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Published: October 7th 2015
Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement
Murray River cruise on the Paddlesteamer Pyap
After an early morning coffee in Deni, we drove firstly to Barham and then across the bridge to Koondrook in Victoria. Victoria is where Lenny was born (and we will get down to Gippsland soon). Kerang is on the Murray River (west of Koondrook) and has a variety of small lakes and other bodies of water which make it ideal for irrigating (and bird-watching). We spent some time looking for (and at) birds and they spent time looking at us before flying off!We came across several monuments relating to the Burke and Wills expedition and wondered how the explorers could have performed such travelling feats. They travelled over 3,000 kilometres (from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria) in less than six months.Upon entering Swan Hill, we saw a large sign advertising the Regional Art Gallery so we thought we'd take a look. No photos as the art was all avant garde movies and new art which really isn't art. But there was a nice coffee stop / restaurant over the road and we had a pleasant time there.We checked in to the Caravan Park next door to the Pioneer Settlement so we could walk rather than drive and even decided to
A pink and grey galah refuses to come closer
attend the sound and light show. The early show was fully booked so we decided to book the early one tomorrow night (which meant two nights in the Caravan Park but more about that later).Next day we were down at the Pioneer Settlement early but it was very quiet. We found the entrance and explained that we had booked our tickets at the Caravan Park so that was all good. I decided to check out the coffee at the cafe while Georgi took the camera and wandered. There were very few people visiting and it soon became apparent why - most of the exhibits had now become static (nobody providing any commentary and nobody running anything or doing anything). Seemed like the Pioneer Settlement was in decline. Luckily for us, we had also purchased tickets to travel on the PS Pyap, a restored paddlesteamer. After coffee and a quick wander around, it was time to go aboard the Pyap and cruise the Murray. Just about everyone that was at at the Pioneers Settlement boarded the Pyap - the Pyap was full and the town was empty as we cast off the ropes and headed down the river.After a pleasant hour
A parrot looks down from its lofty perch before flying away.
on the river it was time to re-visit the Pioneer Settlement and see what they might offer for lunch. And, after lunch and a memorable tour of the blacksmiths (where the lady 'smithy cracked a few jokes and was fun to be with) we decided it was time to head home. We couldn't recommend a visit (other than the PS Pyap which was excellent).We had tickets to go back that evening and do the sound and light show. We went, but it was a disappointing show that only went for thirty minutes. Save your money for something else. We should point out that the State Government has recently committed over $3M to upgrade the sound and light show at Swan Hill (utilising laser lights and a screen of water pumped from the river). Let's hope that this large investment generates some new excitement at the Pioneer Settlement.
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