You don’t have to drive forever to find something fresh and different. Less than an hour or so off the Kings Highway you can be in a different world of grassy river banks, grazing cattle, native forests, good country food and maybe a spot of shopping before you depart or on your return to Braidwood. Perfect.
We have three drives for you to consider.
Drive 1: Braidwood - Majors Creek - Araluen
Half-day tour (approx. 60 kms, return)
Leave Braidwood and drive through classic, tableland grazing country to the historic gold mining town of Majors Creek (much of which hasn’t really changed since the late 19th century; walk the old diggings and imagine - they’re huge, visit the Majors Creek Pub - great country atmosphere) then hold your breath going down the mountainside to Araluen (dirt road and safe except in the heaviest of rains). Araluen has a micro-climate of its own, ideal for stone fruit (buy your hand-picked peaches from Harrisons orchard at 'Araglen' - mouth-watering), picnic spots and country pubs (ah!) – then a scenic drive back to the delights of Braidwood.
Drive 2: Braidwood - Water Wheel (Lowden Park)
Half to full day (100 kms, return)
Sunset over the range
From Braidwood take the Araluen Rd, turning right onto the Cooma Rd, 1km out of Braidwood. Continue for a further 24 km, crossing the Shoalhaven at the Ballalaba bridge - take the next right, the Captains Flat Rd.
Then right again at Harolds Cross Road for a further 3.9 km where a ‘T’ junction will be met. Turn left and follow the road into the Tallaganda State Forest. Continue until a forestry sign to the right indicating Lowden Park is reached. Turn right and go down Forestry Road a further 7 km until a ‘Y’ junction is reached. Turn sharp right (forest cottage) and proceed for a further 7 km to a right turn which leads into Lowden Park and the Water Wheel.
The Park occupies a clearing in the forest at the spot where a group of logging contractors set up a camp in 1937. Signposted walking trails lead from the park into the surrounding bush, giving visitors a chance to explore the forest. The Park is well equipped with wood BBQs, drinking water and toilets, camping.
If you don’t want to drive back to Braidwood, you can return to Canberra via Captains Flat or the Lowden/Rossi Road to Hoskinstown. From there it is 26 km to Queanbeyan (or 19 kms to Bungendore if you take a right-hand turn).
Drive 3: Braidwood - Monga Forest - The Boardwalk & 2WD Loop Drive
Half-day (approx 65 km return)
Out of the tablelands into the cool, temperate rainforests of the Monga Forest with its ancient tree canopy, fern gullies, lush plant life and (especially for the kids) the Boardwalk. Drive ‘the Loop’ and see it all without getting out of your car. (Much better to stretch your legs and breath in the cool fresh air – stroll along the Mongarlowe River; around October/November look out for the flowers of the stunning Monga Waratah, or enjoy a BBQ. It’s up to you.
Take the Kings Highway to the coast – turn off (right-turn if you are coming from Braidwood) at little River Road – keep driving until you reach the Park, it’s as simple as that. Return by the same route or take a ‘Loop’ drive and return via the Reidsdale/Araluen Roads. If that takes your fancy, drop into the OLD CHEESE FACTORY at Reidsdale, for some well earned refreshments.
The Old Cheese Factory at Reidsdale
Take a drive at a time - there's lots to see, You're always welcome back for another visit!