From Bridgewater to Echuca (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echuca) is a relatively short distance so after leaving Bridgewater we arrived in Echuca dead on 11:00am; we set up the van in the Echuca Holiday Park (http://echucacaravanpark.com.au/) had lunch and then a walk around the commercial area of Echuca looking at some of the very interesting shops in this area.
Tuesday morning we took a look at the river and the Port Area of Echuca. Campaspe Council (https://www.campaspe.vic.gov.au/) has developed the Port of Echuca Discovery Centre (http://www.portofechuca.org.au/) and has established many interactive displays and museum exhibits. Additionally there are a number of traders offering traditional wares from the Blacksmith Shop, and the Wood working Shop with a Winery Barrel Shop, Paddle Steamer Tour booking offices, as well as Hotels and eateries within the precinct.
A number of paddle steamers(http://www.echucamoama.com/echuca-moama-paddlesteamers), including The Pride of the Murray, The PS Emmylou, The PS Adelaide, and the PS Pevensey, operate at the Port of Echuca and offer cruises, short-term and overnight, at various times through the day. It was very interesting watching these paddle steamers leaving the Port on their journeys and these vessels provided us with photographic opportunities a plenty. We didn’t take a cruise as we have done this previously at Swan Hill (and enjoyed it very much) preferring to photograph the vessels as they arrived at and left the Port.
Echuca is on the Victorian side of the Murray River with the town of Moama (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moama) on the New South Wales side of the river. The towns are connected via a road / rail bridge and together these twin towns make up a thriving commercial and residential area.
Wednesday morning saw us depart for Mildura (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mildura) travelling along the Murray Valley Highway to Robinvale where we crossed the Murray River, then on the Sturt Highway to Mildura. Along the way we passed through Cohuna, Kerang, and Swan Hill.
We stopped for morning tea at a stop near Kerang where we had to dispose of any fruit and vegetables as we were entering the fruit fly exclusion zone (http://www.murrayriver.com.au/fruit-fly-free-zone/). Lunch was on the banks of the Murray River at a small place called Boundary Bend about fifty kilometres from Robinvale and the News South Wales / Victoria border. We re-entered Victoria when we arrived at Mildura and again crossed the Murray River.
When we arrived on Wednesday afternoon we made our way to the caravan park – the Apex River Beach Holiday Park (http://www.apexriverbeach.com.au/) where we had made a prior booking to stay for three nights. The park is relatively old and is in need of sprucing up; it has the advantage of being at Chaffey Bend (http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/315879/Park-note-Milduras-Murray-River-Parklands.pdf) but needs work. Concrete slabs are few and far between and the prime sites near the river are so over used as to be almost devoid of grass on many sites.
After we set up we went in to town to buy some fruit and vegetables; we only bought enough for the three nights as we will travel to South Australia next and the border check point will ensure we take nothing into the State. The first game of the 2015 Rugby League State of Origin series (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_Origin_series) was on television that night and (as proud Queenslanders) we were happy to see the Queensland team win the game.
Thursday morning was the time to catch up on the laundry and we spent a fair bit of time (and money) washing clothes and as there were light showers all morning, drying them in the park dryer. That afternoon we took a walk along the river to the old Mildura Station Homestead (http://www.murrayriver.com.au/the-chaffey-trail/old-mildura-station-homestead/) to take a look at this local history structure.
As in Echuca, paddle steamers operate at Mildura and the route of their tours takes them past the caravan park several times a day. The PS Melbourne, PS Rothbury and PS Mundoo (http://www.paddlesteamers.com.au/) operate in the area and we were lucky enough to see two on the water and the third at its berth near the old homestead.
Our walk also took us up to Lock 11 (http://www.murrayriver.com.au/the-chaffey-trail/lock-11-and-mildura-weir/) but we were disappointed to find it closed for an extended period for scheduled maintenance.
We have been to Mildura previously and have seen many of the places of interest in the city so Friday was a clean-up and prepare day; the truck was washed (after six weeks on the road) and the caravan was cleaned and vacuumed. Preparations for our departure for South Australia occupied most of the day as we will leave on Saturday.