Only got a couple of days to get to know a new city? Our Big Five City Guides can help. We break each destination down into culture, history, dining, shopping and relaxation must-sees and dos. Sue Wallace checks in from amazing Albury-Wodonga on the New South Wales/Victoria border...

Mention Albury-Wodonga and many travellers have childhood memories of passing through this relaxed country centre on the well-worn route between Sydney and Melbourne.

However, these days Albury-Wodonga is a place you will want to linger. It’s come of age with an exciting food scene to explore, bike tracks to discover, water activities to keep you cool and a vibrant arts buzz. It straddles the Murray River on the border of New South Wales and Victoria — with Albury on the NSW side and twin city Wodonga on the other in Victoria.

Enjoy this Albury-Wodonga travel guide.

Albury-Wodonga travel guide

Albury-Wodonga travel guide. Image: Alamy

Need to know

Base yourself: City Centre
Average hotel price per room/per night: $150 AUD
You can’t go wrong with: Modern Australian, Asian fusion, Thai
Best breakfasts & coffee: Dean Street, City Centre, Noreuil Park
Top spots for a beverage: City Centre, Noreuil Park
Must-dos: Albury CBD Walking Tour, Bonegilla Migrant Experience

Best times to visit

Regardless of the season Albury-Wodonga is a great place to enjoy a break. The region enjoys hot and dry summers, mild autumns and springs, and cool winters. Expect long stretches of clear blue sky in summer, and sunny days and crisp nights in winter. February to April, and October to December are most favourable.

Albury-Wodonga travel guide

Enjoy the stunning Albury Botanic Gardens all year round. Image: Sue Wallace

Culture

The flourishing cultural scene is one of the best reasons to pay a visit to Albury-Wodonga.

Step into the bold and beautiful Murray Art Museum Albury (known as MAMA) for an all-encompassing contemporary art experience, featuring international touring exhibitions and deep connections to the regional surrounds and cultural identity of the city. Interactive workshops are offered to channel your creative flair.

Albury-Wodonga travel guide

Albury-Wodonga travel guide: Albury Library Museum. Image: Alamy

Around the corner on Kiewa Street, you’ll find the striking Albury Library Museum (with a permanent exhibition dedicated to the city’s heritage), and next to that, the Albury Entertainment Centre.

Hot House Theatre presents robust Australian playwriting at the rustic Butter Factory Theatre — part of a dairy built in 1928. Located in the Gateway Village arts precinct, it offers lively productions that will make you laugh and cry, but above all entertain!

Albury-Wodonga travel guide

Image courtesy of Hot House Theatre

The Flying Fruit Fly Circus is home to the ever-tumbling, twisting and turning national youth circus that travels the world, but you may get lucky and catch a show on home turf. Their catchcry is ‘ordinary kids doing extraordinary things’ and it doesn’t take long to fall under their spell.

The Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk is a 5km trail of 11 significant sculptural works created by local Indigenous artists.

History

Albury-Wodonga was home to the Wiradjuri first people and settled as a colonial crossing point of the mighty Murray River.

Delve into Albury’s colourful past by downloading the CBD heritage walking tour, which showcases 21 sites spread over 13 locations along the city’s main streets. You’ll see the Albury Railway Station with the longest undercover platform in the southern hemisphere. It’s great for photos!

Albury-Wodonga travel guide

Albury-Wodonga travel guide: Albury Railway Station. Image: Alamy

The stark white Albury War Memorial, a tribute to fallen soldiers, sits on top of Monument Hill and looks directly down Dean Street – the city’s main thoroughfare that runs to the historic railway station. The monument has fabulous views and if you decide to walk, it’s a great work out.

Albury-Wodonga travel guide

Albury-Wodonga travel guide: Enjoy the view of Albury from Monument Hill.

More than 300,000 migrants called the Bonegilla Migrant Centre home from 1947 to 1971. Today it’s a poignant and evocative reflection on what camp life was like for those mid-20th century arrivals from many distant shores. Once comprising 24 blocks, churches, banks, sports fields, a cinema, hospital, police station and railway platform, only Block 19 remains. Audio recollections by former residents reflect the dreams of Australia’s post war migrants.

