Murray meanders: explore Cobram

RoyalAuto magazine

Soak up Victoria’s Sun Country region with our guide to all that’s great in and around Cobram.

Story by Krysia Bonkowski. Photos by Anne Morley.
 October 2018

cobram fruit trees by anne morley

The Cobram food bowl offers everything from stone fruit to shiraz.

Life’s a beach

Where else in Victoria can you have a beach holiday miles from the ocean? Along the twists of the Murray in Cobram Regional Park there are dozens of sandy or grassy beaches, where locals and visitors gather to swim, boat, fish and relax.

On the north-east side of Cobram, Thompsons Beach is Victoria’s largest inland beach. Avail yourselves of the barbecues, or visit Cobram’s answer to a beach club at KU de' TA. Follow Wondah Street north to Little Toms and Big Toms Beach, or head east of town to Scotts Beach and Quicks Beach. If you decide to take a dip just be mindful of currents. Keen anglers should pick up the It’s Fishing Country pamphlet from the Cobram Barooga Visitor Information Centre (on Station Street), which details local species and fishing regulations.

Float on

For a leisurely day out on the water, and a taste of the days when steamers plied cargo on the Murray, hop aboard double-decker paddleboat the Cobba, which departs Thompsons Beach between Wednesday and Sunday.

Adrenaline-seekers should make their way to neighbouring Yarrawonga and watersports hub Skin Ski + Surf. As well as offering waterskiing and wakeboarding lessons and tube rides, the team specialise in teaching high-octane barefoot skiing. Also in Yarrawonga, Action Bike & Ski offers guided kayaking tours in the backwaters around Bundalong, or popular self-guided tours in which paddlers are dropped fully equipped at Yarrawonga weir and picked up from a downriver meeting spot.

monichino wines cobram victoria

Monichino Wines.

kangaroos at cobram golf course

Kangaroos at Cobram Barooga Golf Club.

the big strawberry cobram victoria

The Big Strawberry.

Park life

The Murray sustains stands of river red gums and native wetlands brimming with wildlife. For a bush walk close to central Cobram, Quinn Island Wetlands Sanctuary offers 40 hectares of looming gums and silver wattle. Accessed via a small bridge from River Road, a 2.5-kilometre circuit leads around the island to a little beach and a bird hide ideal for spotting locals such as kingfishers and egrets. Keep an eye out for scar trees and other traces left by local Indigenous boat builders.

Further afield, Barmah National Park protects expansive wetlands and the largest river red gum forest in the world, and is a beautiful environment to explore by foot or on the Murray River canoe trails. Local couple Graeme “Padge” Padgett and Debbie Jackson have been running Murray River Horse Trails tours around the fringes of Barmah for 33 years. Padge welcomes guests to join them “meandering along the banks of the beautiful Murray River whilst seated upon a wonderful horse”. It’s an ideal way to spot wildlife such as koalas hiding in the gnarly red gums.

murray river cobram victoria

Murray River morning.

vines in barooga sunrise victoria

Barooga sunrise.

Foodie finds

Cobram sits in a food bowl that provides everything from stone fruit to shiraz. Foodies should explore at least a fraction of the Farm Gate Trail, a collective of producers encircled by the Murray and its tributaries around Barmah, Nathalia, Cobram and Yarrawonga. Stock up on organic garlic braids at Katamatite Garlic, swing past The Big Strawberry from October to pick your own berries, or stop by Byramine Homestead & Brewery for a ploughman’s platter and a house-made ale.

The Murray marks the northern fringes of the Goulburn Valley wine region, with a handful of boutique vineyards surrounding Cobram. Carlo and Margaret Monichino established Monichino Wines at Katunga in the 1960s, where the acclaimed family-run operation now produces nearly 30 varietals. “The Sun Country region is ideal for wine and food production,” says their daughter, and current cellar door manager, Anna Sergi. She puts it all down to the rich soil, sun and “innovative people who love what they do”. Anna’s local foodie tip is lunch at Rich Glen Olive Estate’s homestead, leaving with a souvenir of their “magnificent” extra virgin olive oil.

racv cobram resort

RACV Cobram Resort.

Book a spring break at the RACV Cobram Resort and take advantage of some great member rates