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Helm Winery

Break Away Trails: Yass Valley

Amanda Whitley

Yass Valley might be a hop, step and a jump from Canberra, but there’s more than enough to occupy an entire weekend.



poachers ham feature

If you’ve never taken the short trip out of town to Poachers Pantry, you’re missing out on something special. Surrounded by vineyards of grapes used to produce the elegant cool-climate wines at Wily Trout Vineyard, Poachers is a piece of rural life mere minutes from Canberra. Sample some of the specialty house-smoked produce and wash it down with a delicate yet complex white wine or soft, spicy shiraz. Settle in for brunch or lunch in the original weatherboard farmhouse or sit outside and soak in the country air.

431 Nanima Rd, Murrumbateman |



Hope you left room for dessert! Take a short but picturesque drive along Nanima Rd to discover the delights of lovingly hand-crafted chocolates at Robyn Rowe’s Chocolate d’Or. Made with the highest quality imported Belgian Callebaut Fair Trade couverture, Robyn’s chocolates are deliciously smooth, glossy and creamy. Watch the skilled technicians create these moreish delicacies and try to eat just one.

1153 Nanima Rd, Murrumbateman |


This place hardly needs an introduction — Clonakilla has become synonymous with award-winning wine. This family winery’s recently made-over cellar door is nestled on the fringe of Murrumbateman and gives you a chance to see what all the fuss is about. Be sure to try the Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier.

3 Crisps Lane, Murrumbateman |



Helm Winery

Helm Winery

Ken Helm is somewhat of an institution in the Canberra District wine scene and a long-time advocate for rieslings. The Helm Wines tasting room is the 1888 Toual Public School House, listed by the National Trust and the inspiration for the school bell featured on their label.

It was once used for meetings of the Temperance League, where locals signed the pledge against alcohol! The Half Dry Riesling is a cracker.

9 Butts Road, Murrumbateman |


Head out of town to Grazing in Gundaroo - one of our favourite 'cosy' places to eat.

Head out of town to Grazing in Gundaroo – one of our favourite ‘cosy’ places to eat.

Round out your day with dinner at Grazing at the historic Royal Hotel at Gundaroo. An award-winning restaurant with a focus on the best of the district’s food and wine, Grazing serves elegant food made with the freshest possible ingredients. A rare treat.

Cork Street, Gundaroo |


Breathe in the country air and enjoy breakfast among the historic 1870s police stables and lock up, which is now The Cork Street Café. Expect some good hearty country fare to start your day

Cork Street, Gundaroo |


A little sideways step from traditional wine tasting, drop into Wins Creek Meadery. As well as producing honey, this new kid on the block also produces a number of different types of mead (honey wine). If mead doesn’t get your ‘honey flowing’, why not try the hand-crushed apple cider, ginger beer or root beer from the boutique microbrewery?

Barton Highway, Murrumbateman |


Clementine is a warm and vibrant regional restaurant in the heart 
of Yass. Set in a 1950s weatherboard cottage with views across the lawn to the striking Lovett Chapel, the menu is strongly influenced by regional French-Italian style cooking and changes weekly to utilise the highest quality seasonal produce. The well-considered wine list is dedicated exclusively to local wines.

104 Meehan St, Yass |



You’re probably needing to walk off all that food by now. Stroll the streets of Yass with the Town Walk map as your guide, taking in the beautiful architecture of buildings that are over 150 years old.


How could you resist one last cheeky wine tasting on your journey home? Take the scenic route via Murrumbateman Road and stop in to Four Winds Vineyard.

These guys love the simple things: great wine and wood-fired pizzas. Pull up a chair overlooking the vineyard, a glass of handcrafted wine in one hand and a melty slice in the other. What better way to finish an indulgent weekend away in Yass Valley!

9 Patemans Lane, Murrumbateman |


A designated driver is a must for this itinerary. If no one is keen to lay off the vino, we recommend Vines and Wines who run regular wine-tasting tours around the region and can organise private tours for groups of eight or more.



Rest easy at the newly opened The Nest at Gundaroo. With five generous self-contained luxury villas, there are options for couples and families.

56 Cork Street, Gundaroo |


If you’re after true country style accommodation, The Gundaroo Colonial Inn is the go.

 23 Cork Street, Gundaroo |

Feature image by Martin Ollman

You can read this article in full and more in our latest edition of Magazine: Break The Mould. Available for free while stocks last. Click here to find your closest stockist. 

Magazine Break The Mould Cover


Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women. More about the Author

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