A weekend away from Melbourne: Albury to Gundagai

ByRV DailyJuly 22, 2016
A weekend away from Melbourne: Albury to Gundagai

Baby, it’s cold outside, but let’s get planning for spring when the route from Albury to Gundagai is thrown wide open to the most adventurous RVers.

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If you’ve got a love for rivers and a passion for mountains, there’s a good reason to turn the two hour Albury-to-Gundagai leg into a weekend adventure. Being an RV-friendly town, Albury offers free RV parking right in the heart of town for up to 48 hours, either at the SS&A club or, alternatively, at the showgrounds a few kilometres out of the CBD (full facilities and pets allowed). The best option for extending your stay is to spend time at the Lake Hume Tourist Park about 15km east of town, where you’ll find all your needs met with a café, free WiFi, laundry facilities, free BBQs, water sports on the lake and powered and unpowered sites.

After a hearty breakfast, make your way across Bethanga Bridge over Lake Hume and continue along Murray River Road to the small town of Walwa, where you’ll find the Riverside Caravan Park. There you can take a look around the town or stick around the caravan park for some fishing, swimming or a walk along the river. It’s pet-friendly, and they’re proud to say they’ve now got their own dump point.

The Man From Snowy

Rested up and with the mountain air instilling the spirit of adventure, the next leg takes you to Corryong. Made famous as the final resting place of Jack Riley, supposedly the inspiration behind Banjo Paterson’s poem, The Man from Snowy River, it’s a good place to wander through the museum of the same name and grab a bite to eat.

The route joins the Alpine Way for 15km before turning on to Swampy Plains Creek Road and climbs through sub-alpine and alpine flora for a truly majestic experience. The road winds its way up with a few blind corners, so slow and steady is the way to go.

Be sure to stop at Bradleys and O’Briens Hut which was built in 1952 for the use of grazers, when cattle and sheep were first brought into the region. The other facilities, such as stables and yards were removed some time ago but it is easy to imagine life up here more than 60 years ago. During the warmer months, it is a set-off point for those exploring the Jagungal wilderness area, while in winter it provides a safe and warm refuge for cross-country skiers.

From Bradleys and O’Briens Hut, the route climbs for few kilometres more before descending down to Tumut Pond Reservoir and across the 86-metre-high dam wall, before ascending for spectacular views of the dam and surrounding alpine landscape.

Meet The Jetsons

Visiting Cabramurra is like visiting a town from The Jetsons. The mid-century alpine architecture makes for a very unique township, which is for the sole use of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority’s employees and their families. There is no private housing, nor any overnight accommodation, and the town was established in 1954 with prefabricated houses that were trucked in to create the the highest inhabited town in Australia, standing at 1488 metres above sea level. It’s definitely worth stopping to have a look around; learn about the Snowy Hydro Scheme, have a meal at the town’s café and catch a glimpse of life in the high country.

Back on the Snowy Mountains Highway, head to Yarrangobilly Village campground, a wonderful campsite on the Yarrangobilly River and a great place to base yourself while exploring the Yarrangobilly Caves. While it has barbeque facilities and toilets, sites are unpowered and the only water available is from the river, which they recommend you boil for at least 10 minutes before using. Unhitch the caravan or camper trailer from here and explore the stalactites and stalacmites of Yarrangobilly Caves. The caves are regarded as some of the most beautiful limestone karst systems in Australia and is an experience for all ages. Karst refers to dissolution of soluble rocks such as limestone to form underground caves and drainage systems. Well worth a visit. From there, it’s on the Snowy Mountains Highway through Tumut, back onto the Hume Highway and on to Gundagai.

Want to leave now?

If you can’t wait to get on the road, the winter option skips Swampy Plains Creek Road (which is closed from June to October every year). The alternate route via Tooma, Tumbarumba and Batlow is definitely worth taking, at any time of year. Tumbarumba offers vineyards, trout streams, the Henry Angel Trackhead campground (with free gas and BBQ facilities) and the Tumbarumba Tastebuds Festival which they hold every spring to showcase local food and produce. If cider is your tipple, be sure to head to Batlow in May for the annual Batlow CiderFest. And for apples in every form, Batlow also has the annual Apple Blossom Festival every October, which offers a day of music, exhibitions, stalls and believe it or not: apples.