📅 Albury 22

Prior to COVID, we had a tradition as a family to go on a big holiday each September. We had not really planned to go away this year. However, with the passing of the queen and the additional public holiday we decided to make the most of the situation and go on a driving holiday to Albury.

It is always funny how you assume certain things based on past experiences. When we arrived after driving all day we assumed we would easily be able to get into somewhere to celebrate our anniversary, but we quickly realised that even mid-week a walk-up was not a guarantee. After wandering the streets for a while we stumbled upon the Public House. It is funny how with all the searching online, serendipity still has a place. The place pleased all, with my wife and I sharing a mini cocktail or two, while our children loved colouring in the children’s menus and completing the various activities provided. Oh, and the food was great.

We chose to stay in Albury as it not only provided a range of activities, but a great launching spot for the wider area. One place we were keen to visit was Beechworth. I always find it interesting to visit a place twice. Sometimes the memory does not necessarily match with how it actually is. I have some history with the area, with my wife and I having in Beechworth in 2009, while I also went on school camp there many years ago.

Visiting with our children, we went to Beechworth Honey, where the girls got to taste different types of honey and learn about the process involved in producing them. We then went to the original Beechworth Bakery and had a pie and a bee sting. After that we walked across town to Billson Brewery. Not sure I remember visiting this space in the past.  It was a good place to visit with the children as they got to try the various flavours of cordial, while my wife and I were able to try the various gins and liqueurs. It was also nice to buy some bottles of Chilli Punch Cordial, although I now realise that I could have ordered them from Billson online, it just never occurred to me. On our way back to Albury we took a detour and climbed to the top of Mt Pilot. A reminder I should do more bush walks with my children.

For diner we went back to Public House for 2 for 1 pizzas. Funny thing was that we got rained on as the retractable roof was left open.

On Friday, we explored Albury. This included spending time at the children’s garden in the Albury Botanical Garden. We then visited the Murray Art Museum Albury. A couple of highlights were Stephen Bush’s Babar inspired The Lure of Paris #35, Kevin Gilbert’s Colonising Species and the kids space.

Sadly the night ended on a sour note as we were evacuated from our hotel at 3am in the morning. Thankfully it was not raining outside as we wait to be told we could return to our rooms. I guess it could have been worse, we could have been evacuated due to flooding or worse, because we were under attack. Not sure our children saw it.

For our last full day away, we decided to go driving to Corowa / Rutherglen region. It was fascinating to see the Murray in flood. When I lived in Swan Hill for a few years, the river was relatively low, but there were always remnants and markers to remind you that it was and is not always that way.

In our travels, we visited Corowa Distilery (and Chocolate), Campbells Winery, All Saints Winery, Gooramadda Olives, and Earthcare Farm. We visited the area in the past, however having children with us definitely provided a different perspective. It was a good time to do it as it seemed that many were off watching the grand final.

One of the interesting things to come up through the conversations was the experience of living on the state border during the COVID lockdowns. One person explained to us how different teams were cycled through the various border crossings with little to no knowledge of the area. It was eye-opening and really provided a different perspective.

On our way home on Sunday, we detoured via Milawa Cheese and the Ned Kelly show in Glenrowan. It was fascinating to see the investment into Glenrowan, I was expecting it to be dead, but there had clearly been investment in the town and its history. Only a few minutes off the freeway, I think that I would stop there in the future, especially after purchasing the biggest bee sting in my life from the bakery.