In 1870, it was gold that put the sweet, time-warped town of Gulgong on the map, though the town's other claim to fame was that Henry Lawson, one of Australia's best loved poets, lived here for a year as a boy. For decades, Gulgong's townscape, as a backdrop to Lawson's lanky mug, once passed through the hands of millions of oblivious Australians on every $10 note.
The town is just far enough away from the big smoke to have kept mainstream tourism at bay, such that the soul of the place is still intact. Today, its narrow, rambling streets feature as many as 130 buildings classified by the National Trust, that are not so immaculately restored to have lost their charm.
Rustic and romantic, little Gulgong makes a great rat-race escape, even if only for the weekend.