Your Ultimate Guide to Wagga Wagga
23rd July 2020
Wagga Wagga in a nutshell
Australia’s identity is centred around the beautiful oceans which surround it. Nearly 36,000km of diverse coastline, make Australia what it is today. However, head inland and you’ll find places that will knock your socks off. There are quaint towns, rolling hills, jagged mountains and just about any landscape you’d hope for. Located on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River, in the depths of New South Wales, Wagga Wagga is a vibrant regional centre, considered the hub of the Riverina region.
Boasting four very distinct seasons, the town also offers excellent food and wine, serene countryside scenes, walking trails, pretty gardens, a rich heritage and an artistic side. Bodies of water, such as River Murrumbidgee and Lake Albert allow for water-based activities. Meanwhile, Wagga Beach provides a tranquil spot for those who love the seaside. Striking terrain and hills covered in greenery make for excellent hiking opportunities. A Weekend Escape to Wagga Wagga, could just be what you’re looking for.
A perfect NSW getaway
To drive from Sydney to Wagga Wagga will take you under five hours, whilst the drive from Melbourne to Wagga Wagga takes almost exactly the same amount of time. Two nights spent in Wagga Wagga for weekend packed with wine, food, culture and nature is absolutely feasible if you live in Victoria or New South Wales. Meanwhile driving from Canberra to Wagga Wagga will take you less than three hours. This truly is a well-located getaway spot.
Grab some Wagga Wagga accommodation, pack your bags and head to the Riverina region this winter. There are plenty of things to do in Wagga Wagga. Let us show you some of the best.
Things to do in Wagga Wagga
Drop by Wollundry Lagoon
In the centre of town, close to the Civic Centre, you’ll stumble upon Wollundry Lagoon. Valuable to the local Aboriginal people for its spiritual values, the lagoon is a relaxing spot to take a stroll. Take the 3km loop around the lagoon and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere and native vegetation. At certain times throughout the year, you’ll find events with themes such as food, wine and nature. Otherwise, simply pack up a picnic and enjoy lunch under a tree at Wollundry Lagoon for a relaxing time spent in the town, yet close to nature.
Visit Livingstone National Park
Close to Wagga Wagga, is Livingstone National Park. Perfect for mountain bike riding, picnicking, horse riding, hiking and bird-watching, there’s plenty to do here. The extensive area is located inside Wiradjuri Country and is a portion of land integral to the local Aboriginal community. Comprised of 2000-hectares of conservational space and bushland, the diversity in flora is outstanding and the landscape ever-changing due to the contrasting seasons. Visit in spring and enjoy endless views of the gorgeous wildflowers blanketing the floor. Head for the Livingstone multi-use track for a walk or bike ride and spot kangaroos, wallabies and wombats.
Pop into some Wagga Wagga wineries
The Riverina region is home to a great deal of Wagga Wagga wineries. A number of gorgeous cellar doors more than cater for a whole day of wine tasting. Boutique vineyards such as Borambola Wines – a family-owned winery built upon organic agricultural practices – ensure awesome cellar door experiences. Cottontail Winery, located only 20 minutes from Wagga Wagga serves up delicious Australian cuisine and high-quality wines. Head here for an elegant cellar door experience, surrounded by picturesque countryside views. Slightly different to your typical winery experience, Charles Sturt University is another top-notch spot for all things wine in Wagga Wagga. Drop by one of Australia’s leading wine schools and taste high-quality wines, produced using state of the art technology.
Spend some time at Lake Albert
If you’re heading to Wagga Wagga in summer, you’ll be looking for a place to enjoy the water. Surrounded by beautiful parklands and a children’s playground, Lake Albert is the perfect place for fishing, swimming, rowing and boating. A 5.5km track which circles the lake caters for walkers, cyclists and joggers. The atmosphere here is utterly tranquil and is visited each day by residents looking to get some exercise or get their dose of daily relaxation. A picnic area and barbecue are also available, so feel free to bring lunch.
Relax at Wagga Beach
For a seaside experience, head to Wagga Beach. Whilst this beach isn’t by the sea, the sandy space will have you fooled. Set on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River, this is a great location for the whole family. Opt for a swim, sit back and relax and bring a picnic. Grassy areas and plenty of shade are available. Wagga Beach is absolutely the nucleus of Wagga Wagga on summer days. Make sure you visit early to avoid the rush.
Discover Ashculme Textiles
Those of us who are seeking something creative – and a little different – during their trip to Wagga Wagga won’t be disappointed by Ashclume Textiles. Drop by on a Tuesday, or any other day by appointment, and get creative. Learn about the handwoven and quilted wares on offer, each made from alpaca wool. Try your hand at weaving, or alternatively book in for a class if you’d like to learn more. Head outside and meet the eight alpacas which make the paddock-to-product process a reality. Artistry and creativity overflows here. Those with a crafty streak won’t want to miss this.
