There is a strong tradition of the road trip in Australia. It’s almost a rite of passage for most Aussie families; we all have a story of being bundled into the family car in the 70’s or 80’s, bickering with siblings the whole way, playing punch buggy and listening to whatever music your parents chose (for me this was Paul McCartney, Frankie Valli and random Brazilian music!) This country is huge after all, and there is so much to see, for a family it makes sense to take your time, and meander to your destination without the pressure of racing to make flights, stopping off and taking in the scenery along the way. The journey, as they say say, is just as important as the destination!
Sydney to Melbourne via the Hume Highway is hardly one of the greats. In fact I’d go so far as to say the the Hume is THE most boring stretch of road in Australia. It’s not all bad; there are beautiful old towns along the way, but sadly the highway bypasses most, and the scenery gets super repetitive after 3 or 4 hours.
An old friend of mine, Carlie, did the tree change from Sydney to Jugiong some years ago, and since then I’ve been Jugiong curious as we’ve zoomed past it on our cross country drives. This time, I decided to stop by, and I get it! I absolutely understand why she’s so taken with this little country town. It’s tiny, but picturesque, friendly, and for a small town it’s got a bit going on. Carlie owns The Curators Collective, a beautiful shop next door to the Sir George Pub. I met Carlie when she was fashion editor at the Sunday Magazine. With more than 10 years of styling under her belt, she was one of those girls who was effortlessly cool…so it follows that her shop in Jugiong reflects this. Everything is carefully considered, from beautiful Panama hats to lush Jac & Jack knits, stunning Nick Leary prints…pop your head in, say hi, I defy you to come out empty handed!
Around the corner, The Sir George Pub recently had a face lift, and is a top spot to stop with the family to stretch your legs and have a feed after a long drive. As well as the restaurant on site, it has a bakery, a nursery, a thriving kitchen garden, a petting farm, a cubby house and a huge lawn for kids to tear around on. Lunch is all about tasting plates and light meals, whilst the dinner menu features heartier fare. There are plans to add accomodation to the pub, but not until next year.
For another visit; the public pool, delightfully retro by all accounts, but closed for the season when we visited in April, and The Long Track Pantry…purveyors of fine regional produce and wine. A good reason to come back!
After having a feed at the pub, and re-merchandising The Curators Collective (thanks Kinga!) we needed a place to bed down for the night. Gundagai is pretty well the half way mark between Sydney and Melbourne, 30 minutes south from Jugiong. Kimo Estate is an easy 10 minutes out of Gundagai town, set on a 7000 acre working sheep and cattle farm. The property has several different accomodation options; the eco hut, set high on a hill with 360 degree views of the Murrimbidgee River flats and surrounding Kimo Valley (perhaps for a couples weekend away?) or a choice of 2 beautifully appointed family cottages (one with 2 bedrooms, another with 3) and the newly refurbished Shearers Quarters (6 bedrooms with a shared mess hall and bathroom). Kimo’s owner Emelia kindly showed me around the entire estate; in addition to the accomm, they also have a beautiful homestead and a cool old barn, where they host weddings and other private functions. We were in ‘Daleys Cottage’, the three bedroom option, and it was perfect. We had a picnic on the deck, taking in an incredible sunset (the light in the country is different somehow? Warmer? Beautiful!) before an early night…and an early start in the morning.
WE ATE AT
WE SHOPPED AT
The Curators Collective, Jugiong
WE SLEPT AT
For enquiries please phone Emelia on 0421505949 (tell her I sent you!)