The Crookwell Lunch Tour

26 March 2024 / Words by Barry Matson & lousy poetry by Rod Nicholas. Photo courtesy

Barry’s pub run
Was a whole lot of fun
For the handful of guys that took part;

Not even one u-turn …
Baz tells me that he’s learned
To keep the route firm in his heart.

Yes, that’s just dribble, but seriously, the small group of guys (it was boys only for some reason) tell me they had a great day out playing follow-the-leader with Barry. The roads were in good condition, the weather was kind, and the pub lunch was a good honest feed.

This run was planned as a visit to the Workshop of Sydney Vintage Car Restorations, which is located on the outskirts of Crookwell and is reputed to do a great job of restoring old cars to mint condition. When visited on the dry run, the company was welcoming. However, they unfortunately pulled the plug on the deal (‘too busy’) so the run turned into a routine Pub Run to places the Canberra Chapter has visited many times.

Five cars, with no females aboard, and led by Barry, departed from our familiar haunt at the Sutton Bakery and proceeded across the Hume to the charming village of Gunning.  The road was in better condition that during the dry run a month before, so most of the potholes missed us this time. 

When we go through Gunning, we usually stop for a coffee at the Merino Café, both because there are few alternatives, and the coffee and space there are suitable for us.  This visit was no exception, and the five of us spent rather too much time at the front table discussing the usual nonsense.

Then it was on to the historic 1820s town of Crookwell.  Like other old towns in this part of NSW, this one has a colourful history of bush rangers, gold mining, and stagecoach robberies.  Sadly, we did not encounter any of that excitement on this occasion, so we arrived on time for our lunch booking at the Crookwell Hotel.  There was plenty of parking available in the main street on a Wednesday at noon.

A new bistro has been built onto the side of the historic hotel and both the décor and the food offerings were excellent.  The Pub Bar offers a quality beer, Crookwell Lager, for $5.50 a schooner, but as usual road safety considerations forbade us from taking too much advantage.  This leisurely lunch provided another opportunity to discuss silly subjects of mainly male interest for far too long.

To give our digestion time to settle in we went for a short walk along the main street. Although there were many local craft goods for sale, the general impression was of a town doing it tough economically, with many shops shutting down or doing poor business.

We then resumed our own navigation and returned home via Goulburn and a most familiar stretch of the Hume Highway.

So, while this was not the most memorable run it is a good one to have in our repertoire, being an easy drive to familiar and pleasant places.