15 May 2015
Updated May 2022
Life is simpler on the water.
Discover the historic river port towns of Echuca Moama this year, with paddle steamers, cellar doors, and fun on the river making it an ideal place to stay, play and relax with your family!
Offering a unique perspective on regional and rural Australia, Echuca-Moama was once at the forefront of a river economy that drove Australia’s wool industry through the mid to late 1800s.
These days you can fish, camp, waterski and wakeboard to your heart's content - activities that have made the Central Murray region a popular family holiday destination for generations.
Enjoy this list of 7 Things You'll Love Doing in Echuca-Moama.
Need a place to Stay in Echuca Moama?
Discovery Holiday Parks has three awesome holiday parks in the Central Murray River region. Choose from Echuca on the Victorian side of the river or Moama West and Maidens Inn over the water border.
All three have accommodation options to suit every member of your family from spacious powered and ensuite sites to deluxe waterfront cabins and apartments just metres from the river!
Discovery Parks - Echuca
Discovery Parks - Maidens Inn
Discovery Parks - Moama West
7 Things You'll Love Doing in Echuca Moama
1. Explore the Murray by Paddle Steamer
The rich history of the Central Murray River region is encapsulated in the twin towns of Echuca and Moama. Once a lively hub of trade and fashion, the inland port towns now celebrate their heritage all year round.
At the centre of the river economy in the 1800s, there could hardly be a more appropriate way to explore the area than by paddlesteamer.
Cruise down the river on one of several paddlesteamers that operate on a daily basis. Most of them offer 1 or 2 hour cruises, others do dinner and some will host you overnight!
Echuca Paddlesteamers have been around since the heyday of these icons of the river, operating as a builder of boats until the early 1900s as both towns flourished.
This is another popular operator offering family-friendly cruises on tow boats, the PS Emmylou and PS Canberra, which have become modern icons themselves.
The Mary Ann is a floating restaurant that offers a dining experience unlike any other in the region. With ever changing views of the Murray River, the M.V Mary Ann has been transformed in recent years into a state-of-the-art functions vessel.
2. Tour Wineries
Choose your own adventure - the Central Murray River region has epic wineries!
Echuca-Moama is home to two distinct wine regions, Perricoota and Heathcote, as well as a selection of local and regional wineries, breweries and a distillery dotted around the outer. Scattered along the wine routes are an ever-growing number of artisanal producers who make the region a must-do food and wine experience.
A few names that come up in all the guidebooks are St. Anne’s Winery and Cellar Door, with premises on both sides of the river, Cape Horn Vineyard & RIverside Bar in Moama, and Morrisons Riverview Winery & Restaurant, also on the NSW side of the border.
Here’s what you need to know about each:
53 Murray Esplanade, Echuca
Located in the heart of the busy Port of Echuca, St Annes Winery Cellar Door offers visitors a glimpse of yesteryear.
Visit them in their original carriage builder’s workshop which they've transformed using large heritage barrels that hold 3,000 litres of old port. Step back in time in the Echuca Port Precinct and delight yourself with a tasting at this unique cellar door.
489 Stewarts Bridge Road, Echuca
Named after the riverbed which resembles Cape Horn on the tip of Chile in South America, this gorgeous winery is located on a sand hill wedged between the Murray and Goulburn Rivers.
Only fifteen minutes drive from Echuca, Shiraz grapes were first planted here in the 1800’s to serve a thriving river trade.
123 Merool Road, Moama
With 15 acres of vine producing a warmer climate style of wine, Morrison’s first plantings took root in 1993 and evolved into a small cellar door by 2000.
Dedicated to local produce and a balance of traditional and modern cookery, there is also a brewery called 1710 Brew Co. on the premises, home to a crew of artisans putting their love for beer into hyper-local craft ales and ciders.
Echuca Wine Tours
Aside from visiting individual wineries, there are a number of companies running reputable wine tours that encompass vineyards local to the river region as well as further afield in Heathcote, where you’ll find Peregrine Ridge and Heathcote II in nearby Toollen.
3. Revisit History
Once a bustling hub and the largest inland port in Australia, Echuca Moama in the 1800s was the centre of the river economy.
Founded by an ex-convict named Henry Hopwood, who was one of the most enterprising characters of early British colonialism, he worked to establish the town after purchasing a small punt which he operated across the Murray near the Campaspe Junction.
Echuca’s proximity to Melbourne and the ambitions of the city’s founder led to the Port of Echuca becoming the largest inland port in Australia. The riverboat trade was of national importance because it had the effect of opening up inland Australia for settlement and had a huge impact on Australia’s wool industry.
Across the river, Moama was established in 1845 and was originally known as Maidens Punt, after James Maiden, who was the town’s publican, postmaster, station manager and punt owner.
Situated on the main cattle route from Southern New South Wales to the gold fields at Bendigo in the 1850’s, the settlement became a cattle market and crossing place, with big deals taking place across the bar of Maiden’s Junction Inn.
A temporary wooden bridge spanning the Murray River was built in 1876 until the Iron Bridge was completed in 1878. The new rail bridge that currently exists was built in 1989, linking the two towns permanently.
