Riding Echuca/Moama

Has anybody ridden around Echuca/Moama? I’m heading there with the family for a week in September and will have some riding time. I see there’s lots of roads in the national parks to the north-east, so I’ll go explore them. Are there any highlights I should seek out?

I haven’t been that far downstream before but I reckon Barmah NP would be a good bet. I love riding around in the redgum forests.

Anyone got any jokes about Yo Moama!?

Yo Moama so Big she has her own postcode… it’s 2731

Yeh, that’s the one I’m looking at. I’ll check out both sides of the river.

My Mum lives in Moama. Fkn hell.

Haven’t been off-road up there, but the surrounding roads are FLAT.

Yeh that’s what I expected, given its the Riverina. I wasn’t expecting much except for farms so I was happy to see a large national park

Yes I know a fair bit about it. I drove a lot of Barmah National Park (Vic side) and Gulpa / Moira / Millewa / Murray Valley National Parks (NSW side) planning and mapping bike routes for a tour that didn’t happen. I hope to do it later this year when it warms up and dries out a bit.

Let me know a bit more about what you are after (how far? camping? what are your interests? skills of riding companions?) and I can make some suggestions.

There is a map you can buy for about $11 called Haymans Barmah-Shepparton-Deniliquin Adventure Map - the Echuca tourist centre should have a copy. It is worth getting because there are lots of tracks, but not much signposting so you need to know where you are and what track goes where.

The other thing is most of this area now has regular controlled rotational flooding to maintain the wetlands as part of Murray Basin environmental flows. It was once a big lakebed and swamp - the ground is all fine sticky silt with occasional sand, so it becomes heavy going when it isn’t dry. So call local National Parks Office on either side before riding and they will tell you which parts are currently flooded and which roads are not rideable - you need the map for this to make sense.

http://users.mcmedia.com.au/stocky/barmah_millewa.html

This article picked Barmah NP as one of 5 unknown wonders that nobody goes to.
Australia is famous for its natural beauty: the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, Kakadu, the Kimberley. But what about the places almost no one goes? We asked ecologists, biologists and wildlife researchers to nominate five of Australia’s unknown wonders…

https://theconversation.com/unknown-wonders-barmah-millewa-forest-13522

It isn’t spectacular, but there is lots of wildlife and it is significant in terms of Oz environmental history.

Excellent! Thanks heaps for all that.
I’ll be by myself, I can ride all day on any terrain but I won’t be camping. I saw on google maps there’s shitloads of trails and obviously I have no idea about which ones are good or not.
I’ll take your advice and contact the National Parks office before I head off.

Some pics …

If your family includes My Little Pony fans you even have wild baby brumbies …

If you have Avenza pdf maps app on your mobile you can download this map of Barmah NP for free.

https://www.avenzamaps.com/maps/94311/barmah-national-park-visitor-guide/

Then the app will put a moving point on the map and track you via GPS as you move around.

The park is not busy and will be quiet at this time of the year. There are no facilities and you may not see anyone else for the whole day - so plan to take everything you could need.

I suggest you drive to Barmah Lake Day Visitor area and park there. Then ride up Sandridge Track north till you get to the Murray River. Along the way you will pass the old cattle mustering yards that you might find interesting. Turn right and ride east upstream along the river - it’s called River Road - but just keep following the river as the road winds around. Keep going till you get to The Gulf camping area (it’s signed) - that’s about 35km so far.

Then head south along Gulf Track all the way till you are almost out of the park. Turn right to get onto Boundary Track and follow it west - it tracks close to the south boundary of the park. If Ramp Track is open turn right onto that back to Sand Ridge Track and back to your car. That should be about 70km all up.

This is great!

Man that looks frickin excellent. I just downloaded avenza and have that route saved in google maps.

I wasn’t too excited about this holiday because I thought it’d all be farmland around there but now I’m stoked. Those roads look pretty good; if it hasn’t rained recently do you think 28mm tubeless would go OK or should I just take my 650b 2" in case?

We’re actually spending a week on a houseboat to I’ll make sure we head up there and hopefully the girls can see some horses.

No worries. Glad you asked because it got me thinking about my riding plans for this season.

For this ride 28s would be OK I think, although with some sort of CX profile, not slicks. But I will also put together a ride on the NSW side. You might be more comfortable on the 2"ers for that.

It helps to understand the geography. Until about 500 years ago a lot of these park areas were under a permanent lake for up to 40,000 years. Sand Ridge track goes along the sand beach/bank that was the eastern edge of that lake - you will understand when you see how it is a bit higher than the surrounds. Then the rest of this ride is further east of that. So that land was probably flooded annually until they built Hume Dam, but it always dried out for part of the year. There won’t be any gravel, but hard pack silty clay and some sand, perhaps soft sand in some short sections. Even if it gets wet it is likely to just get muddy rather than difficult to ride on. So 28 CX would be OK.

