Welcome to Echuca, Australia's Paddlesteamer Capital!
The closest the Murray River gets to the Victorian capital of Melbourne, Echuca is a town of incredible historic significance Named Echuca in 1855, this small settlement rose to prominence quickly. Boating at Echuca had humble beginnings – a small punt operated as a ferry across the Murray River. Due to its proximity to Melbourne however, Echuca grew to become Australia’s largest inland port. Paddleboats ruled the river with Echuca quickly becoming known as Australia’s Paddlesteamer Capital. They brought goods such as wool, livestock, wheat and timber to Echuca, where the goods were loaded onto trains to be taken to Melbourne.
These days, Echuca’s time as a major port has come to an end. The town instead celebrates its heritage. Echuca is home to the world’s largest collection of paddlesteamers, with regular cruises on the historic boats. The Port of Echuca has recently been undergoing extensive restoration, including a reviatalisation of the Echuca Wharf designed to connect the river of the present day with the historical period in which it had its heyday. Also a part of the recent upgrade to the area is the brand new Port of Echuca Interpretive Centre. Celebrating the past with displays detailing the history of the town and paddle steamers, the centre offers a more immersive experience for visitors.
History and paddle steamers aren’t the only things to Echuca though! Echuca is a brilliant place to get out in nature and experience the best of Australia’s natural beauty. Horseriding is a brilliant way to explore the land around the river, or hire a canoe and get out onto the water in a more intimate fashion than on the big paddlesteamers. For die-hard history fans, experience it a little differently by taking an old-fashioned horse and carriage ride. For something completely different, make sure you sample at least a part of the Echuca food and wine trail. The area is known for its shiraz, chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon. Discover a wonderful climate, beautiful riverside locations, splendid sightseeing, and a surprising array of shops and accommodation. Share the fun at a club or dine out at stylish restaurants or enjoy the many cafés and eateries, the choice is yours. Echuca has a myriad festivals and events. The Winter Blues Festival in July and the Riverboats Music Festival in February to name a couple.
Here are our Top 10 Things to See & Do In Echuca/Moama
Port of Echuca Discovery Centre
One of Echuca Moama’s main tourist attractions is the Port of Echuca Discover Centre. Experience living history on a guided Port tour. Tread on the boards of the historic redgum wharf build in 1865. See the cargo shed museum. Visitor the historic Star Hotel with it’s underground bar and escape tunnel and once a “sly” grog shop. There are many displays or soak up the atmosphere from the Bridge Hotel.
The P.S. Emmylou is a completely restored 1906 steam engine, and built to the highest world classification standards. She was built locally during 1980-82 in the style of the 19th century paddleboats. The Emmylou is a great way to experience the Murray with cruise. It also offers daily Lunch at Redgums Restaurant onboard and accommodation if you’re looking for an overnight River Experience. Don’t forget you have the choice of three other Paddesteamers for one hour cruises, the choice is yours PS Canberrra, Pride of the Murray & PS Pevensey.
The Great Aussie Beer Shed
The Great Aussie Beer Shed & Heritage Farm Museum is one of the most interesting and unique tourist attractions in Victoria with something for everyone to enjoy. Situated only 3k from the busy town of Echuca a tour will take you right back down memory lane with an unbelievable display of Aussie Icon paraphernalia including over 17,000 beer cans from Australia and around the world. Other interesting and related items include tap tops, handles, barrels, bottles, signs, brewery manufacturing equipment and machinery.
As you stroll through the Museum you will also see a huge assortment of iconic Aussie products, brand names and machinery like old petrol Bowsers, washing machines, a Coca Cola Collection, kitchen and laundry items and even a partially restored WW1 canon.
Owner Neil Thomas has collected this amazing array of Aussie collectables and is on hand to provide you with an enthusiastic and entertaining guided tour highlighting the history and uniqueness of some of the items in this massive 5,000sq ft. shed.
