Shelly Beach Surfer. N.S. W. Central coast.

Patricia Newell-Dunkley Photographs by Reginald J.Dunkley.

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Greetings from down-under as we tour the fascinating region of Griffith, New South Wales, commonly known as the food bowl of Australia and sister city with the Italian city of Treviso in the Veneto Region of Italy.

More than 60% of the people of Griffith claim Italian heritage, and it is a little piece of Italy in the heart of the Riverina region. The Italian influence expanded the range of fruit and vegetable and also increased the number of wineries, established by Italian immigrants and today they are well known around the world.

Home of the acclaimed Botrytis Semillion, Griffith is an enticing place to visit with its world-class wineries, gourmet produce, rich heritage, and wonderful festivals. Vast orchards and vineyards abound around Griffith, with plenty of accommodation motels, banna suites, caravan villages, and apartments.

Blue Lagoon. Bateau Bay. N.S.W. Central coast.

The very essence of Griffith is about food, wine, friends and family. Cellar doors are open and roadside produce stalls offer seasonal produce. Asparagus, blood oranges, mandarins, plums, grapes, apples, pumpkins, garlic, pecans, and cherries.  It is wise to keep some loose change in the car for the stall honesty box. Griffith also has one of the largest tomato growing operations in Australia.

The famous Betoldo’s Bakery offers a stunning array of bread, biscuits, connoli, gelato and nougat, with everything made by hand fresh every day by a fourth generation family.

Olives, olive oil, smallgoods with recipes from the ‘Old Country’ traditional salamis, Veneto style and Calabrese style are all available. There are many fabulous cafes in Griffith which naturally specialise in delicious Italian dishes, scallopine, gnocchi, pasta and pizza, it will take a week of lunching to visit them all.

Griffith is also a great place for bird watching. Major Mitchell’s Pink Cockatoo and other parrot species are common. The Lake Wyangan/Campbell’s Swamp Area. Cocoparra National Park and the adjoining Binya State Forest have some of the best birding sites in the Riverina.

The Riverina is bounded on the North and Northwest by the huge Lachlan and Murrumbidgee Rivers, on the south by the Murray River, and on the East by the towns of Condobolin, Junee, and Albury. Most of the Riverina comprises alluvial plains laced with meandering streams; in the east the terrain becomes hilly. It is an extremely beautiful region to visit, with a warm to hot climate.

Seaside flowers Shelly Beach. N.S.W.

Well over a million tons of rice is produced yearly, as well as wheat, maize, canola, besides the citrus, wine grapes, and almonds.  Much of the dry land areas contain large sheep stations producing medium class wool and the saltbush plains are regarded as one of Australia’s best wool growing regions.

The Murrumbidgee River and surrounding natural bushland area is an ideal area for swimming, with three natural beaches and facilities for fishing and camping.

The Murrumbidgee River runs through Narrandera and is home to endangered species of Murray Cray, Trout Cod, and Murray Cod. The river is bound by a red gum corridor characteristic of the Riverina region. A bushland area on the river banks features walking tracks and a Koala regeneration centre, which is a reserve for the breeding of koalas.

There are many main towns to visit, Wagga Wagga, Tumut, Adelong, Temora, Coolamon, Lockhart, Narrandera.


Cootamundra – which blazes with colour in winter months due to wattle which flowers at that time of year.  Also the birthplace of Sir Donald Bradman, and the town boasts some fine heritage buildings and ancient elm trees.

Junee – was the centre of a gold rush in the 1860’s. The wetlands have a boardwalk that allows visitors close access to both flora and fauna.

Narranderra – is noted for its streetscapes, parks and fine buildings.

Leeton – with its Art Deco Buildings.

Hay –  which is surrounded by vast Hay Plains and is renowned for sheep breeding and the “Shearers Hall of Fame” an historic woolshed.

A visit to Griffith and the surrounding Riverina region will be a trip to remember and the chance to taste some elegant wines and fabulous food.   Enjoy.

Shelly Beach N.S.W.

Here at Shelly Beach all is well with the birds flying in and the oleanders out in full bloom. I have had a carpet of nasturtiums in the garden and hope to collect lots of seeds. Princess Pixie the Pomeranian had a lovely bath today and nails clipped by professional who came to the house on wheels. I had a delicious meal at the surf club restaurant on the weekend, and watched all the surfers in action. Magnificent views looking right up the coast. The weather is perfect with sunny days and a light breeze, and we even had a little much needed rain.

Cheers for now.