The mighty Murray River!! What a destination. We all hear about the Murray but not a lot of people visit this quintessential Australian landmark compared to other coastal places. Echuca is situated right on the Murray River, a two and a half hour drive north of Melbourne. We arrived on an extremely hot day – 46 degrees! Luckily, Discovery Park Echuca is a kids’ heaven and is the pick of the park. Located right on the Murray, it offers a new water park, two pools, two tennis courts (with free night tennis), literally hundreds of caravan sites and cabins with spectacular riverfront views. This was an awesome place to enjoy Australia day. On the banks of the mighty Murray, there was a flurry of activity including swimming, speed boats, lilos, SUPs, jet skis, waterskiing, wakeboarding and ski biscuits. The banks were filled with patriotic Aussie adorned in flags, singlets and pluggers, enjoying an ale in the hot sun.
Echuca is a beautiful little town steeped in rich history including restored old paddle steamers that still run to this day. The old town and port has been restored and it feels like you are actually living in those historic times! While in Echuca, don’t miss the Beechworth Bakery for a snack or lunch. It claims to be ‘Australia’s Greatest Bakery’ and it’s definitely up there with the best!
The kids also had a fantastic time at twistED an interactive, hand on science and educational centre. Free for teachers and well-priced for the kids, we created flying objects, build big towers, ate bugs and sharpened our rock climbing skills. It was perfect fun to escape the heat for a few hours and importantly, covered vital content in the Science Syllabus (wink, wink. Nudge, nudge 😊).
“Eureka! We’ve struck gold!”
Metaphorically speaking, that is. Ballarat, a big country town, is just that – GOLD! Only one and a half hours north of Melbourne, its laid-back country vibe and beautifully preserved colonial buildings were a treat. We spent a whole day at Sovereign Hill, the famous attraction showcasing the history of the gold rush.
Ideally, you really need two days to see the whole thing but we crammed in a lot into one! We dressed up in 1850s attire for a family photograph.
There were so many different activities, demonstrations and shows to keep the crowds entertained. We especially enjoyed the lolly making demonstration, walking through the underground gold mine and the very funny and entertaining street actors that made the experience authentic! Many of the old, restored houses and quaint buildings were open for self-guided tours, perfectly depicting life back in the gold rush. The impressive children’s playground is also the perfect place to relax those tired legs and let the kids run around. We even managed a horse and cart ride but apparently the horses were hypnotized and the cart didn’t move too far.
The kids could have played here for hours!!
Tip: Teachers are free (order online) and children get a discount with NRMA membership (order online).
Next stop: Tasmania
-The Austin family