The meandering Lachlan River cuts through the beautiful western Riverina region of southern NSW, paving the way for fertile fields across rolling countryside. It’s here you’ll find Hillston, a small town big on country charm. As well as being an important stop on the Kidman Way, Hillston is a great base for exploring the Willandra National Park, home to kangaroos and emus.
The Kidman Way touring route takes you through the heart of NSW, linking Jerilderie in the south to Barringun in the north through Bourke. Along the route is Hillston, a charming town with plenty of country swagger. If you’re getting here from the south, be sure to pause in the tiny town of Merriwagga to check out the Memorial to Pioneer Women and the Black Stump Hotel, which is billed as having Australia’s tallest bar. Here you can learn about the Black Stump legend and the gruesome tale of Mrs Barbara Blain.
Hillston is blessed with aquatic playgrounds, not in the least shimmering man-made Lake Woorabinda. Water skiing is a popular pastime over the summer months, and throughout the year you’ll find an abundance of seasonal birdlife including pelicans, swans and cockatoos. Bring your binoculars and stretch your legs on a stroll around the perimetre.
Floating of Lanterns, Lake Woorabinda - Credit: Alison Jardine - Carrathool Shire Council
Pack a picnic and head to John Fensom Park, adjoining the lake, where kids can make the most of play equipment and a skate park while you cook up lunch on the barbecues. The Hillston pool is nearby for a refreshing dip in summer. You’ll also find an 18-hole sandgreen golf course located just over the river on the Mossgiel Road – a challenge for all golfers.
Amble along the main street for heritage buildings, cafes, shops and two country pubs – the Club House Hotel is a popular hangout. The Red Dust and Paddy Melons Community Gallery is the local Visitor Information Centre and home to local art, craft and produce.
Many food crops are produced around Hillston, including oranges, cherries, potatoes, almonds, walnuts as well as the traditional grain crops, the diversity of agriculture has been made possible by water from the Lachlan River and the underground aquifer. Head to the Lachlan River Swing Bridge, which links two leafy parks, to take in the countryside.
Hughie Cameron Park, Hillston
Getting there & where to stay
Hillston is a 7.5-hour drive from Sydney and a 6.5-hour drive from Melbourne. You can also fly from Sydney to Griffith City Airport and rent a car for the 75-minute drive to Hillston. Accommodation options in Hillston include the caravan park, which has space for tents as well as cabins for rent.
Destination NSW acknowledges and respects Aboriginal people as the state’s first people and nations and recognises Aboriginal people as the Traditional Owners and occupants of New South Wales land and water.