Road trips are exciting. They provide the right dose of adventure without being too extreme.
Some families might find them overwhelming, but we like the sense of freedom even when we are travelling a planned route.
This post belongs to a series that covers the route Sydney to Adelaide via Albury and Bendigo, instead of via Hay.
By Mireia Garriga
Contents of this post
Why Travel from Albury – Bendigo?
Albury to Bendigo is very scenic.
You will love this route if:
- You have young children. The countryside is beautiful. There are lots of opportuniteis to see farm animals from the car.
- You hate crowds. Albury and Bendigo are not big cities. They are easy to explore. And, they are very kid friendly.
Let’s explore the contryside!
2nd LEG: Albury – Bendigo (286 km)
You most likely will feel very tired on the second day. This is why the second day involves less hours of driving. As the itinerary is quite short, we suggest taking the scenic route. It is only 11km longer.
NOTE: if you have more extra days than us, from Corowa, you can take a detour to Rutherglen, which is one of the oldest wine regions of Australia.
Also, from Shepparton you can drive to Echuca – Moama, the paddle steamer capital of Australia.
Scenic route (total: 295 km from Albury)
Albury to Corowa
From West Albury, if you take the Riverina Highway (B58), which crosses the Riverina Bioregion, you will find that the road follows the course of the Murray River.
At the beginning of the drive, you can see a section of the Wagirra Trail that goes to the Wonga Wetlands. Keep driving direction to Corowa.
On the bank of the Murray River, between the border of New South Wales and Victoria, there is Corowa, a small country town.
Surprisingly and despite being so early in the morning, Corowa was quite vibrant with some trendy places in the main street. We had breakfast in Corowa, as we had had an early start.
Corowa Whisky and Chocolate
20-24 Steel Street, Corowa, NSW 2646
Phone: (02) 6033 1311
The old Corowa Flower Mill was abandoned for nearly 40 years until the project of Corowa Whisky and Chocolate was born. Whisky and driving don’t go together. But, what about having a sweet treat or make your own chocolate? We arrived too early, and the factory was not opening until 9am, which is a shame.
Doc Yarrum Café
83 Sanger St, Corowa NSW 2646
Phone: 02 6033 3627
We had breakfast in the Doc Yarrum Café and the food was delicious.
Corowa to Yarrawonga
From Corowa head to Lake Mulwala. This route is always very entertaining for the little ones. We saw so many cows and sheep before reaching Lake Mulwala.
If your children need a stretch, Yarrawonga –known as Inland Aquatic Paradise-, is another good stop. There is plenty to see and do.
But, if you only need a playground, go to Kennedy Park Playground in Lynch Street. The construction of an adventure playground has been planned, so I am hoping that it is finished next time we drive to Adelaide.
Yarrawonga to Bendigo
After having had such a good breakfast in Corowa, we kept driving and driving with very few stops. We couldn’t wait to reach Bendigo.
But, of course, kids were feeling hungry, cranky and tired. We should have stopped in Shepparton. It has one of the best adventure playgrounds of Australia, SPC Kids Town.
There is a miniature train that travels around the entire park. And the park has some cool treehouse besides a giant slide. It also has a new cafe with kids menu, the Dig In Café.
In September it hosts a big festival, the KidsFest. Shepparton was jam-packed and this is why we didn’t stop. But, we must visit this playground next time!
Besides the playground, Shepparton has a lot to offer. Therefore, it is another stop to consider if you want to break the roadtrip a little bit more than we did.
SPC Kids Town
7287 Midland Highway, Mooroopna VIC 3629
Phone: (03) 5831 4213
We finally stop in Goornong, a rural township on the Midland Highway, 25km north-east of Bendigo. Public toilets are next to the informative panels that explain its rich railway history. Kids nearly had a melt down. But, we finally made it!
For us, when we go to Adelaide by car, to stop in Bendigo is a no-brainer choice.
We love Bendigo with its beautiful historic buildings, its old vintage tram and its cosmopolitan feel. Bendigo has a rich history thanks to the gold rush boom.
Bendigo is home to Central Deborah Gold Mine, which dates back the mid-1900s.
Also, the city has a remarking Chinese heritage, which can be discovered in The Golden Dragon Museum.
To be honest, you could easily spend 3 days in Bendigo. Do you know that Bendigo was the first city in Australia to be recognised as a Child Friendly City by the UNICEF in 2007?
Besides all the tourist attractions, there are two great playgrounds in the CBD: Camp Hill Playground, in Rosalind Park and Fun Loong Payground, in Hargreaves St Mall.
A bit further, there is the Lake Weeroma Adventure Playground, in Napier St, too. The old vintage tram stops by the lake. My daughters loved the ride!!!
If you stay in the city centre, you can plan a “loop” route, stopping first at the historical Alexendra Fountain, then go to the Mall, and continue walking through the main streets until you find Rosalind Park and the lookout tower.
There are plenty of accommodation options available in Bendigo. Our favourite place is Barclay on the View because of its central location. View Street with its impressive buildings takes you back in time.
Barclay on the View
181 View St, Bendigo, VIC 3550
Phone: 03 5443 9388
Bendigo: Places to eat:
There are so many good places to eat in Bendigo. In fact, you would need several days just to explore Bendigo historic pubs. Most of them have a good reputation because they serve out-of-the-ordinary food. In general, expect to eat better than any other place in Australia.
We like La Cecil’s Pizzeria, Cantina Bendigo, The Golden Vine and The Arms Hotel. South Bendigo, the Spring Gully General Store is a really good choice to have breakfast, with a nice outdoor patio, kids menu and colouring pencils provided.
The Spring Gully General Store has its own veggie garden, so the menu is full of dishes with home-produce / organic ingredients.
We love road trips. Australia is a safe country to plan one. Albury and Bendigo are excellent destinations to discover with kids.
There is so much to see outside the most touristy routes!
Other shorter NSW road trips: here are some great ideas
Sydney to Orange. Click here
Sydney to Dubbo. Click here
Sydney to the Blue Mountains. Click here
Sydney to Canberra. Click here