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Head for the Hill(tops)

Belinda Neame

It’s vintage charm meets the best of modern life. 

Less than a two-hour drive from Canberra, the rolling countryside of the hilltops region is bursting with rich red soils, stone fruits (cherries are the local heroes), vineyards, livestock and locals who welcome you with good old fashioned hospitality.

EAT

THE MUDDY DUCK

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A café, giftwares, florist and deli, The Muddy Duck has it all. Nestled inside the historic Murrumburrah Post Office, this gorgeous café is impossible to resist. Open for breakfast and lunch from Wednesday to Sunday, The Muddy Duck specialises (as the name suggests) in duck offerings and you shouldn’t leave without trying their handmade duck chorizo. With fresh, flavour-packed menu options, homemade cakes and good coffee, The Muddy Duck is one of the region’s little gems.

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Muddy Duck | 344 Albury Street, Murrumburrah | Facebook @TheMuddyDuckCafe

KETTLE & GRAIN

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Set in the former Young School, Kettle & Grain Café has old-world charm but is a modern culinary delight dishing up a fresh, seasonal menu: think tasty bruschetta on moreish rye bread or a “Big Bird” chicken burger made with the tenderest chicken breast. Room 
for more? Tantalise your taste buds with a homemade cake and slice, or a creamy ONA coffee.

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Kettle & Grain Café | 2 Campbell St, Young | kettleandgrain.com

LAMBING FLAT MUSEUM

Sit inside one of the former classrooms, or maybe let the kids roam in the sun-filled courtyard—and don’t
 leave without a taste of the region in the form of local Hilltops Honey and homemade pantry items. When you’re sated, work off that lunch with a walk through the old school yards and the Lambing Flat Museum.

Lambing Flat Museum | Campbell Street, Young | lambingflatmuseum.webs.com

GROVE ESTATE WINERY

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It’s just four kilometres from Young, but Grove Estate Winery’s sweeping vineyards wouldn’t be out of place in Tuscany or the Loire Valley. Having taken out Gourmet Traveller Wine’s ‘Best Small Cellar Door’ award for the Hilltops region five years in a row, the winery is also quietly building its international following with its French and Italian varietals.

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Tim Kirk from Clonakilla Wines is one of Grove Estate’s head winemakers—and you can taste it. With a large range of reds and whites (and now a Moscato) and a local winery dog called Stubby, be prepared to taste-test, indulge and soak up the view of this stunning 35-hectare property.

Grove Estate | 4100 Murringo Road, Young | groveestate.com.au

THE SIR GEORGE

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When you turn off the Hume Highway towards Jugiong, you do wonder what could possibly lie at the end of this long, quiet country road. But don’t let first impressions deceive you. Built in 1852 and grandly positioned on the corner of Riverside Drive, the historic The Sir George has recently undergone a stunning refurbishment.

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A good old-fashioned pub with a simple eat, drink and bake philosophy, you’ll love the family aspect—the indoor restaurant overlooks the beautiful grounds that provide plenty of space for the kids to play, explore, pat the resident goats and calves and climb in and out of the cubby house.

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The Sir George | Riverside Drive, Jugiong | sirgeorge.com.au

THE LONG TRACK PANTRY

Finish off your time in Jugiong by exploring the town on foot: visiting the Long Track Pantry for locally made jams, chutneys and sauces, Jugiong Wine Cellar for a local wine or two, and the Curators Collective boutique for a little retail therapy. Jugiong really is the Hume Highway’s little gem.

The Long Track Pantry | 1 Riverside Drive, Jugiong | longtrackpantry.com.au

Curators Collective | Studio 3, 4 Doors Up, Harden Road, Jugiong | curatorscollective.com.au

Play

LAMBING FLAT CHINESE TRIBUTE GARDEN

Want to stop for a moment and digest all that food? A visit to The Lambing Flat Chinese Tribute Garden at Chinaman’s Dam reserve is a must. Just four kilometres from the Young town centre, the development of the gardens began in 1992 and was established to recognise the contribution of the Chinese community to the settlement of Young in the 1860s.

