Get acquainted with Echuca Moama, the Murray River’s darling twin towns
31.05.2021

Get acquainted with Echuca Moama, the Murray River’s darling twin towns

Riverboats Music Festival
Words by Kate Streader

Looking for your next regional travel destination?

Stretching across both banks of the Murray River, two and a half hours north of Melbourne on the border of Victoria and New South Wales, you’ll find Echuca Moama.

Australia’s paddle steamer capital, these charming twin towns are rich in history. But that’s not to say Echuca Moama is stuck in the past.

Boasting a lively entertainment scene, delicious dining spots and a bunch of stuff to see and do, here’s why we think Echuca Moama is a regional Victorian travel destination worth visiting.

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Music and arts

In May, the twin towns launched Moama Lights, an immersive audiovisual installation spanning a 600m stretch from Horseshoe Lagoon to the Murray River, telling the story of Echuca Moama.

Split into three chapters, the stunning display of over 15,000 lights depicted the towns’ history spanning its Indigenous heritage, European colonisation and modern-day Echuca Moama.

Like River Country’s answer to White Night, Moama Lights’ sold-out debut marked a success, joining the beloved annual Riverboats Music Festival on the towns’ creative calendar.

Two-time winner of the RACV Victorian Tourism Festival & Event Award, Riverboats Festival draws music lovers from both sides of the border to the banks of the Murray each February.

Over its nine years running, the festival has welcomed the likes of Paul Kelly, Jen Cloher, Neil Finn, The Waifs, Mo’Ju and many more beloved Australian performers to its stage.

Food and drink

Echuca Moama boasts an impressive hospitality scene, from Echuca’s vegan cafe The Sweet Meadow, nestled in a rustic cottage with a menu stacked with tasty, nutritious bites to Moama’s modern dining hub The Junction, serving inspired dishes crafted using local produce.

Amongst the revamped historic buildings housing contemporary restaurants, bars and cafes sprinkled across both towns, you can still find that authentic, old-school charm, too.

Take The Port Ice Creamery, for example. The family-owned business is utterly unpretentious, scooping 40 flavours of ice-cream along with a delicious offering of gelato and milkshakes from its humble storefront.

 

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History

A visit to the Port of Echuca is like stepping back into the mid-1800s, providing a glimpse of the town’s historic bustling river trade. The nationally Heritage-Listed Echuca Wharf houses a resident A2 steam locomotive, a static paddle steamer and barges, horse-drawn carriages, a steam-driven sawmill and much more.

Once you’ve glimpsed all these artefacts of the past, step into the Port of Echuca Discovery Centre and learn about the town’s origin story. There are a bunch of immersive experiences inside, too.

Or, just wander through the main streets and admire the array of historic buildings scattered around town.

 

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Attractions

Well-situated for day trips, Echuca Moama is a short drive from a range of attractions that will suit any holiday mood.

Plant enthusiasts can head to Strathmerton’s prickly wonderland, Cactus Country, a 12-acre desert garden where you can wander through over 4,000 species of cacti. You can even pick up a few plants for your own garden from their expansive nursery.

Or, if you want to get your hands dirty, head to The Big Strawberry and pick some fresh strawberries straight from the farm’s patch. Be sure to grab a jar of their delicious strawberry jam for the road, too.

And, of course, we’d be remiss not to mention the paddle steamers. Whether you’re watching from the banks or you want to hop aboard, you can’t visit River Country and not check out its famous paddle steamers.

 

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