STORY: KYLIE DULHUNTY PHOTOGRAPHY: VISIT VICTORIA
Once considered the dowdy relative of its sister city, Albury, Wodonga has certainly shed its plain Jane tag over the past decade.
Nestled on the southern banks of the Murray River in North East Victoria, and surrounded by historic townships, one of the country’s best wine and food bowls and rich agricultural valleys, Wodonga is a lifestyle destination in its own right.
Residents of varying ages love to call Wodonga home, although in recent years more and more families have been setting up base in the swiftly developing country town, which is home to regional Australia’s largest urban renewal initiative.
Aptly named Junction Place, the project has started breathing new life into the former historic railway station and railyards in central Wodonga, with restaurants, cafes and public open spaces creating a vibrant heart where the community can gather and connect.
The project will double the size of Wodonga’s CBD and when complete it will also feature commercial and residential developments, including 70 luxury townhouses, and a $70 million cinema complex with 10 cinemas, multiple restaurants and an entertainment facility with bumper cars, laser tag and a soft play area.
In recent times, Wodonga’s main street, High St, has also undergone significant redevelopment and two new major shopping precincts, Mann Central and Wodonga Place, have opened with great popularity.
Families love Wodonga for its wonderful array of parks, playgrounds and recreation facilities, not least of which are the stunning Waves Aquatic Centre and the Sumsion Gardens/Belvoir Park Children’s Playground.
Complete with a lake, walking tracks, fitness equipment and an extensive playground that focuses on fostering children’s imaginations, the area is great for weekend picnics and family outings.
In Wodonga we can have a big, beautiful home, still live comfortably and be able to do those extra things like go to restaurants or travel overseas.
The city is also home to the award-winning Wodonga Children’s Fair, which attracts up to 16,000 people from near and far each year.
First held in 1990, the annual free event, usually held in October at the city’s racecourse, features a host of free activities and demonstrations, from dance and craft, to reptiles and sheep shearing.
Wodonga also has a deep and vibrant connection with arts and culture.
The city has one of the last remaining professional theatre companies in regional Australia, in HotHouse Theatre.
For more than 20 years HotHouse Theatre has created and presented works at the Butter Factory, on Gateway Island, which was built in 1928 and transformed into a theatre when HotHouse was formed in 1997.
Extending its commitment to providing first rate entertainment for its residents, Wodonga is also home to The Cube, a state-of-the-art entertainment centre that presents a diverse program of music acts, circus, dance, stand-up comedy and theatre performances.
It is adjacent to the Wodonga Library and Arts Space gallery, which are currently undergoing a $10.2 million dollar redevelopment, and will feature an upgraded library, two gallery rooms and meeting and workshop rooms.
Residential properties in Wodonga range from period brick and weatherboard homes to modern abodes, particularly in the Leneva-Baranduda growth area, where new estates are set in a semi-rural environment with views of nearby mountains and surrounding foothills.
Wodonga residents are blessed for services with a quality hospital, including an emergency department and maternity, while education is provided from preschool through to tertiary level courtesy of La Trobe University. There is also a local TAFE and a community college.
Wodonga features more than 80km of walking and cycling paths and has easy access to Lake Hume for those that enjoy fishing and water sports.
The city is also just a 30-minute drive from historic north east towns like Beechworth, Yackandandah, Chiltern and the wine-lover’s paradise that is Rutherglen.
The Traditional Custodians of the land on which Wodonga stands are the Wiradjuri, Waveroo and Dhudhuroa people.
WATTLE ROAD 🖤 This is an exciting town to live – a massive urban renewal initiative is under way and it’s the fastest growing regional city in the State.
DISTANCE FROM MELBOURNE: 320km
WHO LIVES HERE?
According to the 2016 Census:
♦ The median age of people in Wodonga was 37 years. Children aged 0 – 14 years made up 19.3% of the population and people aged 65 years and over made up 16.6%.
♦ Of the families in Wodonga, 37.6% were couple families with children, 39.6% were couple families without children and 21.1% were one parent families.
♦ 80.5% of people were born in Australia. The most common countries of birth were England 1.8%, India 1.0%, Germany 0.8%, Philippines 0.8% and New Zealand 0.7%.
♦ The most common occupations included professionals 16.4%, technicians and trades workers 16.3%, community and personal service workers 12.8%, clerical and administrative workers 12.5%, and labourers 11.9%.
CLIMATE: Summer, average temperature min 16.7ºC, max 32.5ºC. Winter, average temperature min 3.2ºC, max 13.2ºC.
MAJOR EMPLOYERS: Manufacturing
(food, beverage, electrical, equipment, metal), transport and logistics, health care, tertiary education.
SCHOOLS: More than 20 primary, secondary and tertiary schools and education facilities, including public, Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran denominations.
HEALTH CARE: There is a campus of the Albury-Wodonga hospital. This has a 24-hour emergency department and services including rehabilitation, dialysis, medical imaging, inpatient obstetrics, a special care nursery, palliative care and specialist surgery. The hospital is part of Albury Wodonga Health which also operates the North East and Border Mental Health Service.
NBN CONNECTION: Fibre To The Node (FTTN)
PROPERTY PRICES: The median house sale price is $346,500. The median sale price of units is $213,000.
SPORTS & RECREATION: AFL, soccer, rugby, netball, tennis, cricket, swimming, athletics, basketball, hockey.
ARTS & CULTURE: HotHouse Theatre, The Cube, Arts Space Wodonga.
Wodonga is a wonderful place to live and raise a family. I grew up in the region, but my husband, Tarun, is from the UK. We’ve been in Wodonga for five years and just love it.
It has all of the services we need, a lot of good restaurants and all of the shops I would go to if we lived in the city. We are very lucky in that there are a lot of great things to do that are just a short drive away. We can do day trips to the snow or take a houseboat on the river at Yarrawonga.
When my husband’s family come to visit there’s so much to do and to show them, including the really nice wine regions at Rutherglen or the King Valley.
We love going to Lake Hume, where our dog enjoys running in shallows and my Dad and I do a lot of bushwalking with many different tracks to explore in the area.
Our son is only a year old, but I’m sure once he gets older he will enjoy a lot of these things too, along with the many parks and amazing children’s playgrounds that we’re lucky to have.
We have considered moving to a city, such as Brisbane, but we always change our mind due to the cost of living.
In Wodonga we can have a big, beautiful home, still live comfortably, and be able to do those extra things like go to restaurants or travel overseas.
If we were in a city something would have to be compromised.
Travel time is approximately 60 minutes.
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52 Clarendon Avenue, Wodonga
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17 Lambourn Drive, Wodonga
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6 Caernarvon Court, Wodonga
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15 Thomas Mitchell Drive, Wodonga
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