Drive to Historic Adelong, a Hidden Gem of a Destination in the Snowy Valleys.
Join me on a one-day drive through regional New South Wales, from Albury to picturesque Adelong. With a history steeped in pioneering and gold, Adelong is a delightful and fascinating day trip destination. It is the town where time stood still. Discover some of the best-preserved remnants of Adelong’s gold mining era, historic buildings, great walks, and more.
I have lost count of the number of times I have driven past the turnoff to Adelong on my way up the Hume Highway to Sydney, always wondering what the town has to offer. So, I jumped at the chance when a friend suggested we take a road trip to Tumut because this meant we could stop in Adelong and visit the famous Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins. As it turned out, Adelong is a hidden gem with much more to offer the visitor. Read on to learn why you should take a day trip to Adelong.
Adelong is a picturesque town built along the Adelong Creek, where gold was discovered in 1852. It is the heritage gateway to the Snowy Mountains. The tree-lined main street (Tumut Street), with its beautiful veranda-fronted buildings dating back to the gold rush in the 1800s, and Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins are New South Wales National Heritage Trust sites.
Adelong is easy to bypass (I can attest to that), but it is the hidden gem in the Snowy Valleys area. With so much history to discover, scenic walks to meander, friendly locals to chat with, and great food, why would you not want to take a day trip to Adelong?
Albury, on the Murray River, is a major regional city in New South Wales, Australia. The Murray River is Australia’s longest river and forms the border between New South Wales and Victoria.
The trip from Albury to Adelong is a drive of 1 hour, 50 minutes. As such, it just falls within my ‘2-hour-drive-from-Albury’ criterion for where to go on a day trip.
Coming from Albury, Adelong is 28 kilometres off the Hume Highway, on the Snowy Mountains Highway.
Adelong is 1 hour, 4 minutes (85 kilometres) from Wagga Wagga and 2 hours, 16 minutes (195 kilometres) from Canberra.
Enroute from Albury to Adelong, we detoured off the Hume Highway for a late breakfast in Holbrook. We cruised the main street seeking out Holbrook’s cafe options. We settled on J & B’s Gourmet Cafe (for no particular reason), where we had an excellent, hearty breakfast.
Our drive from Albury to Adelong took 3 hours 11 minutes:
- We left Albury at 8.35 am.
- We arrived in Holbrook at 9.20 am.
- We did not rush breakfast, leaving Holbrook at 10.20 am.
- We arrived in Adelong at 11.40 am, having missed the turnoff to the Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins – our planned first stop.
- Turning around, we found the turnoff to the Adelong Falls Gold Mills Ruins 1.5 kilometres back the way we had come.
- We arrived at the Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins at 11.46 am.
Driving into Adelong from the Hume Highway along Snowy Mountains Highway, this piece of gold mining machinery and signage (photo above) was only visible in the car’s rear-view mirror. That’s my excuse for missing the turnoff to the Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins!
Things to do in Adelong
Adelong might be a small town (population of 943), but there is much to see and do, keeping you occupied for the day and commending it as a worthy place to go for a day trip in New South Wales.
Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins
Alluvial gold was discovered in Adelong in 1852 and reef ore in 1856.
The Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins is a heritage-listed (New South Wales) industrial site. It features a remarkably preserved collection of stone ruins bearing witness to the 1869 Reefer ore crushing mill and the remains of the ingenious Reefer ore crushing machine. The mill ceased operation in 1914.
Directions to the Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins:
From the Hume Highway, take the Snowy Mountains Highway turnoff and continue for 26 kilometres. Turn left onto Quartz Street and continue for 950 metres. At a fork in the road, turn right onto Adelong Falls Road, where the road ends 400 metres at the visitor car park. If you end up in Adelong township, then, like me, you have missed the Quartz Street turnoff.
At the visitor car park, there is ample parking, toilets, and a covered picnic area. Entry to Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins is free.
The wheelchair-accessible viewing platform near the visitor’s car park provides an excellent view of the gorge and ruins below.
