New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published November 10th 2016
Only 35 minutes out of the city- for lovers of local history
Gundaroo is a historical town located 35 minutes north of Canberra's CBD. If you are taking a day trip around the Canberra Wine District in the Murrumbateman region, then it is just a 20 minute country drive from the wineries to Gundaroo. This town was originally established in the 1830's when early settlers established properties along Yass River near the town. By the 1840s there were 400 people living here, before gold was then discovered in the district in 1852. More people flooded into the town in the second half of the century and many of the buildings from that boom period remain today. Some are now private residential homes, however others have been turned into a café, restaurant, pub and a potters gallery, so you can wander around and marvel at the cracks of history that line every wall.
Gundaroo is more active on weekends, catering to visitors to the region and people passing through. The following are some highlights to discover in Gundaroo, before you discover your own historical wonders around this fascinating, rural town.
Whilst on a day trip to Gundaroo, there is ample opportunity to stop for a hearty lunch in an authentic 19th century building on the main street in town. With a fine dining restaurant, a casual café and relaxed pub to choose from, Gundaroo has all their bases covered.
On one end of Cork Street is a fine dining restaurant called Grazing, which is housed in the restored Royal Hotel, built in 1865. This award-winning restaurant showcases the Canberra district's local food and wine with a delicious seasonal menu. It is a popular venue to dine in the colder months, sitting by the original fireplace. The menu is on the pricier side, however the reviews of this restaurant are outstanding and it has won over 20 awards over the last 16 years. Perhaps book a table for a special occasion after a wine tour, or enjoy a romantic meal for two with matching wines. See the Grazing Restaurant website and Facebook for more details.
At the other end of the main street is the Cork Street Café, located in original horse stables from 1857. The stables were used to house the police horses from the police station next door, which is now a private residence. There is horse riding equipment adorning areas of the cafe, as well as art on the walls for sale. It has a rustic charm that you can't replicate, with comforting cakes and a family friendly atmosphere. This café is also well known for their huge variety of pizza's, outdoor seating in the warmer months and cosy warm interior during the colder months. See the Cork Street Cafe website and Facebook for more details.
Walk down the sweet-smelling pathway to Cork Street Cafe
The Local Pub - Gundaroo Colonial Inn and Crowes Restaurant
Across the road from the cafe is the local pub and hotel, which has been the social hub of the community for the last 144 years. The hotel has been operating continuously since 1872 from the gold rush period. On weekends it comes to life with lunch and dinner in their restaurant and a relaxed atmosphere in their outdoor beer garden, with a fire to warm up by in winter. Why not stay for lunch, meet some locals and learn more about this intriguing town from the people that live there. See the Gundaroo Colonial Inn website and Facebook for more details.
The Gundaroo Colonial Inn and Crowes Restaurant (built 1872)
The Gundaroo Historical Society has a map that can be picked up at local businesses, which points out the 25 historical buildings along Cork Street and surrounds. The main road in Gundaroo is preserved in its original 19th century character, with wide roads to cater for the horse drawn carts that passed through the town. Some of the historical buildings are now private residences, with signs in their windows saying as such, however 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 the building, with details of when it was built. If you go for a drive around the town, also see if the Old Saint Luke's Studio and Gallery is open (there will be a sign out the front), to experience this 19th century historical church and creative pottery studio.
If you came through the Murrumbateman wine region, why not return the way you came and stop off at any of the 33 wineries along the way. With history, friendly locals, country scenery and exceptional food and wine in the region, a day trip to Gundaroo could take you a leisurely few hours - or all weekend.