Just a few hours’ drive north of Melbourne, you’ll find two small towns nestled on the banks of the mighty Murray River known as Cobram Barooga. The towns are divided by the river, with Cobram located in Victoria, and Barooga in New South Wales.
Cobram has a permanent population of about 6000 people. It has a Mediterranean climate, with approximately 300 days of sunshine a year.
It is thought to have originally been home to the Pangerang (or Bangarang) Aborigines. Cobram means head station and Barooga means my home.
The town itself is well serviced, and you don’t have to go far to find a variety of cafés and local pubs that serve up delicious food and fine coffee that even the harshest critic would approve of.
Of particular interest is the Cobram Courthouse, which was established in 1912, as the picture suggests, but continues to be used to this day as the Cobram Magistrates Court.
Offering free camping right along the banks of the Murray, it is a hugely popular place for locals to go to for an easy weekend away camping with the kids, and also city folk looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Melbourne, and to explore and reconnect with nature.
Thompsons Beach is Australia’s largest ‘inland beach’, and is a great destination if you’re just after a day trip.
There is plenty of parking space and dining at The Beach Café, which offers superb meals while overlooking the river.
You can also jump aboard ‘The Cobba’ paddleboat and take a relaxing cruise up the Murray to take in all the sights.
A popular place for anglers, the river provides excellent opportunities for fisherman. You’re likely to hook a Murray Cod, Golden Perch or Catfish.
A fishing permit is required, and can be easily obtained online, or from local recreational fishing license outlets.
Cobram Barooga Bridge
The Cobram Barooga Bridge separates Victoria from New South Wales.
The original bridge was constructed in 1902. A rare DeBurgh timber truss bridge, it is one of only two of its kind in Australia.
Although no longer open for use to traffic, it still stands in its original position next to the new bridge.
Barmah National Park
The Barmah National Park, which joins the Millewa Forest in New South Wales, is really something quite magical. Together they form the largest Red River Gum forest in the world.
The oldest red gums are over 500 years old and some can grow up to 30 metres in height.
The wildlife is abundant, and you’re bound to spot koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, squirrels and sugar gliders. There are many different bird species, including tawny frogmouths and kookaburras.
The National Park is also home to wild horses, known as the Barmah Brumbies.
These Brumbies are thought to have been present since the beginning of the last century, and are quite a spectacular sight to see running in the wild.
There are many tracks through the forest which are easily accessible for most vehicles during the summer months.
Although a 4WD isn’t strictly necessary, a vehicle with a bit of ground clearance will allow you to explore more areas.
During the winter months, the temperature can drop quite low, sometimes even to sub zero temperatures. However, the summer months can be very hot, at times over 40 degrees.
The hot days do however, give way to some incredible fiery, and often colourful sunsets that will leave you in awe.
So next time you’re in Melbourne, why not take a detour out to the Northern Country. The locals are a friendly bunch, and I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed!
Heather Udy lives in Northern Country Victoria (Strathmerton) and Cobram Barooga is so close she considers it home.