Almanac Road Trip: The Mighty Murray River






Late last week, Meryl and I made a spur of the moment decision to hook the van up and head to Echuca on the Murray. From there we planned to slowly wend our way along the river making stops at Swan Hill and Mildura before, hopefully, reaching Wilpena Pound and the Flinders Ranges.


Leaving home Monday morning, the trip was uneventful, no hassles to speak of, just a relaxing drive and taking in the scenery, from Bendigo onwards being new to both of us. The new ‘old’ van pulled without difficulty, fuel consumption in the Pajero was around 12 – 13L per 100km (diesel) so I was happy with that. It felt good being on the road again.


We’d originally booked two nights at a park on the river in Echuca but extended for a couple more days. The weather has been perfect for sightseeing. Very still, sunny days with a temperature reaching close to 20C. The nights have been chilly, and last night it rained for most of the night. But what a delight to wake to the sound of laughing kookaburras and warbling magpies!







The first morning I walked from the caravan park along the river as far as I could towards the town centre. The track is virtually at the bank’s edge and provides a tremendous vista of the mighty Murray in all its persuasions as you walk along. One moment you are in thick scrub and bush, the next out in the open. The river appears to be at a very low level at the moment and at some stage in the not too distant past was in flood or at much higher levels as extensive erosion of banks in places is very noticeable.











Echuca I found to be a mixture of the old, the not so old, and some new. Some very old buildings are impressive standing the test of time extremely well and others, thankfully, being renovated with care and attention to detail.
















The historic Port of Echuca area takes you back to a by-gone era to reflect upon a slower pace of living at the beginning of this inland settlement compared to the pace of living today.









Yesterday we visited the Barmah National Park, an area of significant Aboriginal history and magnificent red river gums. It is hard to believe that it was not too long ago the government wanted to allow the logging of the area. It is an area of serene natural beauty. Meryl and I could not get over the absolute silence of the place. Not a sound, not a breath of wind, just the occasional squawk of birds. This is definitely a place to sit, watch, and unwind in perfect calm.


On Friday we head for Swan Hill for a week and we look forward to exploring the surrounding area.


All images taken by Col on his iPhone.



More from Col can be read here.


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About Colin Ritchie

Retired teacher who enjoys following the Bombers, listening to music especially Bob Dylan, reading, and swimming.


  1. Hopefully this is just the first of a number of instalments along your travels, Col. I love the old buildings and good to hear that at least some are being restored. It must have been a thriving area ‘back in the day’. The natural beauty looks so Australian. Looking forward to the next edition from Swan Hill. Safe travels.

  2. Love all that old stuff Col…the architecture of the old pubs, the majestic gums… the river, the land itself. Enjoy and look forward to next chapter.

  3. Looks like this will be an excellent road trip, Col. You are off to a very good start.

  4. Thanks Col. Looking forward to your updates. I doubt that there’s much better than a slow road trip during which you can adjust your itinerary as you see fit!

  5. Good stuff Col, how good is Echuca?

    Maryanne & I have spent a fair bit of time there. To see the development the last 20 years in particular the port region has been wonderful. Is there a better pub in Victoria than the Echuca Hotel? If there is i’m not aware of it. Dave and the team run a wonderful establishment, highly recommended.

    Col, there are many other wonderful attractions in Echuca, though I don’t want to ‘hog’ the space with how much we enjoy Echuca. It’s a lovely place.

    Enjoy the time on the majestic Murray, a grand river. I look forward to the future instalments.


  6. roger lowrey says

    Great yarn Col. Luuuv the Murray and surrounding areas. I fell deeply in love with it while teaching at Mildura. RDL

  7. Heading for Echuca tomorrow, en route home to Adelaide from Bribie Island. Thus interested in this, Col and thanks. We have been to the old Port area before and are looking forward to seeing it again. Actually have a river Ed gum kitchen chopping block bought there many years ago from a couple of old blokes who were running a steam powered sawmill. Doubt they are still there, but their sons may be? Had thought about heading out to the Barmah forest and you have talked me into it. Thanks for the good read.

  8. E.regnans says

    Terrific Col.
    To wend seems perfectly apt.

    Hume Dam, upstream near Albury, is chock-a-block with water. After the La Nina summer.
    But downstream of Hume Dam, the River Murray is managed essentially as an irrigation canal.
    Goulburn-Murray Water ended their gravity fed irrigation season on 15 May – so no surprise that the River level is low at Echuca. The next irrigation season is due to begin 15 August.
    All water rights holders in the Murray system will probably be able to claim their seasonal determinations this coming year, given storage levels.

    Love the old Port of Echuca. Safe trip.

  9. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Looks fantastic Col hope the weather holds out re the rest of your trip !

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