From the viewing platform, my friend and I took The Ruins Walk down to Adelong Creek and spent a very informative hour walking around the ruins and gaining insight into the history of the Adelong goldfield.
The interpretative signage describing what you see as you walk around the ruins is excellent, making it easy to take yourself on a self-guided walking tour. You can also click here for a pamphlet on a brief history and plan of the Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins.
You don’t have to drive to the Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins. You can walk there via the Adelong Falls Walk.
Adelong Falls Walk
The Adelong Falls Walk links the town of Adelong to the Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins. The sealed section is an easy, flat walk along the banks of the stunning Adelong Creek.
The Adelong Falls Walk begins at the Adelong Alive Museum on the town centre’s main street (Tumut Street).
The sealed section of the Adelong Falls Walk takes about half an hour, one way. The walk from the sealed path to and around the Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins is gravel with steep sections and stairs. Allow approximately 2.5 hours (return) to walk from the museum through to and around the ruins.
MKS Cafe (88 Tumut Street) is situated beside the park and is open for breakfast, brunch and lunch. The cafe owes its old-world charm to its location in one of Adelong’s heritage buildings – The Old Pharmacy, dating from 1877.
We enjoyed good coffee and delicious cake in MKS Cafe’s tree-shaded courtyard.
Adelong Alive Museum
Adelong Alive Museum (86 Tumut Street) tells the stories of Adelong and district, beginning with the gold rush period of 1852 and continuing to the present day. The museum has a scale model of the Reefer ore crushing mill and working models of ore crushing machinery. There is even a room dedicated to the history of the Adelong CWA (Country Women’s Association).
Finding the museum open would seem to be a matter of chance. The Australian Museums and Galleries’ website advises the Adelong Alive Museum is open from 11 am to 3 pm Saturdays and Sundays and by request. Another website I checked informs the reader the museum is open some weekends. The museum’s Facebook page notifies opening hours as Saturdays only, from 11 am to 1 pm. Confused? We were there on a Friday and delighted to find the museum open without prior arrangement. Go figure! Admission is a gold coin donation.
Gary Gately, our friendly and knowledgeable museum volunteer, took the time to show us through the museum, providing detailed information on Adelong’s extensive and colourful history.
Adelong Heritage Walks
Take a walk around this historic gold mining town, exploring buildings dating back to the second half of the 19thcentury.
In Adelong, Tumut Street (the town’s tree-lined, veranda-fronted main street) is heritage-listed by the National Trust of Australia (NSW).
The Adelong Heritage Walk takes about an hour and passes most of the town’s noteworthy and National Trust-listed buildings.
If you don’t have time to complete all of Adelong’s Heritage Walk, I suggest you walk along Tumut Street, where most of the town’s heritage buildings are concentrated.
I picked up the Adelong Heritage Walks brochure at the Adelong Alive Museum. However, there is no guarantee the museum will be open. The brochure is available at Tumut Region Visitor Information Centre but driving onto Tumut will add 38 kilometres (30 minutes) return to your day trip drive. I was unable to find the brochure online. However, click here for a description of the walking route and heritage buildings.
- In the warmer months, take a swim at the Adelong Falls.
- With gold still to be found in Adelong Creek, try your hand at gold panning.
Adelong deserves a visit. With its pretty main street, vibrant museum, pleasant walk along Adelong Creek, and excellent remnants of its gold mining era, Adelong oozes times past still intact. With so much history in one place, Adelong is a hidden gem where time has stood still, unchanged since the 1940s. Adelong is a must-see day trip destination.
Disclaimer: This post contains no affiliate links. All views and opinions are my own and non-sponsored. Unless expressly stated, all photos are my own and remain the copyright © of Just Me Travel 2021.
Would you visit Adelong? With a population of 943, is it realistic to call Adelong a town or is it better described as a village? Please leave a comment below to share your thoughts.
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Author’s Note: Please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip, and always follow government advice.