Spring in the Riverina with Scott McWilliam
Pack your bags, and get ready to visit an inland oasis! It’s this time of year, the weather warms up, the sun is out, and the shoots sprout. The gardens brim with life, the birds and the bees are getting busy, oops, you know what I mean ;).
First Stop - Griffith Visitors centre
Right in the middle of town, on the “main street” aka Banna Ave, look out for the iconic aeroplane memorial. The friendly staff at the visitors centre will gladly guide you with plenty of tips and Information.
Second Stop - Scenic Hill & Hermits Cave Trail
As a kid I remember being amazed by the stories of the man who lived in the cave on the hill. I used to love riding my bike up the hill, and exploring all the trails and tracks.
Griffith stretches around the base of the graceful Scenic Hill, a landmark that shapes the township and provides a playground of activities and wildlife. Visit the lookout for a spectacular panoramic view that stretches to the horizon, when looking west, you can just make out the curvature of the earth.
It’s here that you visit the Hermits cave, and guide yourself along the heritage trail. An Italian immigrant, Valeri Ricetti aka the ‘Hermit’, made his home in the caves on Scenic Hill, building a garden, a kitchen and a chapel. There’s a 1km walking trail, which in places is a bit steep and rocky, which takes you past all the best vista points.
Third Stop - Griffith Pioneer Park
On the top of Scenic Hill, set within 11 hectares, this outdoor museum is a trip back in time with more than 40 separate attractions that tell the story of Griffith, the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area, and the history of the heart of Riverina winemaking. One of my favourite attractions is the Italian Museum:
My favourite display naturally is the McWilliam’s Wines memorabilia :) Such a rich history of wine in the Riverina, which was started by my Great Great Grandfather - JJ McWilliam
Fourth Stop - City Park & Centenary Walk
The sculpture's have been separately crafted by international artists, sponsored by locals, and City Park which was voted into the top five kids playgrounds in the state, even the big kids can enjoy it!
Fifth Stop - McWilliam’s Hanwood Barrel
Ok, I admit my bias, but…….if you’re going to visit a winery, you need to go here, it’s a real treat! The Hanwood Barrel cellar door was opened in 1972 at the home of McWilliam’s Wines. Recently refurbished and reopened, come and taste the delicious range of wines and fortified’s for which McWilliam’s is so famously known.
Other wineries I recommend visiting whilst in the Riverina are:
Sixth Stop - Banna Ave
The main street of Griffith really is the centre of town. Griffith was designed by American Architect Walter Burley Griffin, same guy that designed Canberra.
The main street hosts a collection of boutique shops, restaurants, pubs and the Art Gallery. The kids will love the Red Balloon toy shop, indeed my favourite once upon a time :)
Given the rich Italian history in Griffith you can imagine how good the Italian restaurants are. There’s plenty to choose from, and many other types of international cuisine to choose from. My favourite restaurant is Limone!
Last Stop - Lake Wyangan
A lot of my weekends in my youth were spent at the lake, sailing, swimming, and exploring. The picnic area is great for the whole family to gather, relax, enjoy the scenery, and feed the animals.
Spring - What’s On?
My favourite time of year, the town lights up with living sculptures and gardens to explore.
I just love the Citrus Sculptures! They're only up for two weeks for SpringFest which is October 8th - 22nd
There’s a huge Spring Fest launch party, Friday 13th Oct, 5pm - where you can enjoy the sculptures, live music, local wine, and food.
Thanks for reading.
May your trip to the Riverina this Spring be filled with joy and great memories, make sure to drop in and say hi!
Cheers from Scott McWilliam