Albury-Wodonga is the twin regional city that is located on the North-Eastern part of Victoria. With the Hume Highway running next to it connecting Melbourne and Sydney, Albury-Wodonga became the major stop for travellers on the Hume Hwy.
Although often being referred as the twin city, yet, they are actually two cities. With Wodonga located on the South of the Murray River in Victoria and Albury on the North of the Murray in New South Wales.
Albury Motor Village Tourist Park
For this trip, we have spend majority of our time in Albury. We stayed at a nice little caravan park called Albury Motor Village Tourist Park (http://www.alburytouristpark.com.au). It is located in a suburb called Lavington, which is just 10 mins drive North of Albury CBD.
The park is now under new management and the new park owners are very friendly and helpful. They also have plans in doing some major upgrades to the park in very near future.
The park has only a handful of van sites, so they are generally fully booked. Though, there may be upgrading to more van sites in the future. The van sites can be tight, especially with the drive thru sites, so call in early to confirm with the owners in regards to availability and van size limitation. There are other accommodation options such as various style of cabins and YHA shared dormitory.
The park may be small, but it comes with the lot! It has free Wi-Fi (24 hours per night stay), a children’s playground, a swimming pool, a shared BBQ area, a shared guest centre with TV and a very well equipped kitchen area. Guests are also spoiled with choice when choosing your dining options, there are various eateries within walking distance from the park, you can either drive or commute to the CBD for more options, or cook up a storm with the ALDI supermarket just across the street.
As mentioned above, the new owners have plans for some major upgrades to the park in near future, so it will be interesting to see what will happen in the next 12 months.
The heart of Albury is on Dean Street, spreading between Young Street and Wodonga Place. There are also a lot of shops, service stations and other supplies surrounding the CBD of Albury.
The visitor information centre is also very close by, situated on the corner of Young Street and Smollett Street, right next to the Albury Railway Station. The staffs there are knowledgeable, friendly and willing to help.
Diners can be spoiled by choice if you decided to enjoy a meal in the CBD, ranging from fast food outlets to restaurants for a sit down meal. For alternative, you can walk further to Noreuil Parade, where the famous The River Deck is located. It is sitting just on the bank of the Murray and diners can enjoy their meal with a glass overlooking the beautiful Murray River.
We have found the average costs for a sit down lunch to be $15-20 per person, which can be pricey for some people.
There are quite a few attractions in Albury. The Albury Library Museum and the Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA) are in the CBD and are within minutes of walking distance to each other.
The Albury Library Museum is a free and permanent exhibition showing some of the culture of the Wiradjuri people, their history and how they live. The museum also exhibition the insight into Albury’s past and some famous people who were from the town, including the famous Margret Court (Australian Tennis Legend) and Lauren Jackson (Famous Australian Basketball player).
The Library museum also house some information regarding the Bonegilla Story, which involves the migrants of many nations, especially the European nations, which formed the foundation of Australia’s multiculturalism.
For those who have an artistic sense, MAMA is the place to go. The entrance fee as at March 2016, is $15 per adult. Also, during the time of our visit, it was the Festival of Marilyn, which celebrates the life of the one and only Marilyn Monroe, featuring iconic imagery and artworks inspired by her.
With the mighty Murray being so close to town, it plays an important role to the locals and tourists. There are many parklands, walking tracks and public open space along the river, and we saw many locals gathering along the river with their lunch and enjoy the river-view, or the local parents catching up while their children have fun at the playground near The River Deck, or just simply have a relaxing afternoon nap under the natural shading from the trees around.
Albury Botanic Gardens
If you prefer just some relaxing and quiet time close to the nature, apart from the Murray River, the Albury Botanic Gardens would be another nice option. It is located at the West side of Wodonga Place between Dean Street and Smollett Street. So it is just a few minutes’ walk from the CBD. It is another popular place for the locals with their picnic lunch or a relaxing walk during the day.
It is not a very big park, however, it is very well maintained. It is facilitated with many park seats and benches under shades and a drinking fountain. The gardeners did a wonderful job to keep the place functioning, clean and tidy and the plants happy.
During the summer months, there are signs everywhere telling visitors to beware of snakes, therefore, keep an eye out for your children.
Wonga Wetlands is predominately a man-made area, with an ecosystem lagoons and billabong. It is aim to bring back birds and wildlife back in the area, as the construction of the Hume Dam has altered what used to be floodplains along the Murray River. Since the restoration of the wetlands, it is said to house more than 150 species of bird in the area.
Apart from the lagoons and bird watching, the Wonga Wetlands has also recreated a Wiradjuri campsite. It is to show visitors how the Wiradjuri people used to live, and how they used the land back in the days. It is interesting to see how they have men’s camp, women’s camp, young men’s camp, a working area, etc. When we went to Uluru and learned about the Anangu tribe, they also have a very similar camp allocation. Maybe this is a common practice for the Aboriginal tribes?
Unfortunately, during our time of visit, the Wonga Wetlands is quite dry and we didn’t get to see much birds, apart from a few magpies and ducks. We hope we will have better chance next time, more importantly, we hope our readers will get to see the true beauty of the Wonga Wetlands.
Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk
We’ve found the Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk to be the most iconic walk in Albury. It is located at the North side of the might Murray River, spanning almost 6km between Kremur Street Boat Ramp and the Wonga Wetlands.
Along the walking track, not only do you see beautiful river scenery and wildlife, there are also a total of eleven contemporary Aboriginal sculptures created by local Aboriginal artists.
You can choose to either do only a part of the walk or in the full return trip (10.5km – 2-3hrs walk). It is a fairly easy walk with very well paved paths. You can also choose to do the walk in sections by stopping at a few stops in your car, do the full walk on foot or even ride a bike.
There are some pretty amazing artwork on display. You can appreciate the amount of hard work that has put into them and the messages they are trying to express through their art work.
In order to make the most out of this walk’s experience, we were recommended to download the ‘APositive’ app on our smart phones. Once you turn on the app and scan the QR code or images with ‘AR’ symbols, there will be descriptions and even the animated explanations from the artists themselves.
We would personally recommend to bring enough drinking water and a sun hat, especially during warmer and sunny days. From our experience, when we did the walk, it was a sunny warm day, and there were parts of the track which was close to the road and had no shade, without water and a hat, it would be a less enjoyable experience.
There are quite a few other attraction points which we haven’t visited. Some because we haven’t arrived at the right time or season, such as Lake Hume, we were told there was only about 30% capacity when we were there, so we didn’t put it on the top of our list. Also, we haven’t been able to visit the local markets, especially the twilight market in Albury CBD, as when we arrived it was already finished (Oct – Mar).
There are some other attractions, we simply didn’t have enough time reserved for them, such as the Gateway Village, Bonegilla Migrant Centre, Bandiana Army Museum, Albury War Memorial and Huon Hill Parklands.
There is really a lot to see and explore in Albury/Wodonga, we truly believe it is much more than an overnight stop when travelling between Melbourne and Sydney. So we would strongly encourage if next time you get a chance to visit the area, allow some extra days to truly experience the area!