There’s a real beauty about arriving in a regional destination – it’s where the laid-back, friendly Aussie lifestyle really shines. In Albury, the New South Wales border town that runs along the Murray River on Wiradjuri country, the beauty of regional Australia is everywhere you look. It’s in the welcoming locals, the vast open spaces, the freshly sourced produce and the deep culture that lies within it. For business events, all these elements come together to offer an immersive destination, well-suited to hosting groups looking for a change of scenery and some fresh inspiration.
Celebrating the region through food
With so much incredible produce on offer in the region, Albury does an exceptional job of showcasing it to visitors through a plethora of food and beverage venues. Blacksmith Provedore is a newcomer to the city and somewhat of a hidden gem considering its location inside the new flagship Harris Farm Markets – which in itself is worth stopping by. The trendy wine bar highlights local ingredients through its menu of wood-fired oven pizzas, cheese boards and wine.
In the heart of the city, Level One Wine Bar is another favourite among locals and a great option for group dining. The husband and wife duo behind the restaurant are passionate about providing an exceptional hospitality experience for locals and visitors, and they deliver on it. The puffed pastry baked camembert is a must-try.
Canvas Eatery is another highlight of the Albury food scene, where share-style dishes are served up inside a welcoming space, full of natural light. The venue is a central and contemporary setting for private functions, while the culinary team can also cater for off-site events. Meanwhile, just out of the CBD, The River Deck Café boasts a prime spot overlooking the Murray River – the perfect space for a brunch or dinner event to welcome delegates into the region.
History and culture comes alive
With its vast natural landscape and enviable position on the Murray River, Albury really shines when it comes to group experiences and team-building activities. A highlight for the region is the Wagirra Trail and Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk, a five-kilometre trail dotted with sculptures and artworks created by local Aboriginal artists. Groups can walk the trail or hire a bike from a local business such as Cycle Station and cruise along the path at a leisurely pace, stopping along the way to learn the stories and significance of the region’s Aboriginal history.
Albury makes up one half of the Albury-Wodonga community that meets at the NSW and Victoria border. Together, the two cities form a vibrant destination in an easily accessible location between Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra.
It is encouraging to see many local businesses embracing and showcasing the region’s indigenous culture, such as Quest Albury on Townsend, which displays a collection of high-profile indigenous artworks in its mezzanine. The light- filled space can be used for private functions, while the 104-room hotel also offers a dedicated conference room for small groups.
Another major drawcard for the region is the Murray Art Museum Albury, more commonly known as MAMA. Stepping into the venue, you could be entering a contemporary art museum in any of Australia’s capital cities – the venue boasts large artistic spaces that rotate with leading international exhibitions. The venue can be worked into programs in a number of ways, from utilising gallery spaces for functions, through to hands-on art workshops for team-building activities.
Venues and developments
For large conferences and exhibitions, the Albury Entertainment Centre is the city’s major venue on offer to business events planners. Dating back to 1972, the established centre is poised for redevelopment, having last been upgraded in 1993. The proposed development will better meet the needs of the modern business events market and will include an expansion of the convention wing to double seating capacity to 2,000 attendees. The plans also include the development of a plaza at the entrance to the venue, which will help facilitate larger conferences.
The city’s event spaces are supported by a range of accommodation to suit all budget levels and delegate needs. The Atura Albury offers a youthful, quirky vibe, with 140 rooms, naturally lit event spaces and a buzzing public bar and restaurant. For corporate retreats and team building, Lake Hume Resort offers cabin-style accommodation, private function spaces and an array of group activities, such as kayaking on the expansive lake.
Meanwhile, the Mantra Albury offers 146 premium, spacious rooms and suites alongside five meetings rooms. The on-site restaurant, District Dining Bar and Grill, is a favourite among locals, while the exclusive Sky Lounge is a haven for guests looking for a quiet space to meet or work.
To really appreciate Albury and its surrounding regions, spend some time pre- or post-event in the destination, exploring its stunning natural assets, the booming food and wine scene and all of the hidden gems along the way.
For corporate groups in the agriculture sector, take a trip to the family owned Wolki Farm for a private tour of the regenerative property. The uber-passionate Jacob Wolki shares his vision of bringing sustainable and ethical farming practices to the region.
A 30-minute drive over the border to Rutherglen, the historic De Bortoli cellar door is a stunning off-site venue complete with a cafe, restaurant, accommodation and dedicated conference facility. The cellar door is also home to a gallery featuring indigenous art.
Get your groups out of their comfort zones with the energetic team at Flying Fruit Fly Circus. Some of Australia’s leading circus performers bring teams together to build camaraderie and learn some new tricks along the way.