Albury-Wodonga

Albury-Wodonga is a twin city straddling the Murray River border of the two south-eastern Australian states of New South Wales and Victoria. Albury is the city on the New South Wales bank of the river, Wodonga the Victorian city on the southern bank. For all practical purposes related to travel, the two cities are one. The cities are a gateway to the gourmet area surrounding Beechworth, the mountain town of Bright and the Rutherglen winery area. They also make a good stopping-off point on the drive between Melbourne and Sydney.

Understand

Whilst in many senses Albury-Wodonga operates as a single community(sometimes to the dismay of residents), the twin cities possess parallel municipal governments and state government services. The closer proximity of Melbourne and the local predominance of Australian Rules Football perhaps give Albury a closer cultural affiliation with Victoria.

Grand plans were made by the government 30 years ago to turn Albury-Wodonga into a major inland city and the cities have grown rapidly from sleepy country towns to major regional centres.

The Albury-Wodonga Visitor Information Centre is on Lincoln Causeway (Hume Highway) between the two cities. It is open 9AM-5PM daily.

History

The Wiradjuri people were probably the tribe of indigenous Australians resident immediately before the advent of Europeans in the area in the 1820s-1830s. European settlement was first gazetted at this popular river crossing in 1839 and after a decade a small settlement was well established.

1851 saw the separation of Victoria from New South Wales as a separate colony with the Murray marking much of the border, and Albury and Wodonga developed as a border town, with customs points between a protectionist Victoria and a free trade favouring New South Wales.

A permanent bridge was built over the Murray river in 1860, with horse drawn coach connections running between the train stations in Wodonga and New South Wales, each running trains on different railway gauges. Even after the rail bridge was built, trains from Victoria ran to Albury, and trains from New South Wales ran to Wodonga, as the governments could not agree on a common interchange station.

Albury eventually emerged as the choice for interchange, but the railway gauges remained incompatible until the 1960s when the standard gauge track was laid to Melbourne allowing the first trains to run from Sydney to Melbourne without a change in Albury. The size of Albury station still reflects this heritage.

Albury was also the focus of attempts to open up the inland trade along the Murray, with paddlesteamers seen as a technology that would open up large tracts of farmland to the market. Although strongly supported by the South Australian government the paddlesteamers were never really a financial success, but the wharves and paddlesteamers in Albury today are at least a tribute to the tenacity of the steamer pioneers.

Get in

Hume Highway through Albury

By plane

Albury Airport (ABX) is served by:

By car

Albury-Wodonga is situated on the Hume Highway, the most direct main road between Sydney (6 hours) and Melbourne (3 1/2 hours).

By train

Albury and Wodonga have played a major role in the history of Australian railways, forming the border post and change of railway gauge. Although the standard gauge line was extended to Melbourne to allow direct services in the 1960s, the intermediate stations (such as Wodonga), Wangaratta, etc., were only serviced by the Victorian trains. The Sydney to Melbourne trains would run express from Albury to Melbourne. In 2012 the standard gauge line was completed for the intermediate stations, meaning that the Sydney to Melbourne trains now stop at Wodonga. However, as part of the reconstruction, the Wodonga station was moved around 5 km from the Wodonga town centre. Albury station remains easy accessible to the Albury town centre.

Get around

Albury is poorly signed, especially outside of the CBD. It is very easy to get lost without local knowledge. If you do get lost, locals are almost always willing to help you. If possible, use a map or GPS system. Wodonga is much better signed, and it is much less likely that you will get lost there.

See

Do

Eat

Drink

Sleep

Go next

The main routes out of Albury-Wodonga are the Hume Freeway (between Sydney and Melbourne), Murray Valley Highway (a scenic route along the Murray River, the Riverina Highway (a route linking Albury and Deniliquin), and the Olympic Highway (links Albury with Wagga Wagga and provides an alternate route to Sydney).

Off the major roads are notable towns of:

Routes through Albury

END  N  S  Chiltern Melbourne
Sydney Holbrook  N  S  Chiltern Melbourne


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, December 26, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.