Marulan is a small town in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. Squeezed between the Shoalhaven Gorge to the south, and the ranges to the north, just about every trip from Sydney heading south-west towards Melbourne or Canberra must pass through Marulan. Even those taking the scenic country roads, must join the freeway for the short Marulan section.
As a result Marulan is well known as a rest stop on the Hume Highway. It is the truckers milestone, and a Hungry Jacks services. However, if you spend an extra sixty seconds to exit into the town, you'll find an attractive town centre, with a small park, cafe, and a curiosity shop. Spend a little longer, and you can explore the gorges and hills that make the Marulan area an interesting natural location.
Due to its geography, both the Hume Highway and the railway pass through Marulan. Northbound take the services exit. Southbound the town has its own.
The railway station sees the unbooked train services to Goulburn a few times a day. The booked services to Canberra, Melbourne and points south don't stop here. You can put your bike on the trains, but there is limited room on some popular services. On the weekend and some weekday services the trains are replaced by buses. The coach drivers are usually helpful in placing the bikes on the buses if they can, but there is limited room and the service comes with the proviso that they are only carried in the available space.
The Greyhound bus to Canberra will stop on request.
The town centre can be seen on foot. To see the surrounding area requires a motor vehicle, or push-bike with fit legs. The train services follow the line towards Sydney and Goulburn, offering some very limited public transport opportunities. There are no bus or taxi services.
There is a town walk, exploring the history of the various buildings.
The toilet block in Marulan is painted with a mural symbolising the town's placement on the 150º meridian.
The town also hosts the largest piece of limestone ever transported by road in the Southern Hemisphere, a boulder weighing 30 tonnes. It incorporates a large clock and was presented to the town in 1991 to commemorate ten years of the Lions Club in the area.
There are many natural attractions of the surrounding Southern Highlands area.
- 1 Bungonia State Recreation Area (follow signs at the highway turn-off south of Marulan). Just south of Marulan, Bungonia adjoins Morton National Park and includes dramatic lookouts over the gorges, tough hikes down into the valleys, caves (fairly easy but bring torches and check air conditions), abseiling opportunities, and camping facilities.
On the freeway
There are highway services directly on both sides of the freeway at Marulan. Fuel, fast food, nothing out of the ordinary. It is available 24-hours though, and if you are passing through early morning or late at night it is your only option.
The Meridian Cafe in town is nice enough, and makes a quality alternative to the freeway services for those passing through. It isn't cheap though, with mains around $20 making it a little more than a casual quick-stop affair. Marulan isn't any longer the preserve of the bush farmer, and the cafe is just as likely to be the Sunday morning haunt of the hobby farmer from Sydney's eastern suburbs. The lattes are made (and priced) to match.
There is a take-away place in the general store, and you can eat across the road in the park.
The historic pub in the centre of town serves reasonable meals.