15 December 2022

New visitor guide offers over 140 reasons to visit Wagga

| Chris Roe
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Wagga Council’s Kim Parker and Cassandra Farquharson launching the new visitor guide. Photo: Chris Roe.

With regional tourism continuing to boom and more than 1.38 million visitors passing through each year, the #visitwagga team has launched a new visitor guide to build on the region’s growing popularity.

“This guide really encapsulates everything that there is to offer in our region,” explained Wagga Council’s Kim Parker.

“Everything from national parks to riverways as well as all of the attractions and all of the shopping experiences that we have.”

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The 2022/23 guide includes more than 140 tourism partner businesses from Wagga and across seven neighbouring shires, including Coolamon, Junee, Narrandera, Snowy Valleys, Cootamundra-Gundagai, Greater Hume and Lockhart Shire.

Kim explained that the strategy was to feature Wagga as a hub to explore the region.

“What that looks like is that people will stay here and explore everything that there is on offer,” she said.

“That vision is that the guide can encourage people to stay.”

Tourism guide

The new visitor guide offers ideas for tourists and locals alike. Photo: Chris Roe.

Tourism pours around $385 million into the local economy and Joo-Yee Lieu from Wollundry Grove Olives said partnering with the Visitor Centre was important for local operators.

“Since we have that program our tourist flow has increased and strengthened,” she said, explaining that they were seeing a rise in both domestic and international visitor numbers.

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“Yesterday we had a family from Singapore turn up and we were just wondering where they found us and it’s from the website, VisitWagga.

“With the visitor guide it’s essential for us to keep copies of them as a handout for people. Even new residents in Wagga Wagga, they don’t know what they can do.”


Joo-Yee Lieu from Wollundry Grove Olives says their partnership with the Wagga Visitor Center has been vital. Photo: Chris Roe.

Food and agricultural tourism experiences like those offered by Wollundry Grove Olives are part of a growing market.

According to Kim, there has been a shift in this direction over the past five years.

“The Riverina is known as the food bowl and we’re seeing growth and a bigger cluster of these foodie offerings that are coming up,” said Kim.

“We have a wide range of wineries, we have a distiller as well and we’ve also got amazing producers … and also restaurants that focus on that paddock-to-plate offering.”

Festivals and events have also proved a major drawcard along with active outdoor experiences like bushwalking and cycling.

Mick Wainwright from In Motion Fitness runs kayak and paddleboard tours and felt that Wagga’s best asset, the Murrumbidgee River had been underutilised in the past.

“We recognised that and thought that we would provide something for our visitors here to be able to see our local region from a different perspective,” he said.

“Hopefully we’ll be getting around two or 300 people out a week on the river over the Christmas break and school holiday period.”

Man with paddle board

Mick Wainright hopes to get more people onto the river in the years ahead. Photo: Chris Roe.

Another addition to the guide this year is a deeper focus on Wiradjuri culture and a Gugaa (goanna) design.

“In the last two years, we’ve included Wiradjuri translations and respect to that First Nations culture in a really subtle way,” Kim explained.

“This year, through consultation with Wiradjuri elders, council has built on the First Nations storytelling in the guide.

“The Gugaa is recognised as the overarching totem of the Wiradjuri Nation and a way of connecting all people, past and present, on Wiradjuri Land. As well as holding cultural significance, the illustration is also a symbolic representation of visitors to our region.”

The 74-page guide is available now and a digital version can be found online via the VisitWagga website here.

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