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The Backroads Trail
Turn off the highway and discover an unforgettable Journey
Words and Images by: Michelle Hogan

Explore historical sites, be delighted by small businesses offering you scrumptious produce and discover unique attractions hidden along the way.

The Backroads Trail is the newest tourism region on the Victoria/NSW border; Echuca, Moama, Barham, Deniliquin and Mathoura frame the Trail, which winds its way through the back roads of Womboota, Bunnaloo, Caldwell and the local districts. The entire Trail encompasses over 250 kilometres of road, both sealed and unsealed, but can easily be broken down into a few small day trips.

Visitors are invited to explore the land along this interactive Trail and discover how the area has been transformed from Dreamtime early history to the present day. While travelling along the Trail you will come across 12 sign-posted interpretive locations where you have the opportunity to stand on historical sites and immerse yourself in tales of the land.

The wide plains of the Backroads Trail region tell stories of bare knuckle boxing fought whilst Ned Kelly looked on, the invention of mechanised shearing and how the Murray River changed its course. Learn about the despair of searching for water and watching as the earth cracked open during the drought. Tales of the long awaited railway can be heard from many locals, connecting remote settlers with city markets, and most importantly, loved ones and family members.

Above all, the Trail demonstrates how people on the land cared for it; from the original custodians, the Aboriginal tribes, to the early pioneering families. Similarly, visitors will see how modern farming communities are constantly adapting, evolving and caring for the environment in which they live and work.

The Trail features 22 attractions in total, with half of these being food and/ or wine producers, and gives visitors the opportunity to meet some of the locals who grow and create such delectable delights.

Along the Trail you will discover some very special niche businesses offering  delicious delights to be sampled and enjoyed such as meads, avocados, honey, wines, olives, and citrus fruits, just to name a few.

Handmade and nurtured from paddock to plate, this beautiful region is filled with a wealth of award winning producers; Barham Avocados 2012 and Pacdon Park in 2011 are two Trail attractions and winners of ABC Delicious Awards, while Bundarra Berkshires was a runner up in 2012. Restdown Wines were awarded a Bronze Medal for their 2011 Semillon at the NSW Small Winemakers Wine Show, and Bundarra Berkshires took out a Gold Medal for their pork schnitzel in the Quick and Easy Pork section at the 2012 Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards.

It has been said that travelling the Trail is like taking part in a progressive farmers’ market; most of the Trail’s producers believe in the slow food philosophy and, in the great country tradition of hospitality, the locals are always up for a yarn - so be sure to bring along a chair.

As you travel the Trail, for those who are interested in something a little bit different, the Farmgate Sculpture Trail offers a taste of the Backroads creativity and ingenuity. You can follow this unique trail of sculptures to discover the quirky and playful side of the community. The sculptures are developed and installed by the residents of the Backroads region and feature recycled farm materials and often a good sense of humour.

The Backroads Trails received funding in 2011 through the Riverina Red Gum Regional Employment and Community Development Fund to assist with establishment costs. The project has also had strong support from Murray and Wakool Shire Councils and from the Murray Catchment Management Authority.

For those interested in visiting the newest tourism region along the Murray, more information can be found on the Trail’s website – www.backroadstrail.com.au or by contacting the Visitors  Information Centres located in Echuca-Moama, Barham, Mathoura or Deniliquin.

Things You Need To Know:

  • Fuel is only available in the larger communities of Barham, Mathoura, Moama or Deniliquin so be sure to fill up before heading onto the Backroads.
  • Some parts of the Trail have limited mobile phone reception and Internet access.
  • Farm equipment is often transported along the public roads, please be patient and when it is safe the driver will allow you to pass.
  • Always leave a gate the way you found it and if you come across stock be sure to slow down – stock have the right of way.
  • Stick to the road conditions, observe local council advisory signs and keep to or below the speed limits. Some roads are unsealed or dry weather only and it is important to call ahead of time if the weather has been inclement and check for road closures.
  • Look out for animals and avoid travelling at dawn, dusk, and night as native wildlife is active and stock may wander. To report injured wildlife please phone WIRES or 1800 641 188.

Tags: Highway Journey Echuca Moama Barham Deniliquin Mathoura Trail
Category: Features
Written: Fri 01 Mar 2013
Printed: March, 2013
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