Visiting Gulgong in the Mudgee region of country NSW is like taking a trip right through regional Australia in the 19th century. This former gold mining town still feels like it might have in the 1870s when people came here seeking quick fortunes.
Walk through history
Gulgong is home to around 130 National Trust-listed buildings, many complete with their original verandahs and iron-lace balconies. You can also see Australia’s oldest operating opera house, the Prince of Wales Opera House, which opened in 1871, and where the great Dame Nellie Melba once performed.
Gold fever struck the region in 1870, when payable gold was found at Red Hill and 20,000 people flocked to the area. Prior to that, Gulgong was just 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.
The excellent Gulong Holtermann Museum is housed in two 1870s buildings on Mayne Street. Inside you'll find a display of more than 350 photographs of the region from the UNESCO-listed Holtermann Collection. Interactive displays allow you to immerse yourself in the past through the striking black and white images.
Celebrate Henry Lawson
The great Australian writer and bush poet Henry Lawson spent his childhood in the area. 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 note.
The town celebrates Lawson’s life with the Henry Lawson Heritage 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.
Things to do
Other things to do in and around Gulgong include wine tasting at wineries and exploring the sprawling Goulburn River National Park. In this riverside wilderness east of Gulgong, spot emus, red-necked wallabies and turquoise parrots, and go fishing, hiking and camping.
Getting there and where to stay
Gulgong is a four-hour drive from Sydney and 20min from Mudgee. You can also fly into Mudgee Airport or take the train and coach. Accommodation options in Gulgong suit various budgets and include motels, restored colonial cottages and a heritage motel.