visiting Echuca, Rochester, Colbinabbin, Perricoota Station, and more. Guests will visit local wineries, savour delectable dining experiences and discover the region’s cultural delights. 

Restdown Wines
Restdown Wines

Shorter itineraries include the 4-day Murray River Gateway and the 5-day Murray River Escape

Bookings are now open for these 2025 itineraries, and with only a 38-guest capacity, we would advise booking at your earliest.

For more information visit 

*Featured image of PS Australian Star (artist impression)