Nestled on the banks of the Murray River, Echuca, an Aboriginal name meaning “Meeting of the Waters” is a charming port city of 12,000. Attend the Jazz, Food, and Wine festival or the Southern 80 water ski race, Echuca has something going on every month. Echuca, renowned for its relaxing life style, warm weather, and historic port, is a perfect holiday destination.
Echuca: For Holidays that Transcend Time
Echuca, on the banks of the Murray River, was once a bustling inland port and the second largest in Victoria, after Port Phillip. Today, the town is a popular holiday destination for history buffs - and those looking to escape to a simpler time. Reminders of Echuca’s past, like heritage buildings and horse drawn carriages, can be found at every street corner.
Venture down to the wharf and hop aboard a paddle steamer for a leisurely cruise on the Murray River. Browse the extensive collection of iconic Australian memorabilia at one of the town’s museums. Or simply unwind with the whole family at Moama Beach.
Holiday rentals in Echuca stick to the theme. Some options include houseboats and quaint historical cottages.
Echuca’s Historic Tours
When you get to Echuca, it might seem as though you have wound the clock back by at least a century. One of the first things you’ll notice are the horse-drawn carriages making their way through town, along the historic main street and down to the wharf.
Hop aboard a carriage and go for a ride around the historic Victorian settlement, with your driver doubling up as a tour guide. Let your coach take you past a series of mid-19th century buildings with perfectly preserved facades. A cluster of heritage buildings can be found on High Street, now housing trendy boutiques. Some of Echuca’s historic properties offer their own guided tours.
Another way to uncover Echuca’s past is to go on a paddle steamer tour along the Murray River. Sit back and relax as your on-board guide tells tales of the town’s past. To soak up the 1870s atmosphere, stroll along High Street and stop at one of the cafes. As you sip your latte outside, you will get a front row view of carriages passing by.
More History at Echuca’s Museums
Travellers to Echuca can delve deeper into the past by visiting the area’s numerous museums. Start off at the Echuca Historical Society Museum and Archive, set within the old police station and jail, to view photographs and documents dating back to 1867. There are also over 5000 artifacts, once belonging to those who lived and worked in Echuca.
If you’re interested in vintage Australian cars, head to the National Holden Motor Museum for a wide selection of iconic Holden models. Stroll amongst the 40+ models or stop to view related exhibits, short films and photographs.
For more Australian memorabilia, go to the Great Aussie Beer Shed and Heritage Farm, a short drive from Echuca, where you will find favourite traditional Australian and international products, including over 17,000 different beer cans.
Exploring the Port of Echuca
Echuca’s hub of activity, then and now, is the Port Precinct, which offers plenty of activities and attractions. See the planet’s most extensive fleet of paddle steamers and step aboard the P.S. Adelaide, the oldest operating steamer.
Alternately, go for a walk along the Echuca Wharf, lined by timber mills and other heritage buildings. A network of paths leads across an overhead footbridge, onto the wet dock and under the wharf.
Begin or end your visit at the Port of Echuca Discovery Centre, where you can view several smaller exhibits and find out about a darker side of Echuca’s history: the major shipwrecks that affected the community.
Echuca Water Sports
Thanks to its strategic location on the Murray River, Echuca is a hub for water sports of all kinds. Notably, water skiers can participate in two yearly competitions. One of them, the Southern 80 Ski Race, has been taking place since 1964. Adrenaline junkies can show off their skills and beginners can learn the sport at one of the town’s ski schools.
Of course, travelers seeking to participate in calmer water sports can do so, too. Hire kayaks or canoes and explore Echuca’s main waterway on your own or as part of a group tour. Go rafting on the river or do some fishing or swim at designated spots. For a relaxing freshwater beach day, go to Moama Beach, just a short distance from the Echuca Wharf. Do be careful of the current, as it can be quite strong.
Getting to Echuca
Echuca is set 200 km from Melbourne, on Victoria’s border with New South Wales. Drive from Victoria’s capital in 2.5 hours or take a regional V/Line train with direct service to the town centre.