Hike through The Rock Nature Reserve
The Rock Nature Reserve – Kengal Aboriginal Place – is a scenic spot, perfect for hikers. The name, comprised of two parts, acknowledges the presence of Wiradjuri culture, which has existed here for many generations. Kengal – meaning sloping hill – is a great way to understand The Rock Nature Reserve. Sat between the Riverina region and the Eastern Highlands, the stunning slopes of The Rock itself are unique in the area. The summit is 364-metres high and can be hiked. Join the Yerong walking track and commit to the fairly steep slopes of The Rock. Then, at the top, admire the out-of-this-world views, comprised of endless sweeping green landscapes.
Walk the Wiradjuri Walking Track
For those seeking more of a challenge, the Wiradjuri Walking Track is perfect. Encircling the perimeter of Wagga Wagga, the track passes through river lands and alongside the banks of the Murrumbidgee. Wiradjuri Walking Track is 42km long and takes hikers past some of the most popular and scenic destinations in the region. The Botanic Gardens and Lake Albert are both found on route. At times, the track heads to hilltops and back down to the rugged plains which surround the city of Wagga Wagga. If you’re up for a challenge, opt for the whole route. Otherwise, take a section that most interests you.
Wander through Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens
One of the best things to do in Wagga Wagga has to be a visit to the Botanic Gardens. 22-hectares large, and scattered with themed nursery beds, a visit here is totally tranquil. Garden spaces are packed with succulents, camellias and roses and a free tour available online allows for you learn a little too.
It’s not often that a Botanic Garden is a favourite for kids, but at the Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens, there’s something for everyone. An aviary, a mini-zoo, a children’s playground and a rainforest section make a trip to the Botanic Gardens equally great for families with young children. In addition, there’s a miniature railway operating on the first and third Sunday of every month. The sweet Willans Hill Miniature Railway track leads you through woodlands, over a tunnel and through a bridge. Head to the Botanic Gardens for a relaxing day with the whole family.
Stroll through Victory Memorial Gardens
Built in 1925, The Victory Memorial Gardens is a tribute to those who battled in the First World War. Thomas Kerr – the same person who designed Sydney Botanic Gardens – was the planner here in Wagga Wagga. As you wander through the gardens, enjoy the serene environment and discover thought-provoking WW1 related photographs and displays. Also within the gardens, find the Garden of Peace Roses, a Sunken Garden and an avenue of trees named Anzac Avenue.
Go to a Wagga Wagga brewery
A visit to Thirsty Crow Brewery in Wagga Wagga is a must during your Weekend Escape. In 2010, the first beer was brewed and from 2011, beer began to flow. Today, this lively venue is host to excellent craft beers and cider, as well as regional wine and delectable local food. When it comes to things to do in Wagga Wagga, you should absolutely add an afternoon beer or long lunch at Thirsty Crow Brewery to your list.
Visit an art gallery
Wagga Wagga is home to some first-rate art galleries. Inside the Council’s Regional Art Gallery at the Civic Centre, explore collections of sculptures and paintings from famous Australian artists. Also at the Civic Centre, find a magnificent display of the National Art Glass Collection. Famous within Australia, this exquisite collection is the country’s largest collection of art glass. Meanwhile, also at The Wagga Art Gallery admire the crafts of local people from the Riverina region and become inspired by the diverse range of creative arts. Peruse the on-site gallery shop before you leave.
Pick some strawberries with the kids
Enjoy a day out with the kids at Bidgee Strawberries and Cream. The strawberry farm is 100% organic and produce is completely chemical-free. In fact, strawberries here are so fresh, you don’t have to wash them. Purchase a punnet and head out into the farm, cutting strawberries from the bushes. Head home and enjoy your harvest of fresh strawberries for the rest of the day. Ice cream and sorbets also sold at the farm are too delicious to turn down.
Discover the Museum of the Riverina
The Museum of the Riverina is split over two sites and hosts a variety of exhibitions and displays. In general the theme here is all things Wagga Wagga. Stories about the people who have helped to shape Wagga Wagga are told and celebrated here. Explore the museum and its photos, displays, textiles and materials which help to portray the story of this New South Wales city. At the Historic Council Chambers site, find an array of exhibitions throughout the year.
