MURRAY RIVER
PADDLE STEAMER CRUISE
27 August to 5 September - SOLD OUT
5 November to 14 November
AU$ 4,625 per person twin share, for 10 nights

From the earliest days of the Echuca area, growth and development has been intimately linked with the Murray River System. Trade and communication depended on the river.

The PS Emmylou, built in 1980 and named after the country singer Emmylou Harris, has hosted thousands of guests. In the TV series All the Rivers Run she was renamed the PS Providence.

The river banks we will pass have abandoned steamboats and barges, tall red gum wharfs and small towns that show evidence of once having been much larger. Old station homesteads facing the river, are constant reminders to the river traveller of the days when hundreds of steamers traded along the Murray, opening up large areas in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. For many settlers the steamers were the only source of supply and contact with the outside world.

Experience Echuca’s past and present

Echuca is on the banks of the Murray and Campaspe Rivers in Victoria. The border town of Moama is adjacent on the northern side of the Murray River in New South Wales. Echuca is the administrative centre and largest settlement in the Shire of Campaspe. The combined population of the townships is close to 20,000.

The Echuca area
The Murray River was first discovered by European explorers Hume and Hovell in 1824. In 1830 Sturt discovered it was part of the same river system as the Darling. In 1851 Sir Henry Fox Young, governor of South Australia set aside 4000 pounds as a bonus to be awarded to the first two boat owners to navigate the Murray from its mouth to the Darling junction in ‘iron-clad steamers’.

In 1853 the “Mary Ann” skippered by William Randell, and the “Lady Augusta” under Captain Frances Cadell, ran an unexpected race up-river, each sure of being the first to open up the Murray for traffic.

The Lady Augusta passed the Mary Ann arriving at the tiny settlement of Swan Hill only hours before the Mary Ann. The few settlers along the way greeted both with much enthusiasm and hospitality. Both skippers won 2000 pounds and opened businesses transporting goods on the Murray. Echuca was founded by an ex-convict named Henry Hopwood. In 1850 he bought a small punt, which operated across the Murray River near the Campaspe River junction. Originally known as “Hopwood’s Ferry” the name was changed to Echuca as the town grew. When Hopwood died in 1869 he left a thriving town. The aboriginal population who had inhabited the area for 40,000 years prior to white settlement were not taken into consideration.

The Port of Echuca became the largest inland port in Australia. The riverboat trade was of national importance as it opened inland Australia for settlement and increased the country production of wool. The rail link was established with Melbourne in 1864, and Echuca, being the closest point on the Murray to Melbourne, grew rapidly. Paddle steamers traded along the Murray Darling River System, bringing wool from isolated stations in outback Australia to the railhead at Echuca.

During the boon period, products worth a quarter of a million pounds were handled annually. For many years Echuca was also the main ship building centre for the river transport industry. As the ship building industry grew, so did the demand for red gum as a durable timber for wharf piles, railway sleepers and building materials.

In the 1870’s the district supported a dozen mills timber cutting in excess of 1000 logs each week. Felling was carried out in the Barmah, Moira and Perricoota Forests surrounding Echuca.

There are many stories to be told about the riverboats and the colourful characters who crewed them. Stories too about the customs strife between Colonies that helped shape the free trade provisions of the Australian Constitution.

Prices and cabin options

All cabins are freshly refurbished with plush new bedding and fine linen.
All include ensuite shower and WC.
Prices also include all meals, wine and beer at dinner, bottled water, espresso coffee, all gratuities.

2 x Double cabins:
1 x Emmylou queen suite:

$4,625 per person
$4,995 per person

All prices are in Australian dollars, based on double occupancy. A single supplement is available, please contact us for pricing.

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

Whats included?

