Explore the Riverina via the Classic Australian Drive

This is sponsored content for Destination NSW and Visit Riverina.

Famous for being Australia's "Food Bowl", the Riverina is a fertile region dotted with charming towns, historic attractions and fabulous food and wine. Explore this scenic slice of regional NSW on a four-day trip along the Riverina Classic Australian Drive.

Day 1: Hay

The Hay Sunset Viewing Area is an ideal spot for when the sun starts to dip.

The Hay Sunset Viewing Area is an ideal spot for when the sun starts to dip. Photo: Destination NSW.

Start your Riverina exploration in Hay, a historic town on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River. Located halfway between Sydney and Adelaide, Hay is the centre of the Australian wool industry and home to some of the country's best merino wool studs. Learn more about shearing culture at Shear Outback, an immersive interpretative centre which includes a museum, the Australian Shearers' Hall of Fame and live shearing demonstrations.

Another must-see is the impressive 19th-century Hay Gaol, which started life as a prison before becoming a POW camp, a maternity hospital and now a museum. Inside you'll find an intriguing collection of artefacts from antique windmills to Australia's oldest known bark canoe.

When the sun starts to dip, drive 10 minutes north of town to the Hay Sunset Viewing Area. This spectacular vantage point provides sweeping 360-degree views of the surrounding plains and is the ideal spot for a picnic.

Stay: Housed in the former 1891 London Chartered Bank, The Bank B&B features soaring ceilings, designer furniture and a private balcony terrace.

Eat: For great-value authentic pub grub, drop into the cosy South Hay Hotel near Shear Outback.

Day 2: Hay to West Wyalong

Enjoy the feeding experience at The Altina Wildlife Park.

Enjoy the feeding experience at The Altina Wildlife Park. Photo: Destination NSW.

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Get an early start as you'll want plenty of time to visit one of the Riverina's most surprising attractions: a 207-hectare bushland zoo that's home to lions, rhinos and zebra. Explore Altina Wildlife Park in Darlington Point on a 2.5-hour horse-drawn "zoofari" or opt for an immersive behind the scenes feeding experience.

To see some classic Australian fauna in the wild, call into Narrandera Nature Reserve, known locally as Koala Reserve because of its resident population of more than 200 koalas. Watch these cuddly critters graze on the towering red gums lining the Murrumbidgee River.

Narrandera is also home to one of Australia's iconic "Big Things" (the Big Guitar) plus the Two-Foot Heritage Walk, a self-guided meander past 50 of the town's historic sites and buildings.

Before heading north to West Wyalong, swing past Coolamon Cheese in the charming country town of Coolamon. This cheese "cellar door" produces award-winning handcrafted cheeses on site, including oil-infused fettas, vintage cheddars and indulgent double bries. Also well worth a look is the town's heritage-listed Up-to-Date Store. Once a grand department store selling everything from pianos to ploughs, it now hosts cultural exhibitions and still contains many original fittings, such as the innovative Lamson Cash Railway System.

Stay: Established in 1914, the Royal Hotel West Wyalong was recently restored to its former grandeur and now offers luxurious stays in a lavish heritage setting.

Eat: Drop into the Paragon Cafe on West Wyalong's main street for delicious homecooked food and freshly-pressed juices.

Day 3: West Wyalong to Gundagai

Temora Aviation Museum is home to the world's finest flying vintage aircrafts.

Temora Aviation Museum is home to the world's finest flying vintage aircrafts. Photo: Destination NSW.

West Wyalong flourished after gold was discovered in 1893 and you can explore the town's vintage shop facades and ornate wrought iron verandahs on the self-guided West Wyalong Heritage Walk. Wyalong Museum also contains many gold rush-era exhibits plus a historic wood-panelled court room and military memorabilia honouring local Australian Victoria Cross winner Corporal Reg Rattey.

Head south to Temora for two more fascinating institutions. Temora Aviation Museum is home to one of the world's finest collections of flying vintage aircraft, including two Spitfires and Australia's oldest flying Tiger Moth. At the Temora Rural Museum, you'll find an eclectic collection of artefacts, ranging from fine china and delicate textiles to tractors and boxing memorabilia from promoter Jimmy Sharman.

Cricket fans will want to call into Cootamundra to see Sir Don Bradman's birthplace, a simple cottage that now contains an extensive collection of cricket-related curios. In nearby Jubilee Park, check out Captains' Walk, a series of 42 bronze sculptures celebrating Australian test cricket captains plus Unaarimim, a talented Aboriginal cricketer from the first Australian cricket team tour of England in 1868.

Stay: Housed in a former 19th-century convent, Flash Jacks of Gundagai is an elegant nine-room boutique hotel with commanding views and manicured grounds.

Eat: Planted Cootamundra offers wholesome meals made using local, seasonal produce plus great coffee and regional wines.

Day 4 – Gundagai

Explore Gundagai's numerous attractions.

Explore Gundagai's numerous attractions. Photo: Destination NSW.

Before heading home, allow time to explore Gundagai's numerous attractions. Highlights include the famous Dog on the Tucker Box monument, a striking bronze sculpture honouring the life-saving efforts of local Aboriginal men Yarri and Jacky Jacky, the incredible Rusconi's Marble Masterpiece (a one-metre-high baroque sculpture made from 20,948 pieces of Australian marble), Old Gundagai Gaol and two National Trust-listed timber viaducts. Need a caffeine fix before the drive home? You'll find the best coffee in town at The Coffee Pedaler on Gundagai's main street.

Find more to explore in the Riverina at theriverina.com.au.

For more NSW travel inspiration head to visitnsw.com

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