Explore Marrambidya Wetland
If you’re seeking an outdoor spot for a walk, or simply a place to lounge about, don’t pass by Marrambidya Wetland. Stop at this wonderfully scenic location only a few minutes from the city centre and find a whole variety of rare species and birds. This huge reserve is absolutely teeming with flora and fauna. Marrambidya Wetland is strikingly beautiful and provides holiday makers with a place to fish, hike, or simply lay back and relax. Great facilities and plenty of shade make it ideal for hot summer days.
Take a cooking class in Wagga Wagga
Foodies among us will absolutely fall for Food I am. Located high up in the southern part of Wagga Wagga, the cooking school and private dining venue offers wonderful cooking classes. Learn from the best chefs around, or simply sit back and relax whilst the professionals take care of the food. If you do opt for a class, you’ll find yourself learning to cook dishes from all over the world; Spain, Vietnam, Italy are just a few examples. Experience the friendly, intimate atmosphere of a cooking class at Food I Am and work in small groups with a professional chef. Taking a cooking class in Wagga Wagga is a truly unique experience. This has to be one of the best things to do in Wagga Wagga during your Weekend escape.
Go for an Aboriginal Cultural Tour
Surrounded by country rich in Aboriginal Culture, Wagga Wagga is a truly ideal place to learn a little about the people who have been in Australia for over 60,000 years. Get informed and explore the bush, getting off the beaten track and exploring with a trusty local guide from Bundyi Aboriginal Cultural Tours. Learn about local Wiradjuri culture, the chorus of birds, the native bushland and winding rivers of the Riverina region. Take your time, look, smell, touch and completely immerse yourself in the countryside with guide Mark Saddler as you learn about the ancient country.
Bundyi Aboriginal Cultural Tours – Pic credit: Destination NSW
Cafes and Restaurants in Wagga Wagga
Cafes in Wagga Wagga
No Weekend Escape is complete without a quality morning coffee at a local cafe. Thorne Street Cafe is just the place if you’re seeking your morning boost of energy, surrounded by the scent of coffee beans and a community-filled atmosphere. Serving the local community for around 80 years, this cafe is the ultimate choice when it comes to cafes in Wagga Wagga. Quirky and offering tasty breakfasts and lunches, the cafe is also home to an outdoor courtyard with seating. Enjoy a coffee or light meal in this friendly setting during your getaway to Wagga Wagga. Fitz cafe is another excellent option for coffee, breakfast and lunch. An all day breakfast makes this place the perfect brunch option, meanwhile outdoor seating allows for you to watch the world go by. Grab a speciality coffee to go if you’re exploring the city for the morning.
Restaurants in Wagga Wagga
Wagga Wagga has a whole range of restaurants on offer. Whether you’re seeking a hearty dinner, an indulgent treat, or something a little different, you’ll find it here. At Thaigga, you can find delectable modern Thai fusion food. Unique twists on traditional favourites are served up in this cosy restaurant from an open-plan kitchen. A relaxing atmosphere in the heart of the city, complemented with a great choice of beer, wine and spirits just about sums up the vibe at Thaigga. If you’re after something special, a trip to The Oak Room might be for you. Fresh, seasonal menus paired with an inviting and stylish setting, make this place one of the best restaurants in Wagga Wagga.
Good food in a beautiful place, sums up the concept at Magpies Nest. Set within an elegant stone stable which was constructed in the 1860s, this modern Australian restaurant will likely wow you. So, if you’re seeking vineyard views, and fabulous cuisine, this is the place for you.
Book your trip to Wagga Wagga
Forget the seaside; a trip to the countryside town of Wagga Wagga is absolutely feasible for a Weekend Escape. Driving from Canberra to Wagga Wagga will take you less than three hours. Meanwhile, the drive from Sydney to Wagga Wagga will take you five. Pack your bags, escape the city and head to Wagga Wagga this weekend.
Looking for hotels in Wagga Wagga? Take a look at our recommendation. Get your choice of accommodation in Wagga Wagga just right. Whether you’re travelling alone, or with the kids, this hotel offers just about everything you’ll need for a weekend getaway.
Mantra Pavilion Hotel, Wagga Wagga is what you need if you’re seeking: convenience, comfort and a central Wagga Wagga location. You can’t miss it either. A unique canopy roof makes this place one of the most recognisable Wagga Wagga hotels.
Situated in the heart of the town, you’ll be close to everything you need. Walk to some of the best restaurants in Wagga Wagga for the evening, and stroll down to the shop in the morning. Choose from spacious Superior Rooms, featuring a queen bed and a marble bathroom. Or opt for an Apartment – some with two bedrooms – and bring the whole family along.
Book yourself a comfortable room or apartment at the Mantra Pavilion Hotel in Wagga Wagga this winter. Spend a weekend exploring the quaint town and serene countryside landscapes of this New South Wales Weekend Escape location.