Land

• 3 Night's accommodation at the Mercure Hotel Echuca with breakfast daily - twin share
• Full day wine tour of the Heathcote wine district including transport, lunch and guide
• Dinner with entertainment at Henry’s Bridge Hotel with Paul Jarman as the chef
• Secure parking for 6 days

Cruise

• Onboard Accommodation for 6 nights
• Onshore tour
• Weir Interpretive Centre
• Perricoota Station
• Chef prepared breakfast, lunch & dinners
Selected wine & beer with dinner service daily
• Morning & afternoon teas
• Complimentary Wifi throughout the boat
• Espresso Coffee, Tea & Bottled Water
• All Gratuities

Please Note

• A non-refundable deposit of AU$1,500 per person is required to confirm a booking
• Credit card transactions are subject to merchant fees
• Single supplement may apply for private cabins
• Prices are correct at the time of issue but subject to change without notice (November 2020)

Highlights

• Designer twin, double, queen cabins
• The Emmylou Suite for an added touch of luxury and space
• All with private ensuites and air conditioning
• Visit Perricoota Station where All the Rivers Run was filmed
• Re-live the story watching the series with after-dinner movie nights
• Signature Grand Dining Riverside
• Experience the River Up and Down Stream from Echuca
• Visit Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement and cruise PS Pyap
• Visit Lake Bogo Flying Boat Museum
• Visit Barmah Wetlands for a Eco Cruise
• Enjoy a city of Echuca visiting the historical sites
• Visit the Regions largest winery, St Anne’s for a cellar tour and complimentary tastings
• Enjoy fresh seasonal local produce prepared by your onboard Chef
• Sample a variety of locally produced wines
• Native wildlife in their natural environment
• Local Skipper Commentary

Additional costs

Please note there is a bar available to purchase alcoholic beverages but these are not included in the price (except selected wine, beer & soft drinks with dinner). Wine can be purchased at the wineries along the way but can not be consumed aboard.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is recommended by Mariner Boating Holidays. Travellers should ensure they have a valid policy at time of booking.

Sailing Itinerary

Day 1 - Friday
Arrive Echuca and proceed to the Mercure Hotel where accommodation is included for three nights. Enjoy the weekend exploring all that the twin towns have to offer.

Day 2 - Saturday
In the morning depart for Heathcote, reputed to be Australia’s premier wine district. Included on the day is visit to the Jasper Hill Winery for a tasting, then onto the Sanguine Hill Winery where you’ll enjoy a light lunch and another tasting. Return to Echuca mid afternoon.

Day 3 - Sunday
Spend the day at leisure exploring Echuca and Moama. Suggested places to visit:

• Echuca Historical Museum
• Whistle Stop Art Gallery
• The Foundry Art Gallery
• The Echuca Gin Distillery

In the evening join us for dinner at Henry’s Bridge Hotel, the oldest pub in Echuca where Paul Jarman, the maître d’hotel, will be ready to impress.

Day 4 - Monday
Morning free. In the afternoon transfer to the Emmylou's mooring.
Enjoy a welcome afternoon tea with freshly made Australian scones, jam & cream with tea and coffee as you begin to relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of the river. Time to relax or take the opportunity to chat with the Engineer and Skipper in the wheelhouse about the rich history of the river and PS Emmylou.

As the sun starts to set over the river, time for an evening cocktail before your chef-prepared welcome dinner. Listen to the river birds evening chorus, watch for kangaroos, wombats, egrets and many other species of birds as the stars begin to appear whilst you enjoy dinner cruising the winding river.

After dinner enjoy the first of four movie nights reliving the struggles of Philadelphia Gordon, played by Sigrid Thornton in the famous mini-series.

Day 5 - Tuesday
After enjoying your breakfast we depart on a half-day onshore excursion to the small town of Barmah. Here you will depart on guided Eco Cruise, where you can get up close to Australian nature and wildlife. Nowhere else in the world can you experience such timeless, natural beauty and peace as when you are gliding through the World-Heritage listed Barmah Wetlands aboard the MV Kingfisher. You will understand why they have been named “Wetlands of International Importance” as you slip quietly across the water in the dappled shade of towering gums of the world’s largest single stand of River Red Gum.

After your cruise enjoy a traditional Australian picnic lunch riverside before departing on St Annes winery for a cellar tour with the owners with tasting from the Barrel. be sure to try their famous fortified wines.