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The gardens and surrounds will take your breath away—it’s quiet, peaceful and the perfect spot for a morning or afternoon picnic (barbecue facilities are also available). In the mood for some introspection? Find the viewing platform across the bridge and simply sit and relax overlooking the Pool of Tranquility.

Lambing Flat Chinese Tribute Garden | Pitstone Road, Young

POPPA’S FUDGE & JAM FACTORY

Don’t plan on having a quick visit to Poppa’s Fudge and Jam Factory. Kevin and Vicki sold over one tonne of fudge in their first week of trading and once you taste it, you’ll understand why. Freshly-made by Poppa without any preservatives or additives, it will send your taste buds into overdrive!

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Not only is Poppa’s a fudge factory;
 it also offers a huge range of gift and homewares, chocolates and lollies. The shelves are also full to the brim with an extensive range of jams and chutneys, all of which are made on the premises, using locally-grown produce.

Poppa’s Fudge Factory | 21 Lovell St, Young | poppasfudgeandjamfactory.com

BOTANICA ROMANTICA

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What’s a trip without some retail therapy? On the long, wide main
street of Harden you’ll find garden
and giftware boutique Botanica Romantica.

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Stocking a lovely range
of local and Australian-made and designed products, there is something for everyone: local honey, men’s giftware, the sweetest smelling candles and, as its Latin moniker would imply, a beautiful display of indoor and outdoor plants.

Botanica Romantica | 46 Neill Street, Harden | botanicaromantica.com.au

PANTRY ON PUDMAN

A favourite stop for locals and travellers alike, Pantry on Pudman is not just a café—it’s also antique heaven!

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Located in the farming town of Boorowa, it boasts a simple and delicious menu full of locally made sweets, regional and national produce, fresh flowers and an extensive range of antiques and collectables. You might want to add a little more estimated time to your road trip.

The Pantry on Pudman | 107 Pudman Street, Boorowa | Facebook

Stay

COLENSO FARM

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If you’re looking for urban buzz, this isn’t the place for you; but if you want to unplug and soak in the beauty of the rural lifestyle, Colenso Farm is the perfect retreat. Located on an isolated stretch between Harden and Boorowa, this working farm will bring you instant calm as soon as you arrive—and on a clear night, the beauty of The Milky Way will keep you spellbound for hours.

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Choose from Colenso Country Retreat (sleeps eight) or Walker’s Cottage (sleeps four). All beds are adorned with cloud-like mattresses and covered in the whitest of linen. Although both cottages are self-catered, you can order hearty homemade meals ahead of time and Rosie will deliver them straight to your door.

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It’s a truly relaxing farm stay where you can bring your pets, walk the paddocks or just sit and relax on the verandah as you breathe in the country air.

Colenso Farm | 219 Colenso Road, Galong | colensocountryretreat.com.au

OTHER PLACES TO LAY YOUR HAT

Art of Espresso, Young

Art of Espresso, Young

St Clements Retreat & Conference Centre

Kalangan Road, Galong | stclement.com.au

Wantana Cottage Farmstay

854 Rugby Road, Boorowa | facebook.com/wantanafarmstay1

Federation Motor Inn

109-119 Main Street, Young | youngfederation.com.au

All images by Tim Bean Photography

This article originally appeared in Magazine: Future for Winter 2017, available for free while stocks last. Find out more about Magazine here.

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Belinda Neame

Belinda is HerCanberra's Production Manager. A foodie and lover of handmade, Belinda enjoys nothing more than a good coffee and seeing Canberra businesses thrive. In her 'spare time', Belinda organises the quarterly Canberra street food event, The Forage with her husband Tim. More about the Author

  • RWJ

    Great review, really enjoyed it. Thank you.

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