Echuca, Victoria, 27 March 2013 | Tennis Australia

For more than 25 years, Robyn Christiansen of Melbourne has been making an Easter pilgrimage with her family to the regional Victorian town of Echuca on the banks on the Murray River, to play in a tennis tournament over the long weekend.

Robyn is one of many people Australia-wide who head away at Easter to play tennis, socialise and enjoy some quality family time, and spoke with give us an insight into this great Australian tradition.

What is your earliest memory of going away at Easter to play in a tennis tournament?

In the early 1980s we started going to the Yarrawonga tournament over the Easter long weekend. This was when my younger sister was playing junior tournaments and my mum thought it was pretty crazy that she traipse around Melbourne all Easter to take her to tournaments … My Aunt and Uncle were already going to Yarrawonga and suggested we go too, and that’s how it got started! It meant we could all go away and be on holiday and my sister could still play tennis, and we could as well.

When did you start attending the Echuca tournament?

In 1986 we made the switch to the Echuca tournament. My sister moved to Moama so Echuca was closer to where she lived.  This was the year after my son Cameron was born; he is now 28 years old and has been attending the Echuca tournament since he was a baby.

Where do you and your family stay while in Echuca?

When we were kids my mum and dad had a caravan and we pitched four two-man tents. Today we have four camp-sites that are side-by-side at the Echuca Caravan Park, which we have a permanent booking for over the Easter long weekend.

What do you enjoy most about going to Echuca at Easter?

The weather is always nicer in Echuca than Melbourne at Easter time, and at the tournament you see the same people year after year. There are lots of family groups who go and a core group from the tennis club [Caulfield Recreational] that I have been going to for nearly 25 years. I don’t see them that much at the tennis club anymore but you see them up in Echuca once a year, so it’s nice to catch up with them and people you’ve played against from other clubs, they also go up there.

How would you best describe the tournament?

It’s just really social. We can walk from the caravan park to the tennis courts, and before mobile phones we had walkie-talkies one year and would report into one another. People love watching each other play and enjoy chatting whilst waiting for matches.

Are there any annual social events associated with the tournament?

It varies from year to year. There is usually an annual paddle steamer sail past on the Murray River and fireworks, so that is a bit a tradition with the kids.

Do you think your kids will continue the family Easter tradition?

I am pretty sure our kids will continue the tradition. There have been some years that some of the cousins can’t come for the whole weekend, but they do try and attend for a couple of days. The cousins all love getting together; Mum has 10 grandchildren with an age range of 10 to 28 years, and they all have a wonderful time together. They all play in the tournament and even when they’re not competing they play together on the courts at the caravan park.

Tennis tournaments that are taking place around Australia this Easter long weekend:

Mildura Easter Open Mildura Lawn Tennis Club
Shepparton Easter Tournament Shepparton Lawn Tennis Club
Dingley Bendigo Bank Easter Classic Dingley Tennis Club, Rowan Rd, Dingley Village
Rosebud Easter Claycourt Championships Rosebud Tennis Club, Hove Road, Rosebud
A.S. Lodge Easter Classic Boroondara Tennis Centre, 150 Bulleen Rd, North Balwyn
2013 88th Annual Easter Tournament Echuca Lawn Tennis Club, 29 Nish St, Echuca
115th Annual Easter Tournament Yarrawonga Lawn Tennis Club, Piper St, Yarrawonga
Kerang Lawn Tennis Club Easter Tournament Kerang Lawn Tennis Club, Riverwood St, Kerang
Myrtleford Lawn Tennis Club Easter Tournament Myrtleford Lawn Tennis Club, 1 Myrtle St, Myrtleford
Nepean Easter Junior Open Woodriff Gardens Tennis Centre, Cnr Castlereagh rd and High Street, Penrith
88th Lismore Easter Classic Lismore Tennis Club, Cnr Ballina & Brewster St, Lismore
Warragundi Beef Tamworth Easter Tournament Tamworth Tennis Club, Napier St, Tamworth
99th Albury Easter Open Albury Tennis Association, 365 Townsend St, Albury
Newcastle (Cougars) Easter District Park Tennis Complex, Lambton Road, Broadmeadow
Bundaberg Men’s Pro Tour Drinan Park Tennis Centre, Corner Powers and George Streets, Bundaberg
Bundaberg Women’s Pro Tour Drinan Park Tennis Centre, Corner Powers and George Streets, Bundaberg
Mackay Mid-North Open/Age Mackay & District Tennis Assoc, Leisure Court, Mackay
Toowoomba Easter Gold Cup Toowoomba Tennis Association, 45 Water St, Toowoomba
Brixton Street Junior Open Brixton Street Tennis Centre, 90 Brixton Street, Beckenham
Mitchell & Brown Geraldton Easter Open Geraldton Tennis Club, Eighth Street, Geraldton
Strathalbyn Brideson Easter Tournament Strathalbyn Tennis Club, cnr Murray Street & North Parade, Strathalbyn
82nd Annual Easter Tennis Tournament Riverton Lawn Tennis Club, 30 Frederick Pl, Riverton
Renmark Easter Tournament Renmark Tintra Lawn Tennis Club, Paringa St, Renmark SA
Melrose Easter Tournament Melrose Tennis Club, Melrose Township, Melrose, SA
Tasmanian Easter Gold Cup Launceston Regional Tennis Centre
Devonport Junior Championships Devonport Tennis Club, 2 Eugene Street, Devonport
ACT Open Seniors Championships Weston Creek Tennis Club, Dillion Close, Weston Creek