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48 hours in the Riverina

Beatrice Smith

Spring can be an awkward travel time.

It’s definitely not cold enough to warrant fleeing to Europe for a slice of sun and it’s a bit too close to Christmas to feel like you “really need a break.” The promise of a long Australian summer stretches before you, but you’re restless and the spring sunshine has you wanting to stretch your wings.

As we’ve written before, the Riverina is a travel destination that doesn’t need an excuse, but if you needed one, how about acquainting kids with where their food comes from, sharpening your own culinary skills or simply spending a weekend of indulgence in one of Australia’s warmest and least pretentious destinations?

Here’s our guide for spending a glorious (long) weekend in the Riverina. We suggest heading off the night before, to maximise your eating time!


9am Mates with the locals

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Owned by warm and welcoming farming couple Paul and Marcia, Mates Gully Café forages the entirety of their offerings from their namesake farm near Tarcutta.

Their organic offerings are the perfect ‘welcome dish’ for the region, with their farm fresh eggs, lamb sausages (gluten and preservative free) and hand picked farm veggies and freshly squeezed juice making a delicious big breakfast.

38 Morrow Street, Wagga Wagga

10am Glass half full


There’s something to be said for the elegance of glass art and there’s no better place to view them than Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, which houses the National Glass Art Collection.

Unique works of art that defy gravity and iconic works by world-renown glass artists such as Leonard French, who designed both the National Gallery of Victoria’s cathedral style mosaic roof and the National Library of Australia’s mosaic wall as well as up and coming artists like

Wagga Art Gallery, Baylis St & Morrow Street, Wagga Wagga

11am Picnic Time

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This family owned operation stretches across a gourmet butchery, curated deli and gift store that features regional produce. Home of the infamous ‘Bacon Degustation’, Knights Meats is the perfect place to stock a picnic basket.

Make sure you grab some of their cured meats, Aurelio Olives, Frou Frou cordial, local cheeses, Long Track Pantry relish, crackers and Knights house made steak and kidney pies. Delicious.

Take your trove to the banks of the Murray river and indulge.

187 Fitzmaurice St, Wagga Wagga

1pm (Bo)Ramble through the vines


Take the half an hour drive out through the countryside to a winery that has seen more than its fair share of history. Borambola Wines has hosted King Edward VIII on his 1920 visit to the country, Hiraji (the 1947 Melbourne Cup Winner) was born and bred there and the property still bears the scars of a bushranger shootout.

With this much history, you’ll almost forget you’re there to taste the wine.

1734 Sturt Highway, Borambola

6pm Feather the nest


Magpie’s Nest is one of Wagga’s best loved fine dining restaurants. Located just north of town on Old Narrandera Road, get there just before sunset to see their peaceful location at its most scenic.

The menu is built around showcasing delicious local produce, especially local meats and is the perfect destination date spot.

20 Pine Gully Road, Estella


9am Breakfast at Trail Street Coffee Shop

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This hip little space is the local go-to for weekend cycle groups, so you know the coffee at Trail St Coffee Shop is good. Favourites like Eggs Benedict share menu space with delicious local berry French Toast and Pumpkin and Pork rolls. They also serve their house made local cold brew, which is sure to give you a kick in the morning.

34 Trail Street, Wagga Wagga. 

10am I am foodie, hear me roar

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The panoramic hilltop view from cooking school Food I Am is just the beginning.

Founded in 2014 by Tanya Sibrey, Food I Am hosts cooking classes that teach students everything from the secrets of great Italian pasta to Asian BBQ and has hosted guest chefs and cooks such as Giovanni Pilu, Christine Manfield, Annette Fear and Frank Camorra. Their classes usually run for two or more hours and include matched local wines when you sit down to enjoy the fruits of your labour with other classmates.

29 Kunzea Place, Springvale 

1pm Coolamon Cheese Factory

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Come and meet Australia’s most loveable cheesemaker Barry Lillywhite, who will give you a tour of the newly established Coolamon Cheese Factory. Started by Barry and his son Anton, the factory produces a range of locally flavoured cheeses, all housed in a gorgeous old barn (which used to be an IGA!).

Make sure you try one of a ‘shaken milk’ made with local dairy and order the cheese board – you won’t be disappointed.

87 Cowabbie Street, Coolamon

Take the scenic route

With full bellies, now’s the time to take a breather. The 90-minute drive to Griffith should do the trick. Watch fluorescent Canola fields roll past as you travel through the food bowl of Australia.

6pm Drinks at Zecca

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After you’ve checked in and freshened up, it’s time to eat a slice of history. Newly opened Zecca (that’s Italian for money mint) is housed in the old bank building on Griffith’s main street (make sense now?).

With young owners who cut their teeth in the Melbourne hospitality scene, Zecca is the place to experience delicious local produce served in Griffith’s signature Italian style, with a twist.

239 Banna Avenue, Griffith

7pm Dinner at Limone

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Don’t let Head Chef and owner Luke Piccoli’s age fool you – he brings a wealth of fine dining experience to the proverbial (and literal) table at Griffith’s Limone.

Their three-course set menu allows you to choose from three options each from entree, main and dessert. The pasta is fresh, the meat local and some ingredients are even foraged from neighbours’ gardens! Limone is the perfect meeting of hyperlocal sustainability and artisanal craftsmanship – certainly a fine dining restaurant for a new era.

482 Banna Avenue, Griffith


9am Bertoldo’s you so

Bertoldo's amazing range of breads.

Bertoldo’s amazing range of breads.

You cannot visit Griffith without eating at Bertoldo’s Pasticceria. They do amazing breads, pastries (the cannoli!), homemade gelato and French nougat … but for breakfast you must have their Egg and Bacon Roll. Now, this is no fancy-schmancy roll — it comes wrapped in foil — but it is absolutely delicious.

324 Banna Ave, Griffith

10am Tiptoe through the gardens

The Careri Garden in Griffith. Image via

The Careri Garden in Griffith. Image via

As you might expect, a place that’s home to so many food producing properties (so many orange trees!) might also produce some of our most gorgeous gardens.

Thanks to the Taste Riverina Festival, many of these gardens are open annually for viewings during Spring and if you’re not there during the Festival, you can still find open garden times here.

For those wanting to see the cream of the crop, book your trip between 13 and 16 October 2017 for the next Festival of Gardens.

12pm Double barrel

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McWilliam’s Wines Hanwood Estate cellar door is an instantly recognisable symbol of the Riverina wine region. Shaped like a wine barrel and built to exact scale, complete with staves and hoops, it’s a must visit. Buy a bottle of your favourite drop, pull up a picnic blanket on the sprawling lawns and soak up the landscape.

Jack McWilliam Road, Hanwood

1pm A sticky situation

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It’s time to head home, but not before you stop at the De Bortoli Wines cellar door in Bilbul to sample the acclaimed ‘sticky’ Noble One.

First created by Darren De Bortoli in 1982, the wine has gone on to be one of the most awarded wines in history and maintains its position
as Australia’s benchmark dessert wine ever since. Be sure to take some home. ◊

De Bortoli Road, Bilbul

The author travelled thanks to Destination New South Wales and Riverina Tourism



Beatrice Smith

Bea loves that her job as HerCanberra’s Online Editor involves eating, drinking and interviewing people - sometimes simultaneously. The master of HerCanberra’s publishing schedule, she’s usually found hunched over a huge calendar muttering to herself about content balance. Otherwise, you’ll find her at the movies or ordering a cheese board. More about the Author

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