Wednesday 23rd May 2012
Entrancing Echuca. Twinned with Moama. The closest point on the Murray River to Melbourne, the capital of Victoria. A mere two – three hours drive away.
For the tourist, there is a distinction between Echuca the town centre, and Echuca, the historic port centre. If you come for just a few days, most of your time will be spent reliving a bygone era around the restored heritage wharf area. A time of paddle-steamers, horse-drawn carriages, artisans such as leather-workers and wood-turners. Wandering along the riverbank, meandering through red gum walkways. Poking around the shops, pubs and cafes along the wharf walk. Tasting wines in one of the renovated wool warehouses that now act as a cellar door.
There is plenty to see further afield as well, both for children and adults, but if you want to experience why Echuca is called the ‘paddlesteamer capital of Australia‘, then you have to get on board for a real life experience.
On this trip, Bill and I took a two-hour lunchtime cruise, striking up acquaintance with another couple who were also staying at the Steampacket Inn.
However, when we stayed ten years ago, we went one better than that. Bill, me, and our friend J (who has since passed), booked a teensy cabin each, and spent a Saturday night on a steamer – the Emmy-Lou if my memory is correct. We boarded late afternoon, had a splendid dinner on board, pulled up along the river bank for a camp-fire singsong, slept on board, and then rose with the birds, to admire the mist rising on the Murray, and to soak up the tranquil and solitary feeling of being where no car can travel.
I hand the story over to her photos.
Next Destination: Swan Hill