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Make the most of Echuca Moama’s Winter Blues Festival

15 Jun 2023 by Mel Townsend

Make the most of Echuca Moama’s Winter Blues Festival

Are you gearing up for Echuca Moama’s much-loved annual Winter Blues Festival? With a line-up of some of the country’s best blues musicians from Thursday 27 July until Sunday 30 July 2023, brace yourself for a blues-loving festival that hits all the right chords.

For the ultimate live music experience, stroll between venues and catch the performances with a drink in hand. With over 20 venues getting in on the action over the weekend, hop between the American Hotel, Shamrock Echuca, Star Hotel, Henry's Bridge Hotel, Beechworth Bakery and Hopwood Gardens, (to name a few) and make Murray River music memories from dawn ‘til after dark.

Keep the good times rolling and stick around a little longer or head into the region earlier before the festivities begin with our guide on everywhere to eat, stay and play either side the Winter Blues Festival!

Regulars to this annual event will tell you that after a weekend jam-packed at gigs you’ll want to hang around a little longer and soak in the laid-back lifestyle of the Murray River region.

Where to eat

When it comes to places to eat, The Murray is loaded with goodies from pub meals to woodfired pizza, share platters, and exquisite winery menus. Focusing on local and seasonal produce there’s a good reason why the region is known as one of Australia’s best and most important food bowls.

During the Winter Blues Festival you'll likely eat where the music is (which is everywhere!) Add to your stay and find more culinary delights from classic pub meals to restaurant specialties. We recommend booking ahead where possible to avoid disappointment.

Celebrating the region’s best seasonal produce, The Junction Moama will have you visiting on repeat with its ever-changing menu filled with fresh, local flavours and handpicked wines. Fuelled with rustic charm, Junction is a strictly over 18-year-olds-only venue and the perfect way to welcome the evening or enjoy a delicious long lunch on the weekend.

If you’re travelling with family and friends or new companions you’ve met along the way, The Mill Echuca, has you sorted with a delicious share-style menu. Housed in the heritage-listed former flour mill built in 1881, with a rotating seasonal menu, letting their chefs decide for you with their ‘Feed Me’ menu is a great way to taste it all. For tasty pub experience full of local charm head to The American Hotel, which will be keeping the tunes rolling well after the festival with live local music every weekend.

For relaxed vibes overlooking both the Edward and Murray River, The Timber Cutter in Mathoura serves up more than a pretty view with woodfired pizzas, platters, coffee, and an all-day bar. Dine inside, or make the most of the winter sunshine and relaxing views with outside dining.

Wine lovers are well catered for among the wineries of the Murray River region who serve up all blends from full-bodied shiraz to buttery chardonnays. You won’t have to travel far from Echuca Moama to sip on succulent flavours. Find Cape Horn Vineyard & Riverside Bar, St Anne’s Winery Cellar Door and Morrison’s Riverview Winery and Restaurant perched on the riverbanks, Restdown Wines nestled among the bush and wetlands or sip flavours of the past with ancient honey wine at The Old School Winery and Meadery.

Where to stay

Surrounded by the natural bushland of the region, extended stays will have you slipping into the rhythm of The Murray in no time, while the sounds of nature lull you to sleep each night.

Nestled on the banks of the mighty Murray River, Cadell on The Murray offers spacious deluxe, Queen and family-size rooms, surrounded by 10 acres of bushland, gardens and lawns. Resort guests can access the riverside barbecues, heated swimming pool, grab a racquet to play a round of tennis, or shoot hoops at the basketball ring.

Alternatively, tuck yourself among the vines at The Carriages Vineyard, the Carriages Spa Retreat gifts a peaceful stay among a bygone era, in the beautifully restored self-contained, antique rail carriages. Enjoy private wine tastings in the cellar door, savouring the flavours of each blend.

For those travelling with a tribe of family and friends of all ages, Discovery Parks – Echuca, Moama West, Maidens Inn – Moama and Tasman Holiday Parks, Moama on the Murray are all located a short drive from town with plenty of room to park a caravan, pitch a tent or book a cabin while soaking in the serenity of the Murray River region.

For a truly memorable accommodation experience, snag yourself a floating hotel and hire a houseboat for the weekend, midweek or week-long escape and glide along Australia’s longest river. Captain your own adventure and make the river your home, enjoying luxurious rooms, a hot tub, and the best seats in the house from sunset to sunrise.

Where to play

Broaden your horizons and adventure further into the region, exploring by whichever mode of transport you prefer. From paddlesteamer rides, to leisurely walks in nature, getting to know the furry locals or picking up the speed with a bike ride, there’s plenty of ways to embrace the Murray River region. Don’t wait for the weekend to start exploring Echuca Moama, curb a midweek break and experience the best of the region.

Of course, no visit to the heart of Australia’s paddle steamer capital is complete without visiting the Port of Echuca Discovery Centre and a cruise along the Murray River by paddle steamer. Walk in the footsteps of Echuca Moama’s river pioneers, learn more about the workings of yesteryear with interactive displays or discover the secrets and hidden gems on a guided tour with local history experts.

Get the lay of the land, and hit the walking trails, gifting a scenic nature escape among the river red gums lining the banks of the Murray River. Moama Beach Nature Walk, Horseshoe Lagoon, Campaspe River Walk and Gulpa Creek Walk are all easy strolls through the bushland and diverse ecosystem, home to an abundance of curious and friendly wildlife.

If you’re after a little pedal-powered assistance for your escapades, Green Pedal E-Bike Hire and Cycling Tours will have you sorted in no time with their full-day and half-day e-bike hire to explore at your own leisure or book a guided tour.

For those with little ones, Billabong Ranch Adventure Park is full of activities, from pony and camel rides and an animal nursery to mini golf, pedal boats on the lake, a rock climbing wall, table tennis, volleyball and outdoor ten pin bowling. For the big kids, enjoy a leisurely trot through the bushland on a trail ride or a horse-drawn carriage winery tour.

Get up close and personal with native wildlife at Kyabram Fauna Park. Just a 30-minute drive out of Echuca, the park is set on 55 hectares of open woodland, wetlands and lakes and home to more than more than 600 native Australian animals. Hand feed kangaroos and wallabies in the free-range area, book a koala or cassowary encounter, visit the reptile house and walk-in aviaries before grabbing a bite to eat at the café overlooking the meerkat enclosure.

How to get there

Held in Echuca Moama, getting to the Winter Blues Festival is an easy drive from most regional Victorian towns and just under three hour’s drive from Melbourne.

Festival goers can fly in from Sydney to Melbourne or Bendigo and hit the road for a few hours to Echuca or drive from regional NSW in a couple of hours.

Travel with family, friends, or hit the festival solo connecting with fellow music lovers along the way and find plenty to do before or after the festivities.