RoadTrip2021: Temora, Junee and Wagga Wagga

May 12, 2021 | 5 Comments

After leaving the Newell Highway I continued south into the Riverina area.

To quote from Wikipedia:

The Riverina is an agricultural region of south-western New South Wales, Australia. The Riverina is distinguished from other Australian regions by the combination of flat plains, warm to hot climate and an ample supply of water for irrigation. This combination has allowed the Riverina to develop into one of the most productive and agriculturally diverse areas of Australia. Bordered on the south by the state of Victoria and on the east by the Great Dividing Range, the Riverina covers those areas of New South Wales in the Murray and Murrumbidgee drainage zones to their confluence in the west.

Heading south on Goldfield’s Highway towards Temora.


A quick photo stop in Barmedman… it seems that no matter the smallness of the town, there is always a big pub or two.



First stop in Temora was a cafe on the main street. It was 1:30pm and they had no food left. So I got a coffee instead. This was the most interesting view of the street.


The most iconic building in town is the old mill but the lighting wasn’t right for the classic view. So I sketched it from the rear which was just as interesting!

I also did a sketch from memory of the white/silver fields which I had passed on the way to Temora. My AirBnB host told me that they were canola fields and the stubble had been burnt recently. So the fields were white ash!

Note: On Sunday I drove from Wagga to Henty to go to a friend’s church and on the drive home I saw the orange glow of some these field fires. See this article from a few years ago for more.


Just down the road from the Mill were a few silo buildings so I had fun doing a few sketches!!! Oh ah! I love these structures!


Since I was in the middle of a huge canola growing area, these silos are an important part of the region.


Back to the main street and I did a quick line sketch of those federation/arts & craft style buildings.

And of course another map. Unlike Parkes and Forbes (see here for more) the highway in Temora is the main street…


… so there is a constant flow of trucks (including cattle trucks and sheep trucks) driving past! Not particularly pleasant if you are sitting outside having a meal at one of the numerous cafes on the street.


I finished my big day of sketching by doing another pub and an old bank building.


4pm walking down the main street – it was pretty quiet!


The next morning before I headed out of Temora, I managed to sketch the old mill from the photo.

Note: Generally this trip I’m not any morning sketching in the town where I stayed overnight. I’m trying to do all my sketches in the afternoon so that I can hit the road early the next day. But I made an exception on this occasion as I didn’t have a lot of driving to do.


Here is the finished sketch (I added a few extra washes and extended the sky) and a not quite finished map!

Note: I often add some additional touches to my sketches later in the day. I find that it’s helpful to look at my sketch with fresh eyes when I’m no longer right infront of the scene. So often my on location photos (the hero shots as I call them) don’t represent the final version.



Continuing south and heading for Wagga Wagga…

I had to stop at the Licorice and Chocolate Factory at Junee didn’t I?

Actually there was a great cafe as well (I had a very nice breakfast there) with lots of groups having brunch (possibly because it was Mothers Day weekend.)


The main part of Junee was really interesting too. A very fancy railway square (and an interesting railway museum which I left for next time)…


…and I really liked this corner with two large hotels.


Something that I noticed in these buildings was the height of the ground floor storey! Taller than I’ve seen so far on this trip.

Here are the two spreads from my short visit to Junee.


BTW I bought a Tasting Box at the chocolate shop – it looked pretty at the time and was fun to sketch but a bit too sweet for me. I was disappointed that there was no licorice in the box!


This sketch was done really quickly and loosely. I’m finding that I’m much more comfortable doing buildings with verandahs now! 


Wagga Wagga

I spent the weekend in Wagga – a large regional town. The full name of the town is Wagga Wagga, but most people just call it Wagga. 

In the last article I mentioned a memorable family holiday I went on at age 19 when we drove through this general area of NSW.

The other important road trip I’ve done was in December 2006 with Esther Semmens (and my dad who was our driver!) We left Sydney on 25 Dec heading for Hay (a big driving day) and stopped for lunch at Wagga. I remember the big empty streets and had in my mind that Wagga’s main street was wide with lots of verandahs. This is a B&W photo from that day.

But in fact, Wagga’s main street is not very wide at all! My memory was all wrong!

