Wagga Wagga (pronounced Wogga Wogga), the largest inland city in New South Wales, with a population of around 60,000 people, is located on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River. The city is universally referred to as Wagga.
The Wagga Wagga Tourist Information Centre, located inside the Wagga Wagga Civic Centre (cnr Baylis and Morrow Streets) provides helpful advice to people visiting the city.
The early colonists first sighted the land in December 1829, which the flourishing City of Wagga Wagga now stands. The persons present at first sighting consisted of Captain Charles Sturt, 39th Regiment, stationed in Sydney, Mr George Macleay and six others. This party passed over the site of future Wagga Wagga on its expedition of discovery down the Murrumbidgee and Murray Rivers. Settlement swiftly followed.
Wagga Wagga was proclaimed a town in 1849 and in the same year surveyor Thomas Townshend marked out the town. In the 1860s the population totalled approximately 700, but by 1881 it had increased to 3,975. In 1879 the railway line was extended south of the river.
The name of the City is derived from the language of the Wiradjuri tribe, which was the biggest aboriginal tribe in New South Wales, embracing the Riverina area.
"Wagga" in the local Wiradjuri Aboriginal dialect means "crow". The repetition of a word was the method of expressing the plural or emphasis, thus Wagga Wagga means "crows" or "the place where crows assemble in large numbers". The Murrumbidgee River which runs through the City also derived its name from the aboriginal language and means "plenty water" or "big water".
Regional Express (REX) and Qantaslink fly regularly from Sydney and Melbourne domestic airports. Flights start at approximately $79 on special one way, although $120 is about the standard advanced purchase price, with prices rising to several times that if you book close to when you travel. The airport is 15 minutes out of town, both taxis and hire cars are available at the airport. Approximate cost for a taxi to the centre of the city is $30.
- Wagga Shuttle Bus, ☎ . 7 days. Services available to and from Wagga Airport, and to and from the Army recruit training ground at Kapooka.
- Wagga Wagga Radio Cabs, ☎ .
- Avis, ☎ .
- Budget, ☎ .
- Hertz, ☎ .
- Thrifty, ☎ .
- From Sydney: 7 hours, departing at 6:50AM or 8:40PM. Concession price: $42.80 one way
- Firefly Express operates a day and night service from Sydney to Melbourne via Wagga Wagga.
- Greyhound Australia operates a day and night service from Sydney to Melbourne via Wagga Wagga.
- Wagga Radio Cabs operate 24/7 throughout the city.
- Busabout services most suburbs in Wagga Wagga from M-Sa (No services on Sundays and public holidays).
- Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, Wagga Wagga Civic Centre, Cnr Baylis & Morrow Streets, ☎ . houses the Australian Print Collection and the Print Australia Archive. The gallery is home to the National Art Glass Collection, Australia's premier display of glass art. Free entry.
- Museum of the Riverina which is in the historic council chambers at the Wagga Wagga Civic Centre (Cnr Baylis & Morrow Streets) and the Botanic Gardens (Lord Baden Powell Drive).
- Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens, Macleay Street. 8 hectares of beautiful gardens, which are also home to the Wagga Wagga Zoo (contains a free flight aviary) and the Wagga Wagga Miniature Railway (see listing below)
- Model Railway, Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens on Willans Hill. 1st and 3rd Sunday of every month. A railway station and working controls are features along the extensive track. If you aren't the train type a pedestrians bridge over the train gives an expansive view of the train as it leaves the station. $2 per ride.
- Charles Sturt University Winery, McKeown Drive, ☎ . Sample and buy quality local wines
- RAAF Wagga Heritage Centre, Sturt Highway, Forest Hill (Located in the old guard house at the main entrance of the RAAF Base.), ☎ . 10AM - 4PM Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday (excluding public holidays). RAAF Wagga Heritage Centre showcases the RAAF's history and its significant involvement in the Riverina region. Free entry.
- Wagga Wagga Rail Heritage Museum, Station Place (Located in the Porter's Room at the Railway Station), ☎ . Monday 10AM - 2PM. Show casing the heritage of the railway in the Riverina Gold coin ($1 or $2).
- Walk, the Wollundry Track or the Wiradjuri Walking track with maps available at the Wagga Wagga Visitor Information Centre.
- Forum 6 Cinemas, 77 Trail Street, ☎ .
- Swim in the Murrumbidgee River, at Wagga Beach (which is a sand beach).
- The local newspaper, The Daily Advertiser, is a good guide to what's on around town.
- Oasis Regional Aquatic Centre, Morgan Street, ☎ . Monday to Friday: 6:30AM - 9PM Saturday & Sunday: 8.30AM - 6PM. Home to Australia's only wave-ball, 2 outdoor pools (including diving pool) and four indoor heated pools (including whirlpool, baby pool and wave ball). Adult swim - $5 Child/student swim - $3.50 Pensioner/soncession swim - $3.50 Family swim - $14 Spectator entry - $1 Children under 2 Free.
