Narromine

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Narromine attracts grey nomads
Wright model … A flyer at the Narromine aerodrome. PIC: Gecko Photographics; Destination NSW

For most grey nomads, one of the greatest things about travelling Australia is having the time to uncover the magic of all the country communities they are lucky enough to visit.

For those that take the time to scratch the surface, each and every one of these towns and villages is special in its own way. Although, of course, some places require significantly less ‘surface scratching’ than others to shine … and so it is with Narromine.

Sitting on the majestic Macquarie River about 40 kilometres west of Dubbo in country New South Wales, this community proudly declares itself the ‘Town of Champions’ as it revels in the fact that a number of Australian sporting legends, including fast bowler Glenn McGrath, sprinter Melinda Gainsford-Taylor, and rugby league hard man, David Gillespie, were all born here.

While this is fairly remarkable, especially given that the population is just 3,500, there’s an awful lot more to this town at the junction of the Mitchell and Newell Highways than its rich sporting heritage.

It really came into its own when the railway arrived in 1882, and a school, a police station, and a courthouse soon followed. And then, of course, there were the pubs. The Royal Hotel was built in 1890, the Courthouse Hotel in 1899, and the Narromine Hotel with its superb ironwork was built as the Federal Hotel in 1901. The Royal Hotel was an actually an old Cobb & Co stopping point and the trailblazing history of the iconic old coaching company is recognised at several other spots in town as part of the Cobb & Co Heritage Trail.

For all its historical points of interest, today’s Narromine now boasts all the facilities a modern traveller could wish for. The Narromine Tourist Park offers a peaceful place to stay away from highway noise, and the town boasts a full range of services, shops and eateries.

The highlight for many visitors to the area is a trip to the Narromine Aerodrome, Skypark and Aviation Museum a few kilometres west of town. The aerodrome, built after World War I, is home to the oldest country aero club in Australia, and more than 2,000 pilots were trained here during World War II.

A great place for visitors to relax is at Rotary Park on the banks of the Macquarie River while, just outside of town, other top spots like Australia’s largest lime orchard, the Lime Grove; the Narromine Iris Farm; the Andonbel Alpaca Farm; and the small communities of Trangie and Tomingley, are well worth a trip. Trangie’s historic pubs and Tomingley’s old gold mine are particular highlights.

The 42,000-hectare Goobang National Park is only about 100 kilometres from Narromine, via Tomingley, and it boasts superb views across the Hervey Ranges, as well as some great bushwalks and stunning scenery.

Wow! With so much history and so much character, it’s amazing that Banjo Paterson never wrote about this place. Oh hang on, he did!

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