Home to two cellar doors and ten wineries, a pub in each town and village, umpteen restaurants, cafes and food stores – all celebrating local produce and regionally sourced ingredients, Queanbeyan-Palerang is emerging as the fastest growing region outside of the Greater Sydney area. To best explore everything the region’s got to offer in food, wine and eclectic shopping opportunities, we recommend taking this 48-hour drive around Queanbeyan, Bungendore and Braidwood.
Queanbeyan – Bungendore
- Drop into one of Queanbeyan’s two idyllic riverside cafes – The Mill Café or the Riverbank of Queanbeyan Café for a hearty start to the weekend overlooking the Queanbeyan River.
- Depart Queanbeyan as you hop onto Sutton Road, heading towards Norton Road, Wamboin on route to lunch at Norton Road Wines or Contentious Character Winery – contemporary vineyard estates with a winery, cellar door, kitchen, and event facilities, nestled amongst the rolling hills of Wamboin. Alternatively, pay a visit to Lark Hill Winery near Bungendore, which is known for its biodynamic farming methods and boasts an impressive selection of wines from the region.
Lunch Safari in Wamboin
- Get a taste of the local wine industry with a wine tasting session at one of the region’s reputable wineries – if you like some adventure, try splitting lunch and visit all three.
- A new family-owned venture, Norton Road Wines, brings its share of added flavour into town with its characteristic Biggie’s BBQ, serving authentic Texas BBQ and Southern style lunch, dinner and dessert alongside the winery’s delicious cool-climate wines.
- Enjoy wining and dining at Contentious Character – a destination for those interested in an all in one experience of wine tasting, a kitchen menu capable of fulfilling many a culinary fantasy, indoor and outdoor spaces to dine, chat, sip and take in the stunning view. The winery is a relaxed atmosphere with a view of the vines and surrounding Wamboin. The menu has been designed to be shared and paired with their wines and don’t worry – they offer some delicious meals to appease every junior appetite.
- Lark Hill Winery is one of Australia’s most prominent biodynamic wineries – specialising in achieving true sustainability and a self-sufficient winery. This means that the vines produce unique wines and will last for generations to come. Their Cellar Door offers a wine tasting experience in a stone-walled building that housed the original winery 40 years ago. If you’ve made it to the winery before 3 pm, Lark Hill’s wine bar offers their entire range of wines. A menu of ‘Vintage Vertical’ food and wine pairings where current release wines can be compared to older vintages with a tailored food match is offered to show how these wines evolve in the cellar. For a delicious afternoon tea, try some of the delicious grazing platters or house-made desserts with a glass of complimenting wine for the full experience.
- Arriving at the village of Bungendore, you will have a chance to browse the town’s amazing galleries, boutiques and shops along Molonglo and Gibraltar Streets. Grab an afternoon cuppa and a bite to eat at one of the villages’ cafés or restaurants.
- Take a short drive from Bungendore along Lake Road – Lake George – for a magical vista unlike anywhere else in Australia or go for a walk up Gibraltar Hill to catch the sunset over the town, Lake George and Capital Wind Farm.
- Enjoy a degustation dinner at one of the town’s go-to restaurants. The George Bar and Dining offers fantastic combinations of fine local wines paired with sensational local produce or experience a journey into terroir (French, for a sense of place, taste, slow food and heritage) at Le Très Bon – this includes a range of local and French wines and beers that have been chosen to complete the flavours of their dishes.
- Check in at one of Bungendore’s accommodation providers ranging from idyllic retreat hideaways and historic B&B’s, such as the Old Stone House, to centrally located motels and inns, like the Carrington Inn.
Bungendore – Braidwood
- Rise and shine, it’s breakfast time, but first, grab a quick coffee at one of Bungendore’s cafés before you hit the road to Braidwood – and to the delicious breakfast waiting for you a short 30-minute drive away.
- Once you’re in Braidwood, grab breakfast at one of Braidwood’s delicious cafés and restaurants. Check out The Albion, Casanovas, and Dojo Bread for some of the freshest dining experiences in town.
- Take time to explore the living heritage of Braidwood. Pay the Braidwood Museum a visit for a walk back in time, into the history of the iconic heritage-listed town, and wander the town’s streets. There are plenty of shops, boutiques and galleries that display the town’s culture and local artisans’ work, meaning there is something for everyone in Braidwood.
- Grab something to go from one of the many cafés or visit The Braidwood Bakery or Dojo Bread to gather delicious local ingredients to make your own sandwiches and hop back in the car. It is time for a short road trip to Sully’s Cider Factory where visitors can absorb the region’s food heritage and sample a unique range of quality goods that reflect the region’s rural industries and cultural heritage (Please note that as of January 2020, Sully’s Cider Factory is inaccessible, but will be back in business as soon as the conditions ease. In the meantime, you can get your hands on Sully’s produce from Braidwood’s IGA, Provision’s Deli and Grocery and Braidwood Visitor Information Centre.)
- Head back to Braidwood for afternoon tea at another one of Braidwood’s cafes that you may have missed. While you’re at it, check out some of the town’s beautiful shops and boutiques that call Braidwood home. For a unique Braidwood sense of fashion and accessories, check out the handmade fashions of Saloon Design House and one of the many jewellers in Braidwood.
- Check in to one of the town’s B&B’s, hotels, motels or historic farmhouses.
- Enjoy a delicious experience at Smokey Horse, or check out one of the pubs for dinner. The Royal Mail Hotel boasts a lovely beer garden and a menu of local produce, while Casanova’s offers a great selection of Mediterranean style produce in a stylish, family run cafe and restaurant. They serve seasonal food made from local produce, complete with house-made bread, pasta, and Sourdough pizzas.
Don’t have enough time to dedicate a whole weekend for the trip? Not to worry! Bungendore and Braidwood are just a short drive from the nation’s capital, meaning you can fit a big chunk of the fun in just a day-trip. Mix and match your favourite parts of the itinerary to create the one for you, or simply get a group of friends together and escape the city for a nice lunch in the country.