2 Gems off the M31 Motorway

by Steven Chater from Trip Plan Australia. Check out Trip Plan’s free Itinerary Planner that will help you make the most of your next road trip through regional and outback Australia.

The M31, also known as the Hume Highway, is a fantastic piece of roadway – 2 lanes in each direction from the outskirts of Sydney right through to Melbourne. Put the cruise control on, turn up the sound and enjoy the scenery!

And, if you’ve got the time, you can enhance the trip even further by calling in to towns along the route, which are usually only 1 or 2 kilometres in from the motorway.

I’d like to recommend a couple, Gundagai and Gunning.

On my trips south, I usually stop at Gundagai for lunch, and sometimes stay there overnight on the return journey from Melbourne.

First settled in 1838, Gundagai is on the Murrumbidgee river and is nestled in surrounding hills. The beauty of its natural endowments and the fabulous architecture of its buildings have attracted writers and film directors for many years.

Road trip planner Australia - Gundagai township from the southern lookout

Gundagai township from the southern lookout

Notice the 2 long bridges across the floodplain? One was a railway bridge, the other was part of the old Hume Highway – its claim to fame being that at one stage it was the longest bridge in NSW, being beaten in 1932 with the opening Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Road trip planner Australia - Railway bridge across the floodplain Gundagai

Railway bridge across the floodplain Gundagai

An old merchants building is located near where the two old bridges come together – can you imagine the volume of commerce transacted here in times gone by?

Road trip planner Australia - Old merchant store, Gundagai

Old merchant store, Gundagai

The town’s main street is Sheridan St, and it has many substantial buildings indicating the wealth of the area over the years.

Road trip planner Australia - Buildings in Sheridan Street Gundagai

Buildings in Sheridan Street Gundagai

I can recommend the tasty sourdough rolls from the local bakery in Sheridan Street.

Road trip planner Australia -

Further along Sheridan Street Gundagai

Gunning is a smaller town, renowned for its history in Australia’s sheep industry. The buildings in the current town are magnificently maintained, with Bailey’s Garage homage to Holden an eye catcher.

Road trip planner Australia - Bailey's Garage Gunning

Bailey’s Garage, Gunning

The coffee in town was good, … and so was their homemade cake!

Road trip planner Australia - Merino Cafe Gunning

Merino Cafe, Gunning

I was fortunate to catch the end of the lovely autumn colours in the main street.

Road trip planner Australia - Autumn colours in front of Caxton Cottage Gunning

Autumn colours in front of Caxton Cottage, Gunning

Road trip planner Australia - Gunning's Old Courthouse

Gunning’s Old Courthouse

I took myself down to Gunning’s showground and had a great experience watching the training of a good prospect coming back from injury after a last start win.

Road trip planner Australia - Trotter Long Hot Summer at Gunning Showground

Trotter Long Hot Summer at Gunning Showground

The horse’s name, the driver tells me, is Long Hot Summer. I watched him give the horse a good workout around the picturesque showground track.

Road trip planner Australia - Long Hot Summer getting a workout around Gunning Showground

Long Hot Summer getting a workout around Gunning Showground

Apparently he’s coming back from injury nicely. I rarely bet … but now with this personal connection I really should have a go!

The Gunning Showground has a number of buildings and structures that have great character.

Road trip planner Australia - Sheep Pavilion at Gunning Showground

Sheep Pavilion at Gunning Showground

I could easily imagine the hustle and bustle of a show day, and it was sensational to be able to just wander around and think of all the action at this venue over the years.

Road trip planner Australia - Rodeo staging area Gunning Showground

Rodeo staging area, Gunning Showground

Can you imagine the riders, bulls, cowboy clowns and horses going this way and that during the rodeo? And I’m sure it’d be all action in the caller’s booth as well.

I’ll be keeping an eye out in Trip Plan for the next Gunning show day … it’d be a great experience in a fabulous setting.

Design Your Own Road Trip!

Here’s a suggested trip out of Sydney that takes in Gunning and Gundagai. The trip map and itinerary is available for you to use as a basis for your own trip at Trip Plan Australia. You may wish to change the Start and Destination to your suburb or town to get more accurate timings. Browse events on during your trip timeframe, and add/remove attractions and accommodation to the itinerary to suit.

Road trip planner Australia - map Sydney to Gundagai returning via Wee Jasper

Click to get an interactive map and itinerary to plan your own trip in Trip Plan’s free Itinerary Planner