Deniliquin on the Edward River is an oasis on the edge of the Riverine Plain. It is in the centre of Riverina sheep country and on the fringe of the world's largest redgum forest, a haven for bird and wildlife.
Natural attractions and well-developed forest trails appeal to the adventurous. Camping, kayaking, cycling, bird watching, swimming, fishing and water-skiing are just some of the activities locals and visitors enjoy. If you visit Conargo in the open plains, you can enjoy the uninterrupted sunset in the natural arc of the earth.
Deniliquin is also the ute capital of the world, a title bestowed in 1999 when it had the largest parade of legally registered utility trucks in the world. A total of 2839 drivers took part. Each year over the Labour Day long weekend as part of the Play on the Plains Festival, enthusiasts try to set a new record.
The festival is one of Australia's largest rural get-togethers and there are amusements for all ages. Music, bull riding, lawn mower races, bush poetry and chainsaw sculpting are there for everyone's enjoyment, but the ute muster is the heart and soul of the festival.
Saturday afternoon is when the utes are lined up and people walk past to admire them and talk to the proud owners, who simply love their vehicles. Much time is spent washing, polishing and preparing the utes for the judges.
The biggest honour goes to the Ute of the Year, but other categories are National Bundy Ute of the Year, Town Ute, Chick's Ute, Feral Ute, 4WD Ute, Workman's Ute, Home Grown and Ute That Has Travelled Furthest To Be At The Muster.
There are special biscuits, burgers and barbecued hot dogs for the occasion and plenty of cold beer on hand.
Apart from providing loads of fun and friendly rivalry, money raised over the weekend is injected into the drought-ravaged community and everyone knows how country people love to party and help one another.
Eight hours south-west of Sydney.
The Play on the Plains Festival and Ute Muster is on for two days from September 29 and 30, 2006. A weekend pass is available.
Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.
Deniliquin Visitor Information Centre
Ph: (03) 5898 3120; 1800 650 712
Fax: (03) 5898 3129
Play on the Plains Festival
Ph: (03) 5881 3388
Fax: (03) 5881 4366