(I have had a quick diversion because I wanted to let you know about the botanic art exhibition in Melbourne. I went to it this morning and, if you are in Melbourne, it is definitely worth a visit. Now I want to get back on the road, and continue to tell you about the caravanning trip I have just finished.)
In the last post about the travels I mentioned that we were headed almost directly north, through the Mallee Country.
Mildura is so different to the little country towns like Hopetoun. It has a population of over 300,000. It bustles, because it isn’t just a one-industry-wheat-town. While some of the industries, such as the big citrus orchards, might be floundering, there are others that may pick up some of that slack. It is a service hub. It is also a point where many routes cross — north to Broken Hill, west to South Australia and further to Western Australia, east to towns further up the Murray, south to Melbourne and north-west to Inland Australia. It makes it a great place for the grey nomads (is that us?!) to stop and revive, and stock up for the next leg of their journey.
Once paddle steamers sailed the Murray, transporting cargo up and down the river. Many of them carried wool from the inland stations along the Murray and the Darling Rivers to ports like Mildura and Echuca, where the bales were shipped to the major cities.
There are some quite nice art deco buildings. I even found a latte that was so good I had to have another. And they did suspended coffees!