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 Gough Whitlam government in the 1970s 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 (on what was once the Hume Highway) between the two cities. It is open 9AM-5PM daily.
The Wiradjuri people were probably the group 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.
- 1 Albury Airport (ABX IATA). Is served by: Rex Airlines flying from Sydney and Melbourne; Qantas flying from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Albury-Wodonga is situated on the Hume Freeway/Highway, the most direct main road between Sydney (5.5 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 easily accessible to the Albury town centre.
- NSW TrainLink run two services a day in each direction between Sydney and Melbourne. These trains stop only at Albury station.
- 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. All V/Line trains stop at Wodonga and terminate in Albury.
If you do wish to take the train into Albury, however, it is recommended that you take the V/Line service from Melbourne, as it costs just $9.20 for an adult whereas from Sydney the cost is $92, a whopping 10 times the price.
In typical Australian fashion, the lack of cooperation between states has resulting in the lack of proper signage as both states don't really put the other state's city, making navigation quite difficult. However, within each city, signage to the respective CBD is well-signed, but it's still easy to get lost. Nevertheless, locals are almost always willing to help you.
- 1 Albury Library Museum, 540 Kiewa Street, Albury (corner of Swift St). M, W, Th 10AM-7PM, Tu, F 10AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-4PM, Su noon-4PM. The building houses a museum, library, and gallery exhibition space.
- 2 Botanic Gardens, Wodonga Place, Albury (corner of Dean St).
- Murray Art Museum Albury, 546 Dean St, Albury. M–W, F 10AM-5PM, Th 10AM-7PM, Sa, Su, public holidays 10AM-4PM.
- 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 Centre (Wodonga Place and Hume Highway). Great place to spend a summer's day. Three 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 cafe.
- Lake Hume, Lake Rd and Springdate Rd, Albury. Man-made reservoir with swimming and boat rental. Great on a hot day.
- Kayak, Lake Rd and Springdate Rd, Albury. Hire a kayak and float down the Murray River, which winds through Albury.
Both Albury and Wodonga have many large department stores to cater to their growing population. Whether you prefer a large shopping complex with many of the popular chain stores, or the more unique boutique stores, tucked away in a quieter location, you'll definitely fine somewhere to enjoy a browse. Pop into one of the many cafes and coffee shops for a recharge when you need one.
- Deli Bean Cafe, 237 Beechworth Rd, Wodonga. Best coffee in Wodonga. Nice decor and friendly service too.
- Electra Cafe, Shop 3, 441 Dean St, Albury, ☏ +61-2-6021-7200. The 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 St, Albury, ☏ +61-2-6041-1099. 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.
- 1 green zebra, 484 Dean St Albury, ☏ +61 2 6023 1100, email@example.com. M-F 7:30AM-6PM Sa 7:30AM-4PM Su 7:30AM-3PM. Fresh pasta made in house, eat-in breakfast, lunch and dinner, and easy-to-cook meals to take home.
- 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-3PM. Great cafe, local food, locally roasted coffee made professionally, good service, very clean, feels good!
- Albury Tourist Park (formerly Albury Motor Village), 372 Wagga Road, Lavington (Wagga Road is the street name of the Hume Highway in north Albury), ☏ +61-2-6040-2999, toll-free: 1800 624 520, firstname.lastname@example.org. 8AM-8PM. Doubles as the YHA hostel. Dorm beds from $19.50.
- Australia Park Motel, Wodonga Place, Albury, ☏ +61 2 6021 6000. Located in a beautiful part of Albury close to the Murray River, parks, shops, and sporting facilities. Guest laundry, a large swimming pool, barbecue and licensed restaurant. A renovated 3-bedroom cottage next door for families wanting self-contained accommodation.
- Blazing Stump Motel & Suites, 4327 Anzac Parade, Wodonga (Through Wodonga City Centre: Follow Hume Highway to the second Wodonga turnoff. Turn Right at lights onto High St for another 2 km 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 2.5 km through roundabout, over railway line and straight through 3 roundabouts passing Bunnings, we are on the right hand side), ☏ +61 2 6056 3433.
- 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. 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 along the old Hume Hwy, which was bypassed in 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, 515 Kiewa St, Albury, ☏ +61 2 6021-3344, toll-free: 1800 674 555, fax: +61 2 6041-2947. 36 rooms, a fully licensed à la carte restaurant, fax and photocopying service and high-speed internet.
- Enjoy Albury, Albury, ☏ +61 416 094 936. Rental house with 5 bedrooms. Spa bath, in-house movies, pool table, tennis table, swimming pool, pinball machines.
- Lake Hume Tourist Park, 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 St, Albury, ☏ +61 2 6058 0900. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. The only 4½ hotel star in Albury city centre. Serviced apartment-style accommodation featuring self-contained studios and 1-3 bedroom apartments with full kitchen & laundry facilities. Restaurant, day spa, undercover parking. Accommodating nightly, weekly and long term stays. $135.
- 1 Wodonga Caravan and Cabin Park, 186 Melbourne Road, Wodonga, ☏ +61 2-6024-2598. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. Easily accessible from the Hume Freeway when travelling north from Melbourne or south from Sydney. Self-contained en suite cabins from $63 (exc. linen), $71.50 (with linen). Caravan sites from $25 per night..
The main routes out of Albury-Wodonga are the Hume Highway (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 Bathurst 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. Bakery being so famous that it's spread all over Victoria and in some areas of NSW
- 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|
|END ← Lake Hume ←||E W||→ Corowa → Deniliquin|