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How to spend a weekend in the Murray River region from Melbourne

Echuca Wharf, Echuca. Image credit: Echuca Moama Tourism

3 Aug. 2021 by Cola Hardman

How To Spend a Weekend in the Murray River Region from Melbourne

Hey Melbournians, been feeling a little cooped up lately?

Leave the hustle and bustle of the city and head north for some good, old fashioned country fun, exploring the Murray River region and the historic Port of Echuca.

While travel to New South Wales is restricted for the moment for those outside of our border community, we’ve created this weekend itinerary packed with things to do on the Victorian side of the Murray River.

Get your Spotify playlist ready and pack the car for a weekend in The Murray following this guide.

Saturday

8AM: Begin with a stop at the Silo Art in Colbinabbin and Rochester

Have you ticked off any stops on the Australian Silo Art Trail yet? If not, now’s your chance to tick off two in a row in Colbinabbin and Rochester.

Located two hours’ drive from Melbourne, the Colbinabbin silos are six-silos-wide and play canvas to an artwork that depicts the importance of the region’s railway system and farmers.

Rochester, a further 30 minutes’ drive towards Echuca has possibly the cutest silo artworks on the Australian Silo Art Trail, portraying endangered wildlife in the region.

Set your camera to panorama to take a snap with the massive works of outdoor art.

11AM: Giddy up on the Billabong Ranch ride

There’s nothing quite like exploring the region’s bushland and forest than at saddle speed.

Explore the beauty of the Aussie bush by horseback with Billabong Ranch as you follow river trails on a one-hour ride.

If you have a little more time up your sleeve after your ride, explore the ranch’s fun park which includes activities like rock climbing, mini-golf, archery and an animal nursery.

2PM: Unleash your inner wine connoisseur with an afternoon at St Anne’s winery

Park your car along High Street in Echuca to grab a bite to eat at a local café before heading to the St Anne’s Winery cellar door.

Located in the old Echuca Carriageworks Shed, the area is steeped in history and St Anne’s has three generations of winemaking experience – so they know their stuff.

Swirl, sniff and sip your way through their selection of award-winning wines with a complimentary guided tasting – from sauvignon blanc and pinot gris to a full-bodied shiraz – while keeping warm by the fireplace.

Be sure to try the wineries port too – one of St Anne’s Winery specialties.

Overnight: Check into local digs

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation in the region – from country hotels, modern hotels and historic hotels.

Follow this link for a full list of places to stay in the area – just make sure when booking your overnight accommodation to confirm it's on the Victorian side of the Murray River.

Sunday

9AM: Turn the pages of history at the Port of Echuca Discovery Centre

Known as a living monument to the 1870s, the Port of Echuca was once the third largest inland port in Australia.

Learn about its history with a visit to the Discovery Centre, which includes a working exhibit of the Evan Brother’s sawmill and an original working Steam Display.

Walk along the banks of the river to see the PS Adelaide, the oldest wooden-hulled paddlesteamer in the world that’s still operational.

After exploring the outdoor centre and interpretive displays, board a one-hour sightseeing cruise to experience these vessels first-hand and take in the sights along the riverbank. Sightseeing cruises on the weekend are available on the century-old PS Canberra, PS Alexander Arbuthnot , PS Adelaide, or PS Emmylou (in line with other scheduled cruises).

If you prefer a river experience paired with morning tea, choose a Café Cruise by MV Mary Ann, who has been welcoming guests for over 25 years. They also operate an afternoon cruise at 2pm, if you prefer a relaxing cruise and a bite to eat before your drive home.

1PM: Taste local treats from Echuca’s makers and creators

Don’t head back to Melbourne without sampling locally made delights, such as chocolate and gin.

You can find Echuca Chocolate Company on High Street, with their shop full of home-made delicacies such as chocolate truffles, chocolate bars and chocolate liqueur.

Taste a local tipple by Echuca Distillery and sample vodka or gin tasting boards with flavours like hot cross bun gin and musk rose vodka. They also sell their boozy concoctions, so you can take home a bottle of your favourite.

2PM: Grab a pub meal before heading home

Grab a table at the American Hotel (aka the ‘Yank’) to refuel on American-style fare, such as smoked pulled pork, grilled cheeseburger or American poutine.

With live entertainment each Sunday from 6pm, you may want to consider extending your trip one more night and driving back to Melbourne the following morning.

If you have a bit of extra time up your holiday sleeve and want to extend your weekend exploring the Murray River region, check out these blogs with other experiences on the Victorian side of the river: