Hillston is on the banks of the meandering Lachlan River in the beautiful Riverina. Enjoy the rural charm, tranquil parks and heritage buildings in the country town, which is also a great base for exploring the Willandra National Park, home to kangaroos, emus and a fine wool heritage.

You’ll find convenient accommodation options in the town, northwest of Griffith, including riverside caravan and camping sites. Hillston is a two-day road trip from Sydney or Melbourne. Or you can fly from Sydney to Griffith City Airport and rent a car for the 75 minutes’ drive to Hillston.

Sun shines on the historic Willandra Homestead's verandah, near Hillston

The charming town is on the Kidman Way, a scenic route in the heart of NSW between Jerilderie in the south and Bourke in the north. On your way to Hillston from the south, stop at Merriwagga for the Memorial to Pioneer Women and the Black Stump Hotel, billed as having Australia’s tallest bar.

Many food crops are produced around Hillston, including oranges, cherries, potatoes, almonds, walnuts and wheat. In Hillston, enjoy picnics in parks and amble along the main street for heritage buildings, cafes, shops, the Red Dust and Paddy Melons Community Gallery, and two country pubs.

Clouds reflect off a creek in Willandra National Park, near Hillston

For picnic and barbecue supplies, stock up on the butcher’s smoked meats and succulent range of red meat and poultry. There are barbecue facilities at John Fensom Lions Explorer Park, near the Olympic pool and the man-made Lake Woorabinda, a popular spot for water sports and walking.

Another walking trail takes you across the Swing Bridge on the river from Hughie Cameron Park to Desathalon Park. You’ll find more walking and cycling tracks in the Willandra National Park, which is only 64km northwest of Hillston. The park has barbecue facilities in picnic areas and campgrounds.

Willandra contains remnants of the area’s pastoral history — the Willandra shearing precinct and the Willandra Homestead of Big Willandra, a pastoral station mentioned in the bush ballad Flash Jack from Gundagai. The Nilla Yannagalang Billana walking track passes by pastoral heritage.