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.
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.
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.
Albury Airport (ABX) is served by:
- Regional Express flying from Sydney and Melbourne.
- Qantas flying from Sydney.
- Virgin Australia Flying from Sydney
Albury-Wodonga is situated on the Hume Highway, the most direct main road between Sydney (6 hours) and Melbourne (3 1/2 hours).
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.
- Countrylink run two services a day in each direction between Sydney and Melbourne. These trains stop at both Albury and Wodonga stations.
- V/Line run three trains a day in each direction from Southern Cross Station in Melbourne. On weekdays they run an additional coach service connecting with the Melbourne train to and from Seymour. The coach service stops in the centre of town in Wodonga, away from the railway station.
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.
- Albury Library Museum, 540 Kiewa St., Albury, NSW (corner of Kiewa St and Swift St, Albury). The locals are justifiably proud of this standout building that houses a museum, library, and gallery exhibition space.
- Botanic Gardens (corner of Dean St and Wodonga Place, Albury).
- Rutherglen Victoria (27 KM down the Murray Valley Highway from Albury-Wodonga). Rutherglen is known for it wineries producing big red wines. A great place to visit some wineries, take a picnic, or see some vineyards.
- Nail Can Hill Walking Track, just west of central Albury.
- Cycle along Lake Hume to Tallangatta, on the High Country Rail Trail. You can start from the visitor centre, or from the south of the town.
- Albury Swim Center (Wodonga Place and Hume Highway). Great place to spend a summer's day. 3 pools and a water slide. Kiddy pool is big, and under shade. Slide is 3 stories high and fast. Good coffee and decent pool-food available at the on-site cafe.
- Lake Hume, lake road and springdate road, albury, nsw. Man made reservoir with swimming and boat rental. Great on a hot day.
- Kayak, lake road and springdate road, albury, nsw. Hire a kayak and float down the Murray River that winds itself through Albury.
- green zebra, 484 dean st albury. fresh pasta made in house, eat in breakfast, lunch and dinner, and easy to cook meals to take home.
- Electra Cafe, Shop 3, 441 Dean Street, Albury, ☎ +61-2-6021-7200. Electra Cafe rather daringly calls itself "halfway between Oxford Street (Sydney) and Brunswick Street (Melbourne)". The coffee doesn't come close to living up to Sydney's standards, let alone Melbourne's, but it's a good place to eat if you want something a bit more novel than most of the country-town milkbar fare at many of the other cafes. The scrambled eggs with pesto on the breakfast menu is worthwhile.
- Gallery Cafe Dean Street, Shop 6, 499 Dean Street, Albury, ☎ +61-2-6041-1099. The Gallery Cafe is a fairly standard country-town cafe. It does freshly squeezed juices and tasty focaccias. The open grills are suited to people who like an enormous amount of cheese.
- Deli Bean Cafe, 237 Beechworth Road, Wodonga VIC 3690. Best coffee in Wodonga. Nice decor and friendly service too.
- Qfood, 1/555 Dean Street, Albury (Look for the orange umbrellas opposite the art gallery in the main street (Dean st)), ☎ +61 260211994. 7.30AM - 3.00PM. Great cafe, local food, locally roasted coffee made professionally, good service, very clean, feels good!
- Albury Motor Village, 372 Wagga Road, Lavington (Wagga Road is the street name of the Hume Highway in north Albury), ☎ +61-2-6040-2999. 8AM-8PM. Doubles as the YHA hostel. Dorm beds from $19.50.
- Australia Park Motel, Wodonga Place - Albury, NSW 2640, ☎ +61 2 6021 6000. located in a beautiful part of Albury close to the Murray River, parks, shops, and sporting facilities. Conference room and facilities, guest laundry, a large swimming pool, barbecue and licensed restaurant. recently-renovated 3-bedroom cottage next door for families wanting self-contained accommodation.
- Comfort Inn and Suites Georgian, 599 Young Street, Albury (On the old Hume Highway close to Albury's centre, opposite the Bunnings warehouse), ☎ +61-2-6021-8744. The Comfort Inn & Suites Georgian is a comfortable motel sleeping 2-3 adults in most rooms and up to 7 people in the larger Family rooms. The motel has undertaken extensive renovations and has a large range of luxury rooms available. The motel is situated along the old Hume Hwy. which was bypassed in March 2007. The motel is now located just off the Hume Hwy. via the main Albury city centre (Riverina hwy) exit. Double rooms from $130.
- Commodore Motor Inn 36 Rooms, a fully licensed à la carte restaurant, fax and photocopying service, high-speed internet, and Conference and Meeting Facilities. Located at 515 Kiewa Street - Albury, NSW 2640 Ph: 02 6021 3344 | Fax: 02 6041 2947 | Toll free 1 800 674 555
- Lake Hume Resort, Lake Hume Village. If you need a bit more space for the kids, this place offers larger cabin style rooms, a tennis court, swimming pool and mini-golf, just a short walk from the Hume Dam.
- Quest Albury, 550 Kiewa Street, Albury, ☎ +61 2 6058 0900. Serviced Apartment style accommodation in Albury. Featuring self contained studios and 1-3 bedroom apartments.
- Wodonga Caravan and Cabin Park, 186 Melbourne Road, Wodonga, Victoria, 3690, ☎ +61 2-6024-2598. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. Wodonga Caravan and Cabin Park is easily accessible from the Hume Freeway when travelling north from Melbourne or south from Sydney. Self contained ensuite cabins from $63 (exc. linen), $71.50 (with linen). Caravan sites from $25 per night..
- Enjoy Albury, Albury, ☎ +61 416 094 936. Rentral house with 5 bedrooms. Spa Bath, In House Movies, Pool table, Tennis Table, Swimming Pool, Pinball Machines.
- Comfort Inn & Suites Blazing Stump (Albury Accommodation), 4327 Anzac Parade, Wodonga, Victoria 3690 (Through Wodonga City Centre: Follow Hume Highway to the second Wodonga turnoff. Turn Right at lights onto High St for another 2km through traffic lights and over railway line. Proceed in your left lane and at Tower Roundabout (large oval roundabout with water tower) Take the Thomas Mitchell Drive exit (your third turnoff between Mobil Service Station and Hollywood's Cafe) Follow Thomas Mitchell Drive for 2.5km through roundabout, over railway line and straight through 3 roundabouts Passing Bunnings, we are on the right hand side.), ☎ +61 2 6056 3433.
- Quest Albury, Serviced Apartments, 550 Kiewa Street, Albury NSW 2640, ☎ +61 2 60580900. Check-in: 2.00PM, check-out: 10.00AM. The only 41/2 star in Albury city centre. Offering studio, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments with full kitchen & laundry facilities. Restaurant onsite, day spa, conference facilities, undercover parking.www.questalbury.com.au for great rates. Accommodating nightly, weekly and long term stays. $135.
- Wodonga Boutique B & B, 3 Warrina Court, Wodonga, ☎ +61 2 6056 4907. A Bed & Breakfast offering country hospitality at its finest in a secluded and spacious one bedroom suite with its own private entrance. $140.
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:
- Beechworth - Known for its gourmet food and small craft boutiques.
- Bright - About an hours drive, in the heart of the high country.
- Rutherglen - 30 minutes away, featuring many surrounding wineries known for their reds.
|Routes through Albury|
|END ←||N S||→ Chiltern → Melbourne|
|Sydney ← Holbrook ←||N S||→ Chiltern → Melbourne|