Take this leisurely drive to some of the 140 vineyards and 33 wineries dotting the countryside just outside Canberra. Team fine wine and food at the cool-climate wineries in Hall and Murrumbateman and buy handmade art, glassware and pottery from galleries in the Yass Valley. Go caving in the Wee Jasper Valley or fish from Lake Burrinjuck or Goodradigbee River. Fine dine in Gunning or the 19th century village of Gundaroo, where villagers still graze cattle on the town common. At the end of the day, rest your head in a boutique bed and breakfast, historic homestead or a luxurious country retreat. Soak up fine food and wine, local art and craft and stunning scenery on this classic country drive from Canberra.
Canberra – Murrumbateman – Yass – Canberra
Canberra to Murrumbateman
Have breakfast in Queanbeyan, or if it’s a Sunday, at Canberra’s Old Bus Depot Markets. Then head down the Barton Highway to Hall, known for its scenic countryside and relaxed pace and visit any of the three award-winning wineries. On the first Sunday of every month, you can browse one of Australia’s largest markets for hand-made and homegrown goods. Explore the galleries and gift shops of nearby Gold Creek Village before driving on to Murrumbateman. This vibrant village grew up around goldmining, then wool, and is now the hub for many excellent cool-climate wineries. Stop in to sample their diverse blends, from sangiovese to riesling, chardonnay and shiraz. On the October long weekend, participating wineries will match your grape to a scrumptious plate at the Murrumbateman Moving Feast. Otherwise eat at a vineyard restaurant, country pub or on the verandah of your bed and breakfast, cottage or homestead. You can team your cellar-door wine with views of rolling hills and resident kangaroos.
Murrumbateman to Yass
Shop for antiques and country-style homewares before driving on to historic Yass, home to explorer Hamilton Hume and superfine merino wool. Visit Hume’s home of Cooma Cottage, now a National Trust museum. Then see his grave in the Anglican section of the Yass cemetery. You can even retrace part of his 1824 expedition to Port Phillip with William Hovell. You’ll need your stamina to do the whole thing - it stretches over 440 kilometres to Albury! Explore the charming villages, art galleries and cool climate wineries of the Yass Valley. Visit glass-blowing factories in Binalong, where Australian poet Banjo Paterson once lived, and the eclectic galleries of Bowning. Tour Carey’s Caves in the Wee Jasper Valley beneath the Brindabella Ranges or drive to Burrinjuck Dam for a picnic. Swim, fish, canoe and boat on Lake Burrinjuck and Goodradigbee River or camp and bushwalk around them.
Yass to Canberra
From Yass, follow the Hume Highway to Gunning in the heart of one of the world’s richest wool-growing regions. Drive the Old South Road loop past 1820s blue stone buildings and walk or cycle the Ingleburn Bridge over the Lachlan River. See the old pump that pumped water from the river to the tank for old steam engines and the Court House built in 1879. On your way back to Canberra, drive through the tiny town of Collector and pretty Sutton on the upper reaches of the Swan River. Stop for a bite in the quaint 19th century village of Gundaroo, where villagers still graze cattle on the town common. Visit the 1830s police lock-up and browse the town’s treasure trove of art, antiques and collectables. Have a relaxed picnic lunch by the Yass River or at the award-winning restaurant in town. If you have time for more wine, head out to the picturesque wineries of Lake George. Savour the glow of your gourmet adventure as you roll back into Canberra.
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