ADVENTURE | FOOD | FUN | HISTORY
North-East Victoria and the Southern Riverina region of New South Wales is Australia's premier inland playground, offering adventure, fine wine and food, fun and plenty of history for every age group
When adventure calls, we have the answer
NORTH-EAST Victoria and the Southern Riverina region of New South Wales is Australia’s greatest inland playground.
It is more than a statement.
It is a fact.
History, High Country, rivers, lakes, valleys, wine and gourmet regions, agriculture, interesting villages, towns and cities, this stunning corner of the country has all the things to do to make your life or visit just that more special.
Defining both regions is simple, or at least it is to us here at thecountrydriver.com.
We look at it as one big square, with the Southern Riverina towns of Jerilderie and Gundagai as the northern corners, and the North-East Victorian towns of Euroa and Omeo the southern corners.
In between are the major cities of Albury-Wodonga, Wagga Wagga, Wangaratta and Benalla, and large towns such as Yarrawonga, Corowa, Myrtleford, Corryong, Lockhart, Berrigan, Tumbarumba, Culcairn, Henty, Mansfield, and Tumut.
The popular, and historic tourist towns of Glenrowan, Beechworth, Yackandandah and Bright are also located within the boundary, as are the major ski resorts of Mount Buller, Falls Creek, and Mount Hotham.
The open plains which lie between the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers is one of Australia’s major agricultural and irrigation regions.
North-East Victoria is famous for its gold-rush history, bushrangers, wine growing, rivers, streams, valleys, and glorious scenery, while the tourist towns of Tumut and Bright are a picture in autumn.
Whether it be the snow-capped mountains of the Victorian High Country and the Snowy Mountains, the magnificent water playgrounds of Lake Hume and Lake Mulwala, or the waving crops of the plains, the scenery is stunning any time of the year.
Name a sport and it is played here, no matter which side of the border.
From A for archery to Z for Zorbing, we have it.
(Zorbing, or bubble football, is where players are encased in an inflated bubble called a Zorb and, yes, we have seen it played in some parks in the region.)
It is thecountrydriver.com's aim to drive every highway, byway, connector road and rural road in the region.
We have ticked a lot off our list, but we have dozens, if not hundreds, more to do.
Come along for a drive with us, or point your vehicle's nose in any direction and enjoy yourself.
We would love to hear about your own adventure.
Adventure | History
IF adventure, history, sport, camping, shopping, snow or water skiing, or just enjoying a lazy weekend is your thing, no worries. From the Mountains to the Murray to the Murrumbidgee, from Gundagai to Euroa and from Wagga to Mansfield, we have all bases covered.
Pictured: Railway murals, old Wodonga Railway Station
Fun, fun, fun
WHETHER it is walking under a dinosaur, taking a ride on a miniature train, going for a balloon ride, visiting a playground, bushwalking, hiking, or playing mini golf, every village, every town and every city in the region can oblige with all or some of these fun things to do. Pictured: Dinosaur Park, Albury Botanic Gardens
Road food, street food, fine dining, award-winning wines . . . the choice is yours
NO matter if you are driving a motor vehicle, riding a motorcycle or a bicycle, walking, or riding a horse somewhere in Australia’s greatest inland playground, chances are you are going to get hungry - and thirsty.
But fear not, as North East Victoria and the Southern Riverina region of New South Wales has all bases covered, with cafes, country pubs and country bakeries, fine dining restaurants, bistros, fish and chips shops, hamburger joints, street food, craft beer outlets, and some of the finest wines and winery restaurants in the country – if not the world.
Small villages aside – even then you may be lucky – most towns and, of course, all cities in the region, can offer food and drink for the weary traveller, whether that be a sandwich, or pie, with a soft drink or coffee, or a three course fine dining meal partnered with an award-winning regional wine.
The Milawa Gourmet Region, for instance, is a culinary adventure waiting to be discovered, either by car, by bike, or on foot.
It is in this small, but picturesque part of North East Victoria, where you can experience awesome food and wine any time of the year and it is an easy area to find and get around.
Centred on the Glenrowan-Myrtleford Road (Snow Road), the Milawa Gourmet Region is Australia’s first proclaimed ‘gourmet region’.
Since 1994, the region has grown into a food and wine lover’s paradise, renowned as the epicentre of the gourmet experience – and what an experience it is.
It is home to Brown Brothers of Milawa, Milawa Bread, and The Milawa Kitchen, Milawa Mustards, Milawa Cheese Company, Milawa Bakery Cafe, Sam Miranda, Christmont, Ciccone, Red Bank, Wood Park and John Gehrig wineries, Hurdle Creek Still, Milawa Vineyard Views, the Milawa Pub, and Blue Ox Berries, to name a few.
This ‘culinary crossroads’, a reference to the cross roads in the heart of the town, is home to many family-owned and operated wineries where you can meet the winemakers at their friendly cellar doors, or the growers either at their farm gates or at produce markets which are held on a regular basis in Milawa and in Moyhu.
The region also encompasses the townships of Tarrawingee, Oxley, Everton, and Whorouly, all of which have some remarkable cafes and pub food.
In a small radius, you will be amazed at what the region has to offer and if you do not want to drive from cellar door to farm gate, or to the various gourmet food stores, you can hire a bike.
The Milawa Gourmet Region is a food lover's paradise, and nobody will go home either hungry or disappointed.
The region overflows with an unsurpassed array of farm-fresh products and great raw ingredients, including olives, mustards, artisan bread, chestnuts, walnuts, cheeses, honey, jams, preserves, vegetables, fruit and, of course, wine.
Leave room in the boot of the car as you are going to need it to carry all your goodies home.
Close by is the King Valley, where you could be forgiven for thinking you have been transported to the picturesque hills of Northern Italy, for the vineyards, perched on the fertile slopes that rise above the King River, are home to great wines and their makers.
Prosecco Road is an exciting food and wine trail that includes tastings.
You can also savour rustic Italian cuisine at one of the many winery restaurants attached to these magnificent wineries.
Other wine regions include Glenrowan, the Ovens Valley, the Kiewa Valley, Tumbarumba, and Yerong Creek, with the biggest, and most widely known, being the famous Rutherglen Wine Region.
Winemaking has been a family tradition in Rutherglen since the 1850s and today fourth, fifth and sixth generation winemakers produce outstanding, award-winning wines.
Vines came to Rutherglen along with the Gold Rush of the 1850s and today crisp whites, rich reds and world-famous fortified wines are produced with a unique regional character.
Rutherglen is the unchallenged capital of fortified wines in Australia, with many of its great wines recognised throughout the world.
And to help lovers of craft beer find their way around regional breweries, there is a Regional Beer Trail which takes you from the farming heartland of the Riverina, south to the stomping ground of the Kelly gang in North East Victoria, east along the pristine waters of the Mitta Mitta and Kiewa Rivers, and west following the Murray River.
Most breweries on the trail offer food.
Street food is also taking a stronghold around the region, with Wodonga holding sway in the number of outlets, offering everything from hamburgers to fried chicken, crepes, Asian food, and muffins, to ice cream.
And if that is not enough, most regional farmers’ markets have food stalls, plus there is any number of farm gate produce stalls where you can buy – via the honesty system – fresh produce straight from the paddock.
The many regional road food restaurants we have visited over the years are not only only about good food. They are places with memorable personality.
No matter the café, the restaurant, the hotel, the bakery, or the club, from Wagga to Mansfield, Gundagai to Omeo, and Euroa to Tumut, rest assured most of what you will eat has been grown locally. - Photo credit: River Deck Cafe, Albury - Destination NSW