Have you heard of Poacher’s Way? It’s a touring route designed with fans of quality food and wine in mind. It takes in the villages around Canberra, including Bungendore, Hall, Murrumbateman and Gundaroo. On offer is an impressive range of food, wine, crafts, galleries and bed and breakfasts. The self-drive trail takes you through some of the prettiest countryside in NSW focused on the cool-climate wine growing region around Canberra.
With well over a hundred vineyards and numerous wineries, the area surrounding Canberra is a wine buff’s dream, and the driving route of Poachers Way takes you right through the heart of it, past top country wineries and cellar doors.
On this classic country drive, you’ll find plenty of places to indulge in delicious local food, from fine dining based on home-grown seasonal produce to hearty home-style meals. There are opportunities to shop till you drop in quaint villages selling quality handmade pottery and crafts, glassware, art, and of course, cellar doors to visit.
Why you’ll love it
The Poachers Way touring route is the result of a collaborative effort by local growers, winemakers, chefs, and artisans to showcase the delicious food and wine of the region.
There are numerous opportunities to taste local wines or meet a winemaker at a cellar door, savour fabulous cuisine at a vineyard restaurant and enjoy country hospitality.
Along the way, you’ll enjoy spectacular views over areas like Lake George, picturesque farms nestled in rolling hills, and a visit to villages like Bungendore. Keep an eye out for sculptures and furniture crafted from native timbers, Japanese textiles and elegant ceramics.
Some of our favourite stops include Lark Hill Winery and restaurant with its biodynamic vineyard and Poachers Pantry on the way to Hall. Be sure to drop into their smokehouse and stock up on gourmet smoked meats like prosciutto. Murrumbateman is a vibrant village that is the hub of a diverse range of wineries, where you’ll find various blends from Sangiovese to Riesling, Chardonnay and Shiraz. And no drive is complete without a visit to Robyn Rowe Chocolates – some of her handmade delights feature local honey, walnuts from her tree and Clonakilla Muscat.
The food and wine trail follows a rough triangle between Canberra and the towns of Yass and Gunning. You can follow a map pinpointing restaurant, vineyards, providores and craft shops, but expect your day to wander in odd directions. It takes more time than you think. The budget for sitting in sun-soaked courtyards, meals and perhaps falling into a wine-induced snooze in the vineyards.
Brian Johnston, Escape
When to go
Any time is a great time to explore the Poacher’s Way trail. Most of the places on the route are open year round, and you’ll find a kaleidoscope of colour, activity and experiences regardless of which season you visit.
- Distance from Canberra: all the destinations on Poachers Way are an easy drive from Canberra. The distance will depend on which part of the trail you visit, and how many meandering country lanes you divert to because you’ve spotted a sign for an interesting-sounding cellar door or café.
- Duration: you’d need several days to fit in all the sights on the trail. Give yourself at least a full day to drive the entire trail and call into a few places of interest, or just pick your favourite region and head out for a shorter trip
- Cost: there’s no charge to access the Poachers Way but be prepared – you’ll want to buy up big at the wineries and shops
- Recommended for: foodies with big appetites! Self-paced adventurers and anyone looking for warm country hospitality and the opportunity to meet with winemakers, artists, and producers.
- More information: visit Destination NSW: Food and Wine Trail – Poachers Way
Have you made any interesting discoveries on the Poachers Way driving route? We’d love to hear about your favourite finds.
Image of Poachers Pantry on the Poachers Way food and wine trail from Visit Canberra.