In this blog, I’m going to talk about a few destinations located between Sydney and Melbourne in rural New South Wales and Victoria. You’d pass these places while driving along the Hume Freeway and Highway from one big city to the other, but may have never considered visiting, that is until now I hope.
Beginning the journey in Sydney, the first stop on the way south is Goulburn, Australia’s first inland city and home to around 20,000 people. Located almost 200 kilometres south of the state’s capital, it’s an ideal pit stop with plenty of restaurants, cafés and bakeries to choose from. Most importantly, the town is home to the world’s largest concrete sheep, the ‘Big Merino’.
Another 142 kilometres west of Goulburn is Cootamundra, and even though it’s not directly adjacent to Hume Highway, it’s just a 30-minute detour (each way). Situated in the Riverina region on the South West Slopes of New South Wales, it’s a little known place well worth a visit. Surrounded by crops of canola, the town has a true rural feel and in July and August people flock to see the countless blooming ‘Cootamundra Wattle Trees’.
The town is most famous for being the birthplace of cricketer Sir Donald Bradman, often referred to as the ‘best batsman of all time’. When in town you can check out the house where he was born which has been lovingly restored by the council.
Located on the border of the two states, the twin cities of Albury in New South Wales and Wodonga in Victoria make up the community known as Albury-Wodonga. Divided only by the Murray River, the cities have a joint total population of about 105,000 and are buzzing with trendy shops, cafés and bars, as well as art galleries and museums.
Even though it’s located inland, Albury-Wodonga has never been dependent on agriculture as a source of employment, so the people (and culture) are very similar to those living on the coast. The main difference is its surrounds of picturesque countryside, rolling hills and fields of crops, but since the Murray is running through, everyone still goes for a swim when the hot days of summer comes around.
One last stop before reaching Melbourne is in Benalla, a small town just two and a half hours north of the destination. It’s a country town in all its glory, with a lake in the middle where you can enjoy a packed lunch. A few cafés, restaurants and bars are also spread out along the main street, and there’s a great art gallery with water views.