Flat out in Capital country


CHANCES are you'd probably never stumble across Captains Flat by accident. Situated 60km south-east of Canberra, you could be mistaken for thinking there is nothing out in these parts besides a few cows and strings of telegraph poles.

Well, you'd be wrong. Captains Flat is one of those surprise packages that make Australia's rural regions such a joy to discover - secret gems of personality tucked away in stunning scenery.

Several kilometres out from Queanbeyan, along Route 52 or the Kings Highway, Captains Flat Road emerges on the right.

Taking the turn, you move from slick bitumen to snaking rural back roads in Canberra's hinterland. The road meanders alongside pastureland and the Yanununbeyan National Park.

You'll want to take a look at a map in case you're lost - but fear not, the only 'town' you pass on your way is Carwoola, which isn't so much a town as it is a bus shelter.

The first you see of the former mining hamlet of Captains Flat is the local entertainment area, Wilkins Memorial Park.

The day I visited the copper-ringed baked soil, several local families had set up camp under banksias and gums at the complex, flanked by the town's 25m outdoor pool, a rugby union ground and synthetic cricket pitch. Here, the barbecue took pride of place in the shadiest area to protect all the men from alcohol-induced heat stroke while the women basked in the sun.

The road into town is skirted by train tracks, yellow pastures, the occasional cow and plenty of warning signs like “Dumping: it's dumb” and “Do not tailgate: Kangaroos randomly jump in this region”.

A miniature railway, already set up, was on display and for sale on the side of the road. The locals are trusting as well.

Spending the night in Captains Flat means your choice is limited to the local hotel, complete with the Southern Hemisphere's longest bar, all 32 metres of it. Captains Flat pub is the hub of the town but there is much more to this sleepy hollow that was once a bustling mining town of more than 3000 people in the late 1800s.

A museum lies at one end while two art galleries lay opposite the pub and are an interesting inclusion to a town that was once dominated by wiry miners.

Quaint and quirky

VIVI Muchmore is a woman transfixed not only by painting portraits but by exploring her own sexuality through art, and is well worth a visit if not just for a chinwag.

The other gallery, The Outsider Coffee Lounge and Gallery with hosts Christine Simpson and Gunther Deix, offers a fine food dining affair and a tribute to Australia's murder victims. As you do.

Viennese born Deix's artworks look like they are based on pointillism or aboriginal styled work but, on closer inspection, the dots are love hearts.

Keeping in theme with the national capital's infatuation for roundabouts, circular roads and concentric planning, if you follow Captains Flat Road to its extremes, you will find your way back into Canberra.

On your way back you can stop at the equally quaint township of Braidwood, the vineyards of Bungendore or the natural beauty of Queanbeyan.

If you want to break up your journey, Braidwood has several quality accommodation options including the Mona Country Manor, Snow Lion Bed and Breakfast, and the Araluen Old Courthouse Bed and Breakfast.

Getting there

■ Captains Flat is 343km south of Sydney and 60km from Canberra

■ To contact the Captains Flat Hotel, phone (02) 6236 6201

■ For the Yesteryear Museum phone (02) 6236 6295

■ The Outsider Coffee Lounge and Gallery is open Friday to Monday from 9am to 5pm. Dinner by appointment. Phone (02) 6236 6160

Six hideaway bars to escape winter chill

THE last season of GoT finally uttered the words we’ve been waiting six seasons to hear and now that the weather has cooled down in Brisbane, “winter is here.”

Our six art gallery picks for a creative day out

Queensland's Gallery of Modern Art always has a fun, exciting and interesting exhibition on show for the whole family to enjoy.

YOU'D be mistaken in thinking Brisbane wasn't an arty city.

Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

You loved the film, now you're about to love the musical. Don't miss The Bodyguard The Musical in Brisbane this July.

THE arts and culture events you don't want to miss.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Date nights under $50

Nothing is more romantic than a picnic with a cracking view.

NOT every date has to cost you a bomb.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Balaclava-clad home invasion haunts mother

TERRIFIED: A mum has been left traumatised after nine intruders entered her home wielding weapons.

18-year-old last week pleaded guilty before a judge in Court

Woman flown to Brisbane after crash is still fighting

CRASH: Emergency service crews at the scene of a two-vehicle crash.

She sustained serious head injuries

Auswide bank wins award

Auswide Bank Bundaberg.

Loan gong for Bundaberg bank

Local Partners

Karl Stefanovic's rant about Schapelle Corby 'a bit rich'

The fact is Stefanovic is paid extremely well by a television network that lives and dies by ratings.

Could Schapelle be heading for Gladstone?

Australian Schapelle Corby is escorted by Bali Police at the parole office in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, 27 May 2017.

Schapelle's mother teases her free daughter could be Gladstone bound

Six things you never knew about Men in Black

Mushu the pug

It's been 20 years since Men in Black first hit cinemas

10 strange stories behind famous sex scenes

Khaleesi and Khal Drogo in a steamy moment.

Every set has their own way of filming sex scenes

HBO spills new details on Game of Thrones’ final season

Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season will only have six episodes.

New details about what to expect from the eighth, final instalment.

Karl’s rant on Corby: ‘Made to look like idiots’

Karl Stefanovic is sick of hearing about Schapelle Corby.

Today co-host launched a tirade against Schapelle Corby media circus

Big Pineapple festival safety concerns as 100s walk home

LONG WALK HOME: Many festival goers opted to take a dangerous walk home due to transport difficulty following the Big Pineapple Festival in Woombye on Saturday.

Big Pineapple festival-goers have braved dangerous walks home

New $46.7m counter-terrorism facility to be built in Wacol

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, pictured with Police Commisioner Ian Stewart, has announced plans to build a new counter-terrorism facility in Wacol.

The facility will be built over three years.

Home to a sex worker: Sordid history of iconic Coast shed

Milojevic Djordjevic's daughter Linda at the derelict shed on Yandina-Coolum Road.

The shed was once a liveable 'barrack'.

This is real estate's billion-dollar man

Bob Wolff at AREC with John McGrath of McGrath Real Estate.

They don’t call him the “Billion dollar man” for nothing

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Over two dozen government approvals needed for airport expansion

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!