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The Heart of Hospitality and History
Griffith is located approximately 480 kilometres from Sydney. Encompassing 15 smaller towns and suburbs, the region is home to popular events and numerous festivals.
Words and Images by: ROBYN PITMAN-WILLIAMS

The Wanderer is the proud home of many travel stories. Reading about the adventures of others often fills us with inspiration to explore further afield or even closer to home. Regional areas are popular tourist destinations, and for good reason. Good old-fashioned country hospitality is a major drawcard, as are fascinating and historical tourist attractions, and regional food and wine specialties.

But how do you decide where to visit? Australia is bursting with scenic towns and historic regions so it can be difficult to plan an itinerary. Personal recommendations are useful, but are often limited to the individual, select experiences of others. To truly understand what a region has to offer, it’s important to consider all aspects of a holiday: entertainment, accommodation, restaurants, cafes, natural attractions, and local adventures. The good news is that Griffith has it all! Join us on a journey through this picturesque region that truly has something to offer everyone.

Enjoy Italian cuisine at Zecca Handmade

THE FACTS

Griffith is located approximately 480 kilometres from Sydney. Encompassing 15 smaller towns and suburbs, the region is home to popular events and numerous festivals. Visit in August to witness the unique “A Taste of Italy”, which showcases the area’s exquisite Italian cuisine and wines. One of the events taking place during A Taste of Italy Griffith is the Festa delle Salsicce (Festival of the Sausage/Griffith Salami Festival). For those who prefer live entertainment, visit Griffith Italian Festival on the 27th of August.

Spring is also a busy time in Griffith. In line with the region’s unique character and history, Griffith Spring Fest features up to 70 citrus sculptures created with over 100,000 oranges. The quirky festival is the result of at least 800 volunteers pitching in to create these amazing, larger-than-life sculptures, which are certainly a sight to remember. The Spring Fest also features Open Gardens and a large street party among the sculptures. Another worthy spring event is the Griffith Multicultural Festival, which is produced by the Multicultural Council of Griffith Inc. Griffith is known for its diverse character, with more than 60 different cultural groups calling the area home. Set in Memorial Park, the Festival aims to celebrate the cultural diversity and richness of the region.

Hoping to strut your stuff at Fashions on the Field? The Griffith Jockey Club Cup Meeting is a must-see in September. The local race day program hosts six races. Take a punt or enjoy the family activities on offer. The Griffith Visitor Information Centre is the place to go for more information on the town’s numerous events.

In terms of its history, Griffith is the home of the Wiradjuri people, who were the first inhabitants of the land and have lived in the region for thousands of years. People of this nation are known as the “people of three rivers”, given that three bodies of water border the area: the Macquarie River (Wambool), the Lachlan River (Kalari) and the Murrumbidgee River (Murrumbidjeri).

Vibrant street art is part of Griffith’s character

CULINARY DELIGHTS

The spacious, peaceful area of Griffith is the epitome of a food and wine-lovers paradise. With a heavy multicultural influence, this New South Wales region ticks all the boxes for an entertaining, relaxing, and culturally rich holiday experience. With so much to see and do, you’ll want to spend more than a few days in this regional haven. Fortunately, the accommodation options are as plentiful as the many attractions. While Griffith has plenty of qualities to offer, it is well known for being the state’s food bowl. Fruits, vegetables, and exceptional-quality grapes are all grown in Griffith, allowing the area’s wineries and restaurants to offer first-rate and locally sourced produce. The region is revered for its red styles such as shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and Durif, however it also produces many white varieties, including chardonnay and pinot grigio. Unique Italian varietals are also grown in this well-known wine region. According to Mino & Co Wines, the Riverina has similar climate and terroir to southern Italy, meaning that the winery can produce Italian varietals.

Let’s start with the region’s excellent reputation for fine wines. The Rivirena region produces one in every four wine glasses in Australia – that’s an impressive, well-earned statistic. No matter  your wine tastes, there’s a winery to suit your needs. The Griffith wine region is unlike any other. Diversity and quality are major priorities, with wineries seeking to provide authentic and individual experiences. Cellar door tastings allow visitors to learn more about wine and taste some truly groundbreaking wines, many of which are available exclusively at the cellar door.

Camping at the Willows

Family-owned Yarran Wines boasts organic certification. Vines are nurtured and each step of the winemaking process is undertaken with great care. Berton Vineyards complements traditional winemaking practices with  smooth wines. Calabria Family Wines upholds the region’s reputation for easy drinking wines and unique winery experiences, while De Bortoli Wines continues to live up to its well-known name. While you’re touring this picturesque region, add Mino & Co Wines and Warburn Estate to your to-do list. Piccolo Family Farm also offers a cellar door experience. The focus on local food and wine means that the fruit does very little travel by the time it reaches your glass, which is what makes Griffith wine so extraordinary.

Seeking exceptional gastronomic experiences? Look no further than the many options Griffith offers. The cafes and restaurants in this region are unparalleled in terms of their hospitality and quality meals. La Piccola Grosseria & Italian Deli serves up impressive delicacies, leaning heavily into the region’s Italian influence. Sam’s Italian rolls are not to be missed.

Bertoldo’s Pasticceria and Zecca Handmade continue the Italian theme, offering imaginative and well-balanced products in a friendly, hospitable atmosphere. Zecca Handmade, located in the iconic Rural Bank building, prides itself on bringing back traditional Italian food, including obscure and long-forgotten pasta shapes. Residents and visitors love the traditional, Italian seasonal menu.

