Victoria’s sunniest place is a small town on the Murray River called Cobram. It’s a great place to have a sunny break from Melbourne for an easy and relaxing holiday. It’s also home to the RACV Cobram Resort which is a fabulous place for a holiday at a good price.
We had a fabulous weekend here recently which we especially enjoyed as it gave us the chance to get some summer weather which is sadly lacking in our home city of Melbourne at the moment!
Below you will find our guide to what to do in Cobram and surrounds, a review of the RACV Cobram Resort (the best place to stay in Cobram), our experiences in Cobram with kids and other practical information so you have a great stay.
Cobram is – for a small city – a relatively bustling place with all the tourism. If you’re interested in something more laid back with a small town feel then head across the river to the NSW town of Barooga.
The highlight of Barooga for families is probably the Barooga Botanical Gardens. A large park filled with lots of shade, soft lush grass, electric BBQs, tables, a good set of clean toilets and a playground, this is a great spot for somewhere quieter for a picnic, BBQ or run around with the kids. While the gardens are simple, they are well laid out and the result is a picturesque and lovely place to do something… or nothing much.
The kids loved the playground and it was hard to drag them away to go somewhere else. Covered in shade it was a great place to play even on the hot day we visited.
Really impressive is the fact that the facilities and gardens were set up and maintained by volunteers. They’ve done a great job and there’s some small donation boxes set up if you’d like to help keep it going.
Along the banks of the Murray River around Cobram are a series of sandy beaches which offer a great place to have a dip. These inland beaches are complete with sand and partly shaded by the boughs of large red gums that line this part of the river.
Thompson’s Beach, on the road to Barooga, is one of the larger ones with the best facilities – places to park, toilets, change areas, undercover BBQ and picnic area and a playground which S loved. Z was more interested in checking out the beach.
The beach was quiet when we visited. If you’re not staying somewhere with a pool then this might be a nice river alternative. Please note though that there are currents in the river and it can get deep quickly depending on the water level. People who aren’t strong swimmers should stick close to the sand.
There’s a cafe at Thompson’s Beach although when we visited it was closed due to flood damage from a recent flood.
About 10km out of Cobram, in the town of Koonoomoo, is the Big Strawberry – a strawberry farm and restaurant which boasts the Big Strawberry statue (one of Australia’s many “big” things).
You can pick strawberries at the farm. $15 gets you a collection basket and a 1.5kg punnet to put them in (when that’s full you’re done). S and Z went with Grandma and Grandpa and it didn’t take long to fill up the punnet with huge strawberries.
The restaurant has plenty of strawberry themed food – milkshakes, ice cream, pancakes with strawberry ice cream, scones with jam and cream – as part of a decent range. Prices were more than reasonable (the most expensive thing was $16), serving sizes large and the food tasty making this a great value place to eat in its own right. It’s nicely air-conditioned too, has high chairs available and an indoor playground.
There’s also a shop in the restaurant area with plenty of strawberry produce on offer. Strawberry wine, port, liquers, soaps, relishes and of course jams. If you can make it with strawberries and then eat or drink it, it’s likely to be there.
The only downside was the indoor playground has an entry fee ($5 per child). It looked pretty good but given we’d just paid for our food and strawberry picking, we didn’t feel like paying for something else.
That aside our visit to the Big Strawberry was fun and it’s a great option amongst the things to do in Cobram.
Ten minutes from Cobram, in nearby Strathmerton, is Cactus Country. Spread over four hectares, Cactus Country is the nation’s largest cactus garden. In addition to a whole bunch of cactuses there’s a cafe where you can buy cactus cakes, cactus ice cream and whole lot more (including food with no cactus in it).
The whole place has a Mexican theme, and there’s sombreros to borrow while you wander round or to pose for photos with.
There’s several “trails” with the cactii divided by their native regions. There were maybe 10 different trails. We didn’t try them all, though.
The trails are short but there’s a lot of cactii and we spent a few minutes on one then much longer on another, depending on how interesting or weird the cactii looked.
As we entered, the kids were given a picture question sheet with questions on different cactii. That was a bit old for S and Z so they simply tried to find the different cactii in each picture which helped keep them engaged. For finding many of the cactii on the sheet, they were given a lolly snake at the end.
