1 July 2017

Canberra Day Trips: Young (Hilltops Region)

| Canberra Day Trips
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Young is well known as the cherry capital of Australia, but did you know it has many other claims to fame? It sits in one of the country’s top wine growing regions, is rich with fascinating pioneer history and offers a surprising range of other attractions.

Young is widely known for the abundance of juicy cherries the region produces each summer. Generations of Canberrans have enjoyed a picturesque December drive to the region to stock up on luscious, fresh cherries for Christmas.

Located in the thriving Hilltops food and wine region, the historic town of Young is also home to scores of orchards. These offer visitors the chance not only to pick cherries, but a range of other stone fruit as well.

Alongside the orchards are several vineyards, with the area building a solid reputation for growing and producing quality cool climate wines.

Young is also increasingly being recognised for its quality produce, including lamb, chicken, eggs, pork, honey and oils. Many of these are available to purchase in the many shops and eateries.

Here’s how the Hilltops Region website describes the attractions of the Young region:

“Step back in time to the days of the early colony, enjoy picturesque rural landscapes, soak up a festival, pick your own cherries, peaches and plums or sample award winning wines.”


Why you’ll love it

There are plenty of reasons to love Young. The National Cherry Festival is held on the first full weekend each December. Locals have been celebrating the peak of cherry season for over 60 years, and you can too, with events such as a cherry pie eating contest, the cherry pip spit competition, a street parade and markets.

But there’s more to Young than cherries. For a small town, it is brimming with things to do. Visitors can:

  • Step back in time exploring landmarks from the days of the gold rush colony
  • Experience a heritage walking tour around the town
  • Pick fruit fresh from the surrounding orchards
  • Enjoy breathtaking picturesque rural landscapes in the area
  • Join in one of the many events or festivals
  • Savour the best of local food and wine in cafes, pubs, bakeries and restaurants
  • Visit gourmet food shops that highlight local produce
  • Browse the enticing gift and antique stores in the shopping precinct
  • Meet a winemaker at local wineries and cellar doors


Getting there

Young is an easy drive from the Canberra area via the Barton and Hume Highways and the Lachlan Valley Way.

It’s a quick trip of under two hours, but there are plenty of interesting places – like Yass and Boorowa – to stop on the way through if you have time.

When to go

If you’re keen to visit Young to try some fruit picking, the period between October and January is your best bet. As well as cherries, you’ll find grapes, citrus, peaches, nectarines, plums, prunes, nectarines and apricots at this time, although the exact harvest season depends on weather conditions.

There’s plenty to do during the rest of the year as well, with an exciting array of events on offer, including the Young Shire Races, fun runs and carnivals of all kinds.

Key details

  • Distance from Canberra: Around 160km
  • Driving time: Approximately two hours
  • Recommended for: Food and wine connoisseurs, history buffs and nature lovers
  • More information: Visit the Hilltops Region website

Have you visited Young recently? Share your recommendations and tips in the comments below.

Header photo: from Hilltops Region via Instagram.

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The museum used to have some weird and wonderful things on display when I was a kid.

Wilders bakery in the main street is must visit. It is a small town success story, starting as a small shop front and then expanding out and up over the years.

If you venture a bit further afield to Greenthorpe, Iandra Castle is lovely, but you have to schedule your visit on an open day.

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