The heritage-listed town of Braidwood is the perfect destination for a weekend away, boasting historic buildings, adventures in nature and fabulous local cuisine and wines.
The Southern Tablelands town of Braidwood is easy to love. At first glance, its spacious, inviting streets and heritage architecture evoke a bygone era, but as you stay a bit longer, you’ll discover that this NSW town is so much more than its beautiful facade. It’s also home to culinary delights (did someone say truffles?), talented artisans and national parks just awaiting exploration.
Braidwood quickly rose to prosperity after the discovery of gold in 1851, funding the town’s grand buildings, but its heritage charms are beautifully balanced with the area’s contemporary art galleries, luxurious B&Bs and chic wineries.
Listed on the NSW State Heritage Register thanks to its preserved Victorian-era architecture, Braidwood is a delight that deserves more than a coffee break on a road trip from Sydney or Canberra. Here’s how to make the most out of a trip to Braidwood, the cool country town that should be on your radar.
You won’t miss the bright pink Braidwood Hotel. (Image: Adam McGrath)
Braidwood is just over a three-hour drive from Sydney and an hour from Canberra, easily accessible from either city. The Southern Tablelands region sits within south-east NSW and is also just a short drive inland from the popular South Coast beach towns of Batemans Bay and Narooma.
Where to eat
Like any respectable Australian country town, Braidwood prides itself on its bakeries, the ideal first stop for a sweet treat after you arrive in town. The Braidwood Bakery, dating back to 1932, is worth any queue – you absolutely can’t beat their chocolate and fresh cream eclair, but the meat pies are also a fan favourite. Artisan bakery Dojo Bread is the best place to stock up on freshly baked German-style bread and bagels.
For a hearty country meal, Braidwood Hotel (you can’t miss it, it’s pink!), offers a roaring fireplace, Sunday roast and a convivial atmosphere. The Bushranger Restaurant within the Royal Mail Hotel is another heritage pub that doesn’t disappoint. Meanwhile, Smokey Horse, a popular Himalayan eatery offering craft beers and live music, has the best curries in town.
Stock up at artisan bakery, Dojo Bread. (Image: Field & Film)
The Southern Tablelands climate and soil also creates ideal conditions for spirits and wine production. Lark Hill Winery, in nearby Bungendore, specialises in biodynamic, cold-climate wines; Agostinis at Lark Hill Winery, their on-site Tuscan eatery, is one of the best spots in the area for a long weekend lunch.
Time your visit with the bi-monthly Braidwood Farmers Market, held on Saturdays, to browse the stalls for delectable treats like local jams, honey and fresh produce. Braidwood is also known for its valuable black truffles, with several truffle farms open to the public for tours.
Take a truffle farm tour at L’air du Wombat Truffles. (Image: Janine Fabre)
Things to do
Braidwood Museum is the best starting point for learning more about the region. It’s open on Fridays and Saturdays and is packed with historical artefacts tied to the area’s settler, gold rush and even bushranger past (Ned Kelly, starring Mick Jagger and released in 1970, was filmed not in Glenrowan or Beechworth but Braidwood).
As you continue along Wallace Street, the town’s main thoroughfare, there’s plenty of impressive architecture to discover on the Braidwood Heritage Walk, including the Old Post Office (built in late 1864), the Albion Hotel (home to the fabulous Albion Cafe), the Court House and St Andrew’s Anglican Church.
learn more about the region at Braidwood Museum. (Image: Jarrah Knowles)
The town centre is also a delight for antiquing, art galleries and boutique shops, run by passionate artisans. Studio Altenburg, within the heritage Commercial Bank building, has been family-owned since 1978 and has rotating exhibitions, plus an impressive gift shop of local crafts and clothing. The Braidwood Regional Arts Group Gallery is also a great option for affordable art.
Wander the rotating exhibitions at Studio Altenburg. (Image: Destination NSW)
Once you’re ready to explore beyond town, the Southern Tablelands are a treasure for hikers and walkers, with several national parks nearby. Monga National Park, about 20 kilometres from Braidwood, is home to an ancient temperate rainforest and important cultural sites for the Yuin and Walbunja people, the area’s traditional owners. Serious walkers will enjoy the 16-kilometre one-way Corn Trail walking track, an important historic route for both Indigenous peoples and settlers, but it can also be explored on horseback.
Deua, Budawang, Tallaganda and Morton National Parks are also just a short drive from Braidwood, each offering plenty of scenic walks for all skill levels. Morton National Park is home to Pigeon House Mountain Didthul walking track, with the hike to the top offering some of the state’s most iconic views.
Take in the view at Pigeon House Mountain. (Image: Destination NSW)
Where to stay
You’ll find plenty of welcoming and unique accommodation in Braidwood, whether you want to stay for a night or a week. For luxury and history, The Doncaster is an excellent choice. As the town’s first hotel, dating back to the 1840s, The Doncaster has been a convent, boarding school and even a temporary safe haven during the Second World War. Today it’s an elegantly restored guest house with beautifully landscaped gardens and old-world style.
Sleep in luxury and history at The Doncaster.
Farm stays and B&Bs are also plentiful throughout the Southern Tablelands. The dog-friendly Braidwood Farm Stay & Cafe is a working farm and offers tiny houses or shared bunks for guests. Enjoy a morning flat white on your balcony as you watch wallabies graze, cool off in the nearby swimming holes at Bombay Reserve, or join in on a horseback ride.
Cedar Lodge, a conveniently located and well-equipped inn, is a stylish and modern take on the traditional roadside motel that’s an ideal base for meandering around town. Meanwhile, Mona Farm‘s award-winning gardens play host to seven luxurious historic guest houses, providing the perfect romantic getaway surrounded by contemporary art and sculpture.
Stay at Mona Farm’s Homestead, one of seven accommodation options.