I’m wiser now and have a much more accurate view of the design of main streets in NSW country towns. But still is it a nice town…


…and this is the grandest part of the street. With the courthouse and old post office. But I didn’t have my sketchbook with me when I took this photo. What???

Surprisingly I went in search of a coffee (all the cafes seemed to close at 2:30pm) and left my book in the car.

I didn’t find a cafe (it was after 3pm) so I went straight to the river – the Murrumbigee River – which weaves its way through the town. This river is very important to the agriculture of this region – the Riverina – thanks to an elaborate system of canals which irrigate the area.


I first sketched a tree…


and then a simple sketch of the river.


I was pretty tired but wanted to have a quick loose attempt at the courthouse (another Vernon)… but this was a little too crazy. Time to stop sketching for the day!


That night (Saturday night) I managed to get a last minute 1 hour slot at a top-rated Thai restaurant Thaigga. Going out for dinner is one of the hardest things about solo travel but it doesn’t bother me anymore. My sketchbook is my companion and I either sketch my food (which can often result in making new friends) or I finish off my pages. As I only had one hour I decided not to sketch my food… but I managed to get quite a lot of writing done.

BTW for those of you who are wondering, there is no COVID in these country areas so apart from QR code check ins and a few social distancing markers, life is normal. In the three weeks of my trip I have only seen three people wearing a mask.

On the Sunday I drove down to Henty to go to church and have lunch with friends there. It was wonderful but I took no photos. I’m now on a mission to find a few special timber bridges as that is my friend’s speciality.


Monday – an easy day in Wagga.


I had a wonderful cafe breakfast. It was the best meal of the trip so far so I wish that I had sketched it – but I did my view down the street instead. I then checked out some of the older buildings in town and sketched the Presbyterian church.


I then visited the picnic table where we had our Xmas meal in 2016 (as mentioned above)


And I then did a little shopping (including a brief stop at an art store)


Those of you who follow my stories on Instagram might have seen my visit to a fabric store when I was in Orange. For some reason there has not been any new stock of denim fabric since March last year and I was advised to check out the regional stores. In Wagga I visited Spotlight (nothing there) and Lincraft (wow! quite a selection) and I ended up with two lengths of dark denim (one blue, one black) which is exactly what I was wanting. Now I just have to get around to do some sewing when I get home. (If you don’t know I like to sew my own clothes but haven’t done much lately -some sewing articles here.)


The bits and pieces I bought at Eckersleys and a leisurely lunch… another good meal. I have to say that I was impressed with the food in Wagga.

I also found the layout of Wagga very interesting with two main street – one which relates to the river and the other connected to the railway station.


And then I went back to my favourite part of town and sketched two scenes of the views along Fitzmaurice St… until the rain started.

So all in all I had a lovely relaxed time in Wagga!

In the next phase of my trip I’m heading west towards Mildura. As I’m almost up to date (yay!) and have a busy week ahead (including a big driving day) my articles will be spaced out a little from now on.

If you have missed any of the previous articles you can find them all here.


  • Nicki Haldane says:

    I am really enjoying your trip Liz! Lovely sketches. And glad that you made it to Junee. Pity about the licorice! Thanks for sharing. ?

  • Sandra Worrall-Hart says:

    Hi Liz, I am loving all of these posts. Sent on to friends. Beautiful buildings. I’m in Victoria and inspired to do some wandering. You sketches are gorgeous; nice to see these interpretations in amongst the photos! Thank you.

  • Angela Vular says:

    Hi LIz, Just wanted to drop you a line and tell you how much I am loving your trip posts and your art work. Australia reminds me of my own country, USA. Some of the buildings remind me of our western towns. I love road trips. You are so organized and full of info. I am totally amazed! Thanks so much for allowing us to virtually be with you on your adventure. Can’t wait to see your next stop. Thanks so much and enjoy the rest of your trip.

  • Tina Koyama says:

    I have been surprised by the number of times you have mentioned that cafes were not open (after a certain time) or that a cafe was out of food! I’m not sure I’ve visited any town at any time of day where a cafe wasn’t open! Anyway, I’m enjoying your travels!

    • Liz Steel says:

      Hi Tina. This is country Australia which is more remote and quite different in some respects to America 🙂 A lot less people and demand for cafes 🙂

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