Goulburn: a journey through heritage, nature and culture

goulburn

Located an easy drive between Sydney and Canberra, Goulburn in the stunning NSW Southern Tablelands is an ideal destination for a weekend getaway or longer stay.

 

This charming regional city boasts unique heritage architecture, a plethora of outdoor adventures and a thriving arts scene, making it a must-visit destination for all types of travellers.

Opening image: Goulburn’s heritage streetscapes. NSW Southern Tablelands Content Development/Threesides.

 

Streetscapes of Goulburn. Image: NSW Southern Tablelands Content Development/Threesides.

 

A glimpse into Goulburn’s heritage

Goulburn has a rich history, with an eclectic mix of stories and landmarks that date back to its first settlement and later, in 1863, being proclaimed a city.

As Australia’s first inland city, Goulburn is home to an impressive array of museums, historic homesteads and amazing heritage architecture. Taking a Self-guided Heritage Tour is a fantastic way to step back in time and experience the fascinating tales that have shaped this unique city.

Allow an hour for the History City Centre Walk, which takes you past heritage buildings such as The Courthouse, designed by famous colonial architect James Barnet. Opened in 1887, it would have cost around $3.4 million to build in today’s money! This Victorian Italianate-styled building was touted as one of the most beautiful buildings in “all of Her Majesty’s dominions” by the Chief of Justice of the Colonies, and is still in use. 

The Goulburn Rail Heritage Centre showcases the rich railway history of the region, while St. Saviour’s Cathedral offers a glimpse into the city’s Gothic Revival architecture. If you like, you can continue onto the Historic Homes Walk down Grafton St to marvel at the beautifully preserved 19th-century buildings.

 

Experience charming country towns. Image: NSW Southern Tablelands Content Development/Threesides.

 

Country living

The towns and villages surrounding Goulburn exude country charm and are bursting with heritage sites, friendly locals and contemporary services. These areas are perfect day trips for those looking to explore the region, and immerse themselves in unique country towns and stunning scenery. 

Whether it’s the picturesque town of Marulan, the historic village of Bungonia (the gateway to Bungonia National Park), or the colourful, rolling fields of the broader Southern Tablelands region.

 

The panoramic views from Longpoint Lookout. Image: Lauren McLaughlin Photography.

 

Adventure awaits

For the adventure seekers, Goulburn is a veritable playground of outdoor activities. The Wollondilly and Mulwaree River Walkways provide scenic routes around the city for walking and cycling. Beginning at Marsden Weir, Wollondilly River Walkway winds for 4km through serene landscapes, while Mulwaree River Walkway takes you past the Goulburn wetlands, offering a peaceful escape into nature. 

With rugged terrain, dramatic cliffs, and expansive caves, Bungonia National Park is perfect for hiking, rock climbing and exploring some of Australia’s most breathtaking natural scenery.

For those who prefer a bird’s-eye view, head to Long Point and Badgerys Lookouts at Tallong for panoramic vistas. From here you can see all the way to the Shoalhaven River and surrounding countryside – perfect for keen photographers and nature lovers alike. 

 

Goulburn’s cultural scene is on fire! Image: supplied.

 

A cultural hub

Goulburn’s cultural scene is the beating heart of the city. The Goulburn Regional Art Gallery is the hub of the local arts community, showcasing contemporary works and hosting the prestigious Goulburn Art Award. Another gem is Gallery on Track located in the refurbished historic Railway Barracks, where the June exhibition, Winter Warmup, showcases the extraordinary talent of members from the gallery who will present their creations made from wool. 

For those who enjoy live performances, the Goulburn Performing Arts Centre offers a range of world-class shows that cater to diverse tastes. From dramatic plays to lively musicals, there’s always something exciting happening on stage. The Lieder Theatre Company is the longest running theatre company in Australia, established in 1891, and The Lieder Theatre also hosts an array of excellent performances.

 

Sampling local produce at Kingsdale Wines. Image: Destination NSW.

 

Cosy stays and culinary delights

After a day of exploration, Goulburn offers a variety of accommodation options to rest your head. Plenty of charming farm stays in the region offer wood fires to warm up on chilly evenings. Enjoy a bit of luxury at Abercrombie Ridge, or stay in a cosy historic cottage in Towrang. For a stay in town Goulburn’s many modern motels offer all the comforts and conveniences needed for a restful night.

Goulburn is also a must-visit for foodies. The region’s diverse culinary scene sees everything from hearty pub meals by an open wood fire to great coffee and sweet treats in quaint cafés. Make sure to drop into Trapper’s Bakery for homemade bread and delicious pies.

Meanwhile, wine enthusiasts will appreciate the cool climate wines paired with high-quality, fresh regional produce. Check out the boutique Kingsdale Wines just a five-minute drive from Goulburn to sample their wines and learn about the winemaking process, or head further afield to Yarralaw Springs to taste even more local drops.  

 

Upcoming Event: Goulburn Motorcycle Grand Prix 100th Anniversary

Mark your calendars for a special event: the Goulburn Motorcycle Grand Prix 100th Anniversary, taking place from 21-23 June 2024. This historic celebration will feature a street cruise, an all-motorcycle expo event, and a feature rally. It’s an exciting opportunity for motorcycle enthusiasts and history buffs alike to come together and celebrate a century of motorcycling in Goulburn.

 

Travel to Goulburn

Rex flies to Canberra, a 1-hour drive from Goulburn, and Sydney, a 2-hour drive. Book your tickets here and check out the route map below.

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