This afternoon we continue to cruise downstream cruise towards our overnight bush mooring at Norris Bend. This evening your crew will set a roaring campfire on the banks where you can take in the stillness of the river. Watch out for Kangaroos having their evening run through the bush and listen to native Australian wildlife preparing for the night ahead.

Day 6 - Wednesday
This morning early risers and keen photographers can take bush walk and capture the special morning light and wildlife around Norris Bend before we steam towards Torrumbarry Weir departing on our day tour.

We visit the lovely township of Kerang before arriving at Lake Boga Flying Boat Museum. Here you can view a restored Catalina PBY5 Flying boat which depicts the type and size of aircraft that were used as patrol bombers during World War II, visit the original underground communications bunker and watch a short video about the history of the depot.

We then visit Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement. Take a walk down the main street and picture yourself in a rural settlement more than 100 years ago, with immaculately preserved and restored buildings and memorabilia as the perfect backdrop. Make sure you take time to view the PS Gem, once the most impressive passenger river paddle streamers on the river. We then board PS Pyap for a cruise on the Murray before returning to Toorumbarry Weir.

Tonight enjoy dinner overlooking the Weir.

Day 7 - Thursday
This morning enjoy a walk across the weir visiting the Interpretive Centre learning about the Murray Darling Basin, the Weir and lock system which dates back to 1923 before we depart for an afternoon of river cruising upstream towards Perricoota Station. Along the way you will have plenty of time to relax and enjoy the sight and sounds of the river, watch for the many species of river birds that abound the Upper Murray before we arriving mid-afternoon at Perricoota Station, one of the film sites for All the Rivers Run.

The vast property was first settled by James Maiden in 1843 and was made famous for starring in the mini-series where PS Emmylou was renamed PS Providence. Upon arrival join the Skipper for a guided walking tour of the gardens and buildings learning about the Rich history of the property.

Tonight enjoy pre-dinner drinks on the deck overlooking the River before enjoying dinner and movie night.

Day 8 - Friday
This morning PS Emmylou departs on a full day of cruising towards our Layfield Lane Mooring. Enjoy breakfast on the deck then relax with a good book or just take in the river views and wildlife as Emmylou steams her way upriver.

Today your welcome to try your hand at steering the boat with the Skipper or learning how the 1906 steam engine works with the Engineer.

Tonight, you will enjoy our signature Grand Dining gourmet Australian BBQ. Enjoy sampling the delicious range of Pacdon Park UK small goods for entrée before joining your fellow passengers at the riverside grand dining table, star lit by the Southern Cross and candles. After dinner enjoy some yarns sitting around the campfire before retiring for the evening

Day 9 - Saturday
Enjoy breakfast on the deck then relax as we cruise towards the Port of Echuca. This morning you depart on a fully narrated tour of Echuca, once the centre of Australia’s inland trade and thriving Port.

You will visit historical sites and learn about the rich history of this beautiful riverside town. This afternoon and evening we cruise upstream from Echuca exploring the upper river enjoying dinner as the sun sets over the river.

Day 10 - Sunday
This morning before breakfast early risers can enjoy a lagoon boardwalk above Horseshoe Lagoon before PS Emmylou departs for the Port of Echuca where we reluctantly say farewell.

How do I get there?

Melbourne to Echuca by road is 217 km
Of course driving to Echuca from Melbourne is easy and secure parking is included for one car per cabin. Melbourne to Echuca train services, operated by V-Line, depart from Southern Cross Station, costs $30 - $40 and takes 3.5 hours. The buses from Melbourne to Echuca depart from Southern Cross terminal Spenser St, take 3 hours and cost between $24 and $35.

Sydney to Echuca by road is 792 km
From Sydney an overnight stop at Gundagai is recommended. The onward journey option is via Wagga or Albury to Moama/Echuca. Both roads are good.

However, the quickest way from Sydney to Echuca is to fly to Melbourne and train to Echuca for a cost $210 - $400. This option takes around 6.00 hours.

Enquire now to learn more or book your cabin on the
Murray River Paddle Steamer Cruises