Banned on the Run, Day 120 – A Gourmet Food Trail

Day 120 Thursday 8/10/20 Coolamon to Griffith, Cool windy 18

Somewhere east of Newell Highway where there were no gum trees to get in the way of a window shot

We have a lot of rain overnight and the locals tell us that this will delay the canola harvest. I’m sure it will give the wheat a spurt along though.

The damned ants have been driving us nuts these last few days and as I lift the coffee machine to pack it away for travelling I find that they’ve made a nice little nest on the bench. A nice warm dry spot in wet weather and they must have been ecstatic when I forgot to turn the machine off the other day.

Heading north west we turn north onto the Newell Highway for a mere 6 Kms before turning west again onto yet another B Road, the Burley Griffin Way. This southwards trip has been unusual for the little time that we’ve spent on major highways. A fleeting glimpse reveals the subtle pinks of a Major Mitchell Cockatoo in a Murray Pine. That’s 3 we’ve ‘glimpsed’ now and we’re still yet to see one properly. Then we’re on the CB radio trying to pronounce Moombooldool and before we’ve worked it out we’ve passed the one house, one hall and one silo town.

We arrive in Griffith early as The Prado’s are meeting friends for lunch. The NSW government have thoughtfully given residents accommodation and fuel vouchers to encourage people to travel about the country and boost regional economies. These guys are off to see Broken Hill and from what we hear the outback city is experiencing a tourist boom.

We have dinner booked for tomorrow night at La Scala an Italian restaurant and I’m in desperate need of a pair of shoes! There is no way that I’m going to dinner in these clodhoppers! Thankfully Griffith is a town blessed with good shopping and we collapse back at the van with not only new shoes but scrumptious panini’s from La Piccola Deli and sweet crunchy cannoli from Bertoldo’s famous bakery for lunch. It’s not surprising that with Covid regulations Bertoldo’s that is normally wall to wall with patrons now has a queue snaking along the footpath.

After lunch we go in search of a small goods manufacturer only to find that they’re closed. In doing so we find ourselves in the less salubrious side of town. But that’s not a bad thing as it helps to get a balanced perspective of life here.

Covid cases in Victoria are now small but new outbreaks are troubling. In NSW cases are rising and small outbreaks around the suburbs are worrying the Premier. It would be strangely ironic if we were to leave NSW as they go into lockdown. Assumptions aside we can be thankful of the break we’ve had.

The surprise with Griffith is that they’re advertising on TV for winery staff and there’s a housing shortage. This place is booming.

Oh, and somewhere nearby someone has a bloody rooster! A rooster who isn’t good at timekeeping and goes off his head whenever he feels like it.

Note: A little about Griffith and the Riverina region for those who aren’t familiar with this area. This is our third visit and it seems to grow on us more with each visit. It is a multicultural region of over 70 nationalities with a strong Italian heritage. The Riverina is the largest wine region in area in the country. 25% of Australian wine is grown here and all the wineries are family owned. Most of Australia’s rice production is in the Riverina. One million hazelnut trees supply the Italian chocolate company Ferrero. (Source: visitgriffith.com.au) The figures go on and on but they all mean that this is a very interesting food and wine area.

Accom: $35.00

Travelling Kms: 147Kms

Note: We were too busy savouring the delights of this town to take photos.

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