After a fuel stop (for us and the car) at Yass, we detoured off the freeway to Jugiong for lunch where we had heard there was a nice restaurant called The Long Track Pantry. And indeed it was very good.
Jugiong sits on the banks of what was once the mighty Murrumbidgee River (the second longest in Australia) but damming at its source as part of the Snowy Mountains Scheme (a vast hydroelectricity and irrigation complex constructed in south-east Australia between 1949 and 1974) and other flood mitigating dams ie. the Burrinjuck, has reduced it to 10% of its original flow.
But it has so many tributaries that occasionally it gets its revenge and floods well downstream.
Next stop was Holbrook, as we were following the two hour rest, revive, survive road safety program.
Here we found a submarine in a park. Why? It's an interesting story.
Albury sits on the banks of the Murray River which forms the border between the states of New South Wales and Victoria. After a quilt shop visit in its sister town, Wodonga, across the border we checked into our motel then 'hopped' a few bars before a nice Thai meal.
Next morning we realized we had half a day to spare as we couldn't check into our Melbourne accommodation (3 hours away) until mid afternoon.
What to do?
About 30 minutes drive from Albury is the Rutherglen wine region.
Vines came to Rutherglen along with the Gold Rush of the 1850s and today is the unchallenged capital of fortified wines in Australia.
Just as an aside, Australia was forced to change its generic terms for many of its fortified wines under pressure from the EU who are very protective of their regional names....with good reason.
Sherry is now Apera
Tokay is Topaque
Port is Fortified with categories Vintage, Tawny and Ruby.
Today crisp whites and rich reds in addition to the world-famous fortified wines are produced with a unique regional character by fourth, fifth and sixth generation wine makers.
I did a little research the night before and picked out three wineries that looked interesting from a table wine point of view (we are not into fortifieds) and which also produce wines made from Tempranillo and Gamay grapes.
They were Pfeiffers, Stanton and Killeen and Cofields.
None of the wineries were busy and we had the tasting rooms and the servers to ourselves.
We got to taste some interesting versions of Tempranillo and the latest release of Pfeiffer's Gamay was stunning. We also ended up being convinced to buy some Pinto Gris, Riesling and Sangiovese.
Fully expecting to get a call from my bank asking whether I still had possession of my credit card, we high tailed it to Melbourne before any more financial damage could be done.