Presenting a first-timer’s guide to the Riverina – do not miss these experiences!
Arts & Culture
Bland Shire Art Trail
The Bland Shire Art Trail has silo art, sculptures, murals, art galleries, tree art, outdoor cultural museum, 44 war murals… there is no shortage of art to view at your own leisure.
The Art Trail was born after Bland Shire acquired many artworks from local and well-known artists. There are art displays throughout the shire for every age. In 1949, well-known Australian artist Russell Drysdale painted West Wyalong’s main street at dusk, sketched from outside Tattersalls Hotel. On the spot of his sketch for the now iconic ‘West Wyalong’ painting stands a celebration of his easel in bronze. All artwork has panels explaining the artwork and artist.
The Yindyamarra Aboriginal Display was officially opened during NAIDOC Week 2021. Yindyamarra is the Wiradjuri word for Respect.
The stunning collection stands permanently at The Wetlands and features a number of significant indigenous artefacts and symbols which were all painted by local artists.
The lead artist was West Wyalong local Kheely Turner from Bundyi Yadhaa, while indigenous students from Ungarie Central School Ethan Robb, Allora Vinecombe, Joseph McKenzie, Madi Vinecombe, Archer Hale, Dean Hale and Mitchell Collins painted many of the artefacts with the help of Jon and Rhonda from Didgeridoos on Main. Meanwhile, a number of local students from Wyalong Public School have their handprints set in concrete on the slab surrounding the exhibition.
Make sure to stop at the West Wyalong Visitor Information Centre to pick up a copy of the keepsake Bland Shire Art Trail booklet.
Kengal Aboriginal Place – Views of the snow from the Rock
Like snow, but don’t want to play in it?
Soaring 364 metres above the Riverina, The Rock Nature Reserve – Kengal Aboriginal Place is one of the most iconic landmarks in the Riverina and on a clear day during Winter you may be able to see the snow-capped peaks of the Snowy Mountains.
The Rock Nature Reserve – Kengal Aboriginal Place is a magnificent place to explore, with picnic tables, barbecues and shelter, water, toilets, and a walking/cycle path from the nearby town.
Take the family and find a relaxing picnic spot, or if you’re feeling energetic take a hike to the top for spectacular views. Kengal is home to an abundance of native fauna and flora so make sure to bring your camera and a pair of binoculars when you visit.
Artistic views across Narrandera
Head to the Award Winning 2019 Best Mega Mural, Narrandera Water Tower and immerse yourself in a visual collection of landmarks, activities, flora and fauna that resonates with our community.
The stories behind the design include significant icons for the Narrandera Shire Community with the colours inspired by the local environment including the colours of sunsets viewed from this site.
Walk around the Water Tower Mural following the river, and spot The Lizard, The Koala, The Tiger Moth Airplane, The Paddlesteamer, The Oakbank Brewery Tower then enjoy the views overlooking the town from one of the many seats available.
Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail
The Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail offers a new reason to experience the Snowy Valleys.
This new and significant series of sculpture collection, created in response to the Black Summer Fires of 2019-2020, has been installed along 100km of the stunning Snowy Valleys Way showcasing sculptures in the historic towns of Adelong, Batlow, Tumbarumba, the hamlet of Tooma and the Tumbarumba wine region cellar doors at Courabyra Wines, Johansen Wines and Obsession Wines.
Starting at Adelong, a series of sculptures line the stunning Adelong Creek Walk adding a new dimension to this much-loved attraction, finishing at the impressive Adelong Falls. Here you will discover Tania Spencer’s ‘Gumnut Cap Trio’ – a suspended knitted work made from copper wire, and Harrie Fasher’s ‘The Last Charge’ – a memorial to the charge of the Australian Light Horse at Beersheba that was unveiled by the Riverina Light Horse Brigade
Continuing south you will head to the apple town of Batlow where you can stop by to see several installations including the fascinating “Green Life” in Reedy Park and the conversational “Inconvenience Store” in Pioneer Street. Make sure you pick yourself up some crisp cider before following the Sculpture Trail down to Tumbarumba.
Highlights here include the pop-up Shop Art project in The Parade and the smaller permanent indoor ceramic works by Merran Esson, known as “Tumba Tanks”, which are on public display at Artists on Parade.
You can enjoy a walk through the Tumbarumba creekscape and discover the sculptures dotted through this space or take the trip out to Courabyra Wines for lunch and on to Johansen Wines or Obsession Wines which have prominent pieces showcased against stunning backdrops.
The sculptures have already been covered in snow this winter, adding another dimension to the wonderful experience.
The trail ends in the town of Tooma where a very ‘instagrammable’ Japanese “Oushi Zokei” sculpture sits across from the beautiful Brigham House and Toom Inn.
