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Free Things to do in Griffith

Lake Wyangan

Looking for something 'else'? Try one of these ideas.

Go asparagus collecting.

Patches of wild asparagus grow on roadsides and channel banks all around the city. September and October are the best months, but it can be found until the first frosts in April. The yields are dependent on seasonal conditions. The years of low rainfall are taking their toll on the plants. A chance shower of rain can bring on a flourish a few days later. Locals are protective of 'their patch'. But once out there, if you see someone else, they are happy to share the plunder.
Spring is also snake season, so dress appropriately and be aware.

Find a geocache

Have fun with this modern day treasure hunt and learn a bit more about our town.

Have a picnic at Lake Wyangan.

Lake Wyangan inflow

Lake Wyangan is actually two lakes and are a water storage facility for Murrumbidgee Irrigation. On the western side of the North Lake you will find the Griffith Boat Club and the Griffith Sailing Club (you need to be a member to get into these grounds) and the public access picnic area and boat ramp and camping area.
Fishing and other water sports are encouraged but swimming is not.
The South Lake has less obvious public access, but you can walk in through the Jack Carson Reserve on the western side.
The causeway between the lakes also offers vantage points for birdwatchers and fisherfolk.
The shoreline of the North Lake is Crown Land. On the eastern side you can see the track used on Good Friday each year for the 10km Griffith Exies Bacchus on the Lake Fun Run.
If you want to have a picnic you will need to take your own food and water as there are no supplies available at the Lake. The grounds have picnic tables and gas barbeques to cater for all size groups. There are caged deer, birds, emus and kangaroos for the children.
Other good picnic spots are the Community Gardens, Willow Park, Penfold's Bridge, Yenda Park, or further out, Binya State Forest and Cocoparra National Park, or a shady spot on a channel bank, or even further out to the river.

Campbell's Swamp

Campbell's Swamp

Watch the sun set over Campbell's Swamp and watch the ibis return to roost. Campbell's swamp is an nationally significant wetland and provides an important breeding habitat for wetland birds.
The wetland has a bird hide at the end of a boardwalk. Campbell's Swamp can receive a water allocation at the end of the irrigation season (in May) and remain full until early December. This allows plenty of time for the water birds to breed. See the MFN site for more details of what you may see.

Banna Ave Window Shopping and Cultural Walk

Call at the Griffith Visitors Centre for a copy of the Uptown Griffith Cultural Walk which describes points of interest in central Griffith, and along the way there are plenty of shop fronts to check out.

Scenic Drive and Lookout over several bio-geographic regions

Where valley meets hills meets mallee. Where irrigation meets desert.
From Banna Ave, follow the Airport signs and once on the hill (Scenic Hill, part of the crescent shaped McPherson Range), turn right along Scenic Drive. The first stop is the rather decrepit Rotary Lookout, an unsavoury looking spot at present, but it gives a good view.
Close up is the town, and look south across the vast, flat Murrumbidgee-Murray Valley. There are no hills in this direction until almost Melbourne 500km away. It is 30km to the Murrumbidgee at Darlington Point, another long flat trip through Jerilderie to the Murray, and even flatter land up Victoria's Goulburn Valley past Shepparton. Much of this is irrigated land.
Look around to the west and you are on the last hill before Adelaide. Beyond the irrigated area before you is the clay of the vast treeless Hay Plains and the sand of the Mallee.
Further along Scenic Drive is the Dudley De Chair Lookout. Underneath you is the historic Hermits Cave. Looking out you can see the Cocoparra Range (Binya Hills) and scattered hills to the east which continue and slowly rise to the Great Divide - you are at the western edge of these hills.
Standing on this rock and looking north and west, you are in a completely different bio-geo region - the Cobar Peneplain. You can see the twin expanse of Lake Wyangan close up, and to the north the irrigation quickly stops, giving way to the cropping and grazing of the mallee. 100km north of here the Lachlan River cuts its way west through this dry vast mallee which is rich in its own way, but that's another story.
This meeting of the different regions ensures the Griffith area is an excellent place for a variety in plant and bird life.

Birds and Plants of Scenic Hill Reserve

The Scenic Hill Reserve is criss-crossed by foot tracks and fire trails, and much is still undisturbed natural bush. The reserve is easy to access from all sides - park at the lookouts or the water towers and take off on foot, or walk up from the town side behind Wood Rd, Ortella St, or McNabb Cres, or Collina.
Your luck depends mainly on the weather - there will be huge volumes of flowering plants and ground orchids after good winter/spring rains, and the Garland Lilies massed around the Cypress Pines can be magnificent. On the other hand there will be very little in drought times. There is always birdlife and other animals but just what you will see is in the lap of the gods.
In winter, "the Currawongs come down from the mountain" as Slim Dusty used to say, and call across Scenic Hill. For colour look for Yellow Rumped Thornbills and Red Capped Robins. Listen for the cackle of Major Mitchell Cockatoos or the warblings and pipings of the Pied Butcherbirds.

See Griffith's Big Things

Griffith has several 'big things' and they are called tank farms. Take a drive out to Casella Wines at Yenda and be boggled by the rows of stainless steel tanks used in the making and storage of the wine. Million litre tanks in row after row. Pallets and pallets of bottles for filling on the amazingly fast bottling lines. Banks of containers ready for filling and despatching daily.
Take a trip up the back road behind De Bortoli in Bilbul for another tank farm, or Riverina Wines on the Kidman Way at Tharbogang
Even one of these tanks can dwarf the entire annual product of many of Australia's smaller wineries.
Like the wineries, the vineyards are Big. See the Cocoparra Vineyards on the Rankins Springs Rd at Myall Park, or along the Leeton Rd east of Widgelli or off Whites and Browns Rd at Tharbogang where grapes have taken over previous rice farms.
Visit McWilliams Wines at Hanwood for tastings in The Big Barrel.
Further west beyond Tabbita, Hillston and along the Mid Western H'way are Big new groves of cherries, olives and walnuts.

Free camping

You can camp for free in Griffith for a few days. At the Willows Park in Kookora Street is an overnight stop fancied by motorhomers. It has pump out facilities and toilets.
You can also camp for a maximum of three days at Lake Wyangan. BBQ facilities and an ammenties block are provided. This is the better place as it is quiet and a little out of town.

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