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Beat's guide to the perfect Echuca road trip

Just a two and a half hour drive from Melbourne sits Echuca, a charming town perched on the banks of the Murray River. 

While you may be visiting the northern Victorian town to catch the likes of Neil & Liam Finn, Kasey Chambers, Josh Pyke and The Teskey Brothers at this year’s Riverboats Music Festival, don’t miss the opportunity to make the most of your journey by exploring the area and delving into the array of experiences it has to offer. You won’t find these gems in the city, that’s for sure.

Soak up the sunshine with some outdoor activities, taste the phenomenal local produce pulled straight from the regional Victorian soil, and learn about the important role the town played during the pioneering days with this all-encompassing yet super-relaxing when in and around Echuca checklist.

Tooborac Hotel & Brewery

A little over halfway between Melbourne and Echuca you’ll find Tooborac, a friendly little town famed for its pies and beer. Even better than that downright true-blue combination is the fact that you can pick up both from the Tooborac Hotel & Brewery. Sink your teeth into a freshly home-baked pie in the authentic setting of one of the oldest National Trust listed country pubs in Victoria before taking a tour of the onsite brewery, which has been crafting traditional-style beer for over 150 years. If you’re not getting back behind the wheel, do some taste testing while you’re there. Their tasting paddle will help get you across the quirky flavours they offer, but the Chocolate Sanchez – a chilli chocolate stout – is a standout. If you’re planning to drive, grab some bottles to take with you for later the mixed gift pack is a great choice for every beer lover.

Cactus Country

Whether you’re a garden enthusiast or can’t tell a fern from a succulent, you’ll want to spend hours admiring the collection at Cactus Country. Across a whopping ten acres, you’ll find eight different trails each dedicated to a country in which the species of cacti displayed are native. From the Californian desert to Mexico, you can appreciate all the different shapes and sizes in which the wonderfully weird plant grows across the world. After trekking through the garden, head to the Mexican café for some opuntia cactus cake with cactus fruit rippled ice cream. You can even take home a memento for your own garden from the onsite plant shop.

Henry’s Bridge Hotel

When you’re in Echuca don’t forget to take the chance to unwind with some lunch at Henry’s Bridge Hotel. Built in the late 1850s by ex-convict Henry Hopwood, the venue oozes character – paying homage to its heritage while maintaining a modern atmosphere courtesy of a recent million dollar renovation to the beautiful building. Offering a huge selection of fresh, classic lunch options as well as housing an onsite ice-creamery and a lush garden, Henry’s Bridge Hotel is a great place to relax and refuel for the adventures that lay ahead.

Great Aussie Beer Shed

Bound to be the most unique museum experience you ever have, Neil’s Great Aussie Beer Shed is a monumental tribute to (almost) everyone’s favourite beverage. The shed is made up of wall to wall displays of cans, advertisements, equipment and just about everything else you can image associated with beer. Not only can you ogle the immense history of the brew in our fine land, but Neil will fill you in with his extensive knowledge of everything inside his treasure trove so you’ll have some fun facts to impress your mates with next time you’re having a drink.

Pacdon Park Produce Store

Pacdon Park Produce Store is your one stop shop for all your British picnic basket goodies. Load up on their famous pork pies – traditionally enjoyed cold – made from scratch onsite using free-range, local ingredients, haggis, black pudding, and cured bacon. If you haven’t tried any of these traditional delicacies, the Produce Store offers taste testings so you can find something you like before you commit to buying it for lunch. You won’t find freshly made, authentic British eats like this anywhere else in Victoria, so don’t leave empty handed.

The Strawberry Pick

A short drive from Echuca’s town centre is The Strawberry Pick, a pick-your-own style farm specialising in the sweetest strawberries, as well as a colourful selection of seasonal flowers and vegetables. Not only will you walk away with the most freshly-plucked blooms, fruit and veggies, but the act of digging your hands in the earth among the fresh country air is sure to brighten your afternoon and make your haul much more special than your average grocery store trip ever could. While you’re there, have a chat with the owners and grab some of their premium preserves so you can savour that delicious home-grown strawberry flavour long after you’ve devoured your picks.

Paddle Steamer Cruise

Renowned for its placement on the Murray River, as well as once being one of Australia’s biggest inland river ports, a trip to Echuca means it’s essential to hop aboard a paddle steamer and cruise up the river. There are endless options to suit your interests, from lunch and dinner cruises to the newly introduced three-night heritage tour. What better reason to move your road trip to the water and let someone else take the wheel for a while. Jump aboard the Murray’s most recognisable watercraft the PS Emmylou, The Pride of the Murray which was reconstructed from a barge built in 1924, or the Murray’s oldest riverboat, built in 1914 – the PS Canberra.

The Wharf and Port of Echuca Discovery Centre

Echuca Wharf is not only a perfect place to take in the views of the magnificent Murray River, it’s also an Australian heritage icon providing a wealth of history. Once a bustling trade hub, The Wharf was an integral part of the Australian river transport industry and although those days are gone, the Port of Echuca Discovery Centre will take you back to the pioneering days and show you what the charming town once did. Stretch your legs and check out the steam display, the Cargo Shed Museum, and Evan’s Sawmill.  

 

Made in partnership with Visit Victoria.