THE air is dry and the sun hangs in the sky like a night watchman on guard: welcome to the Riverina summer.
But instead of being daunted by the heat, and the inevitable desire to flock to the beach, Riverina Regional Tourism (RRT) wants locals to consider a getaway in their own backyard.
They have uncovered a sweet selection of the Riverina’s hidden gems – places sight unseen, but only a short drive from anywhere.
Atop the list is the Springview Eco Farm at Big Springs, about 30 minutes south of Wagga. Said to be “geologically ancient”, it promises a reconnection with nature and the lost art of growing food.
For those with a hankering for food – or wine – there are other unexplored places such as the Manorbier Vineyard in Cootamundra. Just minutes from the main street, the bed and breakfast overlooks the lush landscape, with plenty of Shiraz on hand to add to tantalise the taste buds.
Tired and run down after a long year, why not visit the Barmedman Mineral Pool? Found within a five-hectare reserve, legend has it that the pool has healing properties due to its high mineral content.
RRT chairman Greg Lawrence said the hidden gems represented just some of the places to explore in the Riverina, which he dubbed the “unsung hero” of Australian tourism.
“It’s very important we understand what’s in our own backyard,” he said.
“We have a real diversity of things to see and do in the Riverina. Not only is seeing these attractions good for the local economy, but the people that do visit then become ambassadors and they sing their praises.”
The lucrative visiting friends and relatives market is one of the most aggressively tapped demographics by the tourism network and is seen as crucial to providing the next big surge in tourism numbers.
According to Destination NSW, visitors spent more than 2.5 million nights in the Riverina in the year to March 2015 – up by 4.4 per cent on last year. Overall visitation to regional NSW increased by 4.1 per cent.
Is there another hidden gem we don’t know about? Leave a comment below.
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