Wednesday, 5 July 2017
Relive the golden era of train travel by joining the long weekend escape to the Riverina region of NSW.
Pioneered by waves of Italian migrants over 80 years, the essence of the Riverina capital of Griffith is all about food, wine, friends and family. Almost two in every three people in Griffith claim Italian heritage, with today’s descendants proudly showcasing the traditions, flavours and passion for food and wine their forefathers brought with them. On this unique tour, you’ll spend three nights in Griffith during the spring-time Taste Riverina Festival which celebrates ‘la dolce vita’ - the sweet life that this fertile region has become renowned for.
Our exciting escapade begins the moment we board our privately chartered heritage train featuring restored buffet and compartment seating cars from the 1930s and hauled by the trusty, 62-year-old ‘Streamliner’ locomotive 4204. Relax as the countryside drifts by, with stops for lunch at the 139-year-old Junee Railway Station Cafe and afternoon tea in Narrandera - gateway to the productive Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area. At day’s end, Griffith is our 3-night base, with the next morning spent visiting Corynnia Station. Owners Bruce and Julie Armstrong will show us their working sheep and cotton property where we'll tour the farm and award winning garden and enjoy lunch sourced from local produce. We'll then head for the cotton gin at Carrathool to see how cotton is produced.
After returning to Griffith, the indulgence continues with an exclusive, wine-paired dinner at the iconic McWilliams Winery, established a century ago at nearby Hanwood. Here, our co-hosts, Princess Cruises, will take us on a virtual holiday around the world with a fun presentation on the wonderful world of cruising we all love.
On Sunday the culinary treats continue with a ‘farm to fork’ lunch at Piccolo Farm. Luke Piccolo will guide us through the farm that supplies his renowned local restaurant 'Limone' with fresh local ingredients harvested by hand. Luke will provide a cooking demonstration followed by a buffet lunch. A memorable afternoon of wine tasting follows at two wineries - both pioneered by Italian migrants. We'll visit De Bortoli Wines and enjoy a special presentation by the wine maker with a focus on their Noble One Botrytis dessert wine. Continue to Calabria Family Wines where the wine maker will guide us through the winery and present their Italian varietals.
After some free time to explore Griffith, prepare for a true treat - a spectacular, private dinner of traditional Italian food using fresh, locally sourced produce at Zecca Handmade Italian. Owners Daniel, Ben and Michaela welcome us for a meal featuring the best food and wine the Riverina has to offer.
On our final day, we reboard our historic train for the leisurely trip back to Sydney with a stop at the Temora Aviation Museum for a delicious barbecue supplied by Mimosa Valley Lamb, and dazzling aerial display - just for us - of an ex-military aircraft. A light dinner will be served onboard the train before we arrive back in Sydney, ending our unique, 1100 km, round-trip journey.
This tour is certain to fill fast so be quick to reserve your place or you’ll miss the train. All aboard!