Yesterday I took the boys up to Echuca. Echuca is about a 3 hour drive north of Melbourne, the closest point from Melbourne to get to our state border on the Murray River. It’s an historic town, still being true to its origins with its blacksmith store, woodturning store, vintage eateries and horse drawn coaches going down sandy banked roads on the river edge.
Our first stop was to grab some lunch and a pit-stop (piss-stop, as my boys call it!). We found a lovely restaurant with leather high-back chairs and white table cloths on Echuca’s main street. The menu was a little 5-star for my boys’ taste, but the waiter ensured me that they can have the breakfast menu of a various egg choices instead of the gourmet lunch menu. One chose poached eggs on toast, the other scrambled eggs with bacon… little did the chef know, but he was cooking for an 8 year old, who doesn’t really like pepper in his eggs. But knowing the chef, he would say it would be blasphemous without pepper! I have a lovely club turkey, bacon and rocket club sandwich and my standard hot chocolate.
After lunch, we strolled along the Campapse River before going to the Port of Echuca where they have the historic township. We decided we would go on a paddle steamer cruise and chose the PS Emmylou as our paddle steamer for the day. The paddle steamer had it all… a galley, restaurant, sleeping cabins, amenities, the warm heart of the engine, the captain’s room on the top floor and plenty of places to run and escape for the boys. The weather was cool but dry to start, but once the boat started, the rain did too. Luckily there were plenty of sheltered areas to hide.
The river was calm, the water levels were high and the crew were happy to have a chat. We paddle-steamed about 4 kilometres up the river, seeing the new Moama and the old Moama on the New South Wales side of the Murray, plenty of ducks, the floating tin-sheds Captain Pete fondly calls the houseboats and some of the beautiful old paddle steamers.
PS Emmylou was built in 1906 by Marshall & Sons in England. It uses 1 tonne of wood per day and 250 litres of water per hour. It can generate speeds of 12 kilometres per hour with the engine at 120rpm and the paddle wheels at 30rpm. The boys had a chance at steering the 7.5tonne vessel, and enjoyed the scenic and very tranquil ride up our state’s border.
After our cruise, we looked in the blacksmith shop, the wood-turning shop and souvenir shop and pressed a penny into a copper keepsake of our little trip, then headed back home to Melbourne.
We arrived on the edge of the city around 6pm, and decided to go to South Melbourne for some sushi. It was a good day all round. Great to get some country air, great to leave the computer at home, great to spend some precious time with my boys doing what we love…