Towns & Villages: Bundanoon


Population: 3045 (2011 census)

Brief History

Bundanoon is on the southern edge of settlement of the Highlands, on the edge of the deep valleys and escarpments of the Great Dividing Range.

Although the town itself dates only from the subdivision of local properties following the coming of the railways (1860s), its history is older than that.

First mentioned by explorer Charles Throsby (1818), it was well known by the original aboriginal inhabitants, from whose word for "place of deep gullies" its name is derived.

The countryside so impressed him he petitioned the Governor to have it declared a reserve (1824), perhaps the first in Australia, and precursor to today's Morton National Park.

There was an earlier settlement to the east of the present town at "Jumping Rock" (1830s), and at the time of the coming of the railway, two private villages in its path: "Jordan's Crossing", and "South Lambton".

This latter was a mining village, just south of the present town, on a spur line to Erith Coal Mine, which operated from the 1860s to 90s.

Other early industries were timber milling, sandstone quarrying (still in operation today), and farming.

Holy Trinity, Bundanoon
Holy Trinity Anglican Church (1905)

At the beginning of the C20th the village of Bundanoon was well established. Many of its older buildings date from this time.

More importantly, the beauty of its scenery had been discovered by people from the city, who travelled by train for day trips and holidays to admire the views.

The earliest tourist tracks were cut into the parklands in the late 1890s, and a large number of guest houses to cater for the travellers were built.

In the 1920s there were up to 50 such establishments, and Bundanoon rivalled the Blue Mountains as a favoured tourist destination, a position it enjoyed for over 50 years.

In the 1950s and early 60s steam trains full of daytrippers ran each spring once again, this time to see the unique pink Boronia and other native flowers which grew prolifically in the 'Gullies' (now Morton National Park). The town's Boronia Festival was the first floral festival in the Highlands. Unfortunately a series of disastrous bushfires in the mid 60s wiped out the boronia and to this day it has never recovered.

By the 1960s, and the increase in private car ownership, visitors began to bypass Bundanoon, travelling further inland and for the next 20 years the village went into something of a decline, many of the tourist destinations closing down.

In the 1980s, however, the unspoilt beauty of Bundanoon was once more rediscovered.

Today it is the 4th largest (residential) area in the Highlands, and attracts vast numbers of tourists again (up to 20,000 in one day for Brigadoon alone).

There is a well established artists' colony among its residents, and many of the old guest houses have been restored and opened for today's visitors.

Behind its sleepy old-world charm, Bundanoon is a vibrant community. Visitors can still enjoy the grand beauty of the National Park, and relax and enjoy the mountain air.

There are plenty of things to see and do for adults and kids alike. The main street is very busy during Market Day (first Sunday of every month), and on weekends and holidays.

There are often steam train excursions from Sydney throughout the year, and the town is a favourite destination for car and other clubs for weekend stays.

Brigadoon, the Bundanoon Highland Gathering (held every April) is one of the biggest of its kind in the world, and not to be missed.

For further details see our Past and Present pages.

Always in April - Bundanoon is Brigadoon
one of the world's largest highland gatherings

Morton National Park
Morton National Park from Echo Point, Bundanoon

Bundanoon QuickGuide
Accommodation - LIST ALL
Idle A Wile - SELFCONT
Meriba B&B
Mildenhall Guest House
Morvern Valley - selfcont
Solar Springs Resort
Sylvan Glen Country House & Golf Course
The Ravensworth - motel
Tree Tops Country Guest House
BRIGADOON - Highland Gathering"
Morton National Park
Day Spas - LIST ALL
Solar Springs Retreat
Conference Centres - LIST ALL
Solar Springs Resort
Sylvan Glen Country Guest House
The Ravensworth
Picnic Areas
Weddings - LIST ALL
Solar Springs Resort
Sylvan Glen Country House

Major Events & Festivals
April: Brigadoon - Bundanoon Highland Gathering

July: Winter Festival

October: Garden Ramble

November: Vaude Highland Fling

Main Street, Bundanoon
Railway Avenue, Bundanoon

What to See and Do
For Visitors.
The most difficult decision for the visitor is whether "to do" Bundanoon in a day trip, or to indulge oneself and stay for a few days - or a week - or more.

Although it attracts so many visitors, Bundanoon is not "over-touristified"; it retains the quiet, sleepy, old-world atmosphere of yesteryear, and is the perfect place to wind down from the hectic pace of modern life (then again, it always was!).

Lots of good accommodation houses - guest houses and self-contained cottages, lovingly restored to their old charm and upgraded with the most modern of amenities - where you are positively pampered by your hosts; two health resorts; a motel and an historic hotel; youth hostel; camping area available.

Some good craft shops; several excellent art galleries; cafes and tea rooms; good restaurants; pub and licensed Bowling Club; theatre restaurant; little museum (open weekends); nurseries; a number of picnic areas. Park near shops, then stroll around - across railway, left to overhead bridge, back through town, up to art gallery, and back again (see some attractive old buildings).

Energetic? Hire a bike, or go walking through Morton National Park. Lots of famous lookouts ('Echo Point", "Fairy Bower"), walking trails, picnic spots, native flowers, flocks of native birds; and camping area. Even walking or biking around town is relaxing and enjoyable. At night walk down to "Glow Worm Glen". Stroll to the edge of town at dawn or dusk and see kangaroos and wallabies. Play Golf at Sylvan Glen, Penrose (just 10 minutes away).

The Old Bike Shop
The Old Bike Shop - over 50 years on this location

For Kids.
Several parks and playgrounds. Walking and exploring the streets and shops. Swimming pool open in summer; skateboard ramp at the park. Hire a bike (by the hour/half day/day) and set off on your own adventure (back streets and roads generally safe for cycling, cycle path near oval).

Better still, do a tour of the National Park (dirt roads, circular route takes several hours) - test your strength (can you climb up Constitution Hill without getting off?) Or visit Glow Worm Glen at night.

Into hiking? Lots of trails and mountain paths in the National Park: lookouts, waterfalls, native birds (listen for the bellbirds! spot a lyre bird!), maybe a koala, wombat, or wallaby if you're lucky. Have a picnic at one of the lookouts. Warning! Don't go off the beaten tracks unless supervised; getting lost is no fun.

Last updated 21/9/15