Monday, March 08, 2021

Echuca Day 1

 A few weeks ago we started to looks at beachside accommodation for a few days with vague plans to see our west coast, which is actually the southern coast of Australia. Alas with COVID making international travel impossible, and who would want to at the moment, Australia is the only option and even within Australia with state borders opening and closing at small COVID outbreaks, people aren't even game to go interstate, worried that state borders will quickly close even as they are in mid air in the case of Western Australia which is a flight of a few hours from here.

We really should visit my ageing step mother, who is 84 and her partner who is 93. They live in the north of the state near Rochester. Rather than impose on them, we booked a cabin in the excellent Echuca NRMA Caravan Park. NRMA is the New South Wales motoring organisation. 

R mentioned our booking to our friend who has a caravan and he decided to join us and booked a site at the same park and we met up with him there.

The idea was to call in Step Mother on our way past. It is a fifteen minute drive to Echuca from there. However she said she had two appointments that day, so that made it too difficult. From home it is over a two and a half hour drive to Echuca. 

We left at 9.40 and I was not concentrating and missed the exit to the Tullamarine Freeway. It didn't matter too much. I could use the Western Ring Road which would be about the same time and without tolls. Massive roadworks are underway near the Ring Road and I exited too early due to poor signage.  That's two muck ups and it was less than 30 minutes into the trip. We found our way onto the M79 and stopped at a layby for a stretch. Further on R said he wanted food and coffee. There aren't any places on the freeway so I pulled off at Kyneton and we found a place selling coffee and sandwiches. 

Sated we headed back towards the freeway but there wasn't an entrance. We had to go further into town and up a side street to the entrance. More poor signage.  We reached the freeway and that was where we were to turn off the freeway. Mea culpa again, I turned back onto the freeway and we were now heading towards Bendigo. Damn. We used the Castlemaine exit and travelled on some minor roads across to Elmore where we stopped again at the Elmore Bakery. 

We weren't in a rush and so we drove to where the house of  the mother of a dyke friend once lived and we stayed there a couple of times. The mother would be dead now and we lost touch with her daughter. We arrived at the park at 1.40, four hours after leaving home for a 2.35 trip. I suppose we would have stopped for breaks for an hour, so I suppose it was only half an hour extra time caused by my navigational errors. R cannot navigate so I did both driving and navigating and my arthritis was playing up big time.

We were very happy with our cabin. We paid extra for a larger cabin than the standard. It had a queen sized bed in the living area and bunk beds for three in the bedroom. That's plenty of space for two people.


We met up with our friend and walked along the Murray riverbank towards the Port. Privately owned house boats line the river here.




The thong tree trunk was full so another has been started. 


I think the first contact between white people and he local Aboriginal tribe was in the 1830s and it was a friendly meeting. 


Echuca is very historic and was the river port for shipments of wheat and wool which would be transported downriver to Adelaide by paddle steamers. The railways killed off the paddle steamers and now they are only tourist craft.


As you may know, I love a good rotunda.



Scarcely believable river flood heights.



Not a great photo of a stunning house in Watson Street. We walked back to the park on the levee bank.


This hopeful kookaburra visited twice a day, always landing on the same lamp post opposite our cabin. It would be after a free feed but we didn't. They can be quite skilled at swooping down to a barbeque and picking up a sausage or a lamb chop. 


Galahs also visited twice a day to graze on whatever they find in the grass. Other birds were huge flocks of corellas, pairs of rosellas, ducks in flight and waddling around, mudlarks and magpies. No Indian mynahs, crows or ravens nor cockatoos.


A very odd structure on the road next to the caravan park. I was wearing thongs and this photo was taken at great risk of bites from jumping jack ants.


Nearby was this fountain. 

We tried the Star Hotel for dinner, closed, The Shamrock, booked out but had luck sitting in the back courtyard of the Echuca Hotel. The meal was nice and it was very pleasant, only marred by a couple of hundred squawking corellas circling around, so loud it was hard to hear at times.

Once back at the cabin I called Step Mother and she had made a mistake. Her appointments were the next day, not the day we arrived. We arranged to meet with her between appointments. 

25 comments:

  1. Despite the small glitches it looks and sounds like a wonderful trip. And yes, a couple of hundred corellas would certainly drown out conversation.

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  2. I had been wondering if your absence was because you were already under the knife after your x-ray. Not that I am wishing that on you.

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    1. MC, from my limited knowledge, surgery should be the very last option for skeletal problems.

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  3. I love paddle steamers and houseboats, I used to want to live on a houseboat, but not now. That is a very nice rotunda.

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    1. River, we hired a houseboat just before 2004 when I began my blog and they are pretty hard for one person to sail. Never mind. Just stayed moored.

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  4. I know I can't leave the United States, but I can go any place in United states I want. Although states did have quarantine laws, none of them been inforced.

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    1. Dora, that's interesting, and more interesting that they weren't enforced. We could probably get around border checks using very rough back roads, but you could still get caught, into quarantine and a $5000 fine.

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  5. Oh, this is a very pleasant travel experience ..., I have never felt a vacation and overnight using a cabin room boat like that.
    I'm really curious to know more about Aboriginal people.

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    1. Himawan, it would be nice to just stay in a houseboat without having to sail it.
      I am the wrong person to ask about Aboriginal culture. My knowledge is very limited.

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  6. Replies
    1. Ian, I am not sure what those symbols are.

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  7. Back in the 1980s, I knew Bendigo, Castlemaine, Kyneton and Echuca very well. But now I would just love to go on one of the house boats that line the Murray river - slow, sunny and scenic.

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    1. Hels, I have a photo in a post just suitible for you on Wednesday.

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  8. One of those houseboats would suit me fine.

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    1. The one named Grumpy, Cro? Sorry.

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  9. We’re on our way up there first week of April. Have a soft spot for Echuca and the little towns nearby. Won’t be in a cabin though- middle son has a house up there, not too far from town and all the touristy bits and close to the NSW border. Was there still a permit system in place for re-entering Victoria.

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    1. How lovely Cathy and how good to have a son living there. You sensibly ask first about permit to re-enter Victoria. We should have but we didn't get caught. More on that Wednesday and the answer is yes, you do need a permit.

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  10. Anonymous4:55 am

    I would have thought that for you the main attraction of Echuca would be that it is the birthplace of Travis Fimmel. Roderick

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    1. I didn't know that Roderick. Oh dear, I just Googled him. The years have been unkind.

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    2. Anonymous5:06 am

      It happens to us all. But I would guess in this case too much booze. Roderick

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  11. Those birds look wildly exotic to me!

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    1. Steve, I suppose they would. So noisy though.

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  12. That's a nice cabin. I don't know that caravan parks here have rental cabins, but maybe some do. I doubt they would be so nice. The river looks green/brown and exotic.

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    1. They are a big thing here in Australia, Strayer. We like them and as you can see in the photos, you can cook in them too, not that R usually does.

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