The best day trips from Canberra

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Lerida Estate, one of the most recommended day trip destinations from Canberra. Photo: Dani Hardgrave.

There’s nothing better than a road trip and we’re pretty lucky in Canberra to have so many great places close enough to visit relatively easily in a day.

From the beaches of Batemans Bay, to the heritage of Braidwood, the canola fields of the Riverina, the Big Merino at Goulburn and the charms of Cooma, there’s plenty to see and do around the Capital region as well as in Canberra itself.

This list of the best day trips from Canberra has been compiled based on the suggestions from the previous post, along with comments from other similar posts.

Whether you’ve just moved to Canberra or you’ve lived here your whole life, there are sure to be a few destinations you’ve never been to, so why not add them to your must-visit list. Please also feel free to let us know if you have any other recommendations and we will incorporate them into any future updates.

Or if you’re after something specifically tailored to wineries, our article on the best wine tours in Canberra may be of interest to you.


cheese and wine

Take a trip to one of the region’s vineyards and enjoy cheese, accompaniments and wine. Image: Supplied.

Less than one hour’s drive

1882 bar and grill

Enjoy a delicious meal from 1882 Bar & Grill. Photo: Michelle Taylor.

  • Gundaroo (Approx 40 kms/35 mins): A small and cute place, Gundaroo is within easy reach for lunch with a visit to the Cork Street Café recommended. Grazings Restaurant is also considered ‘top notch’. Gundaroo is a relatively young wine region but that hasn’t stopped some fabulous cellar doors from springing up. Gundog Estate’s cellar door is in the old stables behind the Royal Hotel and Grazing.
  • Bungendore (Approx 40 kms/40 mins): A beautiful little town within easy reach. Visit the village antiques store, the wood works gallery, the Paul Kowalski photography gallery or take some time out relaxing at Lake George. There are plenty of ways to while away some time in Bungendore, from exploring the beautifully preserved colonial buildings made of stone, timber and brick, enticing galleries and quirky shops to visiting the traditional country markets or nearby wineries.
  • Murrumbateman (Approx 40 kms/40 mins): This is one for the wine-lovers, with so many Murrumbateman wineries to choose from. Recommendations include the Four Winds Vineyard for its wood-fired pizzas, the Shaw Vineyard Estate for its lovely setting, Eden Roads Wines for its knowledgeable staff, Gallagher Wines for its friendly staff and Flint in the Vines for a long leisurely lunch. The local pub also received a mention, as did the Murrumbateman Field Days.

Lerida Estate, one of Canberra’s most recommended wineries. Photo: Lerida Estate.

  • Collector (Approx 60 kms/45 mins): Collector’s main claim to fame is its colourful history, with The Bushranger Hotel in the main street the site where a member of bushranger Ben Hall’s gang shot the local police constable after holding up the publican back in 1865. The Bushranger Hotel is a great pub with an excellent café/bistro, and Some Café is popular spot with the locals. There are also some nice wineries nearby, including the town’s own, Collector Wines. And, be sure to check out one of the region’s most acclaimed wine makers, Lerida Estate. As a day trip destination, Lerida Estate’s glorious vineyards offer more than simply breathtaking views. Perfectly poised amongst the vines is their winery, a Glenn Murcutt designed architectural masterpiece. The winery’s Café Lerida boasts modern Australian fare, and some wonderful accompaniments to their wines.