- Walk the track to the top of The Rock, a short drive away from Wagga.
- The Blessed Bean in Best Street is open M-Sa and offers breakfast and lunches, such as sandwiches on fresh sourdough with a taste of the region's finest ingredients. They also claim to offer the best coffee in town, made by NSW's "best latte artist".
- The Quinty Bakehouse at Uranquinty is a 10 minute drive from Wagga (South on the Olympic Highway, A41). Offers a range of products made using organic flour, such as sourdough melts and pies with real meat. They are famous for their tarts, which come in three sizes and more than 10 flavours.
- The Riverina Hotel, also known as The Bridge, serves good pub meals for very reasonable prices. A schnitzel, veg and gravy costs about $10. The special of the day is about $6 to $7.
- Il Corso dishes out large tasty Italian dishes at mid-range prices. Baylis Street cnr Edward Street.
- Nemos Fish and Chips, 110 Fitzmaurice St, ☎ . Open 12PM Daily. Offers a variety of seafood; snapper, barramundi, whiting, flathead, blue grenadier and flake.
- Thirsty Crow Brewery, 31 Kincaid Street, ☎ . Famous for its diverse range of beers made on site and its unique range of pizzas
- Uneke Lounge, 140 Fitzmaurice Street, ☎ . A comfortable café with a cosy atmosphere.
- The Pot 'n' Kettle Coffee House, 10 Blake Street, ☎ . A small, intimate café that serves quality food and coffee. Free wifi and friendly staff.
Baylis Street is the main street of Wagga and is where you will find most shops. You'll find the Sturt Mall and Marketplace shopping centres which should have everything you need. You'll also find some smaller malls in the suburbs such as the Kooringal Mall (Kooringal) and the Southcity Shopping Centre (Glenfield Park).
- Sunday Markets, Myer Carpark (Located on Oreilly Street). every Sunday morning. Gold coin donation.
- Farmers Market (next to the lagoon at the Civic Centre and Civic Theatre). second Saturday of every month. A range of local produce is on offer, including flowers, cheese, meat and even pistachios
- Markets by the Lake, Apex Park, Lake Albert. Last Saturday of the month. Stalls selling fresh produce, arts and crafts, hand made gifts, clothes, plants, bric-a-brac and more. Free entry.
- Wagga Wagga Marketplace, 87 Baylis St. A major shopping centre. Contains a supermarket, a discount department store, a post office, a food court, and over 60 specialty stores.
- The Capital, 109 Baylis St - The only nightclub in Wagga Wagga. Cover charge on weekends. Capital saloon open Sunday nights 8PM till 12AM Baylis Street.
- Kooringal Hotel, 88 Fay Avenue - located in the eastern suburb of Kooringal.
- The Riverina Hotel (The Bridge), 188 Fitzmaurice St- Wednesday night trivia sessions. Popular with local agricultural students.
- The Victoria Hotel (The Vic), 55 Baylis St - Most popular drinking hole for the younger crowd.
- Wagga Wagga Winery, Oura Road (15 minutes from Wagga on the Oura Road), ☎ . Seven days from 11.00AM. Offers cellar door sales and a fully licensed restaurant set amongst 17 acres of established grape vines near the Murrumbidgee River.
- Allonville Motel, 3691 Sturt Hwy (Located on the Eastern outskirts, about 10 minutes out of Wagga.), ☎ . Has stables, kennels and yards available. Small pool. Restaurant and room service dinners available by prior arrangement. rooms start from $95.
- Best Western Plus Charles Sturt Suites and Apartments, 82 Tarcutta St, ☎ . Offers both standard rooms and serviced apartments, located in the CBD. Restaurant on site. Free Wifi. rooms start from $125.
- International Hotel, Corner of Sturt Hwy and Lake Albert Rd, ☎ . Modern hotel conveniently located on the Sturt Highway, close to the CBD. rooms start from $129.
- Mantra Pavilion Hotel, 22 Kincaid Street, ☎ . Unique 35 metre high canopy roof makes this building a local landmark. Modern rooms and conveniently located in the city centre. rooms start from $140.
- Mercure Wagga Wagga, 1 Morgan Street, ☎ . Hotel in the centre of Wagga Wagga, with comfortable rooms at reasonable prices, a Swimming pool and a fitness centre. rooms start from $124.
- Townhouse Hotel, 70 Morgan Street, ☎ . Upmarket, modern hotel located in the heart of the shopping district. Swimming pool and gym. Restaurant and bar onsite. rooms start from $129-145.
If you are driving, Wagga Wagga is at a crossroads. Head west on the Sturt Highway (Route A20) for a long drive to Adelaide (approx. 11hr drive), east on the Sturt Highway (Route A20) and then the Hume Highway (Route A31) to Canberra (3hrs) and Sydney (5hrs) or south on the Olympic Highway (Route A41) and then the Hume Highway (Route A31) to Melbourne (5hrs).