RoadTrip2021: Lockhart, Narrandera and Griffith (a taste of Italy)

May 14, 2021 | 2 Comments

This week – my fourth – I’ve been heading west. So I thought it was time to share a map to give you an idea of where I’ve been this week in relation to Sydney and how far west I’ve gone in a few days. In fact at the time of writing this I’m at Mildura which is 1000km from Sydney. This is the further west I will go on this trip.

But to get back to my adventures on Tuesday…



After leaving Wagga I had a brief visit in Lockhart which is known as a verandah town. It was a cool and overcast morning and all I did here was to get a takeaway coffee and wander the streets to find the best view.


It turned out that the best view was from the spot where I parked my car, so I was able to sketch from the comfort of the driver’s seat.


I’ve generally been using my fude pen for my street scenes, but on this occasion I decided to use my Lamy so that the lines would be more consistent.


Lockhart also has a number of interesting sculptures. This is one was in the main street – but I look forward to exploring and sketching more of them next time!



I wasn’t sure if I would stop at Narrandera but I’m so glad that I did as it was a lovely town! And I needed a second coffee!


There was a number of nice buildings – a bank building, the Post Office and Shire Chambers Building with clock tower. Note: I got some incorrect info at the time and it’s not a JimmyB/Vernon courthouse but a Shire Chambers Building designed John Hill Robertson.


I did these three building sketches in 25 minutes – standing up or sitting in misty rain. I would have liked to have done these sketches more carefully if the weather had been better.


The finished spread.



This isn’t much of a photo but I really loved the drive from Narrandera to Griffith. The road was dead straight most of the way but it was so interesting as I passed lots of different crops – including orchards, vineyards and cotton.


Griffith is known as a food bowl… and I loved this aerial photo outside the visitor info centre.

Here is a summary from Visit NSW

The Griffith Region is a truly diverse food bowl of Australia!

Agriculture is at the heart of the city, and the stats areimpressive: The region grows 90% of Australia’s rice and prunes. We grow the sweetest navels and are the largest citrus region in Australia.

Home to great orange juice, craft beer and Australia’s largest wine region – in fact there are so many kilometres of trellised vines they could lap Australia’s coastline three times! Griffith wineries export over $800M of wine per year and Griffith is the home of Yellow Tail and De Bortoli Noble One.

The region recently planted one million hazelnut trees for chocolate maker Ferrero. Other growth industries include Murray Cod, almonds and walnuts. Griffith is also a significant chicken meat supplier and producer of olive oil, truss tomatoes, quail and melons. Even the popcorn you buy at the movies is grown just down the road!


The reason for the agricultural richness of this area is the Murrumbigee Irrigation Scheme – a series of canals designed to spread the water from the Murrumbigee River. I really want to research this more as I think it’s amazing!


Here is one of those canals.


The main street was busy with cars but not so much with pedestrians.


Griffith has a big Italian community and I was amazed that everyone I spoke to had connections to the Veneto region (the basis for our Palladian Odyssey tours). I had to get some coffee from the deli.


Followed by lemon ricotta cannoli and a sketch of a popular pasta place. Its opening hours didn’t suit me this visit so I didn’t actually go inside.

I also chose to sketch this building to represent the newness of the town. It was designed by Walter Burley Griffin (designer of Canberra) in 1914 and has his signature radial design in areas.


I was told to go up to the hermit’s cave lookout. There might have been a cool cave to check out… but I was more interested in the view!


It made me so happy to sketch this view as it summarised my recent drive from Narrandera.


Thanks to this sketch I was able to work out where I could see some orchards. It was called Citrus Road and was located on the outskirts of town – new road and new houses.


That night I had to go to a popular Italian restaurant – La Scala. Its approach was nothing special…


…but inside these plain doors there was an amazing restaurant with great atmosphere and food. I loved my risotto and because I was sketching I had lots of fun conversations – with staff and other patrons. And more Veneto connections!!!

It was so super special and made me feel as if I had had a mini trip to Italy!

It also made me realise that a great way to meet locals is to go out for dinner and sketch my meals. On my next trip I intend to spend longer in each location and I think that eating out (and sketching food) will be an important part of the plan!


Here are the finished spreads…


…hmmm, I need to finish that map of Griffith!

Another amazing day!



  • Ginger Young says:

    Murrumbidgee! As in “Murrumbidgee Madness” by John Williamson- love his songs! I’m really enjoying your road trip. 🙂

  • Heidi Smith says:

    Being a born and bred NSW girl (went to school at Mudgee), im really enjoying following your trip.
    Im currently slowly working through your Buildings and Watercolour on location courses so its really interesting to see how you tackle all the various buildings along the way.
    Can’t wait to see where you go next 🙂

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