Situated halfway between Sydney and Adelaide and 410km from Melbourne, Hay is at the centre of a major, medium wool-growing region. There are 26 parent merino studs on the surrounding plains and the June and October sheep sales are among the largest in Australia. Shear Outback is an interpretive display that highlights the shearers' culture and includes the Shearer’s Hall of Fame and a historic woolshed.
Hay is the perfect resting spot to break a long journey. There are some delightful picnic and fishing spots on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River, which flanks the town with a population of about 2800. The river has sandy beaches that are popular for swimming and boating.
Unhappily, Hay became an involuntary 'rest' area during World War II for Jewish refugees from Nazi persecution and a group of Australians born in Broome of Japanese stock who were mistakenly identified as risks to national security. The restored railway station houses an interpretive centre which now stands as a memorial to these people.