Australia is home to some awesome country towns. From colonial architecture and stunning landscapes, to lively pubs and friendly locals, it’s no wonder that rural Australia attracts so much attention.
Sometimes the only problem with visiting Australia’s rural treasure chest is the vastness of the country and the time it takes to get around. It’s not like you can head out at sparrows on a Sunday, drive 6 hours, have a feed, wander the main street and be home for tea.
So, with that in mind we’ve put together a series of articles about great country towns that are doable day trips from major Australian cities. The starting points for part one are Sydney, Perth and The Gold Coast. Enjoy!
Berrima, Dharrawal and Gundungurra Country ‐ 75 minutes from Sydney
The Hume Motorway thankfully offers a quick escape from Sydney to the South West. Just an hour from Sydney’s CBD, the road rises to the cooler climes of the beautiful Southern Highlands. In a region known for dramatic scenery, antique stores and local handicrafts, the township of Berrima stands out as the jewel in the crown. Beautiful colonial sandstone buildings line the main street of this little town that time forgot. Try the pies at the award‐winning Gumnut Patisserie or grab lunch at The Surveyor General Inn, Australia’s oldest continually-licensed venue. Old Berrima Courthouse is the architectural highlight of town and, if you have time, the Courthouse
Sound and Light Spectacular is a joyous tiptoe along the fine line between quaint and tacky. We highly recommend it!
York, Nyoongar Country ‐ 90 minutes from Perth
The first inland European settlement in Western Australia is a favourite day trip for people in Perth. Gazetted in 1830, the township of York originally acted as a service and transport centre for the colony’s rapidly growing wheat belt. It wasn’t until Western Australian gold rushes in the 1880’s and 1890’s that York had its flash‐in‐the‐pan moment as a wildly wealthy hub for gold money. It is from the gold rush era that York’s famed architecture came to be. As with many of our country towns, the melding of colonial and Victorian stylings make for a beautiful and uniquely Australian aesthetic. Wandering around York on a cool sunny day is a truly surreal escape from the bright lights of Perth just 100km away.
Nimbin, Bundjalung Country ‐ 90 minutes from The Gold Coast
Is Nimbin Australia’s weirdest town? Locals will certainly tell you it’s the chillest. Nestled in the foothills behind Byron Bay and only a 90‐minute drive from the tourist packed beaches of the Gold Coast, Nimbin certainly offers something very different. Vibrant murals adorn the sides of buildings, backpackers in vans make the pilgrimage to sample to local produce and barefooted hippies, many who have lived in the area for up to 50 years, wander the streets. Nimbin isn’t for everybody but like its big cousin Amsterdam, the coffee is great and there is plenty to see and do.
Join us again next week as we have a look at three more country towns a short drive from more major Aussie cities. Next week’s points of departure will be Brisbane, Adelaide and Wollongong!