Lunch at the Wombat Pub

07 July 2019 / Words and pictures by John Chapuis and Rod Nicholas

For most people, the drive to Yass is about 60 km straight down the Barton Highway. But most people don’t drive sexy little MX-5s, and the people who do quite frequently take the long way to anywhere just for the fun of it. And so it was that a bunch of happy MX-5ers left Conder (in the deep Canberra south) for Yass on a trip of 112 km just to get a coffee. We had by-passed the boring Barton Highway and travelled marvellous twisty back roads through Tharwa, past Tidbinbilla and the Cotter and headed off to Yass via the Mountain Creek and Wee Jasper Roads. (One or two of us, from the more salubrious North Side of Town had already clocked up 30 km or more just to get to the starting line.)

Yass was the first stop for a fine mid-week run to Wombat - just up the road from Wallendbeen, and spit and a half from Nubba and Murringo – to sample the local counter lunch.

Run Leader John Chapuis had planned a route with the minimum use of main roads and highways, so it wasn’t long after leaving Yass that we were headed towards Boorowa on the Lachlan Valley Way. ‘This can’t be right’ I said to my navigator just as we zipped left and raced along a quiet back road to Bowning and onward to Binalong along the more familiar Burley Griffin Way.

‘Crikey. Where are we off to now’ I muttered, as John had us taking a sharp left at the Galong turnoff. The Mazda convoy stormed down long straight country lanes barely wide enough for the cars, and just when we’d got used to it all the ‘Big Dipper’ – an abrupt steep drop to a narrow bridge – near took our breath away. Zig zagging our way up to Harden, we joined the main drag for the final leg into Wombat.

The Wombat Pub is a fair dinkum Aussie experience, first trading in 1877, and reputed to have the longest running continuous liquor licence in NSW. They had been forewarned and were ready for our arrival (although maybe a little surprised by the number) a little after 12.30. The MX-5s lining both sides of Wombat Road surely presented a sight few of the locals had seen. It was a beauty to behold.

The trip home was typically more sedate, travelling the usual direct route, albeit along some genuinely lovely country roads.

John’s numbers record 24 members and 4 non-members on the run (18 cars), which is great for a mid-week run. There were no incidents, apart from a little confusion about starting times that resulted in a split pack – two smallish groups leaving the starting point at different times. Everyone caught up in Yass, where we picked up another couple of cars. The roads were great, the traffic was light, the sun was out, and the roofs were down. What more could we want? 

Photos can be found at: