Food & Wine Trail
Outback Driving Adventures
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Total Route Details:
- Distance: 610km - Mostly Sealed Roads
- Allow: Min 3 Days (2 Nights)
A Taste of the Outback, Food and Wine; Griffith to Mildura
About Griffith Region
With many wonderful offerings for food and wine, Griffith has grown into a bustling and cosmopolitan centre. It’s hard to believe that the Griffith region was dismissed by the explorer John Oxley in 1817 as being ‘uninhabitable and useless to civilized man.’
Now a veritable oasis, thanks to the development of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area in the early 1900s, the region hosts an abundance of agriculture and processing industries and is an important food bowl of Australia.
Located on the traditional land of the Wiradjuri people, Griffith and its villages have grown and developed over the past century thanks largely to irrigation, the work of soldier settlers and later, Italian immigrants. Today, their combined legacy is alive and well in the people and traditions of this thriving vibrant city.
Griffith, with a population of 26,000, has become a rich blend of cultures and traditions. Today more than 70 nationalities add to our cultural tapestry including Indian, Afghani and Pacific communities.
Our adventurous and industrious people have developed the huge agricultural sector of vineyards, orchards, cereal crops, pasture and rice over the past 100 years and then added value through manufacturing, retail and innovative technology. Griffith is the regional centre for the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA). The MIA is one of the most diverse and productive regions in Australia, contributing over $5 billion annually to the national economy.
The region produces more than 75% of NSW wine grapes, 70% of NSW citrus production and is Australia’s largest citrus producing region along with 90% of Australia’s rice production, 95% of Australia’s prunes and recently planted one million hazelnut trees for chocolate maker Ferrero. Griffith wineries export over $800M of wine per year and is the home of Yellow Tail. We are also a major chicken meat supplier and producer of olive oil, almonds, walnuts, tomato products and juice.
Griffith boasts friendly people and a relaxed country lifestyle; we welcome and invite you to visit and enjoy. My Griffith... is your Griffith too
Hay is a historic farming town in the heart of Country NSW. Located on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River and surrounded by the vast grasslands of the One Tree Plain. Hay has many fine heritage buildings and a diverse collection of museums. You can learn about the pastoralists, prisoners of war, shearers and bishops who have all made their mark here. In fact, every year there's a competition to induct more hall of fame'rs at the Festival of Blades.
Take the heritage walk to see the best of Hay's heritage buildings. Highlights include the Hay Gaol Museum and the Witcombe Fountain. The Dunera Museum at Hay Railway Station: Hay Internment and POW Camps Interpretive Centre and Hay War Memorial High School Museum both provide fascinating insights into the role of Hay and the Griffith area in both world wars.
In his famous poem "Hay and Hell and Booligal", Banjo Paterson compares Hay with the town of Booligal, about 80 km to the north. Drive up to see whether Paterson's comparisons hold true or simply to watch the annual sheep races.
About Balranald and surrounds
The population of Balranald Shire is approximately 2,500 people and the township has become renowned for the habitation of a frog! But not just any frog: Balranald is home to the highly endangered Southern Bell frog species (Litoria raniformis) which is listed on the NSW Endangered Species List.
Gazetted a town on the 4th April 1851, Balranald is considered the oldest settlement on the Lower Murrumbidgee. George James McDonald, the Commissioner for Crown Lands, named the town after the place he was from, Balranald on the Isle of Uist in the New Hebrides.
The town prospered on the primary industries of wheat, wool and red gum timber. Agriculture is still a strong factor for the economy of the town with farmers now growing canola, cotton, wheat, barley, fruit, grapes and vegetables.
Balranald is a potential geographer’s living classroom. It is a pivotal place of two great Australian landscapes, to the east the Riverina Plain and to the west the Murray Darling Depression.
Euston, the Shire’s second town located 80kms west of Balranald on the Sturt Highway, is ideally positioned on the mighty Murray River. Other localities in the Shire include Kyalite (on the Wakool River), Oxley (between Hay and Balranald on the Murrumbidgee River), Penarie (Historic Homebush Hotel), Hatfield and Clare (both on the way to Ivanhoe).
Culturally, this area is rich in both Aboriginal and European history. World Heritage Listed Mungo National Park has attracted world attention arising from archaeological sites containing human remains of at least 50,000 years.
Aboriginal Culture is also in abundance at Yanga National Park. These days it’s a National Park which celebrates its Indigenous heritage, pastoral history and many natural wonders.
