After spending two weeks in Coolamon, we decided to move to the slightly larger town of Narrandera. This would reduce Brenden’s drive to work from about 35 minutes, to ten. Although we didn’t spend as long in town as we would have liked, we still got to have a good look around.
Narrandera is located in the Riverina Region of NSW, right on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River. It’s a pretty town, with some surprising history behind it. The nearest large town is Wagga Wagga, 100 kilometres away to the east. We found it to be a great spot to base ourselves and explore some of the local area.
Narrandera is located in the heart of Wiradjuri Country and the name is derived from the Narrungdera Clan who once inhabited the land. It is said to mean ‘place of many lizards’.
NARRANDERA KOALA RESERVE
The Narrandera Flora and Fauna Reserve is home to around 200 koalas. These koalas are descended from four koalas who were reintroduced to the area in the 1970’s. The original koala population was wiped out in the early 1900’s by hunters after their fur.
The Koala Reserve covers a large area and has 9.5 kilometres of walking or cycling track that weaves it’s way amongst the gum trees. The track is flat and shaded by the trees over hanging it.
I really wanted to be able to spot at least one koala but wasn’t really very hopeful as it was a cool and overcast day. I set off, stopping and looking up into the trees every couple of metres. After about 20 minutes of looking I heard a noise like a growl and new there must be a koala nearby. I walked off the track a little way and looked up and there he was. I was so excited and just stood there watching him before taking a couple of photos. As I was about to walk off I looked across to a neighbouring tree and saw another koala sitting in the fork of that tree.
Seeing koalas in their natural habitat is such an exciting thing to experience. The fact that it came straight after the terrible bush fires around Port Macquarie gives me hope that our native marsupials may survive for a few more years.
TIGER MOTH MEMORIAL
A little known part of Australian history played out in Narrandera during World War II. The No. 8 Elementary Flying Training School, RAAF was established in 1940 to train pilots. The school operated for four and half years and trained a total of 3818 pilots in that time.
The Tiger Moth Memorial houses a DH 82 Tiger Moth aircraft along with other memorabilia related to the Flight School and the RAAF. The museum is open from 10am, 7 days a week and entry is by gold coin donation. It is most definitely worth a look if you have an interest in our war time history or aircraft.
AROUND THE TOWN
Take a walk around the streets of Narrandera and you will find out some more about the history of the town. For example, former Governor of NSW, Marie Bashir was born there. The main park in the centre of town is named after her.
Here you will also find the Wiradjuri Honour Wall which stands to honour the people of the Narrungdera Clan who have passed.
Also in Marie Bashir Park you will find an awesome playground, picnic tables, exercise equipment and the Visitor Information Centre.
In the towns Memorial Gardens you will find a unique ceramic fountain which was created by Royal Doulton. It is a beautiful piece and a fitting tribute to those who served in World War I.
Another interesting spot is the old Narrandera Railway Bridge which crosses the Murrumbidgee River. It has heritage listing due to it’s significant engineering.
Just before the bridge, if the river is low, you will be able to see the remains of the Paddle Steamer Wagga Wagga. The Wagga Wagga was the last of the Murrumbidgee paddle steamers. It sprang a leak in 1918 and was run aground on a sandbar and left to rot. You can just make out a piece of it in the bottom left of the below photo.
WATER TOWER MURALS
We were very impressed to find some water tower murals in Narrandera. Only a recent addition to the town, they were a community project. A series of workshops were held to create the visual themes for the project. Depicting a koala on one and a bearded dragon on the other, there are also other representations from around the local area.
The artwork was completed by artists from Apparition Media and took 11 days and 120 litres of paint.
WHERE TO STAY
We decided to stay at the Lake Talbot Tourist Park. It’s a large park located right next to Lake Talbot and also the Lake Talbot Swimming Complex. It’s a tidy park with loads of sites, green grass and plenty of shady trees.
It has some new and very level drive-thru sites but we think these would only be suitable for a quick over night stay as they weren’t very wide. Several of the other sites you may need to use levelling ramps on. The amenities were clean and spacious and there is also a good sized camp kitchen.
We didn’t go to the swimming complex but it has two huge pools and a couple of great looking water slides. It would be the perfect spot to cool off with the kids in summer.
Lake Talbot is a popular spot for water sports such as water skiing and also fishing and has a small pontoon and a lovely picnic area right on the waters edge.
We think Narrandera is a great little town and really worth a visit if like us, you enjoy smaller country towns.