I had a massive guide book explaining all sorts of things about cactii, the different varieties and for some cactii a little bio. It was, I have to admit, surprisingly interesting. I wouldn’t have thought a cactus would prompt a five minute discussion with the kids but some did.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Cactus Country, but I really enjoyed it. I think the kids felt the same. Our stay wasn’t very long thanks to the flies (the joys of the country in the summer time) and I was disappointed we had to leave so early. The next time I’m in Cobram I’ll be back.
At the time of writing, adults were $12.50 AUD, kids $4 and pre-school kids were free.
A short distance outside of Cobram is this small farm which has some alpacas and a shop with a bunch of alpaca products. For a gold coin donation per person (or a purchase in the shop) you can have a look at the alpacas and even pat or feed them (a bag of feed is $2).
The herd isn’t that big (at least the herd we could see when we were visiting) but they are friendly, being used to visitors. At each pen the alpacas came up to the fence in anticipation of a feed.
It’s pretty simple as far as attractions in Cobram go, but S and Z really liked being able get close to some alpacas. We didn’t stay long but S and Z enjoyed the experience having never seen alpacas before.
Cobram’s premier resort/accommodation is the old but ever-green RACV Cobram Resort. I went here when I was a kid and loved it so I was keen to see how it had changed. It looks near completely new.
There’s lots of different levels of accommodation, from powered tent or caravan sites to cabins to a small section of motel style rooms. There’s several different types of cabins and all look quite nice.
The Park View cabins, of which we had one, are quite new, spacious and well equipped. I don’t think we’ve stayed in a cabin with such a big living/dining/kitchen area. We could spread out and didn’t feel crowded or on top of each other like it has felt in smaller cabins.
Our cabin had three bedrooms, two with queens beds and one with a bunk bed for the kids. The cabin is well set up with furniture and even has a wine storage rack in the kitchen.
Given it can get hot in Cobram there’s fans in the two main bedrooms and a decent air conditioner that cools down the main room. Plus all the cabins had an outdoor table and chairs for relaxing on the cabin’s veranda. A really nice touch.
Most cabins come with linen for all the beds (ours did) but the standard cabins don’t have linen for the bunks – something to keep in mind.
Facilities wise, the resort is well stocked, like any high end caravan park. There are two playgrounds, a jumping pillow, tennis courts, a basketball court, pedal karts to borrow, and some really nice pools.
There’s a toddler pool, a large outdoor pool with one of those mushroom waterfalls and an indoor pool which is heated and has a spa. The indoor pool enclosure opens up so in warm weather it feels connected to the outside, which is nice.
There was also a cafe open for breakfast and lunch as well as the usual caravan park facilities like a laundry room and large kitchen and dining hall, plus a pretty big games room with some arcade games (that we didn’t check out).
It’s the type of place I could easily stay a week and relax. We had a great stay.
Many of Cobram’s attractions are designed for or good for families and kids. Most are simple and needn’t take up a major part of the day although some could if you want. That’s said, the number of attractions isn’t large like a larger city. Cobram’s more a place to go to relax rather than a place you go to do lots of things.
if you’re staying a weekend or half a week then you can keep yourself busy with multiple things in a day. For longer stays you’d probably pick one thing to do a day, if that, and take it easier.
If you are looking for more to do, the nearby towns of Yarrawonga and Echuca (which is just over an hour away) also have attractions for kids.
From Melbourne it’s approximately a three hour drive to Cobram going up the Hume to Seymour before taking the Golburn Valley Highway to Cobram. There’s plenty of places to stop on the way although most are off the freeways and highways.
There’s also a V/Line bus from Melbourne’s Spencer Street coach terminal (or a train to Shepparton then a bus). The station/bus terminus is in the centre of town with accommodation options within short walking distance (although most aren’t). There’s limited public transport, taxis or car hire available in Cobram so if you don’t drive you’ll be quite restricted.
Our time in Cobram was short but really enjoyable. There’s enough kid or family focused places to go to keep a (long) weekend busy although it would have been ideal to stretch it out over a more leisurely visit.
The RACV Resort is a great choice to stay as well and S and Z loved the pool (J not so much). Our cabin was one of the best we’ve stayed in and also one of the cheapest. It would have been nice to stay longer.
If you’re looking for a short sunny getaway from Melbourne or a place with some – but not too many – attractions to help break up a relaxing holiday then Cobram is a good choice.
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