Lake Mulwala was built in the late 1930s when the Murray was dammed at the Yarrawonga Weir as part of the Murray-Darling Irrigation Scheme. The Mulwala Canal is allegedly the longest irrigation channel in the Southern Hemisphere.
The reservoir covers 6000 ha and is a popular tourist attraction. Picnicking at the foreshore parks, birdwatching, fishing, sailboarding, waterskiing, swimming, canoeing, sailing, boating and guided paddle-boat cruises are all popular on the lake. Pelican Island is a breeding ground for pelicans and there are several ibis rookeries. Thousands of partially submerged trees poke eerily out from the waterline (apparently to stop waves building).
Two paddlesteamers operate on the lake and along the Murray. They are the Lady Murray (tel: 03 5744 2005) and the Paradise Queen, tel: (03) 5744 1843. Bookings can be made through the information centre.
Phil Smith's Ski Rides hires out yachts, canoes, fishing boats, air chairs, kneeboards and ski equipment and he takes people waterskiing, tube riding and paragliding. There are also ski lessons, tel: (0419) 211 122.
The Mulwala Water Ski Park and Club in Melbourne St offers excellent facilities, ski lessons and rides, tel: (03) 5744 1515.
There are boat ramps and some fine foreshore parks adjacent the roads which hug the southern foreshore in Yarrawonga - Hunt St, Bank St (which has a swimming pool and waterslide) and River Rd. There is another pool, waterslide and boat ramp at the end of Inglis St in Mulwala.
Tudor House Clock Museum
The Tudor House Clock Museum has an excellent display of about 400 clocks from around the world, situated within a Tudor-style house at 21 Lynch St (by the Piper St corner). It is open daily from 10.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. but closed some Fridays, tel: (03) 5744 1249.
Arts, crafts and gifts are available daily from Canning A.R.T.S. at 51 Belmore St, tel: (03) 5744 2188.
Linley Park Animal Farm
Linley Park Animal Farm has both native and exotic species, including emus, kangaroos, water buffaloes, donkeys, wombats, native parrots and waterbirds. There are rides on a farm trailer behind a motor bike, and, in season, sheep-shearing demonstrations. There is an emphasis on opportunities for the kids to bottle-feed baby and farm animals and sheep dogs at work. It is possible to purchase baby guinea pigs, ducks and chickens. the owners Pan and Rob Donaldson, do a fantastic bush tucker pan sizzle at lunch time and Pam's tomato relish is, according to one enthusiastic patron, 'to die for'. The farm is at the north-eastern edge of town, at the corner of the Corowa Rd and Bull Plains Rd, tel: (03) 5743 1693.
Virtually opposite is Kyffin Reserve, a quiet and popular area for picnickers and walkers by the lake shore. There is an Aboriginal canoe tree on the eastern side of the reserve.
The Pioneer Museum at 151 Melbourne St has local memorabilia including photographs, agricultural machinery, early forms of transport, a display relating to sports and hobbies and items from the Mulwala station woolshed (1860s). There is also a temporary display of toys from the pre-television era. It is open from 1.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. from Wednesday to Sunday and on school and public holidays, tel: (03) 5744 1402.
Tunzafun Amusement Park has a mini-golf course, dodgem cars, a train ride, chair-o-plane, trampolines etc. It is open daily from 10.00 a.m. in Melbourne St, tel: (03) 5744 2033.
Out of Town
Byramine Homestead is a substantial, early and intact country homestead built in 1842 for Elizabeth Hume, the widow of explorer John Kennedy Hume who was murdered by bushrangers at Gunning in 1840. His more famous brother, Hamilton Hume, took up the run on her behalf.
The large hexagonal house with its three octagonal front rooms was designed by an English architect for usage in India. It sits atop an underground cellar. Ceilings, beams, floors, shutters, doors, roof shingles (now covered with galvanised iron) and the verandah are made of local Murray pine. The walls, up to 50 cm thick, are constructed of hand-made bricks.
The insecurity which characterised the life of Europeans on the 'frontier' is apparent. The house was designed to facilitate clear visibility over the surrounding area, the front door could be defended by gunfire from within, the doors could be barricaded, there are wooden shutters for the French windows and low door handles to allow the children quick entry and, at the centre of the house, is a windowless room which served as an internal fortress. The whole is beautifully set amidst elms and currajongs planted by Elizabeth Hume.
The house is located 15 km west on the Murray Valley Highway. Visitors can avail themselves of Devonshire teas or, by prior arrangement, gourmet luncheons and dinners, and barbecues. It is open from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. from Thursday to Monday, tel: (03) 5748 4321.
Fyffefield Wines are located directly opposite Byramine. They were established in 1993 and produce a range of red, white and fortified wines (shiraz, petit verdot, verdelho, chardonnay, cabernet, riesling, tokay, muscat and ports). They are open daily from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. and there are picnic and brabecue facilities and a children's playground, tel: (03) 5748 4282.
Cobrawonga State Forest
The southern bank of the Murray River, between Yarrawonga and Cobram, is full of delightful twists and turns and tiny beaches. It is bordered by the Cobrawonga State Forest, 2500 ha of fauna-rich river redgum forest. There are a number of possible destinations for those who wish to see the river and forest. Slightly west of Yarrawonga Cullens Rd/Breans Rd heads off the Murray Valley Highway to Yarrawonga Common where there are picnic tables. Further west are the billabongs and beaches of Bruce's Bend and Nevins Bend (both have fireplaces and picnic tables), the beaches and islets of Bourkes Bend (fireplaces and picnic facilities), and Cobrawonga Island (beaches and walking tracks).
Unfortunately the departure roads are not well signposted but the information centre has excellent maps.
Boatrock is an old Aboriginal bathing and watering hole located to the north of town off the Savernake Rd. Contact the information centre for further details and maps.
Junolan Miniature Horse Stud
Here is an interesting and unusual display of miniature horses. Located in a large barn the display includes an informative talk on the history of miniature horses. These miniature horse are so small that none of them is higher than 86 cm. There is an area for photos, a gift and souvenir shop and easy coach access. Junolan Stud is located at Bundalong South 4 km off the Murray Valley Highway. It is available for coach tours only and is not open to the general public. Contact Noel or June Andrews on (03) 5726 8287.