The lively towns of Echuca and Moama are situated on the Murray River and only 222km from Melbourne via the Calder Highway. With so much to see and do, you’ll need to allow more than a couple of days to really experience all the offerings and get the most out of your visit.
Port of Echuca Discovery Centre
The best way to experience the historic Port of Echuca is at the Discovery Centre and a guided tour tops it off. Jenny was our tour guide and she really got us into the mood with her period dress. She took us on a voyage of discovery past the old working sawmill and onto the Echuca Wharf, restored to its former glory. Its multi-levels showed how changing river heights didn’t slow operations. An intriguing part of the tour was entering the secret tunnel under the Star Hotel, used by drinkers to escape the police during prohibition.
Open 7 days 9.00am – 5.00pm Adults $14, Children $8, Concession $11, Family varies. The tour is included in the entry fee.
Cruise the River
Echuca remains the busiest inland port with the largest fleet of paddle steamers in the world. There are several boats and tour options available all of which will make your cruising experience memorable. I jumped aboard the Pride of the Murray and as we cruised upriver, enjoyed an extremely tasty 2-course lunch before spending some time with the skipper. He even allowed me and the kids on board to steer the paddle steamer, but I wasn’t good enough to earn a Skippers Certificate though. The relaxing 1.5-hour cruise was a great way to learn a little bit about river life back in the day.
“Would you like to eat a bug?”
That was the first question I was asked after entering twistED Science. After having my arm twisted, I crunched on a roasted mealworm and then savoured an ant before receiving a ‘I ate a bug!’ sticker. You don’t have to try an edible insect but doing so will surprise you.
TwistED Science is a place where you can nerd up with science communication experts and have bucket loads of fun. No matter your age, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this place. Try climbing the augmented reality wall or see how far you can shoot a paper plane. There are over twenty interactive stations to keep you busy and I guarantee a couple will truly blow your mind.
Open Tuesday to Sunday 10.00am – 4.00pm Adults $18, Children $14, Family $58, Concession $14
The National Holden Museum
You don’t have to be a car enthusiast to spend a couple of hours exploring the museum that is everything about Holden. Brothers Tony and Mark have amassed an amazing collection of vehicles from the beginning of Holden Australia. There are also several displays, merchandise and a video on airbag deployment. It certainly brought back memories of my Holden years starting with the EJ Holden that took us around Australia in 1975, the straight six Torana that I learned to drive in and the first car I bought, a canary yellow Gemini.
Open 7 days 9.00am – 5.00pm Adults $10, Seniors $9, Children $5, Family $25
New to Echuca, David De Vries is a retired flavourer who’s turned his hand to distilling and I tell you what he’s doing it right, thanks to a great range of naturally derived botanicals. After ordering a gin sampler I tasted a Hibiscus Rose, Cadell’s Navy Strength and a High Street Dry Gin.
When viewing the Italian copper still (named Lavender), you can see where the magic happens. David also takes the time to create craft spirits such as flavoured vodka and liqueurs. If cocktails are what you’re pining for, the girls certainly know how to shake it up and Café style meals are available if you’re feeling peckish.
Open Thursday to Monday 11.00am with closing times variable.
The Great Aussie Beer Shed
Neil Thomas is an absolute champion of a bloke. A former cop and tragic Western Bulldogs supporter he’s been collecting beer cans and other memorabilia for over 18 years ago. The Great Aussie Beer Shed and Heritage Farm Museum opened its doors 16 years ago where you’ll find over 18,500 beer cans from Australia and around the world, including the world’s rarest beer can. In 2018, Neil was honoured when Carlton United Breweries dropped off the historic Clydesdale wagon on permanent loan in 2018. There’s also a great display of old farming equipment from the 1800s and several old horse-drawn coaches and carriages.
Open 9.30 – 5.00pm weekends, public holidays and school holidays, but don’t hesitate to give Neil a call outside of these hours. Seasonally closed from the end of July until the end of August. Adults $14, Seniors $10, Children $5 Family $30
Rich River Golf Club
Rich River is home to two 18-hole championship golf courses with each offering different challenges to those of us who love hitting a little white ball as little as possible. After the round, settle back in the bar or enjoy a meal in the Café/Kids Room, Bistro or Sports Bar. There are also stay and play packages with a range of motel type accommodation option available.
Amongst the Vines
Old School Winery & Meadery can be found 31km away in the historic town of Womboota. You can sample a range of artisan meads as well as a small selection of wines. Open Tuesday to Sunday 10.00am to 5.00pm. Cape Horn Vineyard & Riverside Bar is located 15 minutes from Echuca and is a stunningly beautiful setting.
Enjoy wood-fired pizzas while sipping from a selection of wine varietals. Open weekends from 11.00am to 5.00pm and by appointment only on weekdays (no food). Morrison’s Riverview Winery & Restaurant is 4km from Moama with great views of the Murray River. A unique way of visiting the vineyard is via paddle steamer from Echuca. This award-winning vineyard is open Wednesday to Sunday for lunch, wine tastings and cellar door sales.
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