Ten great heritage places to visit in Narrandera, a Riverina destination
Narranadera is a piece of Australian history. The town delivers in spades with fascinating glimpses into the past. Several days, a weekend Narrandera is a perfect short city getaway. Tree lined wide streets frame the heritage buildings of the town centre. Shops and cafes tempt visitors to stay awhile, there is plenty to do and see in Narrandera. And then there is a bounty of the Riverina to tempt the palate.
Where is Narrandera
- Take a selfie with the next big thing, a playable guitar in the Visitor Information Centre. It’s a fun introduction to Narrandera and you can pick up tips about upcoming markets and openings.
- Art trail murals are always a great backdrop for a group photo
- Heritage rail bridge is colours orange, bronze and gold in the setting sunset.
- Visit Grong Grong is complete without a mandatory photo next to the Railway Station sign. #GrongGrong. A railway fan must go destination.
- Saltbush Bill in Balleran is a great companion for your Balleran photo moment.
Aerial Trunk Route memorial, a standing reminder of historic telephony. The trunk lines are a memorial to telecommunications “J” Trunk route and the people who built it. It seems insignificant, simply a bunch of overhead cables yet it’s all about the journey to our social media platforms today.
Narrandera is home to an outdoor gallery trail painted on water towers. The art trail is a fun way to decorate a functional object. Narrandera Water Tower Art Trail is represented by six water towers. The enormous outdoor tower is a canvass for lizards, koalas, a tiger moth plane, oakbank brewery, the river and a paddle steamer.
It was common at the time for bridges to be constructed using hardwood timber making the Narrandera rail bridge rare being one of only twelve iron lattice bridges installed across NSW rivers. There is an information plaque at the bridge site. Bridge enthusiasts will make a beeline for this place, remember to pick sunset for the fabulous light.
John O’Brien Heritage Museum is located next to the St Mel’s Roman Catholic Church in Audley Street is a picture perfect Victorian home with its characteristic large encircling veranda. This was the residence of parish priest for 27 years, Father Hartigan, who wrote well-known poetry under the pen name, John O’Brien. Fascinating glimpse into one of Australia’s lesser known poets and life in the late nineteenth century.
Tiger Moth memorial to the Elementary Training School during World War II. Perhaps they were short of cash using a vintage World War I open airplane. Definitely worth a look at the fragile structure of those very early flying machines.
Narrandera Parkside Cottage Museum is a grab bag of artefacts such as a snowshoe and wooden snow ski from Scott’s Antarctic expedition. It is amazing what object ends up where.
Saltbush Bill accompanies the Barellan Museum sign. He is a cartoon character created by Jolliffee depicting a sheep drover with whip in hand and best mate at foot. You can read all about this iconic character in the Barellan Museum. For the tennis fans, you may be able to purchase a signed Evonne Goolagong-Cawley tennis ball from the Museum.
Location: Kiesling’s Lane (off East St) A short laneway’s plaques narrate Narrandera’s story from frontier town to rural service town, is told on a series of storyboards and images on the plastered walls.
Narrandera heritage trail is a half day stroll through the town centre observing the Victorian and Edwardian facades and buildings that have withstood the test of time. Pick up a brochure for the trail from the Visitor Information Centre.
EAT & DRINK
Glendale Citrus & Hazelnut Orchard
Hop aboard a vintage tractor-drawn covered carriage and meander through their orchard where you will often stop to pick an orange, crack a hazelnut or even spot a Koala! The one hour guided tour finishes at a picturesque river campsite where you will enjoy morning or afternoon refreshments, or instead you can pre-book a relaxing lunch which includes Barbara’s mustards, salad dressings and other home-made seasonal bounties. A delicious sweet treat is the orchard’s soft serve ice cream van with its ice creams or sundae topped with homemade syrups and crushed hazelnuts.
Hotel pub dining
There are a number of pubs in the town centre offering standard Aussie fare from generous breakfast plates of sausages, eggs, bacon and toast to dinners specialising in local fresh produce and, naturally, Murray River cod.
Camping in Narrandera has a number of choices near waterways and the river. Camping grounds are basic.
Freedom camping check regulations on camping before settling in for the night.