The Main Street
The main street is High Street and the main shopping strip is Hare Street. The local tourist information centre is in Heygarth Street near the river. Wondering up and down Echuca’s main streets you feel a sense of history all capture in the lovely charm and historical architecture. A short stroll in the area reveals wonderful galleries, shopping, cafe’s and rich sense of culture. Visit Echuca Chocolate Company, Echuca Coffee Roasters for a great coffee and don’t miss Echuca Cheese
National Holden Motor Museum
If you are a TRUE BLUE AUSSIE visiting Echuca you shouldn’t go passed visiting the NATIONAL HOLDEN MOTOR MUSEUM
The Holden cars have a unique place in the hearts of all Australians. Can there be an adult Australian who has never driven a Holden? or at least ridden in one. The Holden Museum in Echuca is dedicated to preserving the models and their memories. From the day the first Holden 48-215(FX) emerged from the production line, Holden arose to become the colossus of the Australian Motor Car Industry. Take a walk down memory lane and through the history of a company that put our nation on wheels. Our visitors can enjoy the sheer nostalgia as they re-live the days when holden played a central role in their childhood, dating or early married years. It has helped us work through decades of the harshest conditions, the holden as an Aussie Icon, rates right up there with the Kangaroo, Ayers Rock, and Vegemite.
Billabong Ranch & Adventure Park
Billabong Ranch is located just out of Echuca situated on 390 acres, a short 10 minute journey brings you to a range of fun activities and accommodation options. A great place to spend a few hours or even several days as you can now stay at the ranch. A great place for the whole family to enjoy.
Time to tee off
Enjoy a round at the Rich River Golf Club Resort which offers some of the best golf in the country! They’re two award winning 18 hole champion golf courses are one of regional Australia’s premier golfing venues.
Echuca Moama has a diverse and rich wine region. Pack a picnic and take the short trip to the award winning Cape Horn Winery, on the Murray River Just 15kms by road East of Echuca or how about a Wharf to Winery experience. Enjoy a 30 minutes Paddlesteamer cruise downstream to Morrisions Winery for a relaxing afternoon lunch and then your steamed back to Port. If you have a car head out to Carriages Winery where you can meet the owners who live in their own Red Rattler!!. St Anne’s Vineyard also offers great cellar doors tasting either in the Port precinct or at their lovely Winery in Moama.
Fun for the whole family
For the adventure seekers try the Splat Attack Paintball & laser Tag Adventure in Moama which is Australia’s biggest and best Paintball venue. To stretch the whole families mind visit Echuca newest award winning attraction, designed for the curious of all ages in the heart of Echuca. Test your reaction speed, discover the future of food, challenge yourself to build a virtual river, make fantastic flying machines and experience a new way to play. Exercise your mind and find your inner scientist, or just get lost in a maze. OZmaze is based on our great country and is unique in its design. It is a puzzling journey through Australia travelling from one capital city to another. You start with the “Riverboat Capital” of Australia – Echuca and then travel on to one of other famous capital cities. Fun for all the family and you can even try your hand at mini golf.
Wildlife Sights & Sounds
Experience the mighty Murray River on a river cruise, rent a houseboat in Echuca, go fishing, swimming or simply paddle a canoe. Echuca Boat & Canoe Hire is just a short walk down stream along the walking track or along a Scenic Drive thru Victoria Park to Echuca Boat Ramp you can start your river adventure by kayak, canoe, motor boat or BBQ party boat. Dare to explore the Murray River in a canoe from 2 hours to 2 weeks at your leisure camping as you go. It’s a delightful way to unwind. Wake up to clear country air and a chorus of birds. Explore nearby towns, magnificent red gum forests, wetlands and fauna parks. Soak up a lifetime of memories.
Where to Eat
Eateries and food are plentiful in Echuca Moama from the casual bistro meals to trendy cafes and fine dining. Ceres, The Black Pudding, Oscar W’s at The Amercian Hotel and even Redgums on PS Emmylou are a few of the amazing eateries in town. If you’re looking for the club scene the Rich River Golf Club, Moama RSL and Bowling Club a la carte menus and Bistro dining for the whole family.