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Published: September 30th 2014
The Port of Echuca on the banks of the Murray River was the commercial hub for the region for many years. Even though the original freight and transport have been replaced by rail and in our days, road transport, the port is still very busy. This early community had everything from places to sin and get forgiveness; Churches, saloons and pubs, and Victoria's only brothel etc.
I was amazed at the number of paddle steamers moored at the port, and then a little further down stream, the huge number of house boats either owner occupied or available for hire. The original port precinct is busy with tourist bookings and a variety of knick knacks, or tasty treats.
There is a very attractive coffee and food outlet draped in wisteria along both the veranda and the front fence.
There are also some of the old hotels of the district in the precinct, or in the case of the Shamrock Hotel in the main street, still standing and serving. Obviously this has become a real haven for visitors to the region. Some of the cruises visit a major winery, others are dinning cruises, and others have overnight accommodation.
we walked our way around, we noticed an odour reminiscent of horse exhaust, and thought it probably added to the authentic atmosphere. A little while later the cause appeared, a pair of Clydesdales pulling a large cart for those who would like a ride.
As we walked down the precinct we saw what looked from the rear like a woolly mammoth all be it shrunk a little. It turned out to be a Labra-doodle that has not been clipped. Just a big friendly softy!
PS Canberra is a little over 100 years old, and there are others which look as if they are of a similar vintage, but may not be in public service.
We spent a couple of hours here, and then headed off to Barham. This town is another rural centre and would have had paddle steamers brining people and produce to and from the region. From the Dash Cam you will see that the bridge over the Murray had a lifting centre span to allow safe passage of the paddle steamers. The bridge looked and felt old and rattly, and definitely just one lane wide, and I guess that would have been the case
even with a bullock cart.
It was only a couple of ks to our riverside camp for the night and found that Adrian and David had both arrived ahead of us and were already set up. It was probably as well that they got here early as we had increasingly violent winds. While we had planned to walk around the adjoining lakes/wetlands, it was just too gusty and dusty to enjoy. So coffee, chat and chews filled the afternoon.
Now, I must confess that we really bagged Tom Tom today. The Caravan Park Manager at Moana told us how to get from Echuca to Barham and we followed his instructions, and found as he said, sign posts confirming that we were on the right road. However Tom Tom with increasing agitation told us to turn around and take a totally different road. Despite us threatening him, turning him on and off and on again, he still wanted us to turn around as soon as possible. But we knew better didn't we. THEN we saw the dreaded sign, 28ks of gravel road. Humbly we turned around, and Tommy took us back across town to the road he first chose.
Sorry Tommy. AH, but he stuffed up at Barham and couldn't get us into the camp ground. Had it not been the signage, we would have ended up in a public wetlands park, and not the camping ground. That makes me feel better and restored some of my pride as a navigator.
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