With Australia separated from the rest of the world right now, what better way to spend your holidays travelling through the beautiful Riverina region... Words & Pics: The Bear.
A day spent riding is better than a day spent doing just about anything else. But it can be even more fun if you have a destination. I would be perfectly happy to ride through the Riverina any time, I am always happy to stop in one of its special towns: Young, Junee and Temora.
Check out our other travel articles here…
If you shop at Westfield then you have paid for part of the Temora Aviation Museum, which began with David Lowy’s warbird collection. Rest assured, your contribution was worthwhile and the extra $20 it will cost you (various concessions apply) to go and see the planes is money well spent, too.
“The Temora Aviation Museum inspires the community to acknowledge the role played by Australia’s historic ex-military aircraft, and encourages visitors to learn through its collection.”
But let’s get to Temora first. It’s about 450km from Sydney and 550km from Melbourne, making it a two-day trip from either (or an overnight stop on a ride between them). It is 220km from Canberra so you can comfortably get there and back in a day. Let’s just look at the journey from Sydney and back for now. On any ride that’s longer than a day, I prefer to do some miles on the first day, and take it easier on the last. So for a two-day ride to Temora go north to get there, and south on the way back.
To make the most of the riding, let’s start with Bells Line of Road over the Blue Mountains. The speed limit is fairly low across here, but it’s still more fun than the Great Western Highway with its many traffic lights. Lithgow is not a bad place for a coffee or a snack; try the Lithgow Tin Shed. Turn right at the lights at Bridge Street and it’s on your right.
When you reach the highway – there’s a Maccas on the right – turn left and ride down to the big Shell servo on your right. Turn right there and you’ll be in Magpie Hollow Road. This takes you to Tarana; carry on along Tarana Road (more interesting than Mutton Falls Road, the alternative) until you reach O’Connell Road where you turn right to Bathurst. Take the Western Highway from here or if you want to have some fun, the back roads through Perthville, Barry and Neville until you join the highway at Lyndhurst. Fill up at Bathurst if you’re going that way; there is probably no fuel until you get to Boorowa, unless the Wyangala shop’s pump is open.
Take a left to Woodstock with its pleasant little pub but no other services and take the wonderfully named Reg Hailstone Way south. It’s about 100km to Boorowa, and it’s a terrific road with mostly good surface and tidy corners. Frogmore has lost its shop and service station. Head for Young from Boorowa and on to Temora. That’s another good back road.
“The Riverina is one of the areas that has been hard hit by the loss of services. Don’t count on fuel being available along the back roads out here…”
The Riverina is one of the areas that has been hard hit by the loss of services. Don’t count on fuel being available along the back roads out here; even the servo/shop at the intersection of the Burley Griffin Way and Olympic Highway at Wallendbeen has closed. Many of the pubs have closed or operate at restricted hours, and there are few shops.
On the way back, take the Burley Griffin Way east from Temora. This is an enjoyable and not too busy road that will take you through to Harden and on to Binalong. Unusually, there are two pubs in Binalong. A modern one is up on the highway, and the old place that I like a lot better is down in the picturesque little township. The Burley Griffin Way meets the Hume Highway between Bookham and Bowning. If you’re hungry or you just want to see the place, take the turnoff to Yass.
“My American friends love the Maccas sign at the turnoff that just says “Yass”. It’s just missing an apostrophe. So it reads MYASS.”
Once you’re back on the highway, continue to Goulburn and take the first turnoff. Ignore the truly horrible Big Ram and continue through town to the Union Street intersection with the big Mobil on the right. Turn left into Union Street and follow its various names until it becomes Taralga Road. You are now on an outstanding back road that will take you to Oberon by way of Taralga – two pubs but no fuel, so maybe fill up in Goulburn. From Oberon it’s a wonderful back road that connects to the Jenolan Caves Road and then the Great Western Highway, which you can follow to get home.
Alternatively, turn right after Taralga at Richlands (which I have never been able to find) at the road signposted to Wombeyan Caves. This is the only gravel on this trip, but it is in pretty good condition. Beware, though the twisting climb up the hill up from the river. It’s very narrow and 4WDs tend to fly around there. The Hume Highway is the easiest route home from here.
The Temora Aviation Museum is a flying museum and collects and maintains in airworthy condition, historical military aircraft. The Museum is open 7 days 10am to 4pm except Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years’ Day and Good Friday. The aircraft collection is flown regularly at Aircraft Showcase days and at Warbirds Downunder, a biennial airshow.
Details of flying days are available on the website. Make sure you book accommodation ahead of time, and try to get one of the SkyLodge en-suite rooms which have a shared kitchen and lounge room. SkyLodge is right at the airfield.
Temora Rural Museum is also worth a look at Bundawarrah Centre, 29 Junee Road. The town is a stop on the Canola Trail, an attempt to market the area to tourists. It likes to be known as the Friendly Town, and while everyone I have ever met there was certainly friendly, they were no friendlier than people in other towns.