NSW Country trip: 1 – 5 September

Monday 31 August – (Balranald) Hay
Said goodbye to Gol Gol – below just a lovely picture of the black swans who came to say hi at our caravan park which is on the Murray River.

We then followed the Murray River a little further, before veering off in the eastern direction; the Murray continues south still marking the Victoria/NSW border. We passed through Balranald, a lovely town, where we parked, had lunch and spent a really nice afternoon sight-seeing, talked to some lovely locals and covered the museum which happened to have an impressive exhibition of ‘photographs of the sky’ and did a lovely heritage walk, which included crossing a suspension bridge. Balranald also had many frog statues and art (the ‘Funky Frog Trail’, respect to the local wetlands’ ‘Southern Belle Frog‘ (aka the Growling Grass Frog). Arno’s camera loved them all.

photos of Balranald‘s frogs and walk with suspension bridge

We continued on to Hay (named after a local squatter & Secretary of Lands & Works back in 1859), a super-friendly town, where we settled in a free camp along the Murrumbidgee River for 2 nights. The local shire has really outdone itself, the camp was spotless, a lovely employee came around to obtain our contact details (as in every other establishment we have been to on this trip, in or outside, due to COVID) one of the most beautiful river spots, with first-class bike/walking trails all along and around the river, which meanders along & around Hay. The trails include plaques of informative historical information and some art. We also saw an echidna (FIRST time ever in the wild) just crossing our path.

Echidna crossing the bike path.

Hay is another town where squatters settled because of the river’s potential. Another plus is that the entire area is flat, so perfect for our bikes (couldn’t complain about the weather either – it was glorious!). We loved this area, and Jen reviewed her (extremely negative) opinion of (dumb dumb, stupid) sheep, after seeing one sheared. The sheep seemed to enjoy the whole experience and, totally unexpected, kind of sent an affectionate wink.

We walked around the (very late) Bishop’s Lodge (closed due to COVID!!) who kept the most magnificent rose gardens (too early to be in bloom, unfortunately).

Also visited the most EXTENSIVE auto shop… found the car mats that we should have put in on day 3 (instead of the cardboard) to fight off the red dust..). As our nice big external rearview mirror (driver’s side) had copped a few too many passing road trains, and the suction cup last few times the road trains passed…. we also bought a replacement mirror (strapped onto the regular mirror this time).

Wednesday 2 September – Griffith

After Hay, we headed further east, and even though some fellow campers recommended Narrandera as a next stop, we decided to go a little more Northeast and skipped that town with an aim for Griffith. We had absolutely no regrets. This is not the standard ‘Aussie’ country town we’ve come to expect. It was bigger than most others – the city was designed by the same person who did Canberra with wide roads, circular roads too. It has some style. Many hairdressers, beauty salons, clothing boutiques, cafes and restaurants, in addition to a Kmart, Target, Coles, Woolworths & Aldi! This town clearly showed that 1) the demographic was different, and; 2) we were getting closer to bigger cities (Canberra is 4 hours drive, and Sydney 6).

One of the many Italian restaurants

Griffith was established more or less by Italians who loved the orchard friendly conditions. It is also not too far from the Murrumbidgee River, and a complete irrigation canal system was built to support the area. Citrus fruits, wheat, canola and sheep/wool is big here. There are now also many wineries (we visited De Bortoli) and even a fairly recent gin/whiskey distillery (which we also visited for tasting and a tour of the beautiful stills made on-site). We did the town heritage walk (on the bike) and learned the town’s history as well. This town, as we did see before in Lightning Ridge, also had its “strange” italian. We visited a cave that was once the home of Valerio Ricetti, a miner from Broken Hill who lived the life of a hermit in his cave on Scenic Hill for many years

We had a lovely Italian meal (at one of the many Italian restaurants!). We also bought Murray Cod which Arno prepared in foil on the bbq. This cod is farmed in various freshwater ponds around the area, and one of the best fish we have tasted. Loved Griffith where we spent 2 nights at nice caravan park.

Friday 4 September – Grenfell

After checking the next destinations on our path home, we decided to see what we liked. We drove to West Wyalong, and stopped for lunch, and walked around a bit, had a drink, but didn’t connect somehow. People were not that interested (didn’t say hello when you were in their shop, or even on the streets which we had become used to), so moved on to Grenfell. We passed through Barellan a town famous for the ‘Big Tennis Racquet’ that was erected as a tribute to the former Barellan local and great Australian tennis player, Evonne Goolagong Cawley.

The drive-in was beautiful with canola (yellow fields!), green hills (National Parks), and blue blue skies

Canola field

Grenfell is a lovely little town where we again found a perfectly maintained free camp at the old Railway Station (quaint building) only a few 100 metres from town. Set up by the Lions Club, it supplies us with showers, drinkable water, toilets and a dump – a lovely spot.

The big gold pick and pan

This town is perfectly suitable for cycling, which we enjoyed as the weather was great. So we decided to check out the town, had plenty of interaction with the locals, and celebrated Arno’s birthday in style in the local hotel and of course many calls and messages. 2 nights here, and Arno had a wonderful time as the sky is dark, no moon, and some great photo ops!

While Jen visited a local art gallery Arno went to a Chrysler car museum. The owner of the museum was also the guide and was very happy to show off all his treasures.

Grenfell old Railway station
Silo art by night
And by day

At Annette’s request, below our route details.

Map of this post’s route

Click here for a map of our route so far

Showing our route so far in the Australian continent

Related Post

5 thoughts on “NSW Country trip: 1 – 5 September

  1. Je reis is absoluut de moeite waard, leuk om te volgen.
    Grappig zijn de kikkers in Balraneld (Annette en ik hebben wel wat met die beesten. Ik had 4 identieke terrakleurige kikkers op een rij in de tuin, gisteren zagen we dat er 1 is gesneuveld, hoogstwaarschijnlijk door de eekhoorn die er dagelijks langs loopt).
    De echidna, nooit van gehoord! Lijkt op een egel of een boenborstel. Leuk!
    Groetjes Ton

  2. Hoi , wat een mooi stuk land zien jullie weer, het blijft verrassend.
    Die Echidna ziet er inderdaad wel vertrouwd uit maar toch anders, wonderlijke mutatie of toch een ander soort egel/stekelvarken?
    Leuk dat jullie ieder je eigen ding doen soms , mooie auto’s Arno 😊!
    Jullie treffen het ook met het weer, het gaat naar de lente, heerlijk idee : wij gaan naar de herfst, dat merken we al.
    Dank voor de update en prachtige foto’s.
    Nog goede reis en graag nog een routeupdate.
    Liefs xx Annette

      1. Hartelijk dank!
        Alsje zo het totaal bekijkt dan hebben jullie toch een aardig deel van NSW gezien!
        Nu richting huis so tot see 💋🤗

  3. Hartelijk dank!
    Alsje zo het totaal bekijkt dan hebben jullie toch een aardig deel van NSW gezien!
    Nu richting huis so tot see 💋🤗

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *