NSW Southern Highlands
The Southern Highlands is postcard pretty with beautiful flower gardens and ivy-covered country manors set amongst the backdrop of rolling hills and unspoilt bushland. This delightful region — just a 90-minute drive south of Sydney — is a popular destination for its heritage villages, old-world charm and a mild climate. Although the area is beautiful all year round, the region really comes to life in Autumn when the leaves transform into brilliant hues of yellow, orange and red. Then there’s the spectacular Tulip Time Festival in Spring. Good food and luxurious retreats on vineyards are also on offer throughout the region in the towns of Bowral, Berrima and Mittagong.
Hunt for truffles
As winter descends upon the Southern Highlands so does the opportunity to enjoy fresh truffles. There are a number of truffle hunting tours available. Wild Food Adventures offers a truffle hunt, paired with a delicious truffle-inspired lunch and wine tasting, while L’Air du Wombat Truffle farm runs truffle hunts at 10am every weekend of winter.
Truffle HuntingTruffle Hunting, Oallen Road, Oallen NSW, Australia
Immerse yourself in nature
From spectacular waterfalls to sprawling national parks and picturesque vineyards dotted over the landscape, the Southern Highlands is brimming with natural beauty. Walking in the area is popular at any time of the year with a choice of great bush tracks. For breathtaking views, visit the dramatic Fitzroy Falls in the Morton National Park or head to Bowral Lookout on Mt Gibraltar for a scenic view overlooking Bowral, the Wingecarribee River Valley and Moss Vale.
Fitzroy FallsFitzroy Falls NSW, Australia
Bowral LookoutBowral Lookout, Oxley Drive, Mittagong NSW, Australia
Wildlife lovers should head to Gibbergunyah Reserve near Bowral: native wildlife such as kangaroos, wombats and echidnas are often seen on the Gibbergunyah Walking Track.
Gibbergunyah ReserveGibbergunyah Reserve, Boronia Street, Bowral NSW, Australia
The Southern Highlands is renowned for its antique shopping. Stroll through the streets of Bowral to admire the gorgeous stores and boutiques. Dirty Janes is an emporium of more than 60 shops with everything from cane furniture to old signage and taxidermy.
Dirty Janes BowralDirty Janes Bowral, Banyette Street, Bowral NSW, Australia
Uncover a treasure trove at Sticky Beaks Vintage Emporium and Village Antiques in the beautiful Berrima. Both are located on Jellore Street close to town. Alternatively, try Sutton Forest’s The Everything Store. Operating since 1830, it has become an institution for those who enjoy seeking out unique pieces.
In 1958, the first Tulip Time Festival was staged in Bowral. Since then, the momentous tulip display in Corbett Gardens has evolved into the centrepiece of the festival that has made the region a popular springtime destination. Experience a kaleidoscope of tulips at the next event, which will be held from September 21 to October 4, 2021. The
festival features 75,000 blooming tulips.
Corbett GardensCorbett Gardens, Wingecarribee Street, Bowral NSW, Australia
Family owned and operated since 1983, Joadja Estate is the oldest vineyard and winery in the Southern Highlands. It’s situated in the picturesque hills north of Berrima and produces distinctive cool-climate wines. Enjoy the rustic atmosphere at this beautiful boutique estate as you taste beautiful hand-crafted wines and fortifieds.
Joadja EstateJoadja Estate, Joadja Road, High Range NSW, Australia
Tractorless Vineyard and Bowral Brewing Company has a winemaking philosophy to create sustainable and diverse food and wine experiences from locally sourced, grown and produced foods guided by biodynamic principles. Their cellar door offers an opportunity to try their selection of award-winning wines, ciders and beers.
Tractorless Vineyard & Bowral Brewing companyTractorless Vineyard & Bowral Brewing company, Bundaroo Street, Bowral NSW, Australia
Try award-winning wines at Artemis wines – a family run winery situated in the Southern Highlands of NSW. Winemaker brothers, Anton and Mark Balog began making wine in the Southern Highlands in 1996.
Dining out in the Southern Highlands can be a simple or an elaborate affair. Fresh produce, great eateries, markets and produce stores are scattered throughout the Southern Highlands, giving diners plenty of options to choose from. Long-time favourite Eschalot, set in an old sandstone cottage at Berrima, is a hatted restaurant offering contemporary French-accented cuisine, fine local wines and an elegant ambience.
EschalotEschalot, Old Hume Highway, Berrima NSW, Australia
In Mittagong, renowned chefs, Bee Satongun and husband, Jason Bailey, opened Paste Australia. The stunning restaurant takes diners on a palate-tantalising adventure that showcases a bold and masterful approach to Thai cuisine.
Paste Thai Restaurant AustraliaPaste Thai Restaurant Australia, Main Street, Mittagong NSW, Australia
For a magical experience, visit the Berkelouw Book Barn on the beautiful Bendooley Estate. It’s a multi-functional space, operating as a bookshop by day, as well as housing the Bendooley Estate Restaurant and Cellar Door where you can enjoy coffee, lunch or a glass of wine.
Berkelouw Book BarnBerkelouw Book Barn, Old Hume Highway, Berrima NSW, Australia
Don’t forget to celebrate Pie Time in 2021, which launches on Australia's National Pie Day on June 1. Embark on the delicious ‘Pie Trail’ and taste a variety of pies from award-winning pie makers. With over 30 pie outlets in the region, the Southern Highlands is quickly becoming known as the ultimate pie destination in Australia.
Stay in quaint villages
This region has a long list of beautiful places to stay in lovely locations. In the Southern Highlands, Gibraltar Hotel, along with Milton Park Country House and Links House Bowral are popular for a country retreat.
Peppers Manor House at Sutton Forest resembles a refined country house estate set in spectacular gardens. Built in 1926, the charm of the homestead has been retained and enhanced by tasteful decoration.
Nearby, Peppers Craigieburn