The Bell and Bull restaurant offers fine foods

Limone Dining is a truly local restaurant and was constructed almost entirely from recycled materials sourced from the local area. The European-influenced menu showcases locally grown produce in a way that honours old traditions and simultaneously breaks innovative new ground.

The well-known La Scala restaurant was founded by pioneers of Italian food Onorato and Lina Vico. The restaurant carries on the memory and legacy left by the entrepreneurial couple by offering handmade, authentic Italian cuisine. Bull and Bell is another cultural jewel in the Griffith crown. The European-style restaurant, like others in the region, prioritises local produce and sustainability.

The beautiful view at Lake Wyangan

ENTERTAINMENT AND ATTRACTIONS

Now that we’ve wined and dined, it’s time to move onto the region’s many attractions. Integral to the region’s “farm to fork” philosophy, the Piccolo Family Farm is well known for its quality produce and exclusive events. Farm tours, produce and wine experiences, cooking demonstrations and intimate garden lunches are all available at the 20-acre farm, which prides itself on its heritage, sustainable farming practices and Riverina hospitality. In fact, the farm is a major supplier to Limone Dining, so you know exactly where your produce has travelled from.

Looking to truly immerse yourself in the Griffith rural experience? Check out the Catania Fruit Salad Farm. The 50-acre property boasts tranquil views and authentic vineyard experiences. Tours are available at the working farm, which is located just eight kilometres out of Griffith. While Griffith is known for its superior produce and first-rate wines, its offerings extend well beyond gastronomic experiences. Art lovers will enjoy the spectacular Banna Lane murals. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting in April or May, you can take part in the Banna Lane Festival. The vibrant event celebrates local art by lighting up the bright murals and offering street entertainment and activities. Art lovers will also be spoilt by the exhibitions at the Griffith Regional Art Gallery, which offers workshops, public programs and floor talks.

As well as incredible street art, Griffith boasts the Altina Wildlife Park. Visitors have the opportunity to view diverse animals in close proximity. Attractions include the African lion, saltwater and freshwater crocodiles, the Tasmanian devil, giraffes and the spotted  hyena. Animals can be viewed from the luxury of horse-drawn or motorised carts, meaning you can cover the whole farm without having to walk huge distances. The Park prides itself on offering a “zoo-fari with an Australian twist”.

Many attractions merge history and nature

The Griffith Pioneer Park Museum is perfect for those seeking more knowledge on the history of the region. This open air museum is set among 11 hectares of bush land and tells a century-long story of Griffith and its surrounding regions. Included in the many exhibits are old farm machinery, antiques specific to the area, original local buildings, and horse-drawn and motorised vehicles. Set within the Museum, the Griffith Italian Museum and Cultural Centre gives visitors a unique opportunity to learn about the Italian migrants who first moved to Griffith in the early twentieth century. Featuring vintage clothing, historic bicycles, household items and a knitting display, the Italian museum is a popular item on any Griffith tourist’s itinerary.

Every Easter on Good Friday, the Griffith Pioneer Park Museum holds its annual Action Day. Locals and visitors flock to the attraction to see the exhibits come to life. Action Day is certainly an apt name because on this occasion, old machinery is revved up, horse-drawn wagon rides are on offer, and the museum train is fi red up for tours.

Participate in retail therapy on the main street

Seeking to soak up some natural beauty? The Griffith region has you covered. Once the home of Broken Hill miner Valerio Ricetti, Hermit’s Cave and Scenic Lookout offers an uninterrupted view of plentiful farmland, and in the distance, you can even enjoy the sights of Cocoparra National Park. The artwork of the former resident can still be seen on the walls of the cave, along with signposted information on the historic site. The Hermit’s Cave is the perfect combination of natural beauty and local history.

Bushwalking is an ideal way to enjoy the natural delights of the area. Within half an hour’s drive of Griffith is the breathtaking Cocoparra National Park. This Park has something to offer in every season. Right now, winter has taken over the Park, bringing extra rainfall to the creeks and falls. The cool weather is balanced out by the vibrant colour of the new wattle growth. In Autumn, early flowering orchids dot the landscape and bring fresh life to the walking tracks. The adventurous can camp at Woolshed Flat and partake in the Park’s many walks.

Just a sample of the Bull and Bell’s menu

WHERE TO STAY

Accommodation is plentiful in Griffith, no matter your needs. RVs are welcome by the region’s many tourist parks, including Griffith Tourist Caravan Park, Griffith Showground Caravan Park and Griffith Caravan Village. For those seeking a more independent alternative, look no further than Lake Wyangan’s free camping area. With spectacular scenery and many spots, Lake Wyangan is the perfect place to create a home base. The Willows is another RV friendly rest area along the main canal.

Enjoy the local fares with a cuppa and a few friends

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

So, pack your bags and prepare to be pampered with wide open spaces, the finest scenery all year round, exciting events, colourful festivals and top-notch food and wine. Griffith is ready to welcome you with the friendly hospitality for which regional areas are famous.

Bushwalking is the perfect way to explore


Tags: cmca griffith griffith italian festival griffith spring fest where to stay in griffith griffith street art camping in griffith things to do in griffith wine in griffith wineries in griffith bell and bull griffith lake wyangan shopping in griffith altina wildlife park bushwalking in griffith visit griffith tourism nsw
Category: Features
Written: Mon 01 Aug 2022
Printed: July, 2022
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