1-2 hour drive

  • Yass (Approx 60 kms/1 hr): An old town rich with history, which was (and may still be) home to some ‘big money’ families with farms in the area. Cooma Cottage is a great example of architectural evolution and there are a lot of sites of great significance to the various Aboriginal peoples who have called the region home. The Peter Crisp Galleries are well worth a visit with amazing glasswares and beautiful gardens. And you can’t go past the Valley’s wonderful wine region.
  • Captains Flat (Approx 60 kms/1 hr): A quirky old mining town with an old pub that boasts about previously having the longest running bar in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Gunning (Approx 70 kms/1 hr): Pay a visit to the local pub the Telegraph Hotel or enjoy the monthly Gunning Market.
  • Braidwood (Approx 85 kms/Just over 1 hr): This heritage listed town is one of the few left in Australia to retain its original Georgian town plan. Make sure you visit the old-fashioned lolly shop and the Dojo bakery with bread to die for!
  • Goulburn (Approx 90 kms/Just over 1 hr): This relatively large regional city has a charm about it and you can tell that historically there was plenty of wool money there evidenced by some nice architecture. If you haven’t already met the Big Merino it’s almost a rite of passage for every visitor to Goulburn.
  • Wee Jasper (Approx 90 kms/1.5 hrs): While Wee Jasper received some mixed reviews because there isn’t a town centre as such, you may find it an interesting place with some good camping/picnic/bushwalking spots beside the river.
  • Crookwell (Approx 115 kms/1.5 hrs): Crookwell is an experience with rolling green hills and some really nice B&Bs and self-contained accommodation. It’s also well worth driving on a little further to the Pub of The Mill in Laggan.
  • Cooma (Approx 115 kms/1.5 hrs): There’s plenty to choose from in Cooma in its location enroute to the snowfields. The Lott was recommended for a great feed.
  • Jugiong (Approx 120 kms/1.5 hrs): This tiny village delivers more than you expect. There’s The Quirky Crow with its lovely pottery and gallery, the Sir George pub, an historic stone cottage, and a monument to Richie Benaud, as well as a fabulous café serving homemade organic jams and sauces for sale and a great fruit and veg store.
  • Taralga (Approx 135 kms/just over 1.5 hrs): A gorgeous place an the Taralga Hotel is definitely worth a visit.
  • Steampacket Hotel (Approx 140 km/just over 1.5 hrs)
    The historic Steampacket Hotel has reopened with the pub’s new owner, Ben Johnston, saying it’s full steam ahead after major renovations for the charming local venue. Upgrades include a refreshed restaurant, sports bar, cosy ‘jungle’ chill-out space, and beer garden.Designed to be more welcoming than ever for families and friends, Ben–who also operates The Old Canberra Inn and Dickson Taphouse—is introducing a new vibe while retaining the hotel’s character. On the menu will be good-old pub food, craft beer, local wines, and a calendar of community events and live music.New manager, Jake Adams, who is relocating to Eurobodalla from Geelong in Victoria where he managed the iconic Beachhouse Restaurant, says the Steampacket Hotel will retain its all-important community spirit.Located in the heart of Nelligen, and only 20 minutes from Batemans Bay, the Steampacket Hotel’s affordable gastro pub menu will showcase local seafood, award-winning Clyde River oysters and regional produce. The bar will offer 24 taps with 12 beers on offer, plus independent, local, boutique beers including from the Broulee Brewhouse. Wines will feature local drops from Cupitt’s, Two Figs and others.The Steampacket Hotel is a perfect spot for locals and for those travelling to the South Coast from Canberra.
  • Southern Highlands (Approx 160 kms/Just under 2 hrs): So many great towns to visit in the district including Bowral, Mittagong, Moss Vale, Berrima and Bundanoon among other smaller towns. A must-do trip for those who have never been.
  • Gundagai (Approx 160 kms/Just under 2 hrs): Gundagai is small but cute. There is a café with wooden booths that has gone unchanged since the 50s and a big park with an old wooden bridge.
  • Batemans Bay (Approx 150 kms/2 hrs): Batemans Bay is a charming seaside town with plenty to do. It is also well worth driving on a little further to Mogo where there are some great crafty shops, bike trails and a world-class wildlife park. Only downside is that traffic can tend to build when it’s time to head home. Maybe you should stay the night! Corrigans Cove Resort is the perfect place to settle in.
Corrigans Cove Resort

Corrigans Cove Resort, Batemans Bay. Photo: Corrigans Cove Resort.

  • Young (Approx 160kms/2 hrs): Boasts some great eateries and apparently, the car museum in Binalong is worth a stop on the way back. Visit the Hilltops region in cherry season and enjoy all things cherry!

More than a 2 hour drive

  • Moruya (Approx 175 kms/Just over 2 hrs): The best of country life near the beach. Enjoy lunch at The River Restaurant, browse the quirky shops or kick back on the riverbank.
  • Cowra (Approx 190kms/Just over 2 hrs): Cowra isn’t too far away and the Japanese Gardens are worth a look. Don’t miss the diorama at the Cowra Visitor Information Centre.
  • Kangaroo Valley (Approx 200 kms/2.5 hrs): Definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for a touch of nature, with Fitzroy Falls, Carrington Falls and Belmore Falls all noted as highlights.
  • Yarrangobilly caves (Approx 170 kms/2.5 hrs)

Yarrangobilly thermal pool near Talbingo. Photo: Visit NSW.

  • Wombeyan caves (Approx 170 kms/Just over 2 hrs)
  • Nowra (Approx 190 kms/2.5 hrs): Beautiful beaches and, if you have time, drive another 40 minutes to Jervis Bay and its spectacular beaches.
  • Kosciuszko National Park (Approx 200 kms/2.5 hrs): A beautiful natural environment, home to the Thredbo Ski Resort and the towns of Crackenback and Jindabyne.
  • Bundawang National Park (Approx 200 kms/2.5 hours): Offers spectacular day hikes.
  • Temora (Approx 200 kms/2.5 hours): The Aviation Museum received a few mentions.
  • Tumut (Approx 200 kms/2.5 hrs): A typical but great country town.
  • Picton (Approx 215 kms/2.5 hrs)
  • Ulladulla (Approx 200 kms/Just over 2.5 hrs): Not only is Ulladulla’s coastline stunning, so is the countryside. Be sure to visit to Cupitt’s Winery and enjoy a delicious lunch with a breathtaking view.
Cupitt's Winery

Cupitt’s Winery in Ulladulla has stunning views. Photo: File.

  • Canowindra (Approx 220 kms/Just over 2.5 hrs): Great for foodies, with the Spanokopita from a place called The Shed receiving an honourable mention.
  • Narooma (Approx 220 kms/3 hrs)
walks in Thredbo

Beautiful mountain walks in the Snowy Mountain. Photo: Supplied.

If you’re looking for more information on travelling around Canberra and its regions, check out our articles on the best beaches near Canberra, best hotels and resorts on the South Coast, best restaurants and bars on the South Coast and 10 things to do on the South Coast. Or if you’re interested in places to visit whilst you’re in Canberra, check out our list of the top 10 Canberra places to take visiting family and friends, the best wine tours and the best tours in Canberra.

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batmantrilogy1:24 pm 27 Nov 15

perfect get away on a weekend . Beautiful spot

When you visit Fitzroy and/or Carrington Falls, Belmore Falls are also in the same area, near Robertson, and well worth a look.

There is a lot around; Yarrangobilly caves or maybe Wombeyan if you got up early and got back late. Temora is fun when the planes are flying. If you like your motor racing, Wakefield Park is only an hour away just out of Goulburn. Old Berrima is nice too. There may be some gold still in the ground at places like at Araluen or Majors Creek.

MERC600 said :

You could wander over to Temora. Its not to far away. Just slip out of Yass, go a little way along the Hume, then throw a righty onto a reasonable country highway.

Temora has a exceptional aviation museum , and a rural museum that is very good.

You could then wander back through Cootamundra where Sir Donald Bradman was born , and have a squiz at his home.

If you are going to Temora, the Barmedman Mineral Pool is not far away.
I used to be taken there as a child. In those days the pool bottom was dirt. It was free. Don’t know if it is now.

You could wander over to Temora. Its not to far away. Just slip out of Yass, go a little way along the Hume, then throw a righty onto a reasonable country highway.

Temora has a exceptional aviation museum , and a rural museum that is very good.

You could then wander back through Cootamundra where Sir Donald Bradman was born , and have a squiz at his home.

Dame Canberra12:26 pm 12 Mar 15

I didn’t know about Carrington Falls but it looks amazing. Might have to make the day trip on the weekend! I’ve heard that there are some pretty spectacular day hikes in the Budawangs on the way to the south coast too, which I’d like to try too.

Flint in the Vines in Murrumbateman is my pick for a long leisurely lunch just outside of Canberra. A really lovely spot with great food.

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