With the Snowy Valleys towns a short drive from Wagga Wagga, it’s the perfect trip for a long lunch or an overnight getaway.
Artworks in the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail include significant sculptures from international and Australian artists including those from Regional NSW, Western Australia, Japan, Denmark, the Czech Republic, New Zealand, Slovakia and South Africa.
Created by the team behind Sculpture by the Sea in Bondi and Cottesloe and destined to become a world class sculpture collection, the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail is funded by the NSW Government’s Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund and will expand with additional sculptures to be installed later in 2022 and the first half of 2023, growing to over 35 sculptures.
For more details and to plan your trip visit www.sculpturebythesea/snowyvalleys or pick up a free catalogue at one of the tourist information centers along the way.
Hay makes final four in bid to home The Big Rainbow
Given that Australia has a well-documented love affair with ‘big’ things (we’ve got over 150 of them), Tinder’s vision was for the Big Rainbow to find a lasting home somewhere in a rural town. Hay applied and you guessed it, they made the short list of 50 and NOW it’s down to the final four.
Hay is super excited to be the town supporting NSW to bring The Big Rainbow tourist attraction to our region. We need your help to bring The Big Rainbow to Hay by voting today, entries close June 30. To vote simply go to www.bigrainbowproject.com.au.
Free bike hire is available at the Visitor Centre, you can book yours today here.
They have 10 bikes for adults and 2 bikes for small children to send out each day, so bring a group along or come on your own. It truly is the best way to see the town.
Storytelling is a way of life in the bush. We are closely connected to our history and proud of our past. From tales of the Shearing industry at the iconic Shear Outback to the moving stories of Prisoners of War at Dunera Museum, embrace the architecture of the unique building of Bishop’s Lodge and wonder through the years with the artifacts at the Hay Gaol. Museums are a must-do experience while in Hay.
Murrumbidgee River & Sandy Point
The beautiful white sandy beaches of the Murrumbidgee River (‘Bidgee’ to the locals) are a favourite spot. A haven for water lovers, Sandy Point boasts a lawned area, full amenities, and some of the best fishing sites on the Bidgee. Under the shade of the majestic old river red gums, visitors can enjoy a day by the water, swimming or fishing, or just enjoying the passing parade of ski boats.
Sunset Viewing Area
Enjoy the unique experience of sunsets with a 360° uninterrupted view. The perfect spot for photographers or those wanting to enjoy a traditional “sundowner” as the sun sets over the vast Hay Plains. Located on one of the flattest places in the world, 16km north of Hay on the Cobb Highway the Sunset Viewing area features a Long Paddock information panel and sculptural furniture.
Water Tower Art
Hay’s Water Tower art was envisaged as a lasting tribute to the many servicemen and women that left Hay when the call to arms was made in World War II, and headed overseas to combat to protect their loved ones and county. Five veterans were selected to represent a broad selection of the servicemen and women of Hay, they now watch proudly overlooking the community they sought to protect.
Learn more at https://www.visithay.com.au/
Art Deco Way in Leeton – the region’s newest touring route!
The Art Deco Way, a touring route designed to get people off traditional highway corridors at Narrandera and Darlington Point, showcases Leeton, the Art Deco Capital of Regional Australia. There are more than 45 Art Deco era properties on the town’s main street. Leeton also plays host to the Australian Art Deco Festival Leeton event, held annually in July.
Some of Leeton’s most iconic art deco buildings include the state heritage listed Roxy Theatre (1930), the Hydro Hotel (1919) and the old Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission Building (1937) which housed the engineers who created the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Scheme.
Must see attractions along this route include the Leeton Museum and Gallery, Chelmsford Place Water Towers, Fivebough Wetlands, Whitton Malt House, Gogeldrie Riverside Park, McCaughey Park and Splash Pad, Whitton
Murals and Water Tower Artwork, Whitton Courthouse and Historical Museum and the Yanco Powerhouse Museum.
Wild Encounters at Altina Wildlife Park and Zoo, Darlington Point
This outstanding safari park has unique tours, accomplished in style via personalised comfortable carts. The highlight of the tour is the exotic animals that are content being fed near the carts, providing wonderful close encounters.
For those looking for something even more adventurous, try the behind-the-scenes wild encounter tours.
Two open-aired tours are offered daily 9.30 am and 1.00 pm. Please call Altina Wildlife Park for more details. 0412 060 342
Wild Koala Spotting in Narrandera
Narrandera is home to Australias most chilled-out koalas.
In the beautiful Koala Regeneration area and the Flora and Fauna reserve they spend their days relaxing in grand river red gums and trying to decide which leaves look the tastiest.
Take your time to wander the reserve, spot a variety of native wildlife, a sleepy koala or two, and experience for yourself why Narrandera Koalas are just so chill.
