I'm an Australian living in Thailand. I like to read, write and travel. I'm currently working on my (commercial) travel website skedaddlecarhire.com.au to make more moolah for my trips.
Published July 23rd 2015
Go down the Murray, With or Without a Paddle
Photo Credit: Mattinbgn
Most visitors to Australia tend to focus on Sydney and Melbourne during their trip. And, while these locations certainly deserve this popularity, given their historic and cultural attributes as well as natural offering, there are other destinations in Australia that merit attention. One of these destinations is Echuca. I was only able to reach all of these attractions with the help of a rental car, using carhireechuca.net.au, which helped me to locate the depots in the town.
Located in picturesque in rural Victoria, Echuca serves as the paddle-steamer capital of the country and a heritage Murray River town abounding with history, culture and plenty of boating. From the wonderful port and wharf side to great cultural and adventure activities, Echuca will provide you and your family with a lifetime of rich memories. Discover below some of the activities and attractions in Echuca certainly to make your visit to Australia unique and everlasting.
Of the many things to do in Echuca, the town's historic port serves as the focal point of the locality. Stroll along the Murray Esplanade for free with your family, which is reserved exclusively for pedestrians. From the walkway tour one of the restored historic paddle steamers such as the PS Adelaide, constructed in 1866 and the oldest functioning paddle steamer on the planet, or the PS Pevensey, built in 1911. The wharf was constructed with three tiers to accommodate the fluctuating river levels.
In addition to the picturesque Espalande and steam ships, visit the Star Hotel, established in 1867, which features an underground passageway that helped drinkers escape the police. Check out the nearby Bridge Hotel where a ticket permits you and your family to visit a historic gallery, while the old pub now functions as a tasty bistro and restaurant. Other things to do in Echuca for kids on the port include the Sharp Magic Movie House & Penny Arcade features restored vintage penny-arcade machines where you will be provided a fist-full of pennies to enjoy. The movie house presents classic films with Laurel and Hardy and Buster Keaton as well as a free fudge tasting.
Consider visiting the Red Gum Works , a historic sawmill that recreates old timber-milling days. Watch wood-turners and blacksmiths work with traditional equipment, and purchase red-gum products. Moreover, at St Anne's take a break and sample some free tastings of local wines, ports, bourbon and rum stored in giant port barrels.
When thinking about Echuca's things to do while at the port, spend some time at the Discovery Centre. This facility serves as your portal to the Echuca Wharf featuring wonderful interactive exhibits related to the history of the port, paddle steamers and riverboat industry. Located in the wharf's cargo shed, exists an intriguing audiovisual dioramas recreating what life was like on a riverboat. Moreover, take one of the guided tours that leave from the centre two times a day.
If there is a car buff in your family or you are simply curious about automotive history, make visiting the National Holden Museum one of the things to do around Echuca. The institution is dedicated to the country's iconic vehicle. Admire over 40 exquisitely restored Holdens, including the FJ and Monaro, and vintage racing memorabilia and footage.
A paddle steamer cruise is a must on your list when visiting Echuca. Pick-up tickets along the Esplanade or at the port entrance, which will include a guide explaining the histories of each vessel on display. Consider the timeline for sunset, twilight and or lunch and dinner cruises. There are over six available paddle steamer cruises to select.
Echuca Boat & Canoe Hire
For more adventurous activities, you may elect to contract a motor and/or barbie boat, which feature on-board BBQs. In addition, there are also kayaks, canoes and multi-day'campanoeing' excursions, where you can coordinate with the staff to be dropped off upstream to canoe the return trip based on your discretion. The canoeing is fun and thrilling way to spend time with your family while getting in some great exercise and build up an appetite.
River Country Adventours
For more water sport adventure, embark upon one of the organized canoe safaris along the Goulburn River. Trust the Kyabram-based team and their expertise in this region of the country to provide you with a unique and memorable experience. They organise camping and canoe safaris on the Murray and throughout the Goulburn and Barmah regions.
Dine at Oscar W's Wharfside
After canoeing upstream, have a long, delectable meal as Oscar W's Wharfside restaurant. Located on the old port, featuring a terrace with a splendid view of the the Murray, Oscar's provides exquisite food and service and may well be the best restaurant in Echuca. Local specialties include kangaroo, steak and pan-fried Murray cod as well as an first-rate wine list with a terrific ambiance.
When thinking about what to do in Echuca, have a rugged experience on the Billabong Ranch. The ranch provides guided rides along the Murray and Goulburn Riverer and the rugged bush. Located approximately 12km east of Echuca, guests also can participate in miniature golf, an animal nursery, tenpin bowling, pedal boats, pony rides, a playground and a cafe and bar.
Great Aussie Beer Shed
For more adult fun, head over to the Great Aussie Beer Shed to partake from the wall-to-wall display of more than 17,000 beer cans placed in a sprawling shed. Developed over 30 years of active collecting with one brand dating back from the Federation, guests can take guided tours that will provide you with a thorough history of beer.