Lake Talbot Tourist Park Narrandera is recommended for visitors who want a degree of comfort during their stay in Narrandera. There is something for everyone at the best value caravan, camping and tourist park in Narrandera, right on scenic Lake Talbot. Pet friendly however before booking notify the provider you will be accompanied by a pet.
Newell Motor Inn Narrandera – Single $90 Double $98 offers value for money and is located at the southern entrance to town. The surrounding gardens are attractive. All rooms are ground floor and non-smoking. Double, twin, disabled and family rooms are available. There is a licensed restaurant with a bar open 6 nights and breakfast is available. The motel features Foxtel and free WiFi, a pool and a BBQ area.
Travel Pack Information
- By train: 7 hours from Sydney
- By car: 530 km or 7 ½ hours
Narrandera Art Mural Trail brochure
- Using over 120 litres of paint applied to the murals and river that connects the two artworks, the outcome is an incredible sight to behold. With the best view across town, visitors and residents are able to head to the water tower and immerse themselves in a visual collection of landmarks, activities, flora and fauna that resonates with our community. The stories behind the design include significant icons for the Narrandera Shire Community with the colours inspired by our local environment including the colours of sunsets viewed from this site.
- The Lizard – The name Narrandera is derived from Narrungdera, the name of the Wiradjuri clan that inhabited the land where the town now rests, meaning ‘place of many lizards’ (Eastern Bearded Dragon).
- The Koala – In 1972 the community established a reserve on the edge of the town on the Murrumbidgee River. A tiny number of Koalas were introduced and have grown into a healthy population of many hundreds now inhabiting riverside forests >100km from Narrandera.
- The Tiger Moth Airplane – During World War II the No 8 Elementary Flight Training School was established on the site of the present Narrandera airport.
- The Paddle Steamer – From 1858 steamers were a frequent sight on the Murrumbidgee River, the 75 tonne PS Wagga Wagga carried wool and stores between Narrandera and Hay for 40 years.
- The Oakbank Brewery Tower – On the north bank of Murrumbidgee River the landmark Webster’s Soft Drinks factory site stands 30m high.
- The River – The Murrumbidgee River has many stories to tell of Wiradjuri survival, colonial settlement, development of farming and irrigation. The river and its related waterways; Bundidgerry Creek; Lake Talbot; Narrandera Wetlands; along with its Red Gum Forests and beaches are part of Narrandera’s heart.
- Barellan brief introduction.
Barellan was once a thriving town with four banks, three churches, three land agents, two hotels, two butcher shops, two cafes, two garages, two blacksmith shops, two grocery shops, hospital and doctor, chemist, post office, railway station, fruit shop, sportsground, showground, school and regular sheep sales held every Friday. The town’s dedicated volunteers manage the local museum which is packed with memorabilia from the district.
- Riverina Region is a glorious collection of small rural towns such as Narrandera. To get around the town and district it is recommended you have access to a vehicle. Narrandera is a great weekend getaway destination for Sydney and Canberra residents as it has a regional domestic airport as well as major highways nearby providing rapid access from Sydney and Canberra. Narrandera is close to Wagga Wagga & the National Glass Art Gallery as well as other well known Riverina attractions such as Bradman’s Birthplace Museum. Narrandera is also home to reserves and parks with resident koalas. Lake Talbot is a popular visitor attraction with water sports, kayaking popular weekend activities.
- For fishing buffs Narrandera is a bucket list destination with the Narrandera Fisheries Center is described as “The Narrandera Fisheries Centre was opened in 1962 as a research centre to study the breeding biology and ecology of inland aquatic systems. Since then, the Centre has been the centre of freshwater fisheries research in New South Wales, and has also developed into a productive hatchery, providing fingerlings of four native fish species (Murray cod, trout cod, golden perch and silver perch) to improve freshwater recreational fisheries and conservation initiatives. Meet “Agro” the Murray Cod and learn about how Fisheries Centre scientists and staff support the native species of the Murray River Catchment at the John Lake Centre. The centre will help you learn more about the roles of the Fisheries Centre, which include breeding, conservation and environmental surveys, NSW rivers management, aquaculture and community education. It aims to raise public awareness of the state of native fish populations.” And of course lots of useful tips about the best fishing holes in the region.
The journey is worth it.