Founders Lane Masthead
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Travel: Riverina Canola Trail

Belinda Neame and Tim Bean

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road…and hello, fields of gold. We take a mini break exploring the Riverina Canola Trail.

At this time of the year in the Riverina the canola display is simply breathtaking. It’s the perfect time of the year to hop in the car for a road trip just a couple of hours from Canberra.

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You will want to stop at every opportunity to take in the incredible rolling blankets of yellow canola. The contrast of the landscape will relax you and the country hospitality will make you want to stay.

But there’s plenty more to explore.

EAT & DRINK

Coolamon Cheese

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Like all small, old country towns, Coolamon is full of charm. The architectural history is everywhere and it really gives the town a warmth and character that newer cities can’t offer.

Opening the doors to Coolamon Cheese was like stepping into cheesy heaven! The brainchild of Barry Lillywhite, a cheesemaker of 35 years, and his son Anton Green, a hospitality professional, Coolamon Cheese is so much more than just cheese.

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After restoring the 1920s building in the main street of Coolamon, Barry and Anton added a ‘cheese hallway’—an interactive experience for visitors where you can watch the cheese being handcrafted and matured. Windows FULL OF CHEESE! Tours of the hallway are held daily and a great way to learn more about the process.

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But it doesn’t stop there. What’s a cheese factory without the cheese kitchen? The menu will take you on a journey of cheese plates, local meat plates and sweet things. A farm-to-plate concept incorporating local produce and native Australian flavours inspired by the unique and delectable Coolamon Cheese range, the menu was a case of ‘where do I start?’.

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I must admit, I looked at the River Mint Cheese and was like ‘mint and cheese, not sure about that’. Well, didn’t I learn to never judge a book by its cover?! This combination was my favourite of the hard cheese variety.

Now, if I can divert off the cheese for a little bit, lets talk about the coffee. Being spoilt for choice with quality coffee in Canberra, I struggle to find ‘good coffee’ beyond the border, but I’m happy to report, I found it here.  As with all their cheese, single-source Riverina milk from a third-generation dairy farm is used as the base, and also in their coffee. The result? One of the best coffees I’ve ever had!

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Having only been open for a year, there is plenty more to come from Coolamon Cheese, like an outdoor area off the main building which will include a bar, and the restoration of the old baker’s cottage to bring the old scotch oven back to life.

A must-visit.

Coolamon Cheese | 87 Cowabbie St, Coolamon | coolamoncheese.com.au

Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, eat your heart out! Junee’s version is just like the movies—only better—because you get to be part of it!

Housed in a stunning 1935 flourmill, the mill has been owned by the Druce family since 1998. Fast forward nearly 20 years and you have a factory that is pumping out several tonnes of certified organic confectionaries every single week.

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When you arrive you will be wowed by the sheer size and old world charm of the mill, and when you walk inside, you will be knocked over by the sweet smell of liquorice and chocolate churning!

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The factory offers guided tours hourly from 10am to 3pm everyday—a great way to see and learn all about the process of producing liquorice products at this level. Each station has a window where you can view the processes: from the liquorice at its very first stages, to a porthole watching the metres upon metres of liquorice being heated and then cut by the guillotine.

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Then there is the chocolate room! Copper barrels doing their thing, spinning and coating the liquorice (and other yummy things like almonds and strawberries) with shiny Belgium chocolate.

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If you are over the sweetness and need a lunch break, book at table at The Millroom. We can highly recommend the open steak sandwich with curly chips!

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Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory | 45-61 Lord St, Junee | greengroveorganics.com.au

The Terminus

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After a long day of cheese eating and chocolate tasting, The Terminus was the perfect place to stop for dinner—a good old-fashioned country ‘counter meal’ was exactly what was in order.

The menu was extensive, with a range of dishes to suit everyone. I’m not going to lie, I was quite excited to see a ‘Parmi’ on the menu! However, we couldn’t go past the roast with veggies and a scotch fillet with pepper sauce.

The service and value for money was brilliant and the food was absolutely delicious. The space is great for families with a beer garden and a pergola area with a children’s playground out the back.

The Terminus | 136 Crowley Street, Temora | terminushoteltemora.com

PLAY 

Temora Aviation Museum

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It had been 13 years since I’d visited Temora Aviation Museum, so I was keen to check it out again—and to say it is impressive doesn’t do it justice.

