Albury-Wodonga has been the gateway between Melbourne and Sydney since 1860, with the Murray River splitting the towns in two. Whichever direction you arrive from, there’s no shortage of reasons to stick around a little longer on your next road trip — here’s a few.
The Wonga Wetlands are also home to the Wiradjuri Cultural and Education Centre which provides some insight into the history of the local indigenous people. A couple of different walking trails highlight a traditional Aboriginal campsite for the area and a canoe scar tree.
Also, keep an eye out for some of the 176 bird species like the rare red backed kingfisher, magpie geese or the mighty wedge tailed eagle. The Wonga Wetlands Visitor Centre is housed in the old homestead and contains many indigenous artefacts and artworks.
The Wagarri Trail/Yindamarra Sculpture Walk runs from the Wonga Wetlands all the way to Noreuil Park and the River Deck Cafe. This 6km trail is suitable for walking and cycling and is popular with locals. There are eleven sculptures created by local Aboriginal artists, each with their own interpretive signs.
On your way back into Albury, a small detour will take you to the war memorial at Monument Hill. Besides the stunning white spire, you also have great views down on Albury’s city centre.
When it comes to botanic gardens, Albury is extremely proud of theirs. Autumn is a great time to visit as the colours on show will mesmerise you. The layout and variety of trees is just perfect and don’t forget to look up. There is an enchanting Children’s Garden within the complex that will keep the little ones busy for hours, the locals love it too.
A walk around the city centre led me to MAMA, the Murray Art Museum Albury, where an exhibition of Aboriginal art caught my attention. The displays are changing regularly with the works of local artists also on show.
The construction of Hume Dam began in 1919 and was completed in 1936 to help control the flow of the Murray River for navigation, irrigation, flood and drought control. It also created an amazing space for water activities such as water skiing and fishing, landscape photography and bird watching. The dam wall is a tourist attraction on its own, with walking access along the top that offers amazing views of the expansive waters behind the wall and the tamed Murray River flowing below.
A heritage listed steel truss road bridge opened in 1930 spans a section of the Hume Dam and is the border crossing from Albury to Bethanga, home of Posh Plonk. Offering a unique cellar door experience, this is a great place to while away an afternoon amongst the vines, overlooking Lake Hume. You must pre-book your visit via the web page, paying $20 per person and you’ll receive a bespoke Posh Plonk Riedel glass and tastings as well as the opportunity to order platters made offsite by Clancy’s Food Store in Albury.
When it comes to uptown funk, check out Two Fingers Gentlemen’s Barbershop & Bar, THE place to gather in Albury before heading out for a night on the town or get the full beard and hair treatment in the barber shop.
Wodonga City Centre is enjoying a revamp with Junction Place pulling in the crowds. Once home to the railway station and yards, this groovy urban development hosts cafes, a brewery, a fine dining restaurant and regular outdoor markets.
Post World War II, Australia needed migrants to help with its labour shortages. Initially only displaced persons from refugee camps were selected before Australian immigration officials realised they required more people and so assisted migrants were welcomed. Each person over the age of 16 had to sign a contract ensuring that for two years they would work any job in any part of Australia.
The Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre was established to house and train the migrants before they were allocated to a job. It is interesting to note that one in twenty Australians are connected to someone who spent time at Bonegilla. You can now explore Block 19, the last remaining of more than 24 blocks and see what life was like for these new arrivals.
Albury Wodonga may be separated by the Murray River, but they are united in promoting the twin towns as one destination, one in which you should add to your list of “places to go”.
Where to Stay
Albury All Seasons Caravan Park is nicely situated at the northern end of Albury on Wagga Road, a stone’s throw from the Hume Freeway. With its autumn leaves on full display, the park’s beauty added to its charm. When it comes to accommodation options, there is a range of cabins to choose from.
All sites are powered with gravel drive thru sites for caravans and grass for camping. There is a well-equipped camp kitchen, BBQs, swimming pool and playground for the kids. The park is dog friendly (managers discretion) and there is a reserve next door, perfect for exercising the dogs and children.