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ECHUCA MOAMA The romance of the river is alive and well in Australia's Paddlesteamer Capital, where the twin towns of Echuca Moama ooze a rich history. But this is no museum-piece – with so many sights, activities and major events, the Echuca Moama region radiates an energy and feel- good factor that keeps visitors coming back year after year. The town was effectively founded by legendary ex-convict Henry Hopwood, who started up a river punt and small hotel in 1853 to take advantage of the increasing cross-river traffic. When paddlesteamers began plying the Murray as the main form of cargo and transport from 1860, Echuca transformed into the busiest and most prosperous port town on the Murray. Today the nostalgic whistle is still a familiar sound as the wharf is home to the world's largest fleet of operating riverboats. Cruises run throughout the day aboard PS Pevensey (star of the TV mini series All the Rivers Run), PS Alexander Arbuthnot, PS Canberra, Pride of the Murray and PS Emmylou, a beautifully restored steamer that also offers overnight cruises. Echuca's other star attraction is the recently opened Port of Echuca Discovery Centre where you can step back in time to 1860 and relive an authentic steam port, explore the revitalised Wharf, and watch the steam driven saw mill in operation. The pedestrian Murray Esplanade is lined with old-time shops, cafes and the 1864 Star Hotel, with its underground escape tunnel! Echuca Moama is far from living in the past though. The lively spirit can be experienced in major events and festivals such as the world's biggest water ski event - the Southern 80 (February) and the Winter Blues Festival (July). Fine-dining restaurants like riverside Oscar W's, chic wine bars, al fresco cafes, country-style bakeries and friendly pubs mean visitors are spoilt for gastronomic choice. Wine touring is also popular, with a dozen or so cellar doors in the region – you can even take a Wharf to Winery paddlesteamer cruise. With three great rivers – Murray, Goulburn and Campaspe – converging here, fishing, boating, swimming, camping, biking and bushwalking are naturally big attractions, and nights spent relaxing on a houseboat is sheer bliss. Explore the Port of Echuca, a national treasure bursting with old world atmosphere but recently enhanced with the restored wharf, new redgum walkways and the Discovery Centre. Take a nostalgic cruise along the Murray River on a gracious, historic paddlesteamer. Shop for produce at the Echuca Farmers' Market or follow the Food & Wine Trail on a self-guided tour. Pick up a free Port Picnic Bike and cycle the historic streets, or hire a mountain bike and hit the riverside bush tracks. Experience some true Aussie icons at the National Holden Museum and the Great Aussie Beer Shed. ECHUCA MOAMA VISITOR INFORMATION CENTRE 2 Heygarth St, Echuca FREECALL: 1800 804 446 EMAIL: WEB: MUST EXPERIENCE MORE INFORMATION 38

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