Sydneysiders love their breakfast bowls, their açaí bowls, their smoothie bowls…but how about getting to the heart of where our produce comes from—the food bowl of New South Wales? The road from the Riverina to the Snowy Valleys may be a lesser known road trip, but by jeebus it’s a beautiful, adventurous one.
The three-day drive starts in the wine-lovin’, food-wheelin’ Riverina region before snaking south-east through Junee and Wagga Wagga, and finishing in Tumbarumba, the gateway to the breath-taking alpine wilderness of the Snowy Mountains.
Winter is here, but that doesn’t mean you should be stuck inside. Pack the car. Bring the stretchy pants. There’s lots to see and do.
We've teamed up with locals—aka the people have the answers to all of the best things to do off the hidden path—Destination NSW, to bring you this epic guide. In case you need even more inspo, you can find it right here.
See What All The Fuss Is About At Limone Dining | Griffith
Seasons change, and so does the menu at Griffith culinary gem Limone Dining. Kitchen ingredients are either sourced from their 20-acre organic farm (they even make their own honey!), or from a stellar line-up of local producers and growers. There are telltale signs of the Italian influence on the mod-Oz menu, à la the vitello tonato freshened up with tuna tartare, sorrel, pickled radish; or silky taglione with a fermented mushroom sauce and oyster mushroom powder. At three courses for $75 it’s a steal, considering the care, quality and hospitality here. Make sure you admire the interior design—the restaurant was built over five years ago using recycled and salvaged materials, resulting in a characterful dining room that’s dark, smart and polished.
Do You Like (Piña) Canolas? | Across The Riverina Region
In spring, a road trip through the RIverina is a feast for the eyes. Springtime is when the region’s canola plantations bloom to life, and there will be fields of flowering golden plants as far as the eye can see. It’s like being in a picture-perfect hyper-colour dream sequence. Keen noses will smell the sweet, unique perfume of canola plants, while others can just gaze dreamily at the fields of gold. This is what road trips are made of.
Play The Big Guitar | Narrandera
Look, when in Rome, ok? Some may turn their noses at kitsch “big things” that dot Australia’s regional towns, but not us—we relish them. Narrandera’s Big Playable Guitar measures 5.8 metres long and took more than 300 hours to build. As the name suggests, you can actually play the plywood behemoth, so of course you’re going to be the 4728th person to jam out Smoke On The Water. Play now, apologise later.
Spot Some Furry Koala Friends | Narrandera Nature Reserve
It’s officially known as Narrandera Nature Reserve, but locals have dubbed it Koala Reserve and we’re very okay with that. Pack your binoculars, because you’re going to want to aim them high in the red gum trees for optimal koala-spotting. There is a 200-strong population of these furry friends who’ve thrived and survived through heatwaves, floods and fires. The reserve is set in the Murrumbidgee Valley National Park, home to other natural gems such as McCaugheys Lagoon and Middle Beach. Make like Dora, and go explorin’.
Catch The Five O’ Clock Wave At Wagga Beach | Wagga Wagga
You wouldn’t expect to find a beach in inland regional New South Wales, but then again, road trips are all about the little surprises. At Wagga Beach, enjoy a gentle paddle in the Murrumbidgee River—the waters are relatively flat and calm, so it’s perfect for kiddies or in-water chillaxing (and no embarrassing wave-dumping, hooray!). Dry off on the sandbank, though we prefer the grassy shaded lawns for picnicking. There are BBQ facilities on site too if you want to flex those tongs.
Stuff Yourself Silly At Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory | Junee
If you’ve never been, you must go. And if you’ve already been, you must visit again. Them’s the rules for this favourite road trip pit-stop. If you’ve got time on your hands, you can take a tour of the factory, but if you’re me, you make a beeline for the shop. You’ll find delights of the liquorice and chocolate variety, from straight-up black liquorice, to chocolate-coated liquorice bites, and my favourite, the freckle chocolates. I’m no doctor, but most products on the shelves are certified organic, so they’re practically healthy, right? Be warned, there’s a lot of choices, and you’ll feel like a kid in a...store of some kind.
Check Out Them Apples At Mouat’s Farm | Batlow
You know the name Batlow—it’s emblazoned on those little apple stickers on your post-lunch Red Delicious. And if you’ve eaten a Batlow apple, chances are, it’s come from Mouat’s Farm. Apples are the main crop at this family-run orchard and depending on the season, you can find Fujis, Pink Ladies, Bonzas and Granny Smiths at their onsite fruit shop. They also grow and sell cherries in the summertime, too! Depending on the timing of the harvest, you can pick your own fruit (but you’ve got to call ahead first). There’s nothing quite like eating an apple straight from the tree, or at the very least, from an orchard’s own produce shop.
Follow The Murrumbidgee River Along The Wiradjuri Walking Track | Wagga Wagga
For a closer look at the Murrumbidgee River, we recommend heading to Wagga’s Wiradjuri Walking Track. The full track is an epic 42 kilometres—practically the length of a marathon—but for the best bit, we recommend an abridged meander along Gobba Beach and Wiradjuri Reserve. You’ll spot keen fishers patiently waiting for a catch of Murray cod from the riverbanks, and hundreds of towering red gum eucalypts dotting the mighty Murrumbidgee River. Follow the trail further south along the river, and you’ll hit the Thirsty Crow Brewery (if you’re hankering for a beer), or popular Uneke Lounge (if you’re after a feed and decent coffee). The choice is yours.
Get Cosy At Nest Cafe | Tumbarumba
This cosy cafe, bookshop and cinema is a golden find in the Snowy Mountains. The food is nourishing and comforting and made with seasonal produce from the region. In winter, for example, you could find gnocchi with local bacon and hazelnuts, or their own-grown pomegranates in an apple and pomegranate crumble—perfect with a flat white made from Wagga Wagga roasters The Blessed Bean. At their bookshop, there’s a tailored selection of classics, modern works and children’s books, an impressive poetry collection, and regular literary events. Oh, and they have a 29-recliner-seat cinema too. It’s truly a community hub of good vibes and good times.
To start planning your trip, all the info you need is right here.