About the Riverina Area

It’s known as one of the most productive and diverse agricultural regions in the country. Its climate, changing landscapes and many irrigation schemes, which rely on the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers, define the area. The Riverina, NSW is a must-see destination for students, academics, government delegations and special interest groups.

Where is the Riverina in Australia?

The area was originally home to the Wiradjuri people who lived North of the Murray River and Murray Darling Basin.

The Riverina region occupies a large southern segment of the Murray Darling Basin. This system of rivers drains 15% of the Australian continent. It covers parts of the states of Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. 

The Basin is characterised generally by low rainfall, light soils, hot summers and cool winters, with long sunlight hours. Where irrigation water can be delivered the soils and long sunlight hours ensure fast and luxuriant growth of crops.

In recent decades the Basin has become the scene of major political disputes. These have been due to over allocation of water harvesting rights to irrigators. Also, increasingly variable climatic conditions and growing environmental concerns regarding the health of riparian biozones are present. 

In 2007 the conservative government of Prime Minister John Howard released The Murray Darling Basin Plan. This plan was designed to redress conditions from which disputation arose. The Plan has proved controversial and problematical with various lobby groups demanding mutually exclusive amendments. 

The region’s inland cities are Wagga Wagga and Griffith. Larger towns include: Deniliquin, Leeton, Narrandera, Junee, Cootamundra, West Wyalong and Temora. These regional cities all showcase a contemporary south western NSW and community spirit that defines the Riverina New South Wales.

The Riverina area was and remains ancestral home to the Wiradjuri people. The Wiradjuri are numerically the largest Aboriginal group occupying the largest territory in the state of New South Wales. 

People identifying as Wiradjuri occupy significant proportions of the population of towns such as Narrandera, Condobolin, Peak Hill and Griffith. Smaller groups live elsewhere in many other Riverina towns. In recent years there has been a resurgence of pride in Wiradjuri culture, including language. 

Current definitions of the Riverina Region differ according to purpose. For instance, the Federal electorate of Riverina covers only the eastern and northern parts of what is generally regarded as the topographical or socio economic Riverina Region. As a rough guide, consider the Greater Riverina to include the region constrained by Yass, Cootamundra, West Wyalong, Lake Cargellico, Mossgiel, Balranald, The Murray River (from Tooleybuc to Albury), Tumut and Gundagai. 

In the heart of this area is the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area. This area includes the New South Wales towns of Narrandera, Leeton, Coleambally, Hillston and Griffith.

Explore the Riverina, NSW

Riverina tourism is a great way to experience country life and visit some of the most productive agricultural areas in NSW. There is plenty to do and see in this area of NSW – famous for its food and wine and cellar doors. There are many facilities well equipped to host your stay.

Fast facts on The Riverina Agricultural Industry

  • The region is Australia’s largest citrus-growing region. One-third of Australia’s citrus is grown in the Riverina. It’s the largest orange juice production region in the country.
  • Australian rice is grown, milled, packed and branded in the Riverina by SunRice. SunRice is the sole exporter of Australian rice products to world markets.
  • The region plays an important role in feeding Australians and the world. Each Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA) farmer is estimated to feed 600 people annually!
  • Cotton production is expanding in the region to become one of the most significant cotton regions in Australia.
  • The Riverina is also one of Australia’s largest wine producing regions, producing 15% of the nation’s wine. Griffith is the centre of the wine production zone. Visiting a winery is one of but many things to do in Griffith, NSW.
  • In the Riverina, walnut, almond and hazelnut orchards have become significant in recent years. And the growth looks set to continue with strong demand from the Asia Pacific.