Griffith

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Griffith a great destination for grey nomads
Catania Fruit Salad farm - a scenic look at the region’s agriculture Pic: Destination NSW

The bustling town of Griffith in the Riverina region of New South Wales is a natural magnet for grey nomads … particularly those who enjoy superb locally produced food and wine.

With more than 60% of the town’s 26,000-plus residents claiming Italian heritage, it is no surprise that the area is often referred to as the ‘food bowl of the nation’.

The town, located about 600 kilometres west of Sydney, was born out of the construction of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA) early this century. Since then, the irrigation has helped settlers and immigrants create an oasis packed with orchards, farms, and vineyards. For the visiting grey nomad, that means fine wines, fresh produce and gourmet delights. There are some excellent restaurants, countless roadside produce stalls, a smorgasbord of cellar doors to visit, and some mouth-watering events such as the Taste Riverina Festival.

Griffith was designed by American architect Walter Burley Griffin with wide, tree-lined streets, ring roads and lovely parks. It is a well serviced, modern town where grey nomads are very much welcomed. Camping options include the Tourist Caravan Park, the Griffith Caravan Village, and the Griffith Showground Caravan Park. There is a free 24-hour rest stop at The Willows for self-contained vehicles only, a 72-hour rest area for self-contained vehicles at Lake Wyangan, and also free camping for smaller RVs a little further out at Cocoparra National Park.

Lake Wyangan is just 12 kilometres from Griffith, while Cocoparra National Park with its eroded cliffs and scenic gullies is 25 kilometres north east of town. Both places offer spectacular scenery and excellent birdwatching opportunities. Happily, free campers are also more than welcome to use the free showers in Memorial Park on Banna Avenue in Griffith.

Points of interest in the town are numerous. There’s the Griffith War Memorial, the Griffith Regional Art Gallery, and the Griffith Pioneer Park Museum which features over 40 historical buildings set on several acres of natural bushland.

The Pioneer Park Museum is located about two kilometres north-east of town on Scenic Hill, a spur of the McPherson range. Here also is Hermit’s Cave lookout. The cave was once home to Valerio Riccetti, a miner from Broken Hill who lived the life of a hermit after having his heart broken. For all its other attractions, Griffith though will always be synonymous with food and wine.

A trip out to places such as Catania Fruit Salad Farm offers visitors an insight in the area’s agricultural past and future … and the role irrigation plays in it. The Rotary Markets are held every Sunday morning in town and visitors can get up close and personal with local farmers, and produce including everything from olive oil and relish to Italian biscuits and eggs.

And then, of course, there are those cellar doors. A visit to the many well-known family wineries, such as De Bortoli Wines and McWilliam’s Wines, are a must for nearly all grey nomads.

Cheers!

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