Gunning is a sleepy agricultural town and a centre of NSW’s fine wool growing industry. Just off the Hume Highway, it’s the perfect place to spend the weekend in a historic homestead or pub-style accommodation, browse the rural shops and enjoy the mouthwatering country fare.
Gunning is a tiny but delightful rural town with a population of around 500. The days when the Hume Highway traffic roared through its centre are long gone. Today, Gunning is a short turn off the highway and its wide main street, once made for bullock drays, now carries little traffic.
If you’re interested in historic buildings, Gunning is the place for you. While they are not all open to the public, the old stone buildings of the town, dating back to the 1880s – like the courthouse, postoffice and other landmarks – can easily be enjoyed on foot.
Why you’ll love it
For a tiny town, Gunning has earned a reputation for its regular events, including a fireworks festival and annual show. It hosts a range of equestrian competitions and has excellent showground facilities.
If arts and antiques are more your thing, the Gunning Historical Society’s Pye Cottage is well worth a visit, or you can while away an afternoon browsing the town’s antique collections or arts and crafts shops.
Gunning is developing something of an industry in providing bed and breakfast accommodation, and there are a handful of places to grab a meal or a coffee.
Actor and artist Max Cullen and artist Margarita Georgiadis run the 1930s Picture House Gallery and Bookshop in the old Coronation Theatre. They have retained the interior of the old cinema, complete with cathedral ceilings and raked proscenium stage, and filled it with works by emerging, established and local artists. The bookshop is bursting with pre-loved titles encompassing theatre, drama, scripts, first editions, children’s books, music, reference books and film memorabilia.
If you prefer to be more active, the quiet roads around town are perfect for cycling through the pretty surrounding countryside.
There’s also a regular Lions Club market selling art and craft, antiques and collectables, bric-a-brac, fresh produce, fashion, plants and pre-loved goods.
Gunning is an easy drive from Canberra on decent roads, via the Federal Highway and Sutton Road, which morphs into Gundaroo Road along the way. Follow the signs to Gunning, and you’ll be there in less than an hour.
If you decide you’d like to linger longer, short-term stays for caravaners and campers are free in Barbour Park, right next to Meadow Creek. From there, it’s a short walk to town.
When to go
It’s worth keeping Gunning’s range of events in mind when planning your visit. The annual fireworks festival happens each September. Many travel from afar to enjoy music, entertainment and fireworks demonstrations which culminate in a spectacular finale. Fireworks Australia has a factory in the region and produces the event.
The Gunning Show is held on the third weekend in February each year and offers rides, show bags, shearing and dog trial demonstrations, horse events, kids activities and much more. Like all good country shows, it showcases the best of the district through a range of displays, exhibitions and competitions.
Visit on a Sunday morning if markets are your thing. They run on the last Sunday of most months. Otherwise, Gunning is a great place to visit year-round.
- Duration: allow an hour each way from Canberra, or longer if you stop along the way
- Distance from Canberra: around 75 km from the city
- Recommended for: history buffs, cyclists, and people interested in arts, crafts and antiques.
- More information: Visit NSW or Aussie Towns
If you’ve been to Gunning, we’d love to hear about your visit. Tell us about it in the comments.