In November Bill Peach Journeys embarked on a Luxury Short Break through the heart of ‘Australia’s Food Bowl’. In the exhilarating Riverina region we discovered acclaimed wines, tasted gorgeous fresh produce and explored spectacular natural scenery along the way. The Riverina which is home to the Murrumbidgee River and its waterways, winds its way through an amazing array of food trails, natural wonders and picturesque towns. We explored the charming country towns of Wagga Wagga, Gundagai, Jugiong, Cootamundra, Temora, Narrandera,Griffith & Lockhart the birth place of our founder Bill Peach.
The Riverina sits within Wiradjuri Nation, the largest indigenous area in New South Wales. Known as the “people of three rivers”, the Wiradjuri people have deep connections with the Murrumbidgee River, the Lachlan River and the Macquarie River. Here are some of our favourite places from our recent Springtime in the Riverina Tour.
located on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River, is the largest inland city in New South Wales and is considered the main commercial and administrative centre in the Riverina region. “Wagga”, as it is known to the locals, is a city of fine buildings, tree-lined streets, excellent museums and galleries, parks and gardens.
Our expert guide & driver Wayne Priest from Priests Coaches explained the history of the town in great detail as we drove around the river and through all parts of town. A stop at the Botanical Gardens and Museum of the Riverina were also part of the tour. Wayne’s knowledge of the region is second to none and he was a delightful inclusion on the tour.
The wonderful thing about being on a Luxury Short Break like this is the locals you meet along the way. We had an extraordinary tour of “Tambea” Private Gardens. This mother-in-law & daughter-in-law team have such a passion for delicious food, and incredible gardens which are all set amongst the heart of their family’s wheat and canola farm.
A visit to Wollundry Olive Grove was an eye opener into one of the few olive groves in Australia that are grown, processed, bottled and packed on the grove. Their olives reflect the unique role that small, committed producers play in setting quality and flavour standards.
Of course there is nothing like the food in Wagga Wagga. For our first evening we visited Food I Am which is located amongst 100 acres of rolling hills. The restaurant is part cooking school and part private dining venue, allowing our clients to either roll up their sleeves or to sit back, relax and have a glass of wine while the expert team cooked them dinner.
Of course a visit to the Riverina would not be complete without seeing the Dog on the Tuckerbox at Gundagai. Originally set up to assist Gundagai Hospital, today the Dog still helps the hospital’s vital work with the monies from its wishing well. Over the decades it has been celebrated in song and story, and faithfully commemorates the efforts of the European pioneers who settled the region. We also explored the main street of Gundagai which is a pretty and historic town. The landscape at Gundagai is dominated by four bridges spanning the Murrumbidgee flats. The timber viaducts are The timber viaducts are wonderful examples of early engineering solutions to crossing a major flood plain.
We popped into lunch at Jugiong which is located on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River and is a great introduction to the Hilltops Region. Probably one of the most famous places to visit in Jugiong is the Long Track Pantry. The bustling cafe and general store is beloved for its delicious food in the cafe but also for its range of produce made on site, jams, dressing and chutneys made from local seasonal produce. It is always a favourite place for our clients to stock up on gifts and treats.
From gold rush history to pioneer villages and fighter jets, the heritage town of Temora has plenty to offer. This country town is home to one of the finest collections of flying vintage warplanes in the world. No visit is complete without visiting the Aviation Museum. A private behind the scenes tour was a highlight of the trip. We saw the only two flying Spitfires in Australia, plus the world’s only flying Gloster Meteor F8. Also at the museum is a WWII CA-13 Boomerang, the only fully Australian designed and built fighter plane to be produced, and a Hudson Bomber from 1939. Such incredible history and so magnificently restored.
Here we explored world-class wineries, ate fresh produce and learnt about the fascinating heritage of Griffith. Designed by noted architect Walter Burley Griffin in the early 20th century as part of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Scheme, European migrants settled in the region after World War I and II and helped build a distinctive food and wine culture.
It was a foodies wonderland. We ate at Limone Dining which took over five years to build using recycled materials. The restaurant showcases what the Riverina has to offer – amazing produce prepared with the rich knowledge of the European migrants that made this area what it is today. We also ate at the famous Zecca restaurant renowned for its fresh homemade pasta dishes and no trip to Griffith is complete without consuming traditional Italian Canoli at Bertoldo’s Bakery.
Of course a visit to Griffith has to include a visit to its famous wineries and orchards. We visited Yarran Wines, one of the few certified organic vineyards in the region and the traditional Italian style, Calabria Family Wines for tasting and lunch in their underground cellar. The passion of these suppliers was evident in their hospitality and engagement with our group.
Our final stop on this Luxury Short Break was a visit to our founder Bill Peach’s birthplace. The tiny town of Lockhart is known as the Verandah Town. Strolling around the Lockhart Sculpture and Heritage Trail we come across the Walk of Fame, a tribute to the remarkable accomplishments of former residents of Lockhart Shire who have shaped Australia’s rich and varied heritage. Seeing one dedicated to Bill was a very special moment for our clients and staff. We also had the added bonus of being shown where Bill grew up before he moved to boarding school in Bathurst.
NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
As with so many of our Luxury Short Break tours the Springtime in the Riverina tour is a No Single Supplement tour meaning that you are guaranteed your own room without paying any extra supplement. Travelling with Bill Peach Journeys enables clients to explore regional areas without the stress of doing it on their own. You have a feeling of being part of a family of people who share common interests and just love to explore their own backyard in luxury and style.
There are more luxurious breaks and tours we offer – see them here!