A 3-day itinerary in The Murray for foodies
Sit down to fine dining, sling back world-class whisky in an old flour mill and feast on fresh market produce on a tasting of the Murray region’s most gourmet culinary offerings.
With the snow-fed Murray River winding like an artery through the rich soils – sustaining a wildly diverse network of plant and animal life – it should come as no surprise that the Murray region is a dreamland for foodies. For starters, the farmers markets are fabulous, but then you’ve also got hip eateries, paddock-to-plate restaurants and fine dining options, not to mention boutique wineries, cool microbreweries and rustic distilleries.
DAY ONE: Albury Wodonga
DAY ONE KEY FACTS:
Albury Wodonga Farmers Market are located at:
- 40 Lincoln Causeway, Wodonga VIC 3690
- A 10min (5km) drive from Astor Hotel Motel Albury
Start your enviable weekend of indulgence at the Wagirra Trail and Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk, where you can experience thought-provoking artworks crafted by local Aboriginal artists right beside the water. Yindyamarra, which can also be spelled Indyamarra, is a powerful philosophy centred on the value of respect, and it’s an absolute must-see here in Wiradjuri Country., where fragrant stalls piled with seasonal berries, stone fruit and freshly baked pastries offer the perfect fuel for a day of exploring. From there, stroll the gum-lined river along the
The Thirsty Devil Brewery will have you covered for lunch – a relaxed microbrewery offering finger-licking food options and a range of their aromatic ales to try. There’s usually a rotating guest food truck on site, too, and it’s a great place to catch live music. If you’re after food with a side of stunning views, make The River Deck cafe, with a modern Australian menu and waterfront seating, your lunch spot. You might need to sneak in a walk and a nap to digest in the afternoon, because you’re spoiled for choice in Albury for dinner.
At tiny and elegant Bistro Selle, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve nipped over to Europe. Complement warm Gooramadda olives with a buttery Australian chardonnay, or perhaps opt for the goat ragu or fresh market fish. Yardbird offers a bold-flavoured menu featuring dishes like chickpea pancake with tempura zucchini flowers and Persian feta, along with meats grilled in a Spanish wood-fired oven. If you’re more in the mood for a feast of Italian share plates, Norma Wine + Pasta is a real vibe, with creative food that goes far beyond its amazing house-made pasta (nearly all of which can be gluten free).
Later, roll on home to the funky, Californian-inspired Astor Hotel Motel – which has recently undergone an impeccable renovation and now offers gourmet pub food – for a warm chocolate brownie at the bar before tucking yourself into bed in one of the rooms. The motel’s exterior here really has to be seen to be believed, so leave some time for a mini photo shoot when you wake up in the morning.
DAY TWO: Corowa
DAY TWO KEY FACTS:
Corowa Distilling Co. is located at:
- 20-24 Steel St, Corowa NSW 2646
- A 45min (59km) drive from Albury
Corowa – less than an hour’s drive from Albury and perched on a bend of the Murray – is cowboy country. Work up an appetite when you get to town by grabbing a bike from the Corowa Visitor Centre and peddling past the historic buildings, such as the Rex Theatre, Corowa Courthouse and Oddfellows Hall. Alternatively, head to the foreshore: Corowa Lagoon has a cute riverfront beach, while Rovers Park is the spot for long-lunch picnicking and launching kayaks and canoes, which you can hire from caravan parks in the area.
Head on down to Corowa Distilling Co. when the afternoon rolls around, which is set in a gorgeously renovated 1920s flour mill by the banks of the river. This heritage-listed venue was recently turned from an abandoned building into a world-class whisky distillery by a couple of mates, and produces small-batch premium spirits made from locally sourced barley and wheat.
Treat yourself to an immersive behind-the-scenes look at the art of distilling, and follow it up with a tasting of limited-edition releases and other unique whisky flavours. An innovative menu of seasonal produce is on offer at breakfast and lunchtime, too. If you’re more of a sweet tooth, ignite your inner child at the in-house chocolate factory, where a generous range of handmade chocolate bars, truffles and sweet treats perfectly balance out the complexity of the malts, bourbons and ryes.
Spend the night at hotel Circa 1936 for a brag-worthy 19th century accommodation experience. Among the high pressed-metal ceilings and Art Deco features, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a different era. There’s an array of rooms to choose from: all private, opulent and full of 1930s banker charm. Once you’ve made your executive decision, swan over to the cocktail bar (formerly the bank manager's office) and nurse a nightcap before retiring to your Insta-worthy suite for a soak in one of their incredible tubs.
DAY THREE: Yarrawonga Mulwala
DAY THREE KEY FACTS:
Lake Mulwala is located at:
- Melbourne St, NSW 2647
- A 30min (40km) drive from Corowa
Today’s destination is Lake Mulwala: a picturesque and serene waterway with a surface punctured by a forest of flooded gums – which makes for striking visuals. Rent a kayak or canoe from one of the many watersports shops in the twin towns of Yarrawonga-Mulwala, and if you can get out onto the lake early enough, sunrise spent paddling between the eerie red gum trunks that protrude from the water is particularly magical.
Lunch on the water takes a whole other meaning on the Lake Mulwala Barby Boat, where you and up to 12 mates can jump on your own boat, fire up the barbecue and cruise around the lake – no boat licence needed. Music speakers and fishing licences are supplied – but BYO rods if you’re hoping to comb the waters for a bite of perch or Murray cod.
If you prefer to eat on steady land, Blacksmith Provedore, a fairy-lit lakefront eatery, will have you covered. The local produce-focused menu changes frequently, but what’s consistent is that the pizzas are to die for – and are made using hand-stretched, homemade dough crafted over a multi-day slow ferment process. Order a cocktail, sit alfresco on the grass and enjoy another day of indulging in the Murray.