A wildlife paradise: the fascinating history of Narrandera

On the edge of the Murrumbidgee River in New South Wales’ Riverina region, lies Narrandera: a hidden historical hideaway.


While this little town may not seem like much at first glance, a wealth of captivating history, rich culture and breathtaking natural beauty lies just beneath the surface. Take a walk on the wild side and explore all the fun-filled events and unique wonders this beautiful getaway has to offer.


Aboriginal cultural items hand crafted by Wiradjuri Elder Michael Lyons at Sandhills Artefacts, Narrandera.

Bountiful beginnings

Narrandera’s rich history goes back as far as 60,000 years, as the town was built on the lands of the Wiradjuri people. The largest Aboriginal group in New South Wales by both area and population, their vibrant culture is still very much alive through the telling of important generational stories. Narrandera got its name from the Wiradjuri word “Narrungdera” which means “place of the lizard.” 

In 1829, famous explorer Captain Charles Sturt passed through present day Narrandera, camping next to the river. Ever since then, the town’s history has been centered around their fruitful agriculture, as many European settlers came to grow their crops on the fertile land. By 1833, the entire front of the Murrumbidgee river was occupied by farmers. Population and importance of the developing community only increased, as Narrandera became a crossroads for pioneers venturing to the Victorian gold fields.

Today, Narrandera and other sister towns dotting the Riverina region are famous for their diverse produce and continuous success in agriculture. Whether you’re after juicy citrus, roasted hazelnuts, sizzling beef, or just a heaping bowl of homegrown rice, this country town is the place to be. Find fresh picks at their monthly local farmers market, tour wineries, or take in the beauty of orchard filled countrysides. 


Find cuddly koalas at the Nature Reserve.

Abundant wildlife

Narrandera’s history also has a cute and cuddly side.

In the 1970’s, attempts to revive the koala population were conducted in the forests surrounding the farming community. With the formation of a Koala Regeneration Park, twenty koalas were released into the wild with hopes of creating a steady group of forest inhabitants. Thankfully, our furry friends flourished, feeding on the river red gum leaves. With a healthy growing population of over 200 koalas in the Narrandera Nature Reserve today, the town is one of the best areas in Australia to catch a glimpse of these adorable marsupials in the wild. 

Be sure to check out the annual Koala Count event for the best chances of spotting these quiet creatures, or celebrate the Australian icon at Narrandera’s Koala Festival.


Man enjoying a paddle on the Murrumbidgee River, Narrandera.


Family Fun for Everyone

Whether it’s exploring the great outdoors or partaking in a rich cultural experience, Narrandera has fun-filled activities for everyone.

One of the most common allures of this small town is the beautiful natural landscapes. With Murrumbidgee National Park just around the corner, it’s easy to find several different ways to connect with nature. Pedal along the 23km Narrandera Bike and Hike Track, or learn about local history on your own terms with the self-guided Two-Foot Heritage Walk

If you’re looking for a more fast-paced experience, this town has got your back. Take a trip to the popular Narrandera rodeo or rev up your engine at the Rod Run event. Or, visit Australia’s biggest playable guitar right in the heart of town for a silly afternoon stop – whatever suits your fancy. 

Click here to check out our article on the history of Narrandera’s sister town, Leeton. 

Travel to Narrandera

Rex flies to Nerrandera-Leeton. Book your flights here.



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