Wagga Wagga (pronounced Wogga Wogga), the largest inland city in New South Wales, with a population of around 56,000 people (2018), is located on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River. The city is universally referred to as Wagga.
What's now Wagga Wagga was originally inhabited by the Wiradjuri people, considered to be the largest Aboriginal cultural grouping in New South Wales. They inhabited much of what is now the Riverina and the Central West.
Early colonists first sighted the land on which the city of Wagga Wagga now stands in December 1829 during an expedition of discovery down the Murrumbidgee and Murray Rivers. Settlement swiftly followed.
Wagga Wagga was proclaimed a town in 1849 and by the 1860s had a population of 700. The train line reached Wagga in the 1870s, and by 1881, the population had increased to 3,975. In 1879 the railway line was extended south of the river.
"Wagga" in the local Wiradjuri Aboriginal dialect means "crow". The repetition of a word is 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 Wiradjuri language and means "plenty of water" or "big water".
Visitor information centre
- 1 Wagga Wagga Visitor Information Centre, 183 Tarcutta Street, toll-free: 1300 100 122. M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 9AM-4PM, Su 9:30AM-2PM.
- 6 hours from Sydney via M31 and A30
- 2.5 hours from Canberra via A25, M31 and A20
- 5 hours from Melbourne via M31, A41 and A20
- 11 hours from Adelaide via A20
- 6 hours from Mildura via A20
1 Wagga Wagga Airport (WGA IATA). It is served by flights from Melbourne and Sydney. Airlines serving the airport are QantasLink and Regional Express. The standard advance purchase flight is around $120 with prices rising to several times that if you book close to when you travel. Occasional discounts can be found. 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 $40.
- Melbourne operated by Regional Express
- Sydney operated by QantasLink and Regional Express
- 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 Taxis, ☏ .
Best to book in advance if you want a hire car at the airport. Not just to ensure a vehicle is available, but also to ensure there is someone to meet your flight. Car hire from Wagga is usually limited mileage. To get unlimited milage, Canberra is the best bet, around 3 1/2 hours drive away.
- 2 Wagga Wagga railway station. NSW Trainlink offer a daily train service, with the city on the line between Sydney and Melbourne, providing two services a day in each direction.; From Sydney: 7 hours, departing at 6:50AM or 8:40PM. Concession price: $42.80 one way
- Wagga Radio Cabs operate 24/7 throughout the city.
- Busabout. It serves most suburbs in Wagga Wagga from M-Su (including public holidays).
- 1 Charles Sturt University Winery, McKeown Drive, ☏ . Sample and buy quality local wines.
- 2 Ladysmith Tourist Railway Open Day, Ladysmith Railway Station (20 minutes east of Wagga Wagga). second Saturday of each month, noon - 3PM. Gold coin donation.
- 3 Museum of the Riverina, The Historic Council Chambers site at Cnr Baylis & Morrow St, the Botanic Gardens site at Lord Baden Powell Drive (in the historic council chambers at the Wagga Wagga Civic Centre), ☏ .
- 4 RAAF Wagga Aviation Heritage Centre, Sturt Highway, Forest Hill (Located in the old guard house at the main entrance of the RAAF Base.), ☏ . M-Th Sa Su 10AM - 4PM (excluding public holidays). showcases the RAAF's history and its significant involvement in the Riverina region. Free entry.
- 5 Wagga Beach, Cabarita Park, Johnson St. Who'd think there'd be a beach in a large interior city. Moreover, Wagga Beach was rated as number 9 in the top 20 Australian beaches of 2020, as part of a campaign to promote Australia's little known beaches.
- 6 Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, Wagga Wagga Civic Centre, Cnr Baylis & Morrow Streets, ☏ . It 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.
- 7 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)
- 8 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).
- 9 Willans Hill Miniature 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.
- Walk, the Wollundry Track or the Wiradjuri Walking track with maps available at the Wagga Wagga Visitor Information Centre.
- 1 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.
- 2 Oasis Regional Aquatic Centre, 50 Morgan Street, ☏ . M-F 6:30AM-9PM, Sa Su 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/concession 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.
- Wagga Wagga Heritage Walk. A self-guided walking tour showcaseing 41 fascinating heritage-listed buildings in Wagga Wagga.
- 1 10 Best St., 10 Best Street (in Best Street). It 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 schnitty, veg and gravy costs about $10. The special of the day is about $6 to $7.
- 2 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).
- 1 Riverina Producers' Market, Wagga Wagga Showground, Bourke Street. every Thursday, 1:30-6:30PM (summer) 1-6PM (winter). A range of local produce is on offer, including flowers, cheese, meat and even pistachios.
- 2 Sprout and About Markets, Burns Way (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
- 3 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.
- 4 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.
- 1 Kooringal Hotel, 88 Fay Avenue, ☏ . It's in the eastern suburb of Kooringal.
- 2 Que Bar and Nightclub, 109 Baylis Street, ☏ . Su 11AM – midnight, W – Sa 11AM–3AM.
- 3 The Riverina Hotel (The Riv), 188 Fitzmaurice Street, ☏ . Wednesday night trivia sessions. Popular with local agricultural students.
- 4 The Victoria Hotel (The Vic), 55 Baylis Street, ☏ . Wednesday night trivia sessions. Popular with local agricultural students.
- 1 Allonville Motel, 3691 Sturt Hwy (Located on the Eastern outskirts, about 10 minutes out of Wagga.), ☏ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. Has stables, kennels and yards available. Small pool. Restaurant and room service dinners available by prior arrangement. rooms start from $95.
- 2 Best Western Plus Charles Sturt Suites and Apartments, 82 Tarcutta St, ☏ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. Offers standard rooms and serviced apartments in the CBD. Restaurant on site. Free Wifi. rooms start from $125.
- 3 International Hotel, Corner of Sturt Hwy and Lake Albert Rd, ☏ . Check-in: 2:30PM, check-out: 10AM. A modern hotel on the Sturt Highway, close to the CBD. rooms start from $129.
- 4 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.
- 5 Mercure Wagga Wagga, 1 Morgan Street, ☏ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. Hotel in the centre of Wagga Wagga, with comfortable rooms at reasonable prices, a swimming pool and a fitness centre. rooms start from $124.
- 6 Townhouse Hotel, 70 Morgan Street, ☏ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. Upmarket, modern hotel in the heart of the shopping district. Swimming pool and gym. Restaurant and bar onsite. $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. 11-hr drive), east on the Sturt Highway (Route A20) and then the Hume Highway (Route M31) to Canberra (3 hr) and Sydney (5 hr) or south on the Olympic Highway (Route A41) and then the Hume Highway (Route A31) to Melbourne (5 hr).