It would be a rare Canberran who hasn’t driven through the village of Bungendore on the way to Batemans Bay and beyond, but when was the last time you stopped and spent some time in the rural town that is rapidly becoming a tourist hotspot?
While residents of the nation’s capital have embraced Bungendore as a stopping point on the way to the coast, but it’s also a day trip destination in its own right. There are plenty of ways to while away some time, 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.
Bungendore is a small historic town of just a few thousand people that dates back to 1837. It sits in a picturesque valley just near Lake George. It’s surrounded by hobby farms and larger enterprises, and the area is one of Canberra’s key food baskets, producing much of the livestock and fruit and vegetables for the people of the region. It’s also in the heart of wind farm territory, and the Capital Wind Farm was at once stage one the largest in NSW. These days there are more than 60 wind machines in operation in the area. Check out their open days if you’re keen to get up close or learn more.
While the most visible part of the town is short and if you blink you might miss it, there is more than meets the eye in this New South Wales town only a half hour drive from Canberra, wrote Lisa Martin in 2015 and it still rings true today.
Ways to enjoy Bungendore
Browse the galleries, antique stores, op shops and gift shops
The Bungendore Wood Works Gallery is a famous institution, showcasing some of the best wood art and contemporary furniture in Australia. Suki and Hugh is a contemporary gallery where local artists and makers show and sell their wares. Check out the full listing so you don’t miss any – there are plenty of gems tucked away in hidden corners, like a retro collectibles store and a leather products shop.
The Southern Harvest Farmers Market sells a tempting range of sustainable regional produce as well as local gourmet treats every Saturday morning.
Explore some of the fabulous food options
There’s a pie shop, a French restaurant and cooking school, RnR’s Diner and the Big Green Cup, which proudly employs people with disabilities and has had an overwhelmingly positive response from the community. Here’s a list of all the options.
Discover historic Bungendore
There are three main blocks in the town that contain enough historic buildings to keep history buffs happy. Aside from charming old houses, check out the Carrington Inn on the main road, which was once a Cobb & Co stopping point.
The beautifully preserved railway station in Majara Street is still used for the Sydney-Canberra line and is a significant example of a late nineteenth-century railway station.
The Lake George Hotel dates back to 1838 – it’s where the bushranger Jacky Jacky was captured in 1840.
Relax and take a break
There are plenty of spots to break up your journey or while away a few hours in Bungendore. We recommend starting from the village square, which provides plenty of shops as well as a leafy courtyard to kick back in and even has a petanque court in the centre of the square.
Discover the surrounding region
Bungendore is the gateway to numerous enjoyable experiences, from hunting truffles to picking fruit and chestnuts.
- Turalla Truffles is just a short drive from Bungendore and you can join the adorable truffle dogs on a truffle hunt.
- Tweenhills Chestnuts offers a pick-your-own-chestnut experience, usually in April each year.
Bungendore is on the Kings Highway not far from the ACT/NSW border. It’s an easy drive via Queanbeyan.
When to go
- Truffle season is a great time to visit the region.
- In April, you can pick your own chestnuts.
- The Farmers Market is on every Saturday morning.
- Check out the events calendar for more of what’s on.
- Bungendore Harvest Festival is on this year from 26 to 28 April 2019, showcasing the fabulous food of the cold-climate region with festivals, tastings, tours and special events in the region’s restaurants all on offer.
- Duration: Around half an hour from the centre of Canberra, and far less if you’re coming from the northside.
- Distance from Canberra: 40km from the CBD.
- More information: Bungendore Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Where’s your favourite place to stop in Bungendore?