A local's guide to Echuca/Moama: A quick trip home.
I was living in Bali for almost two and a half months when I realised that I needed to go home.
Living in Bali:
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely loved living in Bali. The experiences I had on a daily occurrence were amazing. Even little things like conversing with locals in Indonesian, waking up with the sun to head to a yoga class or being present in the moment whilst exploring ancient temples. If you're interested in reading more about these experiences be sure to check out my other blog posts.
A change in my travel plans:
There were numerous reasons for me deciding to go home briefly despite originally planning to travel continuously this year for eight months. Surprisingly enough I was not homesick, a common reason why many living abroad return home. In fact, I felt almost more at home in Bali than I did where I lived in Australia prior to leaving. I had originally planned to live in Ubud, Bali for three months and then go to Chiang Mai, Thailand to attend well-known YouTubers 'Freelee the Banana Girl' and 'Durianrider's' vegan cycling festival, also known as the 'Raw til' 4 Bikefest'. There was one problem however, I had left my Specialized Dolce road bike at home in Australia. Basically, this was because logistically I thought it would be difficult to travel with my road bike for eight months if cycling is not the only activity I planned to be doing. Later this year I will be in South America trekking the Andes Mountain range and volunteering in the Amazon Jungle for example, so my bike would be just sitting in my hotel/accommodation during this time. As I mentioned above, there were numerous reasons for my decision to return home briefly, probably enough for an entire blog post on this topic but I will endeavour to make this as exciting as I can. Basically, I just woke up one morning, went to my usual 7am morning flow yoga class and by the time I had met my friend for breakfast I had decided right then and there that I would book a flight home to Melbourne for the middle of May. It was perfect timing; I got to meet my newest niece Belle who was born while I was home, see my Nana for her birthday and surprise my parents and friends as they had expected not to see me for another six months. This is a long introduction I understand but I feel it's good to have some background information before I begin to tell you about the place where I have spent a large amount of my time over the past eighteen years.
A small country town:
The area where I actually live is quite small, merely a few farms with cows and paddocks as far as the eye can see. Some of my closest neighbours are up to 3km away. It definitely fits the definition of rural, however, not remote. The two towns I wish to feature in this post/guide are the bordering towns of Victoria and New South Wales, Echuca and Moama, respectively. I have worked in Echuca since I was about fifteen years old and spent many days there throughout my life.
A gyspy soul wants want it wants…
I naturally have a gypsy soul and love wandering more than anything which is probably why I have intentionally tried to travel as much as I can away from these places, but being home for a mere two weeks gave me a whole new feeling of appreciation for these riverside towns. I wish to provide you with a traveller's guide to Echuca/Moama, perhaps a different take on the traditional tourist guides. I want you to feel like a local, after all, I've learnt on my travels this is probably the most important take home piece of information. Always try to experience the place you are in like a local, rather than a tourist.
So here it is, my list of favourite places and things to do in Echuca/Moama:
- There is a small picnic area near the Echuca Caravan Park commonly known to locals as 'scenic'. I love coming here, whether it be with friends to share some food, go for a quick dip in the river during summer or to just sit alone and be present. I used to always come here last year during my final year of High School. I found that sitting here where nature surrounded me helped me write a number of essays. Even just bringing fruit down to the river and eating it in summer is really enjoyable. There is also a nice walking track of about 3km.
- Another place similar to the above is 'Five Mile', which again is a really nice picnic area alongside the river about 5km out of Moama. I remember coming here often last year with friends when I was done with studying and needed a break. We would often get Thai Takeaway from 'The River Thai Moama', personally my favourite takeaway in the area, and take it to Five Mile for a make-shift picnic.
- The river is definitely one of the area's main attractions and brings tourist flocking every year. Personally, my favourite thing to do on the river is buy cheap inflatable air mattresses and float from the South Boat Ramp to the bridge which connects Echuca and Moama. In my opinion much better than water skiing, but each to their own.
- My all time favourite place to eat is 'Shebani's Taste of the Metterainian', which is located in the historic port of Echuca. The owners are really friendly and accommodating to any dietary request you may have. My favourite vegan dishes I've had there are sauteed mushrooms on sourdough toast, pumpkin and carrot soup and falafels with homemade hummus and pomegranate tabouli. Literally one of my favourite past-times, when I'm home is having brunch here with friends.
- If you're a bookworm like me you will also find comfort in the many second-hand bookshops also in the Port of Echuca. Not only do they sell a range of interesting books, but they also buy used books in case you need to make room in your luggage.
- My favourite place for casual yoga classes is 'N8 Health' in Nish Street Echuca, with casual classes starting at $18 (last time I checked).
- Going ten-pin bowling with my friends is also probably one of my favourite things to do, just to reminder yourself of how cool being a kid was when this was the coolest things ever.
So there you have it, a brief list of my favourite thing's to do in the towns where I have spent a lot of time over the years. Also, some of the best experiences are shared with friends doing something as simple as sitting in a cafe talking over good food, or meeting new people and having new interactions with them.
Mangoes by the river, and takeaway stir-fried vegetables with rice.