Located on the on the northern side of the Murray River, the NSW town of Barham and its Victorian twin on the other side, Koondrook, form the commercial centre for the region’s timber, fat-lamb, cattle and dairy producers.
You can catch the mood of the Murray with a leisurely stroll on the river walks, test your golf on a championship course, or take a swim in the man-made 80 ha Barham Lakes recreational park and picnic on the banks.
This part of the Murray rewards anglers with the odd Murray cod, golden perch silverfish and catfish, while dobbers can land some very tasty yabbies. A track through the caravan park leads to a boat ramp and sand bar which form a safe swimming hole.
Further on, Riverside Park is a popular picnicking area and features a log buggy of the type which were once hitched behind the bullocks used to haul timber to the local mills. Canoes or paddleboats are available for hire.
Although Barham is officially in NSW, the style of life is distinctly Victorian, and Aussie Rules rather than rugby league is played locally. You’ll find the Kerang ibis rookery and the Shannkirst Cashmere Stud on the Victorian side of the river.
The road south leads through ‘Victoria’s Kakadu’, the Gannawarra wetlands which support nearly 160 different species of birds and countless numbers of native fauna.
Beyond the wetlands is Kow Swamp where, in the late 1960s, anthropologists uncovered 13,000-year-old fossilised bones, evidence that at least two distinct Aboriginal races had colonised Australia.
A 25km drive north-east takes you to Murrabit which hosts a celebrated market on the first Saturday of every month.