The Riverina is one of Australia's finest food bowls - but is rarely visited by gourmets.
Cruise Express, an Australian cruise agency, hopes to change that with a unique four-day trip by heritage train over the October long weekend.
Timed to coincide with the Taste Riverina Festival, which celebrates the region’s fine wines and abundant produce, the Long Weekend Rail Adventure starts in Sydney on Friday, September 29, 2017, when the privately chartered heritage train departs Central Station, complete with buffet and compartment cars from the 1930s.
Hauled by the 62-year-old, 4204 ‘Streamliner’ locomotive, the train will stop for lunch at the 139-year-old Junee Railway Station Café and for afternoon tea in Narrandera – the gateway to the fertile Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area - before arriving early evening in the Italian-accented foodie haven of Griffith.
Accommodation will be at the Grand Motel or Quest (or similar) for three nights.
The next day brings a visit to Corynnia Station, a working sheep and cotton farm where the group will enjoy lunch sourced from local produce. After free time in Griffith, an exclusive, wine-paired dinner follows at the iconic McWilliam's Winery, with the event co-hosted by Princess Cruises.
Day three will offer a morning sightseeing tour of Griffith followed by a special ‘farm to fork’ lunch at Piccolo Farm, where guests will take part in a farm forage and a cooking demonstration and enjoy lunch featuring paired wines and fresh local ingredients harvested by hand on the farm.
An indulgent afternoon of wine tasting will follow at Calabria Family Wines and De Bortoli Winery – both pioneered by Italian migrants. Griffith’s Italian origins will be savoured at dinner with a private dining experience at Zecca Handmade Italian which offers seasonal, regional Italian food, using fresh, locally sourced produce and wines.
The final day of the tour on the public holiday, Monday, October 2, will see guests rejoin the heritage train for the day trip back to Sydney, with a stop to visit the Temora Aviation Museum for a barbecue and private aerial display of ex-military aircraft. A late-afternoon stop will be made at Goulburn before the tour ends mid-evening back in Sydney.
Including seven meals - two with local wines - and daily sightseeing, the three-night Long Weekend Rail Adventure is available from $1790 per person, twin-share, or $1990 for solo travellers, representing a low 11% supplement.
Call Cruise Express on 1300 764 509 or visit www.cruiseexpress.com.au.