Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - CLASSIFIEDS | TRAVEL - Re­becca Isaacs The writer trav­elled as a guest of Goul­burn Mul­wa­ree Coun­cil and Best Western Goul­burn

GOUL­BURN is far more than the Big Merino.

The re­gional NSW town boasts a rich his­tory, cos­mopoli­tan cul­ture and good old coun­try charm.

Drive into the heart of town via two-cen­tury-old build­ings and it may seem this town is all about its colo­nial past.

But ar­rive at the vis­i­tor in­for­ma­tion cen­tre, and you’ll be greeted with a Tesla charg­ing cen­tre; ten plugs ready to re­boot what is per­haps the snazz­i­est elec­tric car on the mar­ket.

Goul­burn is all about new meets old. Build­ings dat­ing back to the mid-1800s poke their heads out through coffee shops, chemists and chain stores.

Next to the Vic­to­rian Ital­ianate-style court­house is a trendy cafe full of sal­ads, muffins and frit­tatas that would look at home in Syd­ney’s hottest new hang­out.

Bel­more Park in the Goul­burn CBD is a spray of clean­cut lawns, per­fected gar­den beds, a play­ground and walk­ing paths. It’s a pic­ture of mod­ern horticulture, yet in 1833 this tran­quil re­serve was a bustling mar­ket square, a hub­bub of mer­chants sell­ing live­stock and pro­duce as chil­dren ran foot races through the crowds.

Soar­ing above the city is St Saviour’s Cathe­dral – a white sand­stone princess and one of Aus­tralia’s most beau­ti­ful gothic churches. The build­ing dates back to 1884 and has a grand in­te­rior com­plete with pointed arches, stained glass win­dows and a glit­ter­ing or­gan which is played ev­ery Sun­day.

Then there’s the art deco-re­stored Penny Post build­ing, the old fire sta­tion, the gaudy Elm­slea cham­bers once owned by ex­tro­verted pas­toral­ist Frank Leahy, and Man­del­son’s of Goul­burn, the town’s main ho­tel.

One of Goul­burn’s pre­miere restau­rants, 98 Chairs, of­fers a taste of this city’s cos­mopoli­tan vibe, boast­ing a re­fined menu fea­tur­ing lo­cal sea­sonal in­gre­di­ents.

On a Satur­day night it wel­comes a crowd of fam­i­lies and young, hip lo­cals.

Mushroom arancini are de­li­cious spheres of rich risotto – the out­side crispy, with a melt-in-your-mouth creamy in­te­rior.

The aged scotch fil­let steak is a pop­u­lar op­tion for a rea­son – it’s medium rare and ten­der. Veg­eta­bles are steamed to just the right crunch-to-soft­ness ra­tio and the dish is fin­ished with a tangy salsa verde and a star in­gre­di­ent: fried ca­pers.

A side of fried cau­li­flower with spiced al­monds, cran­ber­ries and mint is a dish to make middle east­ern chef Yo­tam Ot­tolenghi proud.

Goul­burn’s Best Western mo­tel is a com­fort­able stay. The two-bed­room apart­ment is dou­ble storey and spa­cious with three TVs.

Along with a bar fridge there is a full-sized one in the kitchen with ev­ery­thing you need if you want to eat in.

Rivers­dale Homestead is Goul­burn’s golden na­tional trust build­ing. Built in 1828, it marks the orig­i­nal site for the town­ship of Goul­burn Plains be­fore Gov­er­nor Bourke moved the town two miles south in 1832.

The house is fur­nished as a colo­nial Ge­or­gian cot­tage. It was home to sev­eral fam­i­lies but orig­i­nally be­gan as an inn, with a brief pe­riod as a boys school.

One Sun­day ev­ery year, Rivers­dale hosts a grow­ers and rare plants fair in its flow­er­ing gar­dens.

There are hun­dreds of species to ad­mire as well as wine and cider tast­ing and cakes and scones for morn­ing and af­ter­noon tea. Lo­cal chut­neys and jams are on sale for just $4, with the zuc­chini rel­ish a top pick.

A week­end in Goul­burn is not the most ex­otic break, but it’s a great way to get out of the hus­tle and bus­tle and ex­pe­ri­ence a slice of Aus­tralia’s colo­nial past.

St Saviours Cathe­dral dates back to 1884.

Rivers­dale Homestead is a his­toric inn set amongst flow­er­ing gar­dens.

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