Discover more at the Port of Echuca Discovery Centre where you can enjoy steam-powered exhibits and take daily guided tours.
4. Take a Hike!
There are several great hikes worth your while in Echuca Moama.
From the serenity of the iconic Murray bushland to the charm of the riverside, experiencing Echuca Moama on a walking trail is a must.
Take a self-guided historic town walk and learn more about the region's legendary past, or head to the bush and let the fresh country air revitalise your system.
Consider one of these easy or longer walks to fill a morning, afternoon or a full day!
Gunbower State Forest, 1 hour from Echuca-Moama
This walk takes you on an adventure through Gunbower State Forest, where you will not only get some exercise in the beautiful red gum forest, but learn about its unique ecosystem and diverse history.
Follow the flat Turtle or Eagle loops and learn about the area’s Indigenous history and early European settlement via interpretive storyboards along the walk.
Trail length: 13.2km, 3.5 hours return
Trail length: 9.1km, 2.5 hours return
Gulpa Creek Walk
Murray Valley Regional Park, 35 mins from Echuca-Moama
This 5km return walk follows an easy, flat path along Gulpa Creek. The walk starts from Crane's Bridge in the historic town of Mathoura, with the colours and movement of birdlife around the creek and the light on the red gums making this walk quite special.
Trail length: 5km return, with option to add Poley's loop for an additional 3km return walk
Let your mind drift back to a time when Echuca Moama was thriving under the steam of river and rail. Discover the sites where historic buildings once stood, and see some of the original buildings that have been transformed over time.
Many of the historic buildings now house unique shopping opportunities, so be sure to allow time for a bit of retail therapy!
Trail Length: 2km return
Check out more fun walks around the Echuca Moama Region here.
5. Go to the Pub!
After an invigorating walk you’ll need some refreshment. Check out the options below!
45 Murray Esplanade, Echuca
This is one of those classic country pubs with its own unique cast of characters, stories, regulars and favourites.
Complete with its own escape tunnel which patrons used to escape when it was regularly raided by police in the late 1800s, these days it's well known for a lively front bar, pizzeria and live music! Be sure to add this slice of pub history to your Echuca Moama itinerary.
6 Shaw Street, Moana
Moama Bowling Club epitomises rural hospitality, dubbing itself the region’s premier sports and entertainment destination!
Featuring four bars, three function areas, a café, Kids’club and bistro, Moama Bowling Club offers a level of indulgence for everyone. Plus, lawn bowls!
183 Hare St., Echuca
A historic pub with a modern atmosphere, 1895 Royal Hotel is the place to be seen in Echuca!
Best known for amazing food and a laid-back atmosphere, experience an interactive dining experience inside this 125-year-old building. Choose from the Steakhouse or the downstairs pub for an eating and drinking experience you won’t forget. Lots to explore here!
377 Mary Ann Rd, Echuca
While we’re talking beer and pub meals, why wouldn’t you visit the Great Aussie Beer Shed & Heritage Farm Museum?!
Opening in 2003, The Great Aussie Beer Shed and Heritage Farm Museum is one of the most unique and entertaining tourist attractions in Australia.
Situated only 3km from the busy town of Echuca, a visit here is a trip down memory lane with an unbelievable display of iconic Aussie paraphernalia including over 20,000 beer cans from around the world.
6. Visit a Museum
If you took our advice and visited the Great Aussie Beer Shed, you might be in the mood for some more art and history. Consider these museums and galleries when you’re in the Echuca Moama region:
7-11 Warren St., Echuca
If you're a true blue fan of the lion and stone, the largest Holden collection in the country is a must.
The museum is home to some of the most iconic and rare cars, all in mint condition! Stop by the gift shop and snap up a few souvenirs for all your car-loving kids, grandkids, and a little something special for the pool room.
Lighting Up the Murray July-August 2022
The award-winning Moama Lights event will make a dazzling return in 2022.
Set to illuminate Horseshoe Lagoon, Moama Lights is an immersive sound and light trail sharing stories from across the region through state-of-the-art light installations, projections and cutting edge laser technology.
Echuca Moama Arts Initiative - The Foundry
Foundry Arts Space at 13 - 17 Murray Esplanade, Echuca
EMAI is a not-for-profit community group established in 2010 to lift the profile of the arts and culture in the region.
At home in the Foundry space since 2015, the EMAI is committed to securing exhibitions, workshops and performances to host exhibits and develop a network of artisans and arts enthusiasts within the region.
7. Get on the River!
We’ve left this section 'til last because although it goes without saying - it still needs to be said!
The Murray River is a playground of the highest order for children and adults of all ages.
From sunrise paddles to sunset barbecue cruises, being on the river is an experience best shared with family and friends. Summer is peak season, but idyllic conditions, warm sunny days and glorious sunrises make late winter and spring a lovely time to visit.
Kayak among ghostly river red gums, watch graceful birds in protected wetlands and stop for a riverside picnic of fresh local produce.
If you’re up for some more action, try your hand at water skiing or wakeboarding for a thrilling ride. Alternatively, slow things down with a spot of fishing – there are plenty of quiet places to drop a line and catch a Murray Cod or three!
Check out these fishing locations any angler shouldn’t miss!