Griffith Tourism & Travel
Located 613 kilometres west of Sydney, Griffith is a thriving country city which developed as a result of the introduction of irrigation. Griffith was designed by Walter Burley Griffin, the architect of Canberra and named after Sir Arthur Griffith, the first Minister for Public Works in the New South Wales government. With a population of 25,000 Griffith is the third largest population centre in the Riverina region and is also well known for its many wineries.
Opened in 1971, the Pioneer Park Museum is located 2 kilometres from the centre of Griffith on the Scenic Hill reserve. It is an 11 hectare display of the bygone days containing approximately 40 original and recreated buildings and tells the story of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area and surrounding districts.
Hermits Cave was built by Valerio Recitti, an Italian migrant who arrived in Australia in 1916 when he was only 17. When he worked on the Murray River paddle steamers it is said that he had taken refuge in the cave. He believed himself to be the only Italian in the area and kept entirely to himself, when in fact increasing numbers of Italian migrants were arriving.
Valerio Recitti cleared and decorated the caves, creating massive stone galleries and pathways, cliffside gardens and floral painted rock walls. To remain unseen he worked at night and early in the morning, moving hundreds of tons of rock. Eventually he fell and injured himself and was taken to the hospital when found by a passing swagman. There he became a celebrity when his work was discovered and much marvelled at, although he still continued to live in his cave.
Cocoparra National Park
25 kilometres north east of Griffith is the Cocoparra National Park that cover 8 356 hectares. Here a low mountain range rises above the plain. On the slopes are dry sclerophyll forest with clumps of ironbark and cypress pine. There is tea tree on the forest floor and a range of acacia throughout the park. Colourful wildflowers are profuse in springtime.
There are a number of scenic gullies, in particular, Ladysmith Glen, a narrow gorge, which is 33 metres deep and has been cut into the rock by Jack's Creek.
The park is a nesting place for the peregrine falcon and the wedge-tailed eagle. There are also plenty of parrots, thornbills, honeyeaters, grey kangaroos and possums plus echidnae, marsupial mice and bats.