If you've ever watched antiques roadshow and dreamed of unearthing a treasure or two from times past, there is an amazing antique trail right on Canberra's doorstep ready to be explored. The historic town of Cootamundra is the perfect setting for your antique, vintage and collectible hunt and the town has been steadily building it's offering to ensure you won't leave empty-handed. The drive from Canberra takes a little under two hours winding through rolling hills studded with sheep and patch-worked with crops.If you time it right, you can also snap some vivid canola fields along the way.
When you arrive in town, take some time to appreciate the architecture with plenty of heritage-listed and historic buildings which really set the scene for some treasure hunting then get ready to dive right in and see what you can find!
Parker Street Antiques
This place has everything from vinyl, collectible toys, vintage and retro through to fine ceramics and antiques. They have a constantly changing range which you can stalk on their Facebook account before you visit and the friendly owners are happy to hold things aside for you to collect. A must visit on the antique trail. Opening hours are limited so plan ahead.
The cute name is apt – this shop delves back into the depths of the historic building where it is housed and you don't know what you might find – there are some genuine quality pieces, some kitschy collectibles and also the odd bit of junk (but good junk – quirky little finds which would finish a little collection or add a bit of character to a shelf). Check out their website here.
There are plenty of hidden gems on Cootamundra's antique trail
This book shop is a real surprise find. Packed to the rafters with volumes from historical, leather-bound biblio-glory right through to pulp fiction, there are so many books that you'd be hard-pressed not to find a title you love. On the off chance you don't, the owner is happy to source titles for you. If you have any interest in books, it's highly recommended although check ahead to see if it will be open, the hours are quite limited. Can't make it during opening hours? Check out their online shop here.
As well as the curated antique shops, Cootamundra's three op-shops are a treasure trove of quality finds minus the capital city price tags. If you happen to visit on the right days, you can find sales like 'everything storewide for $1' or a 'fill-a-bag for $5,' particularly coming to the end of summer and winter as stock changes over, but even on full-price days, the tags you pop will be amazing value.
This place is epic - a warehouse full of bargain-priced treasures including furniture, homewares, toys, clothes and a few surprises in the mix. You never know when you might come across a 'fill-a-bag' special or an end of season clear out where the prices are almost at give-it away levels. Less central than the other op-shops, it's well worth travelling the extra couple of blocks away from the main street for.
Organised and fresh, Vinnies Cootamundra has a great range of clothes, toys, books and homewares. The prices are incredibly good value and there are some big-name brands hidden on the shelves at well below what you would pay in Canberra op-shops. Be ready to spend some time searching for your next outfit.
A cute little op shop bursting at the seams with great finds, this is smaller than the two other op shops but definitely worth a browse while you're in Cootamundra. The staff are friendly and happy to let you know if they have anything you are looking for in stock.
Whether it's serious antiques, retro kitsch or just the thrill of the chase you're after, the trip to Cootamundra is the perfect way to spend a weekend scouting for treasure in a spectacular, historic setting.