However, I am also going to give you a ride for NSW side starting from Mathoura when I sort through my notes. This land was submerged until recently, well 500 years. The reason it was never farmed is because settlers lost cattle and horses getting stuck in the swamps just trying to travel through it when it was wet. It is a lot more spongy - you won’t notice it on a bike, but in a car you can feel the weight give downwards when it is wet and the surface slips sideways a lot. After a flooded area dries, the NP usually trucks in sand and spreads it onto the tracks so they driveable again. But they don’t roll the sand, so recently sanded track sections are probably a bit too soft to handle easily on a bike. This is where you might appreciate your 2" tyres.

If you mean taking your houseboat up to there I don’t think you will be able to. I think the rental restricts you to a certain area. And even if it doesn’t, no boats with an engine or a hull bigger than a canoe are allowed through the narrow Choke section of the Murray (which is opposite the Barmah Lake point where I suggest you start your ride).

I think there is a horse farm somewhere between Echuca and Barmah that welcomes visitors and has trail rides though.

There is also a more family friendly ride you can do on North West side of Echuca itself.

Echuca has free bikes for tourists that you can use, so you don’t even have to take all your own bikes.
http://www.echucamoama.com/business-directory/port-picnic-bike
They are mixtes made by papillon from memory.

The ride follows Scenic Drive through Victoria Park Reserve. Ride 1 on this list sets out the ride route.
http://www.echucamoama.com/Default.aspx?PageID=13862430&A=SearchResult&SearchID=2372175&ObjectID=13862430&ObjectType=1

Yes. I’ve been looking for opportunity to suggest it in Dalli’s bikecamping with kids thread. It isn’t rated by most cyclists because no climbs or descents. But IMO that makes it suitable for family bikecamping because - no climbing and no traffic. So less gung ho partners would be happier to come, kids can ride much further safely and because there is no climbing you don’t have to be as austere about weight of stuff you are carrying - so can take games, swimming and fishing kit as well as camping basics.

And it has got wild freakin brumbies!

Righto, thanks for the heads up. I guess we’ll drive in then.

For the NSW side, I suggest you drive to Mathoura and park there.

Follow the signs to Picnic Point, east out of town, cross a bridge then you will be on Picnic Point Road which is sealed.

Continue on about 5km then on your right will be Reed Beds Bird Hide (signed). This is worth a visit. It has a good view over wetlands to the south and any bird life there. But the highlight is all the mock postcards around the walls pretending to be from birds on holiday to family back to where they came from (e.g. siberia) describing their holiday trip to the Reed Beds and what they have been doing there. The postcards are informative and useful since you may see some of these birds on the rest of the ride - but also often very funny.

Then ride back towards Mathoura, almost to the bridge, but this time turn right onto Gulpa Creek Road (unsealed) just before the bridge. After a few hundred metres there is a walking/cycling track on your left. You can take this for a couple of kms, it follows the creek bank, before coming back to Gulpa Creek Road. Your OD should be about 12/13km to here.

Most of this is wooded bush, and you will keep crossing pretty little creeks. The water level in the creeks is often close to the land level, there are rarely any raised banks, so you will understand why it all floods so easily. You are unlikely to see much traffic so again carry what you need.

After another 2km veer right on Little Edwards River Road this will take you through a more open sand bank area. After about 2km turn left onto Melvilles Road. Follow that north for about 5km till it makes a T-intersection with Taylors Bridge Road.

Turn right onto this road and proceed across the Edwards River. Then turn right and head south on Edwards River Road for about 10km. Turn right onto Millewa Road and back across the Edwards River, keep going for about 3km and you will intersect with Picnic Point Road (sealed) again just east of the Reed Beds Bird Hide. OD about 34km to here.

If that is enough, you can turn right and go back to Mathoura and your car (about 6km). Or turn left and go to Picnic Point (6km) and further south beyond that. Just depends how far you want to go before turning around and coming back the same way. Picnic Point is a big permanent caravan / cabin park and the bush is similar to what you have already seen on Gulpa.

EDIT: Actually if you are not going further than this it would be more pleasant to stay in the park and turn right onto Duggans Rd just after Millewa Rd bridge, and then continue onto Campbells Rd back to Mathoura almost, instead of coming out earlier onto sealed road and more traffic.

Yeh this is awesome Nix. What’s the best time of year for heading up?