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Your Canberra District Guide

Poachers Pantry, SpringrangeCREDIT: Destination NSW

Couple driving up the scenic driveway to Poachers Pantry, Springrange.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Your Canberra
District Guide

Poachers Pantry, Springrange CREDIT: Destination NSW

Couple driving up the scenic driveway to Poachers Pantry, Springrange.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Hashtags #lovensw #newsouthwales

Three hours’ drive from Sydney and an hour from Canberra city, the Canberra District cool-climate wine region comprises charming towns and villages including Yass, Hall, Murrumbateman, Gundaroo and Gunning, as well as family-run cellar doors, lauded restaurants and great places to stay. Here are some of the region’s coolest attractions.  

Cool-climate wines 

Family-owned Clonakilla wins awards for its handcrafted wines, often released in small batches. Visit the light-filled cellar door — built from local stone and reclaimed timbers — for a tasting at the bar, or cosy up by the fire with a glass of shiraz or chardonnay while gazing over vines. 

Ken Helm, of Helm Wines at Murrumbateman, 40km north of Canberra, has been making acclaimed riesling and cabernet sauvignon since 1973. You can discover just how good they are in the estate’s tasting room, occupying the National Trust-listed 1888 Toual Public School House.  

Ken’s daughter Stephanie Helm grew up learning about wine. In 2014, she branched out with her husband Benjamin Osborne to launch The Vintner’s Daughter. The distinctive wines bottled here — from sparkling chardonnay to syrah — offer a true taste of the region.

One of the original Canberra District vineyards, Lark Hill Winery’s cellar door occupies a handsome stone-walled building, where tastings can be enjoyed around a fire. Whether sipping shiraz viognier or pinot noir, you’ll be captivated by these well-structured wines — pick a bottle to sip in the restaurant.

The small village of Collector was settled by Europeans in 1829. The historic Collector Inn was built that same year, today housing the intimate cellar door for Collector Wines. Vintner Alex McKay takes home awards for his creations, often for the Reserve Shiraz. 

Not a wine drinker? How about some mead? The Travellers Rest Inn, circa 1879, is home to the Win’s Creek Meadery, where you can sample this distinctive drink, made using the brand’s own honey. Win’s also makes hand-crushed apple cider, craft-brewed soft drinks and honey beer, which you can sample in the restaurant or take away (along with gourmet honey products, arts and crafts) from the Bee-Spoke Gift Shop.  

Cool things to do  

Alpacas, ponies and goats are just some of the adorable animals you and your family can meet and feed at Babylon Farm, on the outskirts of Murrumbateman. Take a tour to learn about life on the land, collect freshly laid eggs, then find a shady perch for a picnic of local produce.  

More animals await at Blackwattle Alpaca Farm, a working estate surrounded by wineries and with views of the Brindabella Range. Tour the property, cuddle an alpaca and learn about the products their luxurious fibre is used to make.  

One of the few places in the world that grows highly coveted black truffles, the historic Bungendore region is just 30 minutes from Canberra. It’s here you’ll find Turalla Truffles, where you can join the owner and his Jack Russell dogs to hunt for the aromatic fungus. Pair your visit with a truffle-infused lunch, or take away a nugget to cook at home. 

Visiting the heritage-listed 19th-century village of Gundaroo is like stepping back in time. The whole town, on the banks of the Yass River, is National Trust-listed, and the main street is an outdoor heritage museum. Then step inside restaurants and bars for forward-thinking wining and dining.  

The Canberra District is bursting with creative talent, which Tallagandra Hill winery celebrates through a series of special events known as the We Love Local Festival. The ongoing program features free entertainment, supporting local artists and producers in the process.  

Sunset, Yass River CREDIT: Destination NSW

Sun sets over the Yass River and the old railway bridge.

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Sunset, Yass River CREDIT: Destination NSW

Sun sets over the Yass River and the old railway bridge.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Clonakilla, Murrumbateman CREDIT: Destination NSW

Couple enjoying a wine tasting experience at Clonakilla Wines, Murrumbateman.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Clonakilla, Murrumbateman CREDIT: Destination NSW

Couple enjoying a wine tasting experience at Clonakilla Wines, Murrumbateman.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Dine with wine 

There are three things the Olleyville at Shaw Vineyard Estate is known for: its flavourful cool-climate wines, dreamy vine-laced setting and standout food served in the on-site restaurant. The menu revolves around the central wood fire — think flavourful pizzas, slow-cooked lamb and baked barramundi.  

Only the finest Belgian fair-trade couverture is used to craft the treats at Robyn Rowe Chocolates at Murrumbateman. Immerse yourself in the world of cocoa and sample bonbons and blocks infused with local produce, including walnuts grown on site and cherries from the nearby Hilltops region.  

From simple beginnings as an artisan smokehouse, the Poachers Pantry has grown to include the Smokehouse Restaurant, the Wily Trout Vineyard, a farm shop and cellar door. Enjoy a tasting at the cellar door, pick up delicious smoked meats, then sit down to a three-course lunch featuring organic ingredients.  

Home-baked sourdough (there are six varieties), danishes and croissants are snapped up fast at Clementine Bakery on the main street of Yass. Everything here is made in small batches by hand, using local ingredients and seasonal produce. 

Located in the beautifully refurbished 1865 Royal Hotel, Grazing at Gundaroo’s seasonal menu focuses on fare from regional farmers. Choose two or three courses, then ask the sommelier to pair your pick with wines from the vineyards that surround.  

Held every October, the Murrumbateman Moving Feast is like an exploration of the region by roving degustation. Hop between the talented makers of Murrumbateman, sampling fine wine and food along the way. Or, pick up produce and put together a picnic spread to savour while listening to live music.  

Stay cool 

Situated in the heart of wine country, Abode Murrumbateman offers 50 stylishly appointed studio rooms set around a communal kitchen and guest lounge. From this central base you can stroll into the heart of historic Murrumbateman, a former gold-mining town, and explore farmers’ markets, bakeries, cafés and parks.  

Sleep surrounded by vines at grand Wallaroo Estate, a Georgian-style mansion set on more than 120 hectares of gardens, including 10 hectares of vines. When you’re not wandering the manicured grounds, retreat to your luxe room (there are only four) with a bottle of the estate’s sparkling wine or shiraz.  

Why drive to your hotel when you can fly there? You could always jump in a helicopter in Canberra and take the scenic route to Lake George Winery before having a wine tasting in the private cellar. Stay overnight in the property’s sustainable tiny house, and wake to views over the vines before enjoying brunch at Westering, the estate’s lovely restaurant. 

Poachers Pantry, Springrange CREDIT: Destination NSW

Food and drink at Poachers Pantry, Springrange.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Poachers Pantry, Springrange CREDIT: Destination NSW

Food and drink at Poachers Pantry, Springrange.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Robyn Rowe Chocolates, Murrumbateman CREDIT: Destination NSW

Boutique handmade chocolates available for purchase at Robyn Rowe Chocolates, Murrumbateman.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Robyn Rowe Chocolates, Murrumbateman CREDIT: Destination NSW

Boutique handmade chocolates available for purchase at Robyn Rowe Chocolates, Murrumbateman.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

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