Ten of the best things to do in Albury-Wodonga, NSW/VIC
Road tripping around southern New South Wales and northern Victoria will almost certainly lead you to Albury-Wodonga. Tick off these ten fabulous things to do in the twin towns that bask on the banks of the mighty Murray River.
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’ll 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.
Here are ten of the best things to do in Albury-Wodonga.
1. Get arty at MAMA
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.
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!
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.
3. Follow the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk
Albury-Wodonga has long been home to the Wiradjuri First People and was settled by Europeans in the 1830s. The five-kilometre Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk showcases 11 significant sculptural works created by local Indigenous artists. They reflect the region’s cultural heritage and traditions.
4. Step back in time on a self-guided walking tour
Delve into the Albury city centre’s colourful past by downloading a heritage walking tour map and guide. It covers 21 significant sites, including the Old Albury Court House, Post Office, the T&G Building and St Patrick’s Catholic Church. Albury railway station (circa 1882) has the longest undercover platform in the Southern Hemisphere, thanks to a number of extensions over the decades.
5. Pay your respects and take in the view from Monument Hill
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. A walk up to the monument offers fabulous views, and is great exercise!
6. Visit the Bonegilla Migrant Centre
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.
7. Eat out…a lot!
Both Albury and Wodonga offer a tasty array of culinary experiences. In Albury, dine at The River Deck cafe in a beautiful setting in Noreuil Park. The cafe overlooks the iconic Murray River and owner Alex Smit and chef Ludo Baulacky do a superbly cosmopolitan menu.
Pair your visit to MAMA with a meal at the gallery’s Canvas Eatery, where Tim Tehan turns fresh local ingredients into delicious treats. Also in the CBD, Bistro Selle offers a contemporary European menu under the stewardship of Matthew Fuller and Tara Davis. For flavoursome Asian food, drop by Din Dins on Townsend Street. Directly opposite, The Proprietor occupies one of Albury’s oldest buildings and serves modern paddock-to-plate cuisine.
Up in the city’s north, Norma Wine and Pasta is getting plenty of local recognition for its wonderful Italian tastes. The restaurant is housed in what was once was a corner shop.
Across the border in Wodonga, seek out Miss Amelie in the former railway precinct. Owner and chef David Kapay does a modern take on European classics. Keeping up the delectable street food smarts from its nearby shipping container home is Andiamo Street Kitchen.
8. Shop local
Albury-Wodonga is home to many of Australia’s major retail chains, but there’s no shortage of unique local stores to browse in. Di Billiet in South Albury and Pour Mes Amis in revitalised Volt Lane both stock a great range of gifts, clothing and homewares. Book lovers will adore Books on Dean, which specialises in rare and out-of-print works.
For a taste of the region’s fabulous fresh produce and the chance to mingle with local growers and artisanal food producers, don’t miss the Albury-Wodonga Farmers’ Market. It takes place every second Saturday morning by the river.
9. Go for a ‘float’
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. But for access to a wider range of water sports, pay a visit to nearby Lake Hume. Just 15 minutes’ drive from Albury-Wodonga, it’s five times the size of Sydney Harbour and is great 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.
10. Enjoy a stroll in the Albury Botanic Gardens
If you love to get out and walk, there are extensive walking and cycling trails in and around both city centres. For a gentle stroll, make your way to the magnificent Albury Botanic Gardens.
Dating back to 1877, this horticultural wonderland has shady trees, manicured garden beds and a network of meandering pathways. You’ll also find a significant collection of rainforest flora.
Do you have any suggestions to add to our list of the best things to do in Albury-Wodonga? 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.