So long the little village over the border from the nation’s capital, Queanbeyan has developed its own identity in recent years. Just 9km from Canberra
, modern Queanbeyan supports a population of about 24,000 and a wider wool-growing and mixed farming community on the Limestone Plains. Many residents commute into Canberra each day, a trip that involves only a few minutes on the road.
Tourists too have discovered that Queanbeyan is a great place to stay - it has its own charm and heritage, and yet the delights of the nation's capital are just a few minutes away.
There is a heritage tour of the town, which highlights the area's the most significant buildings. The Queanbeyan and District Museum is housed in the historic Police Sergeant's residence, built in 1875. There are displays and exhibitions relating to the history of Queanbeyan and the surrounding area. The Queanbeyan Printing Museum features memorabilia from the first newspaper in Queanbeyan, including typesetting machines and printing presses, in use until computerisation of the newspaper industry rendered them obsolete, but now restored to working order. Queanbeyan Sporting Gallery pays tribute to over 80 world-class athletes who hail from the area.
The restored Bungendore Railway Station is the terminal for regular picnic and dance trains operated between Queanbeyan and Canberra by the ACT division of the Australian Railway Historical Society. The historic trains are pulled by either vintage steam or diesel locomotives. Younger railway enthusiasts will love Tiny Tim and Rose, miniature engines ready to take children on a leisurely jaunt around Ray Morton Park.
Queanbeyan has a thriving arts community. The Art Gallery is housed in a historic cottage, where regular exhibitions are held. The former St. Benedicts Convent now operates as Benedict House, displaying jewellery and furniture. The Artists Shed also holds regular exhibitions.
Googong Foreshores is one of Queanbeyan's favourite playgrounds. It is managed by the ACT Parks and Conservation Service as a water catchment area, a recreation area for public use and as a wildlife refuge. Activities include fishing, bushwalking, picnicking, canoeing and sailing. The southern end of the park includes some interesting limestone landscape features including the London Bridge Arch, a perfect arch with the waters of Burra Creek flowing underneath it. A two-hour walk takes you across London Bridge Arch up along the Burra Creek to London Bridge Homestead. This is a typical collection of farm buildings and is regularly opened to the public.
Molonglo Gorge is also a popular spot for picnics. There is a thoughtfully planned adventure playground for children and a 3km walking track to Blue Tiles picnic area, featuring views of the Molonglo River at various points along the walk.
Things to do:
Queanbeyan Visitor Information Centre - Old Council Chambers, Corner of Farrer Place and Lowe Street
History - Heritage walk, Queanbeyan and District Museum, Queanbeyan Printing Museum, Queanbeyan Sporting Gallery
Bungendore Railway Station - regular steam train trips
Tiny Tim - Miniature train rides
Art Galleries - Art Gallery, Benedict House, the Artists Shed
In the area:
Googong Foreshores - fishing, bushwalking, picnicking, canoeing, sailing
Molonglo Gorge - adventure playground, picnics, riverside walk