Paddock Perfect: the pastoral way, not the Highway

Bookham – Illalong Rd South – Bowning (New South Wales, Australia)

On a beautiful, gloriously golden, sunny afternoon on the June long weekend we opened the sun roof on ‘the buggy’ and rumbled out for a drive and a cuppa.

Illalong Rd near Bookham, New South Wales

Illalong Rd near Bookham, NSW

We headed to Bookham, one of the little villages in the Yass Valley, New South Wales, which has been bypassed by the Hume Highway. The village is a vital community hub for local farmers and land owners.

We wanted to try ‘Barney’s @ Bookham’ which has been newly re-opened. (Great place, yum pastries. See my review here.)

Barney's of Bookham, Bookham, New South Wales

This photo of Barney’s of Bookham is courtesy of TripAdvisor

We went for a stroll around Bookham.  Robinson’s yard of new and used farm machinery fascinated me.

Bookham might look like a sleepy place but it was bursting at the seams during and after the January bushfires, when everyone pitched in to help. The community spirit is alive and well.

A memorial is dedicated to the BlazeAid volunteers who helped to rebuild stock fences after the fires.

» Shhh! there are Geocaches all around Bookham and on the route. Go to for information on this fun ‘treasure hunt’!

Through the window in Barney’s we could see a craggy hill across the road, surrounded by eucalypts and snow gums(?), and I got that wandering look in my eye.

Hill near Bookham village, New South Wales

Hill near Bookham village, NSW

Illalong Rd South

Across the Hume Highway from Bookham, Illalong Road meanders beside the creek in a gum tree lined corridor through grazing paddocks. After some light rainfalls a bit of green has sprouted beneath the scattered trees.

The most beautiful little valley captures the pastoral past of Australia which grew off the sheep’s back.

Paddock of sheep on Illalong Rd South, New South Wales

Paddocks on Illalong Rd South

It brings back memories of going to the grandparents’ sheep property near Young, New South Wales…

the tangy smell of the sheep, especially on wet days,

exploring in the filtered dark under the shearing shed,

the mob moving as a woolly carpet, all as one, crowding into the corner of the paddock before the horse,

the blue singlet shearers in the woolshed.

At the end of this part of Illalong Rd, turn right onto Burley Griffin Way and drive back to the Hume Highway. From the Hume, detour left into the village of Bowning at Bowning Rd.


Rollonin Cafe on Bowning Rd is a great end to this pastoral journey.

Rollonin Cafe, Bowning Road, Bowning, New South Wales

Rollonin Cafe, Bowning Rd, Bowning, NSW

The café is a (new-build) slab cottage and staff are dressed as colonial servants.

A menagerie of a pair of emus, peacocks, guinea fowl, a draught horse and stubby horse, goats and cows all live there. There’s an interesting collection of old farm machinery, and traditional hand tools in the ‘barn’.

You can feed the horses carrots but aren’t you glad you don’t have to milk the cow for the cream for your Devonshire tea?

We sat under the corrugated iron of the front verandah and watched the sun drop from the sky.  ♦

Bowning Antique Centre and Collectables, 4 Leake St

Bowning Hotel and restaurant, corner of Leake St



Bookham – Illalong Rd South – Bowning

Route length: 27km

Start from: Bookham village, NSW – about 29km W of Yass on the Hume Highway

Route: Bookham – Illalong Rd South – turn RIGHT onto Burley Griffin Way – LEFT onto Hume Highway – LEFT onto Bowning Rd – Bowning

Roads: 2WD, all tarred; Hume Highway (freeway), Illalong Rd South (good country road), Burley Griffin Way (main road)   


One comment on “Paddock Perfect: the pastoral way, not the Highway

  1. […] Paddock Perfect: the pastoral way, not the Highway […]

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