The Big Lap 2015 – Echuca / Mildura

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.

Some of the businesses in High Street Echucaa

Some of the businesses in High Street Echuca

Star Hotel Echuca

Star Hotel Echuca

Interesting building in Echuca

Interesting building in Echuca

Gypsy Bar - High Street Echuca

Gypsy Bar – High Street Echuca

Dancing Emus Puppet Shop Echuca

Dancing Emus Puppet Shop Echuca

One of the Paddle Steamer Cruise booking offices in Echuca

One of the Paddle Steamer Cruise booking offices in Echuca

Bridge Hotel Echuca

Bridge Hotel Echuca

Beechworth Bakery at Echuca

Beechworth Bakery at Echuca

Beechworth Bakery at Echuca

Beechworth Bakery at Echuca

Lovely Harley parked outside a shop in High Street, Echuca

Lovely Harley parked outside a shop in High Street, Echuca

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.

Thong (rubber footwear variety) Tree in Echuca

Thong (rubber footwear variety) Tree in Echuca

Whoops - wrong kind of thong!

Whoops – wrong kind of thong!

Sign detailing moorings at the dock in Echuca

Sign detailing moorings at the dock in Echuca

Paddle Steamer detail at Echuca

Paddle Steamer detail at Echuca

Log Buggy with Log at Port of Echuca

Log Buggy with Log at Port of Echuca

Antique photo anyone?

Antique photo anyone?

Wool bales from Pevensey Station ready to be shipped out on the river

Wool bales from Pevensey Station ready to be shipped out on the river

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.

PS Emmylou on the Murray River at Echuca

PS Emmylou on the Murray River at Echuca

PS Canberra docked at Echuca

PS Canberra docked at Echuca

Pride of the Murray on the water at Echuca

Pride of the Murray on the water at Echuca

PS Pevensey on the water at Echuca

PS Pevensey on the water at Echuca

Ranger moored on the Moama side of the Murray River

Ranger moored on the Moama side of the Murray River

Etona moored at Echuca

Etona moored at Echuca

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.

Steam engine working at Port Echuca

Steam engine working at Port Echuca

Old Steam Engine on display on the wharf at Echuca

Old Steam Engine on display on the wharf at Echuca

Underneath the wharf at Echuca

Underneath the wharf at Echuca

Some kids just don't grow up!

Some kids just don’t grow up!

Port of Echuca Discovery Centre

Port of Echuca Discovery Centre

War Memorial at Echuca

War Memorial at Echuca

Striking wall in the library at Echuca showing the towns in Campaspe Shire in book form

Striking wall in the library at Echuca showing the towns in Campaspe Shire in book form

Sign giving details of historic brothel in Echuca

Sign giving details of historic brothel in Echuca

Building in Echuca used as a brothel in the heyday of the Port

Building in Echuca used as a brothel in the heyday of the Port

Unusual roof ornament on the Echuca Club building

Unusual roof ornament on the Echuca Club building

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.

Huge Trees at Chaffey Bend on the Murray River

Huge Trees at Chaffey Bend on the Murray River

Huge Trees at Chaffey Bend on the Murray River

Huge Trees at Chaffey Bend on 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.

The Caravan Park at Chaffey Bend

The Caravan Park at Chaffey Bend

Apex Park Mildura

Apex Park Mildura

Aboriginal Canoe Tree at Apex Park

Aboriginal Canoe Tree at Apex Park

This tree had fallen over but regrew a new trunk

This tree had fallen over but regrew a new trunk

The complex root system of the trees along the river

The complex root system of the trees along the river

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.

Mildura Life Saving Club at Apex Park

Mildura Life Saving Club at Apex Park

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.

Old Mildura Station Homestead

Old Mildura Station Homestead

Yards - part of the old Mildura Station Homestead

Yards – part of the old Mildura Station Homestead

Mallee Roller at the homestead

Mallee Roller at the homestead

Stables at old Mildura Station Homestead

Stables at old Mildura Station Homestead

Old Woolshed at old Mildura Station Homestead

Old Woolshed at old Mildura Station Homestead

Old mangle and wooden wash tubs at old Mildura Station Homestead

Old mangle and wooden wash tubs at old Mildura Station Homestead

Old Steam Engine at Mildura Station Homestead

Old Steam Engine at Mildura Station Homestead

Memorial marking the graves of Women and Children at the old Mildura Station Homestead

Memorial marking the graves of Women and Children at the old Mildura Station Homestead

Graves of Women and Children at the old Mildura Station Homestead

Graves of Women and Children at the old Mildura Station Homestead

Mildura Station Graveyard

Mildura Station Graveyard

Historic Graves at old Mildura Station

Historic Graves at old Mildura Station

Windmill in private residence adjacent to the old Mildura Station Homestead

Windmill in private residence adjacent to the old Mildura Station Homestead

Lovely roses at the old Mildura Station Homestead

Lovely roses at the old Mildura Station Homestead

Lovely roses at the old Mildura Station Homestead

Lovely roses at the old Mildura Station Homestead

Lovely roses at the old Mildura Station Homestead

Lovely roses at the old Mildura Station Homestead

Lovely roses at the old Mildura Station Homestead

Lovely roses at the old Mildura Station Homestead

Lovely roses at the old Mildura Station Homestead

Lovely roses at the old Mildura Station Homestead

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.

PS Melbourne on the River

PS Melbourne on the River

A variety of paddle steamers moored along the river

A variety of paddle steamers moored along the river

Lots of Houseboats available for hire at Mildura

Lots of Houseboats available for hire at Mildura

PS Mundoo and PS Rothbury moored together

PS Mundoo and PS Rothbury moored together

Extensive wood supply aboard the PS Mundoo

Extensive wood supply aboard the PS Mundoo

PS Melbourne on the return journey

PS Melbourne on the return journey

PS Rothbury on the water

PS Rothbury on the water

House boats moored on the river

House boats moored on the river

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.

Lock 11 Mildura Weir

Lock 11 Mildura Weir

Lock 11 Mildura Weir

Lock 11 Mildura Weir

Lock 11 Closed for Maintenance

Lock 11 Closed for 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.

More later!

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