Gundaroo

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Gundaroo attracts grey nomads
The Royal Hotel is one of a range of historic building styles that can be seen in Gundaroo PIC: Tourism NSW

The historic village of Gundaroo just to the north of Canberra is something of a picturesque time capsule … and it loves grey nomads.

Located just 35 kilometres from Australia’s capital, Gundaroo is a classic example of a 19th-century Australian village, which has somehow escaped the urban sprawl associated with other small settlements within commuting distance of Canberra.

With a population of less than 400, it lies in the Yass River valley on gently rolling countryside and is surrounded by distant wooded hills.

The Gundaroo Historical Society says the village contains all the elements typical of a township from 150 years ago including a hotel, a general store/post office, a common, a park and three churches.

The original character of the main street has been very much preserved with many buildings that were constructed between 1860- 1890 still being in very good condition. The Historical Society says there is a range of building styles and materials including slab huts, wattle and daub, stone and locally fired brick.

There are also pleasing open spaces and a town common bordering the village on the eastern side, which is one of the few remaining functioning town commons in existence which provides an area for villagers to graze cattle.

Gundaroo Park has been a ‘for a donation’ campground for more than 20 years and the Yass Valley Council has just voted to keep it that way. Although there were some concerns about the noise of generators and disturbance from lights, as well as of campers using the park as a bathroom instead of the amenities provided, the campground is largely seen as a positive addition to the village which brings extra custom to local businesses. The council now plans to build a new amenities block.

Grey nomads will find Gundaroo a perfect place to enjoy walking around while checking out the magnificent old buildings, many of which are still in use. Highlights include: the original Court House which was built in 1875 and became St Mark’s Church in 1941; the stone Presbyterian Church which was built in 1864; the village’s first pub, the Royal Hotel, which was built in 1865 and is now a restaurant; The Old Post Office built in 1890 which now operates as a café; and the Commercial Hotel and Star Wine Saloon, a brick and weather-board building with verandahs front and back.

There are numerous other fascinating buildings and stores which can make Gunaradoo appear frozen in time. However, the settlement is very much alive and kicking … as evidenced by the extremely popular annual Music Festival, which attracts the finest national musical talent and attracts more than 2,000 people.

And if all that wasn’t enough, there are several excellent wineries in the immediate vicinity.

What’s not to love about this unique village?

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