19 April 2019 / Report by Steve Wakeling
It was a clear April morning as three cars set out from Canberra for a run to Albury. Why Albury you ask? Well, our friends run a motel there and it is a city you tend to bypass. This time there would be opportunities for exploration.
The weather was a perfect 25 degrees as we travelled the back way to Harden for morning tea and stopped at the Terracotta Irish Cafe. This is THE place to stop in Harden. We headed along Burley Griffin Way and on to Olympic Way A41, which would take us all the way to Albury without going on the boring Hume. The A41 takes you through various small towns where you can stop to explore as you feel inclined. We passed several large grain silos and thought it would be good for the towns to have these painted with murals like we have seen in other places.
Our lunch destination was the Thirsty Cow Brewery in Wagga Wagga. This brewery is on the outskirts of the city so avoids going through the CBD. The menu is extensive but the service was slow. We were not in a rush so didn’t get stressed out about it. [Editorial comment: The beer is good there too, although it was not sampled on this trip. Well worth a visit if you are into the crafties.]
The afternoon run down the A41 was still in perfect weather (25 degrees), again through lots of small towns and the traffic was light for a Friday. The A41 is mostly single lane so it gives you an opportunity to give the accelerator a big nudge to overtake some of those warehouses on wheels.
We arrived in Albury around 4pm, which gave us a chance to have a rest before dinner or go exploring the streets of Albury. The Commodore Motel is perfect for this as it is in the center of town.
Dinner was at the stunning River Deck restaurant. Catch a cab there as the parking is crazy on a Friday night. The River Deck is 50 meters from the mighty Murray and overlooks the river. The river was flowing gently, and is clean and suitable for swimming. There are extensive grassed areas where people have picnics under huge shady trees.
The six of us sat outside on the deck for dinner and overlooked all of this. What a magic place! And the food and service was excellent.
We had breakfast in the cafe next to the motel and then wandered through the Botanical Gardens to try to walk off all the food we had consumed. More giant trees and monuments to early explorers, and the grounds are meticulously maintained and obviously used for wedding photos.
At around 11am we headed off for a 30 min run to Rutherglen. The weather was still perfect at 28 degrees.
A request to stop at Morris Wines was immediately take up where we purchased some of their 2013 Durif. It always amazes me how I can fit wine bottles into the already tightly packed boot of a NC2 hardtop!
Other wineries visited were Andersons, Scion, Lake Moodemere, Andrew Buller, Cofield and Valhalla. We seemed to buy wine at every stop. The Pickled Sisters was our destination for lunch (more food!). This is next to Cofield winery. Here two more club members joined us. They had escaped from the GOR run! The food here is all home-made and delicious and the service is friendly.
After lunch we doubled back to Pfeiffers winery which we passed on the way to Cofields. This was not a u-turn as Pfeiffer Wines was not on my winery list! It was their market day and also had live music. We enjoyed the atmosphere for nearly two hours.
Saturday night saw us at the Bended Elbow pub for dinner. Guinness was tested; not as nice as the real thing in Ireland but the closest I’ve had so far. We wandered the streets after dinner and stopped for a coffee while we watched the hot and modified cars cruising up and down the main street. Reminded me of Hunter Street Newcastle in the 70s!
Sunday morning saw an early start with breakfast at Café Borellas in the Peards Complex. This is a huge complex containing a Café with seating for 200, an extensive gift store and wrapping around all this is a garden nursery.
On our way home via the A41 again we stopped at the Junee Chocolate factory for a coffee and light meal. Across from the factory is a Ford museum containing unrestored Ford cars from the 60s, 70s and 80s. If you visit the museum see if you can spot a very rare ford with racing heritage from the early 70s.
All up, a very pleasant way to spend a few days.