The legal free camping around Echuca is generally a short 10-20 minute drive out of town, except Rotary Park, which while close to town, does request a donation and is only available to self-contained campers (toilets are not unlocked except for events).
I will add more notes and photos as I stay at more places.
This is the closest legal camping to the township of Echuca for fully self-contained campers, though it’s not technically free as they request a donation (though $10 is a very cheap way to stay close to town).
A popular campground with a toilet block and two smaller river beaches, Wills Bend has a boat ramp between its two campgrounds and is popular with wakeboarders.
While busy in the summer months and long weekends, we have lucked on both campgrounds almost to ourselves on winter weekends.
A super popular campground due to its river beach and toilet block, in the summer months and long weekends it’s pretty chaotic as loads of campers stay in the area close to the amenities.
However, there are quieter dispersed campsites around the roads on either side of the bend but they can be hard to nab in the warmer months as they are quite popular with longer-stay campers.
Wikicamps Link (you need to see it in the app to see all the photos and reviews, it’s worth the one-off purchase fee).
Barmah Forest/Barmah Island (River Murray Reserve)
About 30 minutes from Echuca to get here you head out the back of the Barmah Pub and Caravan Park and just find the gravel road closest to the river to drive along. There is dispersed camping all along the river in the River Murray Reserve (a long linear reserve that runs a huge distance of the Murray in Victoria.) between the pub and the National Park boundary as well as on Barmah Island. Roads can become impassable (particularly to the Island) after bigger rainfall events/flooding.
The area is marked in more to explore app as Proposed Murray River Park. At the moment it still seems to be shire-managed crown land + River Murray Reserve at the banks.
I love Barmah Forest as it currently has dog friendly camping but you are surrounded by proper bush (may change if it becomes part of a park). The last time I stayed there were birds of prey hunting on the river and then perching on branches across the river banks.
While it is dog-friendly camping, it’s not really safe dog-friendly swimming as the banks are fairly steep at most campsites and you would likely need to launch boats at nearby boat ramps.