Discover beautiful 19th century heritage in Gulgong, a colonial goldmining town in the Mudgee wine region of NSW. Stroll along the streets and admire about 130 National Trust-listed buildings such as Australia’s oldest operating opera house, the Prince of Wales Opera House, which opened in 1871.
Gold fever struck in 1870, when payable gold was found at Red Hill. Prior to the discovery Gulgong was a sheep-run. You can learn about the Gulgong gold rush at the Pioneers Museum and on the Gulgong Gold Experience at Red Hill, where there’s a replica mine and the kids can try gold panning.
The great Australian writer and bush poet Henry Lawson spent his childhood in the area and you can learn more about his cultural legacy at the Henry Lawson Centre. The town celebrates Lawson’s extraordinary literary contribution with the annual Henry Lawson Festival on the June long weekend.
Scenes of Lawson’s childhood years in gold towns such as Gulgong appeared on the first Australian $10 note, according to the Reserve Bank of Australia Museum. The goldfields attracted Chinese to Gulgong too and their heritage is celebrated with thein October.
You’ll find many more wonderful things to do and see in and around Gulgong, from wine tasting at acclaimed wineries to exploring the magnificent Goulburn River National Park. The annual Gulgong Folk Festival is a popular three-day event in December-January with over 50 musicians.
Accommodation options in Gulgong suit various budgets and include motels, lovingly restored colonial cottages and a heritage motel. Getting to Gulgong is easy, with the drive from Mudgee 30 minutes and from Dubbo 75 minutes. The drive from Sydney, via the Blue Mountains, is four hours.