Canberra region, ACT

Art Galleries between Canberra and Sydney

By Anne Masters

September 1, 2020 | 4 minute read

As a gallery operator (yes that's me in the photo above!), I love it when I can get away and see what other galleries are up to. One fabulous trail of galleries is along the road from Canberra to Sydney.  Here are some of my top picks to visit - with great food stops added in to keep you nourished along the way!

* At the time of writing, activities and places mentioned in this guide are at varying stages of recovery from COVID-19. Please check government and business websites for specific details on opening times and any restrictions before you travel.

Starting in Canberra, in the inner north, is my own gallery - GOST - or gallery of small things. Visitors can experience a tiny gallery (less than 6 meters square) and view affordable artworks made by local, interstate and overseas artists. 

Then head out onto the Hume highway towards Sydney, turning off in the direction of Bungendore, where two fabulous women run galleries of a very different kind.  X Gallery is a charming little blue building in Bungendore, with sandstone interiors, that houses bespoke jewellery by owner and silversmith artist Xanthe Gay (image below). Xanthe also features special exhibitions by painters. 

A few doors down is Suki & Hugh run by the effervescent Susan and partner Sam. The space is divided into a shop and gallery and showcases a vibrant program of solo and group exhibitions throughout the year, ranging from ceramics to glass, paintings and sculptures. 

Heading back to the highway, set your GPS for the little town of Collector. As soon as you arrive you will see the white picket fence that is Helen Stephens gallery. Here you'll  find ceramics, prints and paintings. Helen's previous life as a journalist, ceramic maker and Sydney gallery owner means that her new rural life (with Australian Terrier Nell and sheep Seamus) is very down to earth and interesting. If you need a coffee or homemade treat pop into the minimalist Some Cafe run by Oliver and Lucy. It reminds me of my time in Denmark where everything is about home, food and conversations. 

Next stop is the regional gallery in Goulburn known as GRAG. While the building may not look much like a gallery, once you step inside you can see why people flock to see its incredible touring shows such as the Archibald Prize.  

Return to the road to Sydney and detour via Bowral to check out the Bowral Art Gallery (painting below by Jane Riggs). It’s housed in a cute red weatherboard with a sculpture garden, studios and workshops. If you are looking for lunch go no further than the Grand Bistro which serves the yummiest homemade soups. If you have a sweet tooth, don't miss the many eateries in Dirty Jane's. Yes, a weird name, but inside it's a haven for those who love vintage and retro wares, with a little sweet treat on the side!

From here, I head straight on to Sydney to check out two of my favourite galleries. The first is Sabbia Gallery located in popular Paddington. Parking is not easy but it's worth it when you step inside this meticulous space that curates the best Australian Ceramics and glass artists. Owners Anna and Maria will make you feel very welcomed. 

Now, this may seem a lot to do but you can always stop along the way to take in the local sites and stay a night or two. Either way, there are plenty of fabulous gallery and foodie opportunities waiting for you - so hop in your car and take some time to enjoy the simpler things in life. 

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