Located in a beautiful pocket of NSW’s Riverina region, just a short drive from Wagga Wagga, Junee is full of surprises. The town revolves around its delectable Licorice and Chocolate Factory. But as a stop on the major Melbourne-Sydney railway line, this pretty country town is also home to a fascinating railway museum. And then there’s the haunted house and heritage streetscapes…
History & heritage
Lace up your walking shoes and get set to explore Junee on foot. First stop: the Junee Visitor Information Centre, located at the Junee Library, where you can pick up information on self-guided tours that take in the town’s heritage buildings. Along the way, be sure to stop by the two-storey Broadway Museum – a heritage-listed pub built in 1914, which houses a collection of local memorabilia and Betty’s on Broadway cafe.
Historic Junee Post Office, Junee
The town of Junee began to develop when the railway line came to town – needless to say, it’s an important part of history. Take a guided tour of the Junee Roundhouse Railway Museum, an impressive feat of engineering and one of the few working roundhouses left in the world. When it opened in the 1940s, it had the largest turntable in the Southern Hemisphere. It is also the location of the last steam train depot in NSW.
For more rail history, take the short drive to the heritage-listed, 1940s Bethungra Rail Spiral, one of Australia’s most significant rail engineering feats of its time.
The Victorian-era Monte Cristo Homestead has seen a lot of action over its years, and today is reputed to be Australia’s most haunted house. Book an evening ghost tour through the mansion or, if you’re brave enough, spend the night. Don’t miss the creepy collections in the doll museum.
You don’t need to have a sweet tooth to appreciate the Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory, set in a heritage flour mill building. You can watch chocolatiers make their wares, try your hand at making your own giant freckle, or just pick up delicious goodies from the Willy Wonka-esque store.
Enjoy a break at the Junee Railway Cafe & Emporium, serving coffee and lunches in an atmospheric turn-of-the-century railway refreshment building that has plenty of room for kids to play – there’s also a store where you can pick up locally made homewares and accessories.
The Junee Rotary Farmers Market is held on the first Sunday of the month (excluding January). Pick up fresh local produce, cheese, wine, olives and more. You can also browse gourmet treats and hand-crafted gifts at Bethungra Old School T-House, northeast of Junee – the establishment also comes with a great cafe, and has seasonal gardens that you’ll want to spend time exploring.
Junee is around halfway between Sydney and Melbourne. It’s a 4.5-hour drive from Sydney, 5.5-hour from Melbourne and 2.5-hour from Canberra. You can also catch the train from both Sydney and Melbourne, and the journey takes around six hours. Alternatively, fly into Wagga Wagga Airport and rent a car for the scenic drive 30-minute northeast to Junee. Places to stay include motels, bed and breakfasts, and a tourist park with cabins plus caravan and camping sites. You can even spend the night at the spooky Monte Cristo Homestead – if you dare.
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