Albury Travel Guide
Picture a time when trade was done chiefly by stately paddle steamers chugging up and down magnificent waterways and this will give you an image of Albury's heritage. Albury sits on the banks of the Murray River, which was once a major thoroughfare with its floating shops serving settlers in all the newly developing towns between South Australia and Victoria. It is now a tranquil waterway offering shade, rest and respite along its leafy banks, the most picturesque sections of which are in Albury.
Albury may have moved away from its dependency on river trade but the area's heritage is firmly rooted in its pioneering past, which can be traced in the town's Pioneer and Library museums which feature large in every Albury travel guide. The world's largest collection of working paddle steamers is housed in Australia and a Murray River cruise on one of these is surely the best way to immerse oneself in the life of a bygone era.
For the more independent spirits, canoes can be hired to explore the series of parks that fringe the river's edge closer to Albury and Wodonga, Albury's twin town on the opposite shore of the river. Breathtaking parklands, reserves and botanical gardens make inviting places packed with interest for all the family to cool off from the midday heat – and it is to places like Mungabareena Reserve that the locals will head to cool off under the shade of the gum trees on hot summer days.
Mungabareena was also once the meeting point for various Aboriginal tribes to discuss inter-tribal laws and perform marriage ceremonies. It is said that after such rites, the tribes moved on up into the alpine ranges of the Kiewa Valley to feast on the bogong (name means 'big fella') moths, which apparently are very nutritious. A festival takes place in the area each November to celebrate the customs and traditions of the seven Koori tribes.
Perhaps the most stunning architectural feature of the Albury-Wodonga area is Lake Hume, a massive man-made lake with two submerged towns. This is an all-year-round playground for water lovers. It is surrounded by exquisite sandy beaches and abounds in facilities for sailing, jet-skiing, and much more. Walk or ride along the dam wall for breathtaking views out across the lake.
Gateway Village offers everything from a jazz club to a woodcraft cottage; a farmers' market to a fine art gallery showing Albury's intention to vie with the best as a centre of tourist excellence. In fact Albury, once considered by locals to be the stopping off place between Canberra and Melbourne, is now a thriving holiday destination drawing year round visitors in its own right.