Though it’s 300 kilometres from a coast, Cohuna has a popular beach. It’s part of a new waterfront development, typical of the town’s creative flair.
“It’s monumental,” says Gannawarra Shire Council Chief Executive Officer, Geoff Rollinson, who’s been with the Shire for more than 25 years. “The waterfront development has been such a change for the town.”
Gannawarra Council, with support from the Victorian Government, developed Cohuna’s waterfront over two years, from 2019. “The works have really transformed the waterfront into a modern place that people flock to,” says Geoff.
Now, it boasts a beach, all abilities play space and skatepark. Pathways and lighting connect the waterfront to businesses in the CBD. The project has been a boon for the town’s locals, for visitors and businesses.
Though Cohuna is at the centre of agricultural activity, it’s also within cooee of many unique natural assets. Notably, it sits alongside Gunbower Creek, which is part of the Murray River system, and re-opened mid-December 2022 after closing due to the effects of the recent floods.
The Cohuna waterfront development makes the most of the natural surrounds – connecting people with nature, and businesses with people.
Apex Park is across the road from central Cohuna and has a swag of new recreational opportunities designed to promote outdoor dining and recreation
Cohuna Beach includes a 150-metre section of sand fronting the water, bookended by two jetties that are a gleeful jumping off points for swimmers. A swathe of parkland behind the beach is now an inviting place to picnic, with barbecues and dedicated dining areas.
Next to the beach, a recently upgraded skatepark is touted as one of the state’s best. Double its original size, the redeveloped park features additional ramps, railings and riding areas to cater for skateboarders, scooter and BMX riders of all skill levels.
Alongside a meandering pathway that follows the creekline is a new all abilities play space that’s proving to be a magnet for families. The All Abilities Adventure Playground includes waterplay, a three-storey replica farm shack, climbing equipment and a flying fox.
Garden Park sits adjacent to the beautiful main street on the Gunbower creek. As part of the development, to connect people to the CBD and boost economic opportunities, the council installed pathways, decking over the water and power supplies secreted in bollards.
Sarah Mostyn is President and Market Manager of the monthly Cohuna Farmers and Makers Market. “The improvements have made Garden Park more user-friendly. We’ve been able to grow the market, to have more stalls, food trucks, a stage for music, and run community events,” she says.
“The waterfront really showcases the natural assets of the town and makes them more accessible. There’s a lot of new businesses starting up,” Sarah adds.
Upgrades to Cohuna’s waterfront also included roadway improvements so it’s easier to drive between Apex Park and Gunbower Island. Eight kilometres north of town, between the creek and the Murray River is Australia’s largest inland island. Gunbower is internationally recognised as a wetland of significance for its importance to birdlife and other animals.
“The beach, the parks and picnic areas are all consistent with the creative Gannawarra brand,” says Roger Griffiths, Executive Manager Economic Development at Council. “Features include natural red gum timbers, artistic signage and creative landscaping designed to provide a strong point of difference,” he adds.
“The Gunbower Creek is the ‘Southbank of Cohuna’ and is an important driver of lifestyle and outdoor activities. The waterfront development is boosting business and investor confidence and highlighting Cohuna as a destination for tourism, lifestyle and business.” Says Roger.
The Victorian Government supported the Cohuna Waterfront development with $1.7 million from the Building Works Package and $250,000 from the Local Sport Infrastructure Fund.
Five Fast Facts:
- Cohuna, pronounced ‘Quna’ – if you’re a true local.
- Cohuna Farmers & Makers Market, every fourth Sunday.
- Cohuna is 375km north of Melbourne, 92km south of Swan Hill and 65km northwest from Echuca.
- Gunbower Island Forest Drive is a leisurely half-day drive through Gunbower Island’s National Park and State Forest.
- Join the community to celebrate Cohuna’s waterfront, Sunday 26 February. There’ll be live music, other entertainment and food trucks.