Escape to the country just a stone’s throw from Canberra in the beautifully preserved village of Gundaroo, nestled in the Yass Valley. There are tantalisingly good food and wine experiences to be had, and a walk down the main street provides a crash-course in the interesting history of the area. With a hotel, a general store, a park and several churches, a range of building styles from stone to locally fired brick are easy to explore in this character-filled village surrounded by rolling countryside.
The tiny village of Gundaroo goes back a long way. It was founded in the 1830s but its time to shine was when gold was found in the area and people came flooding in. Many buildings from the boom that followed are still standing today. The streets of Gundaroo are the perfect place to wander around and get a sense of what a 19th-century Australian rural village was really like.
Why you’ll love it
Enjoy fine dining at Grazing at Gundaroo
Many long-term Canberrans will have fond memories of the Gundaroo Pub, at the site of the historic Royal Hotel. It was renowned for its Aussie pub food, true-blue entertainment, and bus that transported fun-loving Canberrans to and from the venue.
The pub has now been replaced by award-winning restaurant Grazing, a fine-dining venue with a focus on what the best of the Canberra District‘s food and wine has to offer. Many of its areas still retain the character of 1865, but with creative modern extensions. The menu is innovative, built around fresh ingredients and there’s an extensive list of the region’s wines to choose from to accompany your meal. It’s the perfect special occasion venue.
Grab a casual meal at Cork St Café
The Cork Street Café is located in original horse stables from 1857 that once housed police horses. There is horse riding equipment adorning areas of the cafe, as well as art on the walls for sale. It has a rustic charm, with comforting cakes and a family-friendly atmosphere. This café is also well known for their huge variety of pizzas, outdoor seating in the warmer months and cosy warm interior during the colder seasons.
Relax with fabulous pub food at Gundaroo Colonial Inn
The Gundaroo Colonial Inn is a heritage hotel that has been in continuous operation since it was established in 1872. It comes to life on weekends, serving lunch and dinner in the restaurant, and there’s a relaxed beer garden outside and a fire to warm up by in winter.
Hit the wine trail
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. Tallagandra Hill holds tastings on Sundays at their beautiful property with touches of farm life, tranquil gardens and carefully chosen music.
Explore the past
Gundaroo is a lovely place for a stroll to soak up some history and make the past come alive. There are old cottages, slab huts and historic buildings to discover. The Gundaroo Historical Society has a produced a map of a heritage walk which points out the 25 significant buildings along Cork Street and surrounds. While some of the buildings are now private residences, you can still walk along and appreciate the variety of building styles still standing over 150 years later. Each building that has been preserved by the National Trust has a plaque outside it, with details of when it was built.
- The Collected and Created Gundaroo Market will be happening on 8 April 2018, showcasing talented artisans and style makers from around the region. There will be vintage wares, homewares, handmade items and art for sale.
- The Gundaroo Music Festival happens in October, and is an entertaining day of music and family activities.
From Canberra, take the Federal Highway north towards Goulburn, keeping an eye out for the turnoff to Sutton Road. Follow Sutton Road through Sutton for just under 20km, when you’ll come to Gundaroo.
When to go
There is more activity in Gundaroo on weekends, catering to visitors to the region and people passing through, but if your focus is discovering some history, any time of year is suitable for a stroll around the village.
- Duration: a 25-minute drive from the Canberra city centre
- Distance from Canberra: it’s 36km from the Canberra CBD to Gundaroo
- Recommended for: wine buffs, food lovers, historians and anyone who wants a quick escape to the country
More information: Gundaroo – Visit Yass Valley.
Have you been to Gundaroo lately?