Red Dirt, Day 12 – Meandering upstream

Wednesday October 31st 2012, Robinvale to Echuca

It is a warm morning, but the wind is building up, we hit the road at 9:40am and pass orchards of grapes, oranges, olives and nuts, it is a bountiful area. We stop for a few minutes and admire the mighty Murray at Boundary Bend. At Piangil the crops are wine grapes, stone fruits, oranges and even cricket bat willow. We’ve truly left the desert behind us now.

Murray River at Boundary Bend, Vic

Stopping at Swan Hill for a walk we are amazed at the improvement in the town since we were last here only a couple of years ago. We find a great little gelato bar and cafe called Jillarty’s and sit in their quirky courtyard whilst we lick our way through yummy Pear and Ginger Gelato. We fill the car up with fuel and have a look at the old, lift up, one lane river bridge which is still in operation and very busy at that. Opposite the bridge there is an interesting memorial to Burke & Wills and the fact that the only member of their party to survive was the Swan Hill lad named King, who had joined their party as it passed through.

Swan Hill, Vic

On the way to Kerang there are flowering gums lining the Murray Valley Highway and they are blooming profusely in pale pinks and fluffy balls of yellow. There are many small lakes along the way, Lake Boga, Lake Kangaroo, Lake Charm which we decide should be renamed Lake Charmless! We stop for lunch in Kerang , the town looks lovely and is a mass of blooming roses. We make salad rolls and sit in the park. Cohuna, also looks lovely, neat and tidy with flowers blooming and surprisingly an irrigation channel right in the heart of town.

We arrive at Echuca quite early and check into the Echuca Holiday Park down near the river. The caravan park because of its central location is very large and very busy, it is old and desperately needs improvement. We pop into the Shamrock Hotel and have a beer as the weather is warm, so warm in fact that even the locals are complaining, it’s around 34 degrees, so the icy cold beer goes down a treat. We walk around the port area shops and mooch in the fabulous camping shops here that we always visit without fail. The town is looking good and of course continues to grow, it isn’t known as “Melbourne on the Murray” for nothing. We stop for another beer at the Palace Hotel (we have made a pact to call into all inviting pubs), then go back to camp for a refreshing swim. In the pool we meet a lovely young woman from Ballarat, who, along with her husband and kids has been away for three months. We are constantly surprised at the amount of time that people spend on the road. 

We notice that we’ve broken a piece of metal on our awning. At least we should be able to get it repaired in Echuca. We have a Prawn Salad and get an early night. A cool change sweeps in, there are great big plops of rain during the night, yet it is still warm and windy, we have to close the pop top flaps because the park streetlights shine brightly through each and every gap. The neighbour’s air conditioner drones all night long.

Towing Kms: 286Kms

2021 Note: Fancy being surprised at being on the road for 3 months! We would have been gobsmacked to know what was ahead of us. We still drop into those Echuca camping stores on every trip and last called in back in May. And as for the oath to visit all inviting pubs, at last count we had visited 258 ‘inviting’ country pubs and many truly inviting pubs more than once.

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