THE warmer months are probably one of the best times of the year to head north towards the NSW Snowy Mountains and into the Upper Murray.
There are too many options to list them all here and you can easily turn a day trip into a weekend or longer if your holiday break allows extra time.
For my purposes I’m going to start at Albury-Wodonga and head north up the Hume Highway for about 150 kilometres and past Tarcutta before turning right onto the Snowy Mountains Highway to Tumut via Adelong.
Adelong, located on the banks of the Adelong Creek, has a main street is classified by the National Trust and includes buildings dating back to the gold rush.
It was the gold rush that created the town’s most significant tourist drawcard — the Adelong Falls gold mill ruins which are a little more than one kilometre out of town off the Gundagai Road.
An easy and wheelchair accessible path from the car park leads to the viewing platform. There are pathways leading down to the Adelong Creek and the ruins for the more adventurous.
Signage at the ruins tells the story of Adelong during the gold rush. Alluvial gold was first found at Upper Adelong in 1852 and a gold field was declared in 1855.
The reserve offers the perfect spot for a picnic and you can also cool off in the deeper pools of the falls.
Return to the Snowy Mountains Highway and head towards Tumut which is only 20 kilometres to the east.
There’s plenty to see and do at Tumut and staff at the local visitors’ centre say you should start in the town centre with an easy walk along the Tumut River to take in a view of trees that include elms, oaks and maples.
Another favourite spot where locals direct visitors is the Tumut Wetlands, which have been renovated with plantings of native flora and a walking track circumnavigates the site.
More than 70 different bird species call the area home and there is a brochure available at the visitors’ centre.
If walking isn’t your thing, you might prefer to head out of Tumut for seven kilometres to the old Tumut Plains school house where Tumut Valley Violets has been established as a thriving tourist attraction with more than 1000 different varieties of African violets.
On your return to Tumut, there is the Tumut Broom Factory, where you can see millet brooms being made by hand for purchase or you can buy fresh produce.
Twenty minutes south of Tumut on the Snowy Mountains Highway is Blowering Dam, a haven for water sports lovers, particularly during the summer school holidays when it is popular with canoeists, fishermen and water-skiers.
INTERACTIVE MAP: Daily top five activity recommendations
There is provision for bush camping within the national park with pit toilets and fireplaces.
It also provides a base for more adventurous walkers who can choose to walk along the Blowering Cliffs track, a 5 kilometres return walk over approximately three hours that takes in the granite cliffs overlooking the Blowering Reservoir and onto Blowering Falls.
You can access the Hume and Hovell Walking Track at Thomas Boyd Trackhead, taking in a number of swing bridges over the Goobarragandra River.
Again, for those with time, a further 50 kilometres on from Blowering Dam are the Yarrangobilly Caves, offering guided tours of the Jersey and Jillabenan caves and their impressive displays of cave formations.
You can guide yourself through the South Glory cave which offers interpretive information and automated feature lights.
Yarrangobilly also has a thermal pool which is always naturally heated to 27 degrees Celsius and there are walking tracks and places to enjoy a picnic and you can book overnight accommodation at the Yarrangobilly Caves House.
From Tumut you can return to Albury-Wodonga via Batlow and Tumbarumba. It’s about 24 kilometres to Batlow on the Batlow-Tumut Road and another 38 kilometres to Tumbarumba, another town that offers plenty to the visitor by way of walks, fishing, places to eat and attractions including wineries and farms that grow blueberries and other produce.
The annual Tumbafest will be held in Tumbarumba on the weekend of February 22 and 23, featuring headline performers including Richard Clapton, Ross Wilson, The Sunny Cowgirls, James Morrison, Adam Brand and Felicity Urquhart, as well as wine tasting, food and produce and activities for the kids.
The return journey is picturesque as we continue along the Linden Roth Drive for about 40 kilometres to Jingellic.
Here we find ourselves back in familiar territory back at the Murray River and right on the river is one of the best spots for a meal at the Bridge Hotel, Jingellic.
The hotel is a favourite among travellers, including this one, because of its riverside location. It offers lunch and dinner seven days a week and if you want to camp out the back with a view to the river, there are toilets and showers available via a token purchase.
A more comfortable accommodation option is to head over the Murray River and just a kilometre down the road towards Walwa where you’ll find the Upper Murray Resort, which has cottages and motel units that offer views over the river and down the adjacent valleys.
Its facilities include two swimming pools, a barbecue gazebo, tennis court and badminton.
The resort offers a good base from which to explore the area.
You can also base yourself at Walwa and head further up the Murray River Road to Corryong and thereafter to Khancoban.
When it’s time to head home, there are a couple of options. Return to Walwa and drive the Murray River Road back to Bellbridge and Lake Hume before crossing the Bethanga Bridge and heading back to Albury. That will take you about an hour and a half.
From Corryong, if you head back to Wodonga via the Murray Valley Highway, that will take you a little more than an hour and a half, with the option for a stop at Tallangatta.
OTHER SUMMER DAYTRIPPERS YARNS: