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Small Towns Worth Visiting Around Canberra?

By Soundbloke - 15 October 2009 27

Could anyone give us some tips on small country towns within an hour or two of Canberra that are worth making the effort to visit? We are looking for great little country pubs, unique shopping experiences, B&B’s, restaurants etc.

We recently moved to the ACT from Sydney and are really enjoying exploring the region!

Thanks for the recent tips following our first post here. I was actually trying to find a shop selling 50’s style pin-up and rockabilly dresses for my wife. Replies to the post took us to Braidwood for the first time and a superb little shop called Hoola Hoop that sells just that type of thing. We had a great time and really loved the town.

Are there any other little towns in the region that might offer such unique little shops. More tips from locals will be greatly appreciated!

What’s Your opinion?

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27 Responses to
Small Towns Worth Visiting Around Canberra?
misspris 9:46 am 16 Oct 09

I’ll sound like I work for the Crookwell Tourist Information Centre again but oh well 🙂

If you drive out to Crookwell the “back way” (i.e. not down the Ho Hum Highway) you can check out some nice towns like Gundaroo and Gunning on the way.

There are several really nice B&Bs and self-contained accommodation in Crookwell. The bistro at the pub opposite The Bank House is good, as is the recently renovated Paul’s Cafe.

Laggan Pub is definitely worth a visit. The Mill at Laggan is also a great place for a meal although it’s been quite a while since I’ve eaten there.

Taralga is gorgeous and the Taralga Hotel is definitely worth visiting. It has been renovated in the last couple of years and the meals and accommodation are good.


Gungahlin Al 9:31 am 16 Oct 09

Further afield, Wagga and Albury are great inland towns. Tumut is gorgeous in spring (most recommended destination). The drive through the back way from Tharwa to Adaminaby is very special.
At Goulburn, just keep driving through though…

pug206gti 8:52 am 16 Oct 09

Goulburn has a charm about it, you can tell there was plenty of wool money there about 100 years ago and some nice architecture.

Taralga is pretty, stop there on the way to the Wombeyan caves.

Crookwell is an experience too, and very pretty rolling hill scenery. A good few B&Bs there.

Trunking symbols 8:43 am 16 Oct 09

How about Queanbeyan?

wishuwell 8:36 am 16 Oct 09

Soundbloke it might just fall outside 2 hours but have a go at Kangaroo Valley a cute little place just down from Fitzroy Falls which is worth going to on its own. Suggest you give pies at Robertson a miss though.And then carry on to Huskisson great pub then onto…oh is it Monday already?

trevar 8:01 am 16 Oct 09

Canowindra is heaven. Being a foodie, my best recollection was a place called The Shed, where they make an awesome spanakopita.

Cooma’s The Lott is also a great feed.

If you can get to Braidwood early enough, and on the right day of the week, the Dojo bakery has bread to die for (and you can sometimes pick it up at the IGA there later in the day).

Young also boasts some great eateries, and in the next few months they’ll be very imaginative with the cherries. If you’re going there, stop at the car museum in Binalong (which is worth a stop, but not a day trip)

At Goulburn, visit Roses or the gyros shop, both near the big park in the middle of the city.

Best fish and chip shop in the world is at Moss Vale, opposite the narrow English-looking park.

Jindabyne has a great cafe in the terrorist information centre.

Nimmitabel has a pie shop with a good reputation, but I’ve always been more impressed by their donuts than their pies.

Better pies at Yass, it’s well worth the drive, and you can visit the wineries as you wend your way back to the concrete jungle. And Yass also has Hume Cottage, which is a great example of architectural evolution. Also at Yass there are a lot of sites of great significance for the various Aboriginal peoples who have called the region home (although you’d be best to find an elder to show you around, as they can tell the best stories).

As has been noted, there is nothing noteworthy about Bombala, unless you happen to know someone there. I have not known any country town to be as welcoming as Bombala, but you have to be introduced. Oh, and they do a good steak in the big white pub at the bottom of the main street.

el 10:04 pm 15 Oct 09

What ever you do, don’t ever bother going to Bombala. It’s even more boring than every other boring-as-batsh!te rural town in NSW.

Also, Captains Flat is fairly ‘Deliverance’. Good luck!

astrojax 9:56 pm 15 Oct 09

cowra isn’t too far away and the japanese gardens are worth a look – on the way you take the lachlan valley highway, off the hume just south of yass, through booroowa, which is a cute little place.

i’ll also second gundaroo for a half hour drive to lunch – cork street cafe has the best pizza in canberra. a great pottery, laughing frog, is on the way out and the potters there started the cafe some years back. all worth a go.

gargamel 9:53 pm 15 Oct 09

sepi said :

Murrumbateman is having one of their field days soonish.

The field day is huge these days and it is on this weekend! $12 entry.

Details are available at

emd 9:52 pm 15 Oct 09

Murrumbateman Field Days are on this weekend:

Punter 9:24 pm 15 Oct 09

I’ll watch this post with interest. I’ve been in Canberra some 7 years now and I’m sorry to say I haven’t explored much. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen tonnes of the region and it has all been great but…..I just think I need to see a whole lot more. I want to thank Soundbloke for the OP and the kick in the arse to get out there!!

sepi 8:37 pm 15 Oct 09

Gundaroo is small and very cute – and not too far away to go for lunch.

Murrumbateman is having one of their field days soonish.

Gunning has markets once a month on a sunday.

Hall markets are also monthly.

For quirky shopping Fyshwick has 4-5 antique shops

enrique 8:08 pm 15 Oct 09

Murrumbatemen – great wineries

Wamboin – more, great wineries

Cooma – plenty to choose from, it’s on the way to the snowfields so caters for many seasonal travelers (but, due to this, also means many spots are mainly grab a bite and run type places). On the way there you could stop in at Williamsdale, Michelago, Bredbo

Gunning – Grazings Restaurant – top notch, Great Pub (Telegraph Hotel)

Collector – Great Pub with an excellent cafe/bistro (Bushranger Hotel), Linwood Cafe – Lovely, some nice wineries nearby

Bungendore – Take your pick – lots to choose from

Captains Flat – Quirky old mining town (and doesn’t it look like one) that has a cool old pub that boasts about previously having the longest bar in the Southern Hemisphere. If you have a 4wd or a car that can handle dirt roads you could keep on driving and head through the Forest down to Araluen and then onto Moruya – a great drive.

Hall – still within the ACT border, nice old place, has a market every now and again

Yass – old big money families used to have farms around here (maybe still do), lovely old town and getting better by the day now that the highway doesn’t run smack bang through the middle anymore

I could go on but I don’t think I’m doing justice to any of these places… they’re all lovely in their own way and there are plenty more towns I may have forgotten. Pick one or two towns to visit each weekend and that should get you through to next year – go exploring – you’ll enjoy discovering each new place.

busgirl 7:33 pm 15 Oct 09

Being from Sydney I’m assuming you’ve already checked out the likes of Berri, Bowral, Moss Vale, Picton, Cowra and all around that area…so, on the other side of Canberra you might like Cooma, Jindabyne, or Tumut?

Felix the Cat 6:45 pm 15 Oct 09

Bungendore is not a bad little town. In the other direction there’s also Gundaroo and Gunning. Murrumbateman could be worth a look as well, not a bad pub there.

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