Last weekend we went for a quick trip to old Echuca on the Murray. Echuca and other spots nearby on the Murray make up one of Australia’s sunniest areas (at least sunniest in Victoria, Dad may have exaggerated about the whole of Aus) and of course not too long after we arrived, the rain started and didn’t stop until the next morning, when we were leaving.
Whenever we mention camping to my Dad, he always brings up Echuca and how he’s set up camp there almost 40 times, so seeing as we’ve had a massive lack of camping over the COVID period, Dad booked in a quick and easy weekend trip for him, myself and Eva, my oldest brother, his wife and my other brother.
Echuca is on the Victorian side of the Murray River and use to be Australia’s biggest and busiest inland port. It was a massive connection for transporting timber and wool between NSW and Victoria, getting materials from out in some really remote areas over to Sydney and Melbourne. Parts of the town are still stuck in the 1850’s and it’s really cool that they’ve kept it this way!
Echuca is a bit less than a three hour drive north or Melbourne, or in our case, a bit over three hours from Geelong.
The plan was to head up there on the Friday night and leave on Sunday, although we had a packed week and didn’t manage to leave until first light on the Saturday morning.
We pulled into the NRMA Echuca Holiday Park at about 10am and seeing as Dad brought his caravan along and we were only staying the night, we set up a bed in the back of our car and instead used our spare time to squeeze in a few activities before the rain was set to start. First order of action, getting some beers!
The camping park was right beside the edge of town on the river, so we wandered to a pub and grabbed some essentials. Although the rain was on its way, the temperature was still in the mid-thirties, so before we got a bit drowsy, we headed to Moama Beach, just on NSW side of the river, and had a dip.
Moama Beach was spot on. It took all of the heat straight out of the day. We made the most of the rivers’ currents, walking upstream for a bit then floating back down, over and over until we realised we had a paddle-steamer booked and got moving to get there in time.
Echuca is known for its “old town” where just beside the river where the port was busy in the second half of the 1800’s, the road is still dirt and filled with old artefacts like timber carriages that would be towed by horses, old buildings, shacks and steam engines.
On the river, there are still a bunch of really old Paddle Steamers that use to transport timber, wool and other cargo along the river. Dad raves about it and booked us in for a ride on one of the oldest Paddle Steamers.
With a stubby in our hands and rain coats on our backs, we stepped onboard the PS Emmylou just as the rain began to fall.
For about an hour or so, we cruised along the Murray in the old steam-powered ship, listened to a bit of history and got a good look at the river. It was a nice way to avoid the rain and experience Echuca. Getting out on the river in one way or another is a definite requirement when visiting in the area, last time we were there, we did it by hanging onto a rope behind a speed boat, so it was good to have a much a slower experience and see the town from the town from the water.
The river cruise took us into the late afternoon and with the weather that we were facing, we decided to head back to the campground for a few games of ping-pong and a round or two of cards, then we finished up the day with a pub meal and few drinks nearby. There’s nothing better than sitting undercover, outside with a good drink and meal when it’s raining but still warm.
It was just a quick trip, but great to see Echuca again. The entire town was over flowing with people and there was a really decent atmosphere, despite the rain. There’s already talk that we’re going to come back here in another couple of months and will be sure to share a lot more so that you can see what else the place has to offer, if you don’t happen to head out there on your own terms in the meantime!
If you have any suggestions of what we could get up to when we visit Echuca next, make sure to leave a comment below!