Gundagai is a small town (population 2,000) in the Riverina region of the Australian state of New South Wales. Gundagai is situated on the Murrumbidgee River, some 390 km south-west of Sydney. Gundagai is an ideal stopping point on a driving trip on the Hume between Sydney and Melbourne, having a range of accommodation, good services, and a few points of interest to see before moving on. The township is located close to the freeway, and doesn't required that much of a diversion.
Gold mining made Gundagai both prosperous and a centre for bushranging, giving the town a romantic bush appeal that resulted in it becoming a byword for outback towns in Australia. A large number of outback stories, songs and poems reference Gundagai, including Jack O'Hagan's songs Where the Dog Sits on the Tuckerbox, Along the Road to Gundagai and When a Boy from Alabama Meets a Girl from Gundagai, as well as Banjo Patterson's The Road to Gundagai and the traditional ballad Flash Jack from Gundagai. The town is also mentioned in Henry Lawson's tale Scots of the Riverina and C.J. Dennis' The Traveller.
In 1838, against the advice of the local Aboriginal people, the town was built on flood-prone flats on the northern banks of the Murrumbidgee River. In 1852, severe flooding virtually destroyed the European settlement and 83 of the 250 townsfolk lost their lives. The toll would have been higher but for two Aboriginals who came to the rescue in bark canoes, saving 48 people. The town relocated further up the slopes of Mt Parnassus, and the highest street in the original town, Sheridan Street, is now the main street.
Gundagai is located on the Hume Highway, the major route between Sydney and Melbourne, around 4 1/2 hours drive south of Sydney.
A bus service connects with the train services to Cootamundra, twice a day.
There is no public transport. The main town shopping strip has ample parking, as does just about everywhere else you might want to go.
- Gundagai Taxi Service - 24hrs - Phone 13 10 08
- The Dog on the Tucker Box, Snake Gully, 5 miles from Gundagai - this famous bronze statue, a minor landmark on the Hume Highway on the Sydney side of Gundagai, was unveiled by then Prime Minister Joseph Lyons in 1932 as a tribute to outback pioneers. There are highway services, as well as an interpretive walk located here. Count on spending 30 minutes or so. There is no charge.
- The Murrumbidgee River passes through Gundagai. There are old railway and road bridges crossing the river, which are worth a visit if you are in to that sort of thing. The bridges were some of the longest in Australia at the time they were built. The flood plain of the river divide the town into two, separated by green space with a walkway/cycleway between areas. The Hume Highway crosses the river and flood plain on a 1.1km bridge.
- Historic Buildings. Gundagai has an historic courthouse, and post office. It has a restored abandoned railway station. Wander down Sheridan Street for a look at some of the town's oldest buildings. Don't miss the old flour mill in Sheridan Lane, or the Prince Alfred Bridge, Australia's longest timber bridge, built in 1866.
- Dr Charles Gabriel's glass-plate photographs, which depict Gundagai life in the early 1900s, in the Gabriel Gallery.
- The Snake Gully Cup, in November, is a two-day horse-racing carnival that includes the Dog on the Tuckerbox Festival.
- The Turning Wave Festival, 3rd weekend in September, is a celebration of Irish/Australian culture with song, dance, poetry readings and markets.
- Gundagai Giddyup, The Camp Draft and horse sale in March.
Souvenirs can be bought at the service centre where the dog on the tucker box statue is located. Naturally, various souvenirs featuring the famous "dog on the tucker box" can be found here.
- Gundagai Bakery, 184 Sheridan Street (in the centre of town on the main shopping strip), ☎ (02) 6944 1192. Monday through Saturday. Historic Gundagai Bakery, built in 1864 & believed to be the longest continually running bakery in Australia. Fresh daily menu of bakery items with fresh breads, rolls, sweet pastry, cakes, pies, sausage rolls & fresh-made sandwiches. Devonshire tea. Quick coffee n cake or a light lunch to eat in or takeaway.
- McDonald's Family Restaurant (Maccas), 143 Mount St (On Hume Hwy at South Gundagai), ☎ (02) 6944 3322, . Mon-Thurs : 6am to 10pm, Fri -Sun : 6am to 11pm. Dining rooom, McCafe, Play Area, Drive Thru, Free Wi-Fi
- Bushmans Retreat Motor Inn, Mount St, ☎ (02) 6944 1433, . Dining room open 7am-11pm (Monday-Thursday) 8am-10pm (Friday, Saturday & Sunday). Coin operated laundry, pay phone in office. Night bell, parking for trucks, buses & trailers. Swimming pool (Summer only).
- Church House B & B Gundagai, 91 Punch St, ☎ (02) 0269 1455, . Sitting on a hillside overlooking the Murrumbidgee River flats the Church House B&B is just a leisurely two minute stroll from the town centre of Gundagai.
- Gabriel Motor Inn, 240 Sheridan St, ☎ (02) 6944 1311, . Modern style motel rooms and ensuites with reverse cycle, split system air-conditioners.Queen beds in all rooms.All rooms non smoking and 1st floor.
- Garden Motor Inn, West St, ☎ (02) 6944 1744, . Safe off-road parking outside one of 22 ground floor accommodation units. Painted in light, soft colours, sweeping views of town, the mighty Murrumbidgee Valley and surrounding hills from almost every window.
- Gundagai Historic Cottages (Araluen), Sheridan St, ☎ (02) 69442385, . Gundagai Historic Cottages offers self-contained, private accommodation in one of the town’s most historic houses, Araluen. A gracious home with four large bedrooms, two living areas and a fully equipped kitchen, Araluen has been lovingly restored and features original timber joinery, pressed metal ceilings and period furnishings – all the charm of yesteryear with all the comforts of home. Located at the quiet end of the main street adjacent to the historic bridges, Araluen is a short stroll to cafes, pubs and restaurants.
- Gundagai Tourist Park, Nangus Rd, ☎ (02) 6944 4440, . Gundagai Tourist Park has fully self contained, air conditioned cabins and on-site vans, each with individual ensuite. There are 40 drive through undercover powered ensuite sites, all with sullage disposal. There are powered and unpowered camp sites.
- Lanigan Abbey, 72 First Avenue (Drive up the main St and turn left at the Post Office), ☎ (02) 6944 2852, . Overlooking the town and river beyond, majestically stands Lanigan Abbey Estate romantically restored in the High Victorian manner.
- Sovereign Inn Gundagai, 26-28 West St (1st Gundagai Exit of Hume Hwy when travelling South, 2nd Gundagai Exit of Hume Hwy when travelling North), ☎ (02) 6944 1655, . Sovereign Inn Gundagai is a refuge for the tired traveler. 37 well-designed units and family suites built to offer the ultimate in comfort. Adding to the elegant setting are modern amenities like cable TV, in-room Internet connectivity, radio with alarm clock, direct dial telephone, coffee- and tea-making facilities and much more.
- Tuckerbox Motor Inn, 87-97 Mount St (on the Hume Highway at South Gundagai), ☎ (02) 6944 0300, . The Tuckerbox Motor Inn is the newest four star motel at Gundagai.