Upon arrival, you’d be fooled into thinking there’s not much to do and see in Albury. There’s a lot of heart in a city like Albury – it has that same regional sense of community and togetherness but still has the feel of a tiny metropolitan city. With a population of over 45,000 people – this regional town a lot to offer!
Our first stop – and a must! – due to flooding in and around the town, we were unable to go on any of its natural walks, so we needed to change pre-planned tactics and only the Albury Information Centre (Railway Place, Cnr Smollett and Young Streets) knew how! If you’re craving something adventurous – rafting, scenic helicopter flights and canoeing on the Murray River are an offer. Unfortunately, you know, with the floods and all, it meant that our day was wet, windy and miserable but we had to make due with what the weather permitted so we were more limited with choices.
Nearby, the information centre is the historic Albury Train Station. Designed and constructed under the supervision of John Whitton, the grandeur design is something to marvel at. First used during colonial times, the station boasts the longest undercover platform in the southern hemisphere. For picturesque views of the Hume Freeway Bridge walk to the stations’ overpass bridge for the perfect lookout.
If art is your thing, a trip to MAMA (Murray Art Museum Albury) is a must! Located in the heart of the city (and with a killer gift shop!), MAMA (546 Dean Street) contains over 2400 items by numerous artists and features constantly changing collections of paintings, ceramics, bronzes, woodcarvings, sculptural pieces and Indigenous artefacts.
Entry into the museum is free, except for the Speed – the Fast and the Curious (ending November 6th). Perfect for any revhead or car enthusiast, Speed features how local, national and international contemporary artists have interpreted fast moving machines. For those craving more art, the Albury Library Museum (540 Kiewa St) is only a two-minute walk away!
If you’re feeling peckish, Canvas Eatery at MAMA is the perfect place to stop for a bite to eat or a drink off the sophisticated wine and beer menu. With a casual and bright atmosphere overlooking the gardens; owner Tim Tehan and friendly staff are the perfect, hospitable hosts. While the meals are deceivingly filling, despite being on the smaller side, they’re fresh and delicious without the hefty price tag. I opted for the Avocado Smash (with spinach and mushrooms) with a drop of NSW local wine.
With our bellies full, we opted for a walk through the Albury Botanic Gardens (Smollett Street and Wodonga Place). The sun shone down on the over 1000 native and exotic plant species and flowers in bloom, like some sort of divine intervention from above.
As a lover of dinosaurs ever since I was a kid, I was immediately drawn to the large dinosaur just shy of the Children’s Garden entry gates. Hidden within the centre of the Gardens, this children’s interactive wonderland is the perfect play space for families and the young at heart.
For more walks amongst the beauty of nature, there are the Wonga Wetlands, Wagirra Trail, Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk, Noreuil Park Foreshore, Hovell Tree Park and Oddies Creek Park. Unfortunately all blocked off due to the floods, we settled for walking around town, checking out the local shopping centre and surrounding strip, before heading to the Commercial Club (618 Dean St). Across the road from the Atura hotel, The Commercial Club regularly features local, Australian or International musical and comedic acts, open bar areas, ample seating, slot machines and large television screens for sporting and other events.
If that’s not your thing and you’re looking for something to do when the sun goes down, you could always check out the local theatre scene. With four theatres (Albury Entertainment Centre, The AWTCO Theatre, The Butter Factory Theatre and HotHouse Theatre – Victoria’s third largest professional theatre company, respectfully) within a short drive of each other, there’s plenty to see!
I caught The Last Five Years – a musical that centres on the concept of there being two sides to every love story. I always believe it is the random, unplanned events that you remember the most – and my visit to the Albury Wodonga Theatre Company (or AWTCO) theatre (234 Olive St) was no exception. With tables of ten in the cabaret style seating plan with a BYO mentality, I was grateful to hear stories and share food with the lovely locals I was seated with while supporting the local amateur theatre community.
After the show, we drove to the Monument Hill War Memorial (Monument Hill, Memorial Drive). Erected by the citizens of Albury to commemorate those who died in service or were killed in action during World War One; it also provides the perfect lookout onto the city during the day or at night.
If you’re looking for a good dinner option, we had dinner at the Roadhouse Bar & Grill at the Atura Hotel. We couldn’t decide on what we wanted from the menu so we opted for a tapas-style dinner and ordered many entrees with a cheeky cocktail, followed by the Warm Chocolate Fudge Brownie for dessert. I highly recommend the Cheeseburger Dumplings – they’re wacky, weird and wonderful and taste just like a delicious cheeseburger!
For more details about the attractions mentioned, head to their official websites:
Albury Information Centre: visitalburywodonga.com
MAMA (Murray Art Museum Albury): mamalbury.com.au
Albury Library Museum: alburycity.nsw.gov.au
Commercial Club: commercialclubalbury.com.au
Albury Entertainment Centre: alburyentertainmentcentre.com.au
The author visited Albury as a guest of Destination NSW, and spent a night at Atura courtesy of the Atura Hotel. We flew with Rex Regional Express. Photos by the author on the Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100.