There is much to see and do in and around Balranald:
- Visit the Interpretative Pavilion, The Museum, The Old Gaol, the Wintong School and the Skate Park all at the Discovery Centre
- See Aboriginal Art and Craft at the Discovery Centre and The Gallery
- Visit the Art Gallery with its many exhibitions
- Walk the Heritage and Military Trails and see the Swing Bridge
- Visit the Royal Theatre
- Birdwatching enthusiasts can walk the Ben Scott Memorial Bird Trail.
- Take an Outback Geo Adventure’s tour to Yanga and Mungo
- Of course, Balranald also offers wonderful parks with playground equipment for those travelling with children, or the young at heart. A swimming pool in the heart of town is the ideal spot to cool off in the warmer months.
- See interesting shops and enjoy the town’s restaurants and eateries
- If you are looking for a place surrounded by kilometres of river, landscapes teeming with life and where the sound of birds is the most popular music, Balranald is the place for you!
The standout appeal of Mildura is that it is on the banks of the magnificent Murray River – Australia’s most important waterway, it provides visitors with an irresistible choice of leisure activities.
From drifting about on a houseboat, to enjoying fresh local produce and wines, a spot of golf or exploring the natural wonders that surround Mildura has something for all.
Long-recognised as an important Australian food bowl, Mildura’s vast surrounding agricultural districts are bursting with grapes, citrus fruits, almonds, olives, countless varieties of vegetables plus much more.
Closer to town, local restaurants and eateries celebrate the magnitude of local grown produce and offer a truly cosmopolitan ambience. Our main eating precinct is aptly known “Feast Street”… not just for its food, but also for the generous selection of fine local wines – many of them award winners – that are so popular with locals and visitors alike.
A short walk in the city and your senses are drawn to our arts, culture and history. Art galleries, museums, a number of sculptures and historic sites are dotted throughout the city streets.
Griffith < > Corynnia Station:
- Route: Follow Kidman Way <> Carrathool Rd <> Camerons Rd (81 km - about 1 hour) - Mostly Sealed
Start your journey in Griffith, a vibrant centre in the heart of a productive agricultural zone. The city itself was designed by Walter Burley Griffin, the renowned American architect who also designed Canberra. Griffith is an award winning wine growing and gourmet produce venue.
Overnight at Corynnia Station, halfway between Griffith and Hay.
Corynnia Station <> Balranald (via Hay)
- Route: Camerons Rd <> Carrathool Rd <> Mid Western Hwy <> (244 km - about 2.5 hour) - Mostly Sealed
Leave Corynnia Station and head toward the township of Hay, a distance of 72kms. Hay's history is rich with tales of boom and bust; of isolation and innovation. Visit Hay's five amazing Museums: Shear Outback (The Australian Shearers Hall of Fame), Dunera Museum (Hay Internment and POW Camps Interpretative Centre), Bishop's Lodge (Historic House & Heritage Rose Garden), Hay Gaol Museum, and Hay War Memorial (High School Museum)
You can visit the parks with their beautiful rose gardens and BBQ facilities and in the summer the free Olympic swimming pool is open for everyone.
Hay <> Lake Paika Station:
- Route: Sturt Highway <> Balranald Rd (150 km - about 2 hours) - Sealed
The route from Hay to Balranald is a wonderful drive though the Riverina along the Sturt Highway. Heading north out of Balranald, it is only a short drive to the next stopover, Lake Paika Accommodation, for a truly unique experience and insight to our pastoral history and wetlands management.
Lake Paika Station <> Lake Mungo:
- Route: Balranald Rd <> Boree Plains - Gol Gol Rd <> Magenta Rd <> Box Creek Rd (156 km - about 2.5 hours) - Unsealed
Leaving Lake Paika, the route continues on bitumen before splitting off onto the unsealed Boree Plains-Gol Go Rd were you will soon experience that dramatic landscape of the lakes region.
Lake Mungo is only an hours drive and luxurious Mungo Lodge will make the drive worth it. Be sure to allow at least one day to explore Mungo National Park so this might be a 1-2 night stay.
Lake Mungo <> Mildura:
- Route: Arumpo Rd <> Silver City Highway (110km - about 2 hours) - Unsealed
Leaving Mungo Lodge, the drive to Mildura is along the unsealed Arrumpo Road but once on the sealed Silver City Highway, it isn't too long until Mildura is reached and its time to explore the culturally rich and epicurial centre of the west.
Outback Beds Members & Towns along the way