Published by Shepparton News in print and online on January 1, 2013.

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When summer rolls around, Shepparton’s David ‘‘Lewie’’ Lewis and partner Annie Hawking pack their bags and head for the Murray River.

It is a longstanding tradition — Mr Lewis has been camping at Tocumwal’s Bushlands on the Murray tourism park for almost two decades.

Mr Lewis said he and his family camped on Grassy Beach until about 17 years ago, when his friend bought land near Town Beach and developed it into a popular tourism park.

Ms Hawking has been joining him for the past 12 years.

Now a keen fisherman, Mr Lewis said he preferred waterskiing when he was younger.

And although he swapped his speedboat for a dinghy, Mr Lewis said he did not mind when the ski boats scared his fish away.

‘‘Everyone’s got to use the river and skiing was part of our life when we were younger,’’ Mr Lewis said.

‘‘They’re all (staying nearby), so we socialise with them anyway.’’

Mr Lewis said he would not stay anywhere else when visiting Tocumwal.

‘‘It’s a typical caravan park atmosphere; you’re meeting people from all these other areas and don’t realise they live next door to you back home,’’ he said.

Ms Hawking said Tocumwal was a popular destination for Shepparton residents.

‘‘We had two couples walk through the other day and they were people we know,’’ Ms Hawking said.

‘‘You run into a lot of people in town. There’s lots of Shepp people up here.’’

This year, Mr Lewis and Ms Hawking were joined by Ms Hawking’s nephew Danny Sandeman and his friends Anthony Fisicaro, Stewart Crowhurst and Kirsten Holland.

Ms Hawking yesterday said the group was looking forward to a quiet New Year’s Eve, but she said she suspected the younger members might sneak into town to celebrate during the night.

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AuthorToni Brient