Keen to get a snapshot of the Southern Tablelands in one drive? Head out on the tourist drive from the Federal Highway next to Lake George to Goulburn, through picturesque countryside and charming villages such as Bungendore and Tarago. Stop by at the mysterious Lake George, treat yourself to a wine tasting in Wamboin, and enjoy a spot of shopping in Bungendore, before heading up towards Australia’s first inland city through the quaint villages of Tarago and Lake Bathurst.
Tourist Drive 8 starts from the Federal Highway near Lake George, nearby Canberra and Queanbeyan. Start your drive by stopping off at the Weereewa Lookout at Lake George and taking in the expansive views. From here, you’ll head south on Bungendore Road towards the region’s cool-climate wineries and Bungendore village.
Driving south along Bungendore Road, surrounded by the beautiful country landscape, you’ll come across Lark Hill Winery, one of the area’s fantastic cool-climate wineries. From here, you have the option to take a detour to Wamboin through Norton Road to pay a visit to Contentious Character and Norton Road Wines for more wine tasting, a lunch or simply to purchase some of the region’s award-winning wines to take home with you.
After exploring the wineries of the Queanbeyan-Palerang region, continue down Bungendore Road to reach Bungendore Village, boasting a community of incredible craftsmanship and a plethora of fascinating shops to explore.
Spend an afternoon strolling amongst the art galleries, antique and gift shops along Malbon and Gibraltar Streets and unearthing hidden treasures of vintage vinyl, local art and antiques. Finally, grab a cuppa and a bite to eat at one of the town’s cafés or restaurants before heading back on the road towards your next stop.
About a half an hour drive up Tarago Road lies your next destination, the village of Tarago, best known for the Loaded Dog Hotel. The Loaded Dog is said to be an important part of Australia’s heritage, dating all the way back to about 1848. Since then, the hotel was used as a meeting place and a safe house of sorts to many bushrangers, including the infamous Frank Gardiner and Ben Hall.
After stopping at the Loaded Dog Hotel, continue towards Lake Bathurst on Braidwood Road. The 10-minute drive will lead you to the peaceful village of Lake Bathurst, discovered by the European settlers back in 1818. To this day, several 19th century buildings can still be found in the village, including the old schoolhouse and the Anglican Church and hall.
Just 30km up Braidwood Road, you will reach the final destination of the tourist drive, Goulburn, Australia’s first inland city. For more information about the city and its attractions, pay a visit to the Goulburn Visitor Information Centre. While you’re in town, don’t forget to check out the Big Merino, a 15.2m high monument and gift shop built in 1985. If you’re interested in local heritage, stop by at the Rail Heritage Centre, which houses heritage locomotives, rolling stock and railway ephemera, or visit Garroorigang Historic Home, the home of the Hume family, descendants of explorer Hamilton Hume.
To head back towards your starting point at Weereewa Lookout, simply head back onto Federal Highway and continue south through Collector towards Lake George.