Most people know Gundagai for its famous Dog on the Tuckerbox Pioneer Monument. But there’s much more to this laid-back town in the Riverina region than its bronzed canine statue. Gundagai is proud of its rich architectural, colonial and Aboriginal histories, boutique wineries, and lures those with a passion for the outdoors with great fishing and a thrilling annual rodeo.
Things to do
Despite the diversity of attractions in and around Gundagai, you’ll want to make your first stop that famous monument. The Dog on the Tuckerbox depicts a faithful pet guarding its dead master’s food container, and commemorates the European pioneers who settled in the area. Unveiled in 1932 to assist the local hospital, the monument sits beside the Hume Highway and is a popular picnic stop on road trips.
A few other town highlights take their name from the monument, including the Dog on the Tucker box recreational trail – it takes you from the statue 4km back into the heart of Gundagai. Pick your mode of transport: you can walk, cycle or even ride a horse the distance.
The Gundagai Historic Museum delves into the history of the region. Among the stories that you can explore is that of Wiradjuri Aboriginal men Yarri and Jacky Jacky – the pair saved some 69 lives during the great flood of 1852, by using bark canoes to rescue the townsfolk. A bronze sculpture of the two heroes is on the corner of Kitchener and Sheridan streets.
Streetscape in the town, Gundagai
If you prefer to explore history in the great outdoors, lace up your walking shoes to take on the Architectural Heritage Walk. You’ll discover the Gundagai Heritage Railway and the Old Gundagai Gaol, where infamous bushranger Captain Moonlite was held. You’ll also stroll past the Prince Alfred Bridge, described as the grandest bridge in the colony when it opened in 1867 – it’s one of the Historic Bridges of Gundagai.
Railway Bridge and Prince Alfred Bridge Viaduct, Gundagai
The Riverina region is known as the ‘food bowl’ of NSW for good reason – produce thrives here, including grape vines. The Gundagai wine region, which includes Wagga Wagga, grows grapes for excellent shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay wines, among others. Visit cellar doors of Paterson's Gundagai Vineyard, Tumblong Hills, Cottontail Wines and Borambola Wines. The latter cellar door is now the home of Riviera Gin, with the owners distilling on-site using botanicals plucked from the estate's garden. This means that when you visit, you can not only enjoy a wine and beer tasting, but also a gin flight.
Where to drink
Want to meet Gundagai's locals over a quiet one? The town has plenty of places to whet your whistle, including the Tumblong Tavern, Beehive Hotel, Family Hotel and Criterion Hotel. All offer classic pub fare including burgers and parmi, as well as a good range of beers on tap. Don't expect fancy cocktails, though.
Throw out a line
The junction of the Murrumbidgee and Tumut rivers at Gundagai is a popular fishing spot, with trout, Murray cod, yellowbelly and bream all a potential catch. The Tarrabandra Fishing Retreat is a stroll from the Tumut River.
The town’s dynamic events calendar features several jackaroo and jillaroo competitions, including Gundagai Campdraft and Gundagai Rodeo. There is also the Gundagai show in February and Battle on the Bidgee in October.
Where to stay
Accommodation options in and around Gundagai, include hotels, motels, B&Bs and riverside caravan and camping spots. Flash Jacks of Gundagai is a luxury boutique hotel above Main Street, with commanding views of the beautiful hills surrounding the town. Meanwhile, Kimo Estate is a working 2,800 hectare farm that offers a variety of accommodation including EcoHuts, cottages and the Shearers Quarters.
Gundagai is four hours’ drive from Sydney, five hours from Melbourne and two hours from Canberra. You can fly in to Wagga Wagga Airport, rent a car from the hire services available at the airport and make the one-hour drive east to Gundagai through bucolic countryside.
Destination NSW acknowledges and respects Aboriginal people as the state’s first people and nations and recognises Aboriginal people as the Traditional Owners and occupants of New South Wales land and water.