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 Albury-Wodonga...
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 where you will want to linger. There’s an exciting food scene to indulge in, bike tracks to follow, water activities to keep you cool, and a vibrant arts buzz to soak up. The twin cities straddle the Murray River on the border of New South Wales and Victoria — with Albury on the NSW side and Wodonga on the other in Victoria.
Enjoy this Albury-Wodonga travel guide.
Need to know
Base yourself: City Centre Average hotel price per room/per night: AUD $150 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 Albury-Wodonga
Regardless of the season Albury-Wodonga is a great place to enjoy a break. The region typically has hot, mostly dry summers, mild autumns and springs, and cool winters with maximum temperatures in the mid teens. February is usually the wettest month of the year. February to April, and October to December are the most temperate times to visit.
Top cultural experiences in Albury-Wodonga
The flourishing cultural scene is one of the best reasons to pay a visit to the Albury-Wodonga region.
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.
HotHouse 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!
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.
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 map and guide, which covers 21 sites across the city centre. You’ll see the Albury Railway Station with the longest undercover platform in the southern hemisphere. It’s great for photos!
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.
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.
Great places to eat in Albury-Wodonga
Both cities offer 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.
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 DinDins you’ll enjoy traditional Asian street food with a twist.
Across the border in Wodonga, Miss Amelie is housed in the former railway precinct. Owner and chef David Kapay does a modern take on European classics. Keeping up the street food smarts is Andiamo Street Kitchen, which calls a shipping container home! Expect fabulous treats from this quirky bolthole.
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.
Ways to relax in Albury-Wodonga
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.
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.
Do you have any tips to add to our Albury-Wodonga travel guide? We would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.
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.