Take a Sunday Drive to Echuca, Along the Banks of the Mighty Murray River
The banks of the Murray River are calling, and Echuca, the Paddlesteamer Capital of Australia, is the closest point of the mighty river to Melbourne.
Boasting more sunny days than Queensland's Gold Coast and an average annual temperature of 22 degrees, Echuca Moama is a great destination to visit in all seasons.
Step back into bygone eras with horse-drawn carriages, historic buildings, vintage streetscapes, and of course the world's largest fleet of operating riverboats, all with the conveniences of the modern era
Wander through the red gum walkways and immerse yourself in the rich local history of Echuca. It's a brilliant spot for the whole family.
How to Get to Echuca
Get up early, because it will take you 2 hours and 37 minutes to drive to Echuca along the Calder Freeway, and if you're coming back the same day that's a pretty epic trip. Taking the Calder Fwy/M79, follow signs for State Rte 40/Bendigo, then take the exit to Kyneton/Heathcote/C326 and follow the signs to Echuca.
Also you can head out of the city on the Citylink tollway, enter the Hume Highway and continue on for 50km before merging onto the Northern Highway, following it all the way in to Echuca.
What to see in Echuca
- You are totally spoiled for choice when it comes to national parks and wetlands
- Stroll along the banks of the Murray River itself and spot the vintage paddlesteamers
- See the amazing bird and water life at Gunbower Island
- Evidence of Aboriginal settlement can be found all along the Murray, in shell middens, scarred trees and sacred sites, particularly at Mungo National Park
- See the tree marked by explorers Hume and Hovell on their 1824 expedition in Albury’s Hovell Tree Park
- Visit the site where Burke and Wills camped at Swan Hill on the 15th day of their ill-fated south-north expedition across Australia in 1860
What to do in Echuca
Echuca's calendar of events is never empty, beginning with the world's biggest water ski event (Club Marine Southern 80) to the very popular Riverboats Music Festival, the largest of its type on the Murray.
- Head to the Moama and Echuca Adventure Playpark, designed for children from babies to teenagers with features to stimulate physical, social and imaginative play experiences. It also caters for special groups, with the addition of wheelchair access, a Liberty Swing and special play areas. Beautifully landscaped, it's a great spot to stretch those cooped-up driving legs, and to have a bit of a picnic lunch.
- Tons of recreational activities including fishing, bushwalking, birdwatching and camping are available in the extensive wetlands along the Murray - you can even take a boat, canoe or kayak ride, or waterski.
- Check out Australia’s larrikin spirit at the National Holden Museum and the Great Aussie Beer Shed.
- Bring the whole family to the Billabong Ranch Adventure Park for horse-riding, pedal boats, playgrounds and so much more.
- Step back in time to the Port of Echuca Discovery Centre and visit an authentic steam port, explore the 1860s-era revitalised wharf, and watch the steam-driven saw mill in operation.
- Go on a bushwalk! Try the Wagirra Trail, Albury (2 hours or 5.6km) along the banks of the Murray, The Lakes Loop (4km or 1 3/4 hours) or Broken Creek Loop (3.5km or 1 1/2 hours) in the Barmah National Park, or check out Gunbower Island.
- Extend your Sunday drive with 4WD trails through the designated 354km River Red Gum Drive through various national parks and state forests.
Where to eat in Echuca
Echuca is a rich area for local producers and boasts a large range of iconic restaurants, cafes, hotels, country pubs, traditional bakeries, chic wine bars, clubs, and alfresco spots.
Wine touring is also popular, with a dozen or so cellar doors in the region.
- Johnny & Lyle's
- Bella Cibo
- Antonio's on the Port
- Ceres cafe
- The Black Pudding Deli
- American Hotel
- The Mill
- Odd Captain Cafe and Bar
- or head to the local Beechworth Bakery location and stock up!