The lovingly restored The Boat Shed in Lake Hume Resort near Albury is the jewel in the crown – changing the look and feel of this laidback patch of Aussie paradise nestled on the banks of Lake Hume.
As we pull into Lake Hume Resort, the sun is sinking towards the horizon. Lake Hume is turned into a shimmering golden expanse surrounded by undulating hills on one side, and the majestic concrete work of art that is the dam’s wall, rising up on the other.
From where we are on the top of the hill, the kayaks flitting across the lake’s surface look like shiny beetles, oars like thin legs creating symmetrical ripples on either side as they skim along. There are groups of families and friends lounging on towels and camp chairs on the grassy knolls above the beach, where kids and dogs splash around in the shallow water. It’s a picture-perfect postcard of an Australian summer.
The Boat Shed stands straight and tall on the main grassy slope – its 1920s-style white exterior with smart navy trims giving it a nautical feel – and it wouldn’t look out of place on a palm-tree-lined Miami street. People mingle on the pub’s balcony above the resort’s pool, the clinking of glasses and merry chatter drifting over to us along with the unmistakable scents of wood-fired pizzas, burgers and chicken wings.
We cruise carefully along the resort’s main road, dodging kids on bikes and skateboards as we go, and in the neat row of cabins we find the one we’re calling home for the weekend. It’s a newly renovated three-bedroom, floorboarded cottage with a large open kitchen, dining room and lounge room – perfect for families or a group of friends. The simple, stylish décor is chic and fresh, and there’s a welcome bunch of Australian native flowers on the dining table with a lovely welcome note, and some local gourmet snacks – olives, crackers, cheese and chocolate chip cookies – tucked into a welcome hamper.
Dining at The Boat Shed
It’s a Friday night and we are just in time for Happy Hour. We order a cold beer and a glass of bubbles, and join the crowds of happy patrons chilling out on the deck. The sun has slipped below the hills now and it’s hard not to unwind and relax in the Hamptons’ styled space, as some classic Café Del Mar tunes drift out across the darkening lake.
We take our table next to a window overlooking the beautifully manicured gardens, order some meals to share, and settle in for a dinner of grilled haloumi, Japanese chicken wings and wasabi tuna tartare for entrees, followed by the classics – fish and chips with homemade fries and scotch fillet steak cooked to perfection. The evening drifts along at a slow pace, with the attentive staff letting us enjoy the delicious food and one another’s company.
Down by the lake
The Boat Shed is rapidly becoming famous for its awesome breakfasts. We sit in the sun on the deck and indulge in a big fry-up and some smashed avocado on sourdough with toasted sesame seeds and a rocket and feta salad. The coffee is some of the best in the region, and the coconut sago with berry coulis, strawberries, wild rice and toasted coconut is a popular dish for vegans and vegetarians.
The Boat Shed is also renowned as a beautiful wedding venue, and being so close to Albury airport it is also popular for corporate functions.
We head down to the lake’s dam wall, which is only a ten-minute walk from the resort.
The views from both sides of the lake’s wall are nothing short of spectacular – from one side you can see where the water has flowed out and down the Murray River in two distinct streams around a heart-shaped island in the centre. The banks are a verdant mass of trees, thriving bushland and swathes of flowers peppered across the river grasses.
On the other side, you can look out across the lake, which for the first time in five years is at capacity. We’re disappointed to hear that the day before we arrived, 31,000 megalitres had been released per day for multiple days in a row. Considering the dam holds a maximum of 3,005,156 megalitres (about six times the volume of Sydney Harbour) that would have been quite a sight to see.
After a walk across the dam wall, we head back to the resort and meet one of the staff down by the lake where we pick up a two-person kayak. Dogs and kids splash around in excitement as we push off from shore and glide out on to the lake to join the many fishermen in tinnies.
The sun is high in the sky now, and the mass of water is alive with millions of sparkles that each oar stroke dissolves, only for them to reappear beyond our wake where the water once again settles into a relaxing stillness.
We switch off and listen to magpies warbling and kookaburras laughing their heads off. We watch ducks swoop in and settle comfortably into their orderly rafts, and it couldn’t feel more like an Australian summer when a big crackle of cockatoos noisily bustles its way across the bright blue sky, blending in and out of the popcorn-like clouds.