Only an hour down the Hume Highway from Canberra and on the road to Sydney is Goulburn, where big town convenience meets the laidback lifestyle of a country town. Declared as Australia’s first inland city back in 1863, this historic centre is home to the Big Merino as well as an exciting arts scene and plenty of ways to enjoy the beautiful outdoors.
Around 24,000 people call Goulburn home and enjoy easy access to quality public and private schools, plus state-of-the-art health services. With everything so close by and very little traffic, life in Goulburn leaves more time to spend with family, friends and enjoy yourself.
It’s also near some small towns which punch well above their weight in the food and wine stakes including Collector, which boasts one of the best wineries in the Canberra district wine region in Collector Wines, and Gundaroo which has the beautiful Grazing restaurant.
Held annually on the first Sunday in May, the Collector Pumpkin Festival is one of the largest community events in the region, celebrating the harvest and all things pumpkins. See locals battle it out in a range of pumpkin-focussed competitions, from biggest pumpkin to best pumpkin scones, or explore more than 100 stalls and enjoy lots of great country, family-friendly fun.
VICTORIA PARK ROSE GARDEN
Feel like taking the time to stop and smell the roses? You can smell some 1,500 of them at the beautiful Victoria Park Rose Garden, with 100 varieties of roses on display, which are all named for easy identification. The garden has picnic tables and barbecues so take along a picnic to linger a little longer.
Explore the Goulburn Regional Art Gallery, the region’s hub for contemporary art. Across their two gallery spaces they hold free exhibitions, with a big, bold program created to provoke conversations. They also run a range of programs to engage and inspire everyone, from the under five-year-olds, through to senior members of the community.
One of the most spectacular ways to experience the region, Adrenaline Skydive Goulburn runs skydives over the area. Conquer your fears with a tandem skydive for beginners, or learn to skydive yourself in an accelerated freefall course.
Set in a historic stone cottage in the town of Marulan, Made In Marulan stocks a range of locally made fashion, homewares, gifts and delicious edible goods.
Need something to wear? The Country Outfitters is the place to go to shop for premium men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, footwear and accessories, with a side of friendly service.
Founded in Goulburn back in 1850, Baxter Boots is the oldest footwear business in Australia. Their shop on Auburn Street stocks their range of meticulously designed, handcrafted boots including work boots, western boots, gum boots and even tiny boots for kids.
Located right next to The Big Merino, the award-winning Trappers Bakery is open from early every day of the week. Find a seat on the large veranda and enjoy one of their famous pies, a sandwich, or sweet treat, all lovingly baked on-site.
Well worth a detour off the highway is Some Café in Collector. Housed in the old 1829 Collector General Store, the cosy café is the kind of place you’d expect to find in the hippest parts of a big city, but with a hefty dose of country charm. Sip on speciality coffee, and tuck into seasonal dishes brimming with local produce, including some from the kitchen garden and chickens in the backyard.
Also in Collector, the historic Bushranger Hotel is great for a hearty pub meal or a dose of the paranormal. Once the location of a bushranger ambush where a constable was killed, the country pub is said to be haunted by a former publican, who continues to go about his work moving and stacking glasses. Nowadays you can settle into their beer garden for a delicious meal from the bistro or enjoy a refreshing beverage and just take in the spectacular views.
Located in the beautiful, historic Royal Hotel on the main street in Gundaroo, Grazing is an award-winning restaurant focussed on taking the very best local produce and showcasing it on the plate, matched with a wine list of predominantly of local drops. In winter, try and secure a table next to one of the venue’s original fireplaces.
Goulburn is where city meets the country, so you can find a mix of old and new family properties, plus grand federation homes, or live the farming lifestyle with big rural blocks. Being a smaller town, no matter where you live, you can expect to be close to schools, shops and other amenities.
By Zango Team