Museums and Historical Places
Pull up a stump at the Black Stump Hotel in Merriwagga
A must-see for anyone travelling outback to Carrathool Shire is the tallest bar in the southern hemisphere.
This bar is at the Black Stump Hotel in Merriwagga, just a short drive from Griffith. Legend has it that the bar was made at a height that allowed stockmen to ride up on their horses to quench their thirst.
The Black Stump gained its name from the gruesome tale of Mrs. Barbara Blaine – find out all about her demise while quenching your own thirst at the Black Stump Hotel in Merriwagga.
Located approximately 25kms from Merriwagga along Black Stump Road and McKinley Road is a memorial to Mrs. Blaine.
If you’re keen to explore the outback, Willandra National Park is a short drive from Hillston and will give you a taste of what’s on offer.
The National Park was once Willandra Station, a large merino stud that covered an area eight times the current park size. The original homestead, ram shed, and shearers’ quarters remain.
The homestead rests on the banks of Willandra Creek which provides a seasonal habitat for many birds and animals that can be found on the plains. These plains are home to over 195 different types of birds and 23 species of reptiles.
Check out the Carrathool Shire Council website for current road conditions before you travel.
Cooinda Reserve, West Wyalong
Cooinda Reserve is full of history and the perfect location to stop and relax with amenities, a covered BBQ area, and a dog park.
The huge Poppet Head and Neeld’s hut are a reminder of the historic past of West Wyalong and Wyalong. Interpretative panels tell the story of the Shire’s gold-mining past and the huge bucket represents our current gold mining operations. The Liebherr Excavator 994B/9400 Bucket was donated to Bland Shire Council by Evolution Mining in 2020, as a permanent reminder of Evolution Mining’s presence at Cowal Gold Mine.
Check out the replica Malleefowl nest, metal junk art, and a history of eucalyptus oil in West Wyalong. If you feel like a longer walk, Cooinda Park is the start of the Green Corridor walk along the water run-off all the way to McCann Park in West Wyalong.
Next to Cooinda Reserve are the Wetlands – take a walk or get out your kayak and drift around the Cooinda Waters.
First time in Temora? These are your top 3 must sees!
Winter is beautiful in Temora. Whilst the wind can bite, there are plenty of places to take in the history and beauty of the town and still stay warm.
If you’ve never been to Temora before then you need to visit the iconic museums. Pick up a joint entry pass to both the Rural Museum, located at the Bundawarrah Centre, and the world-famous Temora Aviation Museum.
The pass gives you access to the museums for 24 hours, meaning you can return to take in anything you miss from the extensive collections.
If you time your visit well, you may just catch some of the warbird aircraft in action, but they are pretty impressive in the display hangar as well. With a collection including Spitfires, Tiger Moth, Vampire, Hudson, and Meteor, the Aviation Museum has arguably the most extensive collection of aircraft in the southern hemisphere.
Temora Rural Museum will have you enthralled for hours with its wide variety of exhibits that include Sir Donald Bradman’s first home, a one-room public school, bush church, country dance hall, printing works, flour mill, ambulance station, and fire station. A comprehensive working display of sound technology and a fully furnished pioneer cottage, complement a gallery dedicated to the impressive rock and mineral display created for Temora by the late Athol Stean.
Joint entry passes to the two museums are:
Pick up a picnic lunch from one of the many cafes in town and head out to the picturesque Lake Centenary. Light up one of the fire buckets located around the lake loop path around the lake and enjoy the view as you enjoy your meal.
Finish your day with a modern twist on a pub feed in front of the wood fire at the Temora Hotel for dinner. The fresh menu and warm ambiance will have you leaving Temora with a smile and great memories. It may be your first trip to Temora, but it won’t be your last.
Step back in time as you explore Coolamon’s Up-to-Date Store and Cultural Precinct
Perched at the top of the main street, you’ll find this historical gem, The Coolamon Up-to-Date Store. Built in 1909, it displays an elegant and rare example of country general stores. The building operated as a general store until 1932.
The Store is now home to a range of collections including the Lamson Cash Railway, The Mavis Furner Collection, Our Shire Our Stores, Gullaman Collection, Garth Jones Collection, Reg Godde Collection and the RSL Museum.
You’ll also discover a number of window displays around the outside of the Store. When visiting you’ll be greeted by a welcoming volunteer.
You can read more about the Store here.
Visit the Coolamon Fire Museum
Originally the old Fire Station, the building is now a museum packed with a collection of firefighting memorabilia.
Museum Manager Chris Berry has pieced together a collection of impressive items from all over the world, all with an interesting story.
Well worth a look when you are next in Coolamon. Open 7 days from 10am.
You can read more about the museum here.
See our not to be missed Winter 2022 Events here!