Dining

Albury-Wodonga offers a tasty array of culinary experiences.

Dine at The River Deck cafe in a beautiful setting on the banks of the iconic Murray River at Noreuil Park. Owner Alex Smit and chef Ludo Baulacky do a superbly cosmopolitan menu.

Albury-Wodonga travel guide

Image courtesy of The River Deck. Image: Mark Jesser

After you have checked out MAMA, venture to the gallery’s Canvas Eatery, where Tim Tehan turns fresh local ingredients into delicious treats. Bistro Selle with Matthew Fuller and Tara Davis at the helm, offers contemporary bistro fare, while at Din Dins you’ll enjoy traditional Asian street food with a twist.

Albury-Wodonga travel guide

Image courtesy of Bistro Selle. Image: Mark Jesser

The Proprietor is housed in one of Albury’s oldest buildings and serves modern paddock-to-plate cuisine, and Geoffrey Michael Patissier is the ‘go to’ for a sweet treat. Ebden & Olive provides perfect picnic creations and nearby Nord Bakery makes delicious Scandi bread and pastries.

Albury-Wodonga travel guide

Albury-Wodonga travel guide. Image courtesy of Geoffrey Michael Patissier

Across the border in Wodonga, Miss Amelie is housed in the former railway precinct. Here, David Kapay does a modern take on European classics. Keeping up the street food smarts is Andiamo, which calls a shipping container home! Expect fabulous treats from this quirky bolthole.

Albury-Wodonga has a buoyant coffee scene. For some of the best drops head to Piccolo Pod in Stanley Street, Early Bird Cafe and The Brothers Cup.

Shopping

Albury-Wodonga is home to many of Australia’s major retail chains, but there’s no shortage of unique local stores to browse.

Di Billiet in South Albury, Little Nest in Dean Street and Pour Mes Amis in revitalised Volt Lane have a great range of gifts, clothing and homewares. Booklovers will enjoy Books on Dean — an antiquarian bookshop, specialising in rare and out-of-print books.

For a taste of the region’s fabulous local produce and a chance to mingle with local producers, pay a visit to the Albury-Wodonga Farmers’ Market, which takes place every second Saturday between 8am and noon on the banks of the river.

Albury-Wodonga travel guide

Albury-Wodonga travel guide. Image courtesy of Albury Wodonga Farmers’ Market

Relaxation

In summer, bring a tube and join the locals for a ‘float’ down the Murray.

Be prepared — even on the hottest day the chilly water temperature almost takes your breath away!

Kayaking and canoeing are also popular ways to enjoy the river. For all water sports, head to nearby Lake Hume which is five times the size of Sydney Harbour.  A 15-minute drive from Albury-Wodonga, it’s an adventure water ‘wonderland’ for boating, yachting, paddle boarding, water-skiing and fishing. You can also walk over the dam wall.

Albury-Wodonga travel guide

Albury-Wodonga travel guide: Enjoy a variety of water activities on Lake Hume. Image: Alamy

A short 10-minute drive west of Albury-Wodonga is Wonga Wetlands — an ecosystem of man-made lagoons and billabongs. It’s a birdwatcher’s paradise with six bird hides and more than 155 identified resident species.

There are extensive walking and cycling trails in and around the city centres, but if all that sounds a little too energetic, a gentle stroll through the magnificent Albury Botanic Gardens (dating back to 1877) is the perfect way to unwind.

For more information, please visit www.visitalburywodonga.com.

Do you have any tips to add to our Albury-Wodonga travel guide? We would love to hear from you. Please send us a message.

 

About the writer

Sue Wallace studied law at Melbourne University, then swapped to journalism and worked as a finance reporter for The Australian. She soon discovered that the world of travel writing was much more appealing than crunching numbers. Based in Albury (New South Wales), she wrote for The Border Mail (Fairfax) for 29 years and now writes freelance. Sue has bunkered down in luxury hotels, sailed on impressive boats, stood in awe of exotic blood-red sunsets and made the first footprints on pristine beaches at sunrise — but it’s the people she meets along the way that make the story.


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