We were met by the General Manager Peter Harper and taken on a personal tour of the museum. One thing that clearly stood out was the pride for, and presentation of, the museum. It is beautifully curated and maintained and super-interactive for visitors.

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Temora has a rich and noteworthy aviation history, having been home to the No. 10 Elementary Flying Training School (10 EFTS), established by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in May 1941. Throughout WWII more than 10,000 personnel were involved at the school with upwards of 2,400 pilots being trained. The school ceased operation on 12 March 1946 and reopened as the Temora Aviation Museum in June 2000.

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The tour took us to the viewing platform of the engineer’s workshop hangar where we were able to see the aircraft being serviced. All aircraft at the museum are still operational and are flown at least 20 times per year at the aircraft showcase days. Each time they are flown, they are then taken to the workshop for maintenance.

We were then taken to the display hangar where we were able to get up close to the aircraft on the ground and really take in the staggering size of the collection and its history.

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Also housed in the display hangar at the moment is the da Vinci Machines exhibition. If you thought you knew a lot about Leonardo, think again. Mona Lisa, yes, but what about his invention of the world’s first military tank, or an apparatus that would later be know as S.C.U.B.A? da Vinci was an absolute genius and this interactive, eye-opening exhibition is fun for all ages. You can find out more about this impressive and interactive exhibition here.

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Want to see the planes take to the skies? Be sure to keep on eye on the museum website as flying days are a regular part of their events calendar.

Temora Aviation Museum | 1 Tom Moon Avenue, Temora | aviationmuseum.com.au

Coolamon Fire Museum

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The Coolamon Fire Museum is located in the former Coolamon Fire Station building, a beautifully-maintained 1932 building that is now the pride and joy of Chris and Joanne Berry.

Chris a former, dedicated fire fighter in Coolamon and Temora, is passionate about everything fire service. Over three decades he has searched for and collected anything that is associated with fire fighting.

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The impressive and extensive collection ranges from fire buckets to fire fighter uniforms from all around the world, including Peru and Germany. Chris has a deep knowledge of every piece in the museum and will happily chat you through all of it.

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The museum is open seven days a week from 10am to 4pm and is the perfect place for kids and grown-ups alike! Pop Sunday 1 October in your diaries as the museum is having an open day packed full of fun with historical and vintage fire engines on display, car rescue demonstrations, children’s free fire brigade gifts, historical army trucks and so much more.

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Coolamon Fire Museum | 46 Loughnan Street, Coolamon | coolamonfiremuseum.wordpress.com

STAY

Courthouse Cottage

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If you’re looking for a luxury home-away-from-home, Courthouse Cottage is the place to stay. Hosted by Jone and Garry , Courthouse Cottage is a newly refurbished bed and breakfast that is located just 75 metres from Temora’s main street.

Upon arrival the old-world-charm-meets-modern-world vibe hits you straight away. The beautifully manicured gardens and Camellia hedges at the entrance set the scene to what you will find behind the front door—a long hallway, high ceilings, two beautifully-styled bedrooms, a lounge room and a dining room are just the beginning.

The bedrooms are fitted out with the fluffiest, cloud-like beds, a beautiful private ensuite with soft white towels and all the mod cons you need like free wi-fi and TV. The shared dining room is stocked to the brim with local, homemade jams, toast, fruit, cereals and more. When making your booking, you even get asked what type of milk and bread you would like!

The service and warmth that Garry and Jone provide is impeccable. The biggest problem was getting out of that dreamy bed in the morning to check out!

Courthouse Cottage | 158 DeBoos Street, Temora | courthousecottage.com.au

Discover more about the region at visitnsw.com.

The author travelled as a guest of Destination NSW. Her opinions remain her own.

Photography: Tim Bean Photography.

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Belinda Neame

Belinda is HerCanberra's Production Manager. A foodie and lover of handmade, Belinda enjoys nothing more than a good coffee and seeing Canberra businesses thrive. In her 'spare time', Belinda organises the quarterly Canberra street food event, The Forage with her husband Tim. More about the Author

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Tim Bean

A fire fighter by day (and night), Tim also loves being behind the lens to capture all things food, people and places. You can often find Tim drinking coffee at his local or capturing a time lapse on Anzac Parade! More about the Author

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