THERE is nothing wrong with stopping in Albury to use the toilet if you are desperate.
But it is surely a place undeserving of a tourism destination ranking above Wollongong.
In the extraordinarily biased opinion of this scribe, Wollongong has suffered a mighty injustice at the hands of Wotif.com, which this week ranked Albury sixth and Wollongong seventh in a tally of most popular holiday destination cities in NSW.
This demands a recount.
Wollongong has a world-class coastline, many decent restaurants and bars, good theatre and a growing events calendar, summertime outdoor movies, the largest Buddhist temple in the southern hemisphere, beachside skydiving, delightful little northern suburbs boutiques, a jaw-dropping escarpment and Jamberoo Action Park in short driving distance.
It hasn’t the heaving metropolis of Sydney, but if the two cities were people they would probably be friends. Sydney might call Wollongong up every now and then and ask her to catch up for a drink or something, to talk about their common fabulousness.
Albury would not be invited to drinks.
Albury would be having another quiet night at home, probably spent almost entirely online looking at the Wotif rankings over and over. Sad sack.
The Border city has some nice older buildings no doubt.
But its muddy brown waterways will never compare with the glassy aquamarine majesty off the coast of Wollongong.
I saw Albury only once, from the window of a train that thankfully kept going to Melbourne, but have consulted that ever reliable bastion of truth and insight, Trip Advisor, for evidence of its many failings.
According to reviewers, Albury’s top five attractions are the Albury Botanic Garden (Wollongong’s would manure all over it), Monument Hill War Memorial (remarked upon mainly for its view of Albury), Lake Hume (brown, motionless water — why do it to yourself?), Albury Racing Club (actually that might make a good day out) and a zoo, called Oz E Wildlife, which is now closed.
The zoo had a single penguin, a few koalas, an emu, a dingo —- “but lots of kangaroos” — before it closed.
Also many “empty cages”.
The prosecution rests.