Immerse yourself in the nature of Queanbeyan-Palerang with this road trip through some iconic towns and natural landmarks in the western end of the region, just a stone’s throw from the capital region.
Start your journey from Queanbeyan, where you can grab a quick breakfast and pick up supplies for your road trip through the western towns and villages of the region.
Start the day with some fun in the sun by exploring the many outdoor activities on offer at Googong Foreshores. The area is ideal for sightseeing, fishing, bushwalking, picnicking, canoeing and sailing, and is located just 10 kilometres south of Queanbeyan. The Foreshores are also home to the largest reservoir in the Canberra region, the Googong Dam, which has a 62 metre high dam wall and the spillway can be viewed from a car park at the northern end of the Foreshores. For the perfect picnic or barbecue spot, head down to Drumstick Point. This stunning spot also has a boat ramp for those looking to take their boat out for a spin on the lake. And for those looking for a swim, the large water holes known as the Cascades can be accessed by taking the short river walk down. Heading further 16 kilometres south towards Burra, you’ll find one of the most photographed features of the Foreshores, the awe-inspiring, thousands of years old natural bridge, the London Bridge Arch.
After spending the morning at Googong Foreshores, head back to Queanbeyan, get onto the Kings Highway and take the right turn onto Captains Flat Road. After about a 30-minute drive, you’ll get to Captains Flat, where you can explore the village’s past as a major mining site in the 1980s and again in 1937-1962. Immerse yourself in the bygone era with a drive up the old mine road behind Captains Flat Hotel to get to the town lookout with breathtaking views across the township and the old mining site. For a self-guided tour around other local attractions, such as the Lake George Mine entrance and the Miners’ Memorial, take the Captains Flat Heritage Trail walking tour.
If you’re looking for more outdoorsy experiences, head south of the village to see the Captains Flat Dam, which was built by Lake George Mines to supply water for mining operations. It has since been stocked with Murray Cod and Yellow Belly, making it a nice fishing spot for keen anglers. Nearby, you’ll also find the Captains Flat Waterfall hidden away on the edge of the Captains Flat Common in the Molonglo River Gorge. Afterwards, take a drive out to Tallaganda National Park on the edge of Captains Flat to explore its fire trails and walking tracks.
PLEASE NOTE THAT DUE TO THE IMPACT OF 19/20 BUSHFIRES, COVID-19, AND RECENT WEATHER CONDITIONS, YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CHECK THE NSW NATIONAL PARKS WEBSITE FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION ON CAMPGROUND AND TRACK CLOSURES.
Next up, you’ll be headed north towards Bungendore. To get there, veer off the beaten track and drive through the tiny village of Hoskinstown, known for its beautiful chestnuts. Alternatively, head back on to Kings Highway to get to your next destination.
When you reach Bungendore, take a moment to stroll amongst the galleries, antique shops and cafes of the village. Bungendore also boasts an unexpected range of multicultural cuisines to try, so take your pick from authentic French, Greek, American, Thai or Modern Australian. If you’d like to stay overnight, choose from a range of motel and boutique stays in and around the village, or continue straight to your next pit stop at Weereewa Lookout.
To get to Weereewa Lookout, drive through Bungendore Road, turning right onto the Federal Highway, before taking another right turn to get to the lookout carpark. It’s here where you can view the scenic Lake George with expansive views over the surrounding hills and fields. Lake George is considered a mysterious place where unexplained events have occurred, and its water levels are known to fluctuate drastically, bringing about many myths surrounding the mystical lake.
Take a detour: From Weereewa Lookout, take the scenic route to Molonglo Gorge by heading down Bungendore Road and then turning right onto Norton Road. Along the way, you’ll find the gorgeous rolling hills of Wamboin and get the chance to stop by at one of the local wineries for a meal or a wine tasting.
Molonglo Gorge and the Blue Tiles Walk
Your final stop is located in Kowen Forest, about a 30-minute drive from Weereewa Lookout. The Molonglo Gorge offers a peaceful escape made up of unspoiled bush, cascades and gorges. If you’re looking to get active with a spot of bushwalking, try the Blue Tiles Walk, a moderate, 3km bushwalk along the Molonglo River. Please note that the trail is not frequently maintained and you may find some challenging sections along the way, including a few steep sections at the start of the trail. At the end of the trail, you’ll reach a small grassed picnic area known as The Blue Tiles picnic area, with a charming view of the Molonglo River.