Wagga Wagga: A Slice of Home
Our stay in Wagga was like coming home again. We stayed with Ash's parents for nearly a week, and they were so generous opening their home, including us in their day-to-day. Wagga Wagga is roughly halfway between Sydney and Melbourne in New South Wales. With a population nearing 60,000 people it's the state's largest inland city.
Ash graciously drove us to her folk's place in Sydney. On the way, we stopped in Jugiong at The Sir George.
The historic venue was built in 1852, but now known for their boutique restaurant and artisan bakery.
Also briefly stopped at a nearby overlook of the Australian Bush.
Once we arrived Wagga, we were welcome with bubbly and a wonderful dinner. Ash's father is a master on the grill, and it was the first of many Australian barbecues--called barbies here. Lamb, burgers, rump steak. A favorite was chicken schnitzel, referred to as Schnitty. We realized it's basically a chicken cutlet. When we weren't enjoying the company and the barbies, we still spent majority of our time on the back patio, reading, working, relaxing.
Mid-week Ash took us to the Boggy Creek Bush Show. The show was a demonstration of choreographed horsemanship, mustering working dogs, and an animated window into life on a farm.
Boggy Creek is a fourth generation working farm in Tumbarumba--a mountainous area known for a history of timber and cattle farming. The show itself was part comedy, part educational. I'd never before been given a tutorial on how to sheer sheep.
Once the trees cleared, we were given a brief glimpse into the more traditional Australian Bush. When I think of stereotypes of Australian terrain, I think of red earth. However, we didn't last long, for fear of running into snakes.
Other than a day trip here or there, we found there was plenty to do in Wagga. One evening, Ash took us to the Wagga Wagga Boat Club for a drink on Lake Albert. It was a beautiful sunset, and we couldn't understand why more people weren't there. It was so serene. The following day, we went back to jog around the lake, a 5.5km loop.
We checked out the Wagga Zoo and Aviary, given that Ash's mom assured us we couldn't leave Australia without seeing a Kangaroo. The only we've seen thus far had been roadkill, which surely didn't count.
The colorful birds were beautiful, but we were more interested in the wombat--a bizarre creature.
On Saturday we took a lovely walk along the Murrumbidgee River.
We're learning more about Australia's past, and the river has a rich history. Murrumbidgee is the Aboriginal word for “Plenty Water,” and a source of nourishment for the people of the Wiradjuri nation. Today, the river is enjoyed for the beach with tables and barbecues and for floating down portions of the river.
We ended at the Marrambidya Wetland before looping back to explore the downtown.
That evening, we were treated to yet another barbecue after drinks and snacks.
Will gained a strong, questionally mutual, affection for their pups.
Wagga is a wonderful community. It has nearly everything you're looking for in a town. We have a while to decide where we ultimately want to settle, but it's reassuring to know that such places exist.