The packed earth road looks just as I suspect it did in the 19th century when Echuca was at its bustling best. There are weathered wooden wine barrels stacked up on the side of the street, smoke rises from the chimney of the Blacksmith's shop and tired Clydesdales still trudge slowly down the street pulling carriages.
Echuca is about a 3 hour drive from Melbourne. The town is steeped in history making it a great weekend getaway choice for families or for a romantic mini break.
The Port of Echuca is located along the banks of the Murray River. A homage to times gone by the Port of Echuca gives visitors a glimpse of life in a 19th century colonial town. Echuca, the town's names comes from the local Aboriginal word meaning, 'meeting of the waters', was in its prime in the 19th century due to its fortunate position as the closest river port to Melbourne. Australia's largest fleet of paddle steamers unloaded their bounty of wool, wheat, livestock and timber at Echuca Wharf which has now been heritage listed.
Among the free attractions the Port of Echuca offers is a working blacksmith shop where you can see the craftsman at work making items as diverse as horseshoes to wine racks or even sculptural pieces for the back garden, not needed in the heyday of this disappearing art form. There is also a wood turners shop with a sawdust covered floor selling carved ornaments and souvenirs.
But to really get a feel for the area and life on the mighty Murray a ride on a paddle steamer is a must. There are a number of restored steamers that offer sightseeing cruises along the river where you can see the engine in motion, ask questions of the crew or just enjoy a drink while watching the birdlife and listening to the gentle sloshing of the waterwheel as it churns through the water.