Art Deco architecture rules in Leeton, a charm-filled town in the Riverina region of southern NSW. When you’re not attending festivals, go wine and whisky tasting, browse produce markets and enjoy birdwatching at two important global sanctuaries. 



History & heritage 

Noted architect Walter Burley Griffin may be best known for designing Canberra, but he spread his wings across the region – including to Leeton, which he designed in the early 20th century as part of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Scheme. The town still has an incredible collection of well-preserved art deco buildings, not  in the least the legendary Roxy Theatre, which has been operating as a cinema since 1930. 

The art deco facade of the Roxy Theatre, Leeton, NSW

Roxy Theatre, Leeton

To celebrate its architectural bounty, the town hosts the annual Australian Art Deco Festival Leeton, showcasing the culture of the interwar period of the 1920s and 1930s. Enjoy prohibition parties, music, dancing and Gatsby galas for two days every July. 

Vintage cars on display at the Australian Art Deco Festival, Leeton

Australian Art Deco Festival, Leeton - Credit: Rocco Pirrottina - Distant Light Productions

Local produce 

As one of Australia’s richest agricultural areas, Leeton is a great base for exploring outstanding food and wine experiences. Begin with the Tastes of Leeton, a short daily presentation at the Leeton Visitor Information Centre that offers local produce to sample, including citrus and walnuts. 

Wine lovers can visit cellar doors at Lillypilly Estate Winery and Toorak Winery. Meanwhile, those who like their tipples stronger can visit Whitton Malt House, where you can try guided whisky tastings, enjoy aqua golf and sit down to a meal in an architecturally arresting building – there are even cabins you can check in to, if you can’t tear yourself away.  

You’ll also find a tasty selection of places to eat in Leeton, including hugely popular Chinese dining rooms Tangs Family Chinese Restaurant and Chung Hing. Hotel Yanco is the place to go to meet locals in the pub’s serene beer garden, while The Coffee Tree and Mike's Bakehouse are popular when it’s time to get your heart started in the morning.   

Things to do 

The Ramsar-listed Fivebough and Turkey Flat wetlands are home to more than 170 bird species – when the water is flowing. Bring your binoculars, find a perch at the birdwatching structure near the Turkey Flat picnic area, and be on the lookout for everything from spoonbills to swamphens to sandpipers. 

Festivals & events 

The town celebrates its rice harvest at the biennial Leeton Sunrice Festival at Easter, with popular signature events such as the Balloon Glow and Leeton’s Longest Lunch. Check out the events calendar for other attractions, including the Leeton Farmers Market and the Leeton Show. The Museum Miniature Railway in Yanco runs train rides on the last Sunday of the month. 

Hot air balloons fill the skies for Easter at Leeton Sunrice Festival, Leeton

Leeton Sunrice Festival, Leeton -  Credit: Leeton Sunrice Festival

Where to stay 

Places to stay in Leeton include caravan and camping sites, cottages, motels and the cabins of Whitton Malt House. New to the town is Rooms of Renown, an art deco boutique hotel that features self-contained apartments within a century-old heritage building – no two spaces are the same.  

Getting there

Leeton is a six-hour drive from Sydney, five hours from Melbourne and three hours from Canberra. You can also fly into Narrandera-Leeton Airport, 20 minutes outside of town, or Griffith Airport, a 60-minute drive away.  

Plan your trip