Australia is a big place... in fact, it's so big, most of us don't even know some of the great suburbs and towns out there we could be calling home! Each month, we'll bring you the profile of a new location to get excited about and we'll tell you all the reasons it may just be worth a sea-change! This month: real estate in Echuca, the beautiful town on the banks of the Murray.

real_estate_echuka

Like much of Australia, Victoria has a long list of stunning regional towns, but few offer the serene beauty of Echuca, nestled on the banks of the Murray, right on the state border with NSW.

Despite the tourist sites, Echuca is more than a town with steamboat tours, biting fish and a claim on Ragnar himself (actor Travis Fimmel), it is an opportunity to become part of a welcoming and close-knit community, where the education and lifestyle are great, and the real estate is even better!

The local community

At around 13,000 people, Echuca is the perfect size for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of Melbourne, while still enjoying all the modern conveniences to which you have become accustomed.

Just 2.5 hours from Victoria's capital, Echuca is surrounded by picturesque countryside and on a clear path to nearby regional centres like Bendigo.

Formerly a key river port and railway junction, the town has evolved over time and is now both a tourism centre known for its warm climate, and an important area for agriculture, with the region producing dairy, wheat and livestock like sheep, pigs and cattle.

With a well- appointed main street featuring a variety of shopping options, the town is supported by majors like Woolworths, Coles and Target, with further facilities in Moama, its sister town, right next door.

When it comes to access, real estate in Echuca is varied and options for stunning homes, walking distance to the main street or just a few minutes' drive, are plentiful.

Schools in Echuca

Echuca offers a range of quality public and private education, giving you various options for educating your children locally. Nearby hubs also offer private education and boarding options.

In addition to public primary schools and a catholic primary school, Echuca also supports children with special needs through the Echuca Specialist School.

Similarly, locals can select between a public high school and an Echuca-based Catholic high school, as well as an Anglican Grammar school in the Moama.

For further education and tertiary options, Bendigo TAFE provides a campus in Echuca, which facilitates courses ranging from Training and Assessment, to Childcare, Commercial Cookery and Community Services.

Located 1.5 hours down the road, the Bendigo La Trobe Campus enables regional students to achieve University qualifications in fields from law and health to business, education, IT and science.

Employment in Echuca

While unemployment in youth is higher than the state average, Echuca' s strong tourism and agricultural industries offer a range of opportunities.

A quick review of major job boards shows, at time of writing, close to 178 jobs advertised in Echuca and a further 150+ in neighbouring Moama. Jobs range from work in the local council to administrative, tourism and trade work.

Entertainment and leisure in Echuca

Like most regional towns in Australia, Echuca is a sporting area, proudly producing a number of professional AFL players for clubs right across Australia. With several AFL clubs, the town also has stand out local performers in netball, hockey and soccer, but of possibly most note, is the local fishing and water-skiing scene.

Echuca is home to the annual Southern 80 Ski Race which attracts tens of thousands of visitors and is one of the largest events of this nature in the world.

If waterskiing isn't your passion, but you're keen to get out and see the Murray in all its glory, Echuca is also the proud home of an extensive paddle steamer collection, with several still in operation, offering guests a relaxed tour of the stunning waterways and scenery. The area also caters to a number of historic and music festivals, including a renowned Blues festival.

Beyond the annual highlights and riverboat tours, the region is also known for its local produce and related dining opportunities.

While the famed fine dining spot, Oscar Ws is closed for renovations, visitors and locals alike can enjoy exceptional and affordable meals at the highly rated American Hotel, and the well-designed Workers Club, which combines great food with very good service (our own team can happily recommend this one!).

A local cinema, several breweries, an aqua park and water sport centre, combined with beautiful opportunities for camping, horse riding, wine tasting and markets make this a spot that can be a relaxing retreat, or an ongoing, action-packed adventure and exploration of all the senses.

Real estate in Echuca

Unlike Melbourne, where property prices have sky-rocketed over recent years, Echuca property has appreciated but remained comparatively affordable, with a solid rental return, making it a prime opportunity for first home buyers and investors alike.

With an average price tag of around $350,000 for a three-bedroom home, and average rent of approximately $340 per week (at time of writing) for the same, the town is suited mainly to older couples, established families and growing families.

Properties in the area vary greatly, with heritage-style homes offering old-world charm and detail that is often overlooked in more modern architecture. Modern homes and options to build are also well-stocked, providing opportunities for first home buyers looking to take advantage of various Government initiatives.

The start of 2019 saw the local area continue to build, with solid property prices and demand, and despite the more significant slow in nearby major cities, the local market is continuing to perform well.

The verdict: Echuca is a surprise -- it is tucked away on the border of NSW and Victoria in a way that gives it much-coveted privacy and peace, yet it is close enough to nearby regional hubs and major cities to pop away for the day and be back home for dinner.

It offers great schooling options, more leisure activities than you can poke a stick at and has been sheltered from some of the real estate market dip that has really eroded prices elsewhere.

We popped into Echuca to check it out for ourselves and we highly recommend you do the same (have the home-made gnocchi at the Workers Club, it's magic!).