Do wine without driving long trails. Find solitude but also an urban scene. Heavy on charm but not shy of personality, the big little city of Goulburn serves scones with street art and organic wine. The weekend escape you're waiting for is only a two-hour drive from Sydney or an hour out of Canberra.
Embark on a delicious café crawl
Going country has a way of making you crave the classics. A tasting tour around town’s alfresco cafés is a lovely way to line up your day. The Park Café on Auburn Street is a go-to for standout coffee, cold-pressed juices and Instagram-baiting breakfasts, Harvest Goulburn does hearty flavours (think: homestyle sausage rolls) as well as sweet treats and you’ll find proper homemade scones and jam at the family-run The Roses Cafe.
Stay in a sustainable strawbale winery
The best wine weekends happen when you can actually drink the good stuff rather traipse a long trail. Putting an organic spin on cool-climate varietals, Yarralaw Springs, a 30-minute drive south town, bottles a lot of what makes Goulburn’s small wine map interesting. Book a night or two in the Vine Loft, a timber-lined apartment above the cellar door, to soak up the winery’s award-winning cabernet sauvignon while nibbling estate-grown olives and watching golden hour stretch across the farm’s secluded valley.
Mix grandeur with graffiti art
If there’s only so much heritage you can handle, you’ll find history has a heartbeat on the Self-Guided Heritage Tour walk around the city centre. The past grandeur of Australia’s first inland city shimmers in St Saviour’s Cathedral – a Gothic Revival masterpiece considered one of the most beautiful in the country – and the spectacular old post office but along the route colourful street-art murals, sculptures (part of the Public Art Walk by Goulburn Regional Art Gallery) and boutiques that beg for browsing keep things lively.
Ride a dreamy river
Breathe slowly and take in nature at its green and fragrant best on a stroll along the picturesque Wollondilly River Walkway. There are plenty of pretty spots for shaking out a picnic rug along the four-kilometre stretch but bring a towel, too: locals who swim, paddleboard and fish in the river really have the right idea.
Have some good steamy fun
Who doesn’t love a country fair? The Steampunk Victoriana Fair (11 - 13 March, 2022) does it with a retro-futuristic twist. Held at the Goulburn Historic Waterworks (thus the steam theme), this family-friendly mini-festival mixes 19th-century-inspired vibes with live music, steam engine tours, art and food market stalls.