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.
If you’re looking for someone to show you around, let Marg Wade from Canberra Secrets Personalised Tours create the perfect Canberra tour for you. Marg provides a unique, high-quality, tailored tour experience of Canberra and surrounding region. Tours tap into the region’s very latest happenings and are a fabulous way to explore the capital’s national icons and its lesser-known or hidden attractions.
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.
Less than one hour’s drive
- Hall (Approx 15 kms/20 mins): While it’s technically still within the ACT border and barely qualifies for day trip status, the monthly Hartley Hall markets are a treat. Worth a visit for its historical buildings, you can explore Hall with the National Trust’s self-guided heritage walk which takes about 90 minutes, and then refuel at the centrally located 1882 Bar & Grill for lunch.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Yass is often dubbed a sleepy town, but it's starting to wake up – with food, shopping and a creative energy that's casting a new light on the community.
Posted by The Riotact on Saturday, May 15, 2021
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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)
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.