We were yearning for a quick weekend escape that wasnt too far from home but a place that was rich with history and adventure……
After a brief investigation of the Hume Highway, we decided that early Friday morning we would casually head to a little weekend getaway to the quaint country town of Jugiong, NSW. It turns out that Jugiong has an awesome history dating back to the Gold rush of the early days, bushrangers and of course is on the Old Hume. This fit our ideas perfectly.
My parents had recently been through the area on their own trip and raved about the free camp, the local pub and cafes. So of course being so close to home we had to have a visit. We were packed and on the Hume Highway by 10 am with a scheduled stop at the famed Paragon Cafe in Goulburn for lunch.
We arrived in Jugiong late in the afternoon to find quite a few acres of lovely flat ground which backed onto the Murrumbidgee river. As we drove in we were greeted with clean toilets, a great park for the kids, and PLENTY of space.
Out the front of the free camp is a large display about the death of Sargent Parry. In 1864, Sargent Parry was involved in a shoot out with Ben Hall and his unruly Bushranger Gang while attempting to rob the mail coach. Sergeant Parry sadly lost his life. As a result of Ben Hall and the actions of his gang, they were deemed to be ‘outlaw bushrangers’ as per new legislation. This meant that they could be shot on sight and ultimately led to Ben Hall’s end. Such laws commenced the start of the end of their type of crime. The artistic display is a great display which describes the events of the time and a steel sculpture that depicts Sargent Parry and his horse.
This area also follows the Murrumbidgee River so we had a look but realised it was a little too deep and fast flowing for us to want to camp too close with the kids. We chose a spot up near the amenities which gave us plenty of flat ground safe for the kids to run wild away from people. We settled in for a lovely BBQ dinner and got the girls to bed early. Of course by 7.30 pm the kids were over tired and it took us 3hrs to get them asleep so we just crashed out with them.
We were up reasonably early the following morning after a beautiful FULL night sleep. It has been a long time that both of our girls had slept through the night together, so Phill and I woke up on cloud 9 and ready to have a wonderful day of exploring! I still don’t understand how children work but Matilda and Harriet both woke up super cranky and just weren’t interested in anything but the opposite to what we had planned.
We went for a walk across the road to the local pub and shops. The pub looked very inviting so we were keen to have a look around while the kids dragged their feet behind us. Apparently they had recently done the outside of the pub up so it was just so inviting for families. There was lots of green grass, a cubby house and sand pit, beautiful gardens, a huge veggie patch that was flourishing and so much history.
While we were at the pub both the girls put on a show of tantrums. This was where Tilly told us to leave her at the pub she didn’t want to leave, much to the laughter of locals and tourists. We had a quick look around the local shops which looked awesome, but far too boutique for us to want to risk taking the kids inside.
While on the way back from our walk we found a small box selling local chicken eggs via a donation box. Unfortunetly they were all sold out as we love to support locals. By this point both children were complaining so much for Phill to carry them, it made for quite a sight to see!
We went for a drive to Gundagai for a look around the local area. I had done some research recently about the old town of Gundagai and the terrible flood of 1852. This flood had unfortunately killed almost 1/3 of the population and is still considered one of Australia’s worst natural disasters on record. I was keen to take my metal detector and have a look around. The area where the old town was, is now lovely flat paddocks that go underneath the very historical bridges of Gundagai which were once a part of the old mighty Hume Higway. This area was so tranquil and we enjoyed reading the local plaques, monuments and just in general watching the local stock feed from the grass. We showed Matilda around the area where she really understood the significance of what had occurred which i was surprised at only being 4 years old. We had a little go at metal detecting and found a very old horse shoe and some bolts, much to Matilda’s excitement. The grounds were so calming and quiet we instead decided to enjoy some family time having a lovely picnic and enjoying the views and sunshine.
On our way back to camp, we tried to use as many back roads as we could just to see something different. What we couldn’t believe was how bad the drought is here, only being 3 hours from home. It was very moving to see the sheep or cattle struggling to find food on the bare paddocks. This made us feel even more determined to support these local communities as much as we can.
We had arrived back to camp in time to head to the lovely pub across the road for dinner and a few drinks. The Hotel is an awesome sight, the ‘Sir George’ which has the charms of an old pub dating back to 1852. I remember saying to Phill, “the girls wont like the where were going for dinner, so if we start off with bad expectations then it can only get better”. Well it was a lovely dinner; the girls sat with us and chatted while watching a movie on the Ipad. After dinner we walked back to camp and crashed out. The next morning we casually packed up, hit the road and made our way home, pleased we had a great weekend away and vowed to head off that way again soon. Very soon……..