Walk the streets of this colonial goldmining town and discover beautiful heritage. In the Mudgee wine region of NSW, Gulgong is home to about 130 National Trust-listed buildings, as well as Australia’s oldest operating opera house. The Prince of Wales Opera House opened in 1871.

Gold fever struck the region in 1870, when payable gold was found at Red Hill. Prior to that, Gulgong was a sheep-run - a large property for raising sheep. Learn about the gold rush at the Gulgong Pioneers Museum and on the Gulgong Gold Experience, where there’s a replica mine and you can pan for gold.

A heritage streetscape in Gulgong, Mudgee wine region

The great Australian writer and bush poet Henry Lawson spent his childhood in the area. You can discover more about his cultural legacy at the Henry Lawson Centre. Scenes of Lawson’s childhood years in gold towns such as Gulgong appeared on the first Australian $10 paper note

The town celebrates Lawson’s literary contribution with the Henry Lawson Festival every June long weekend. Other fun annual festivals are the Gulgong Folk festival in December and the Gulgong Gold and Mining Festival in October. The biennial Clay Gulgong attracts ceramists from around the world.

A band rotunda in the ANZAC Memorial Park, Gulgong, NSW

Other wonderful things to do in and around Gulgong include wine tasting at wineries and exploring the magnificent Goulburn River National Park. In this riverside wilderness, east of Gulgong, you can spot emus, red-necked wallabies and turquoise parrots. The park is great for fishing, hiking and camping.

Accommodation options in Gulgong suit various budgets and include motels, lovingly restored colonial cottages and a heritage motel. Gulgong is 20 minutes’ drive from Mudgee and 75 minutes from Dubbo. The drive from Sydney, via the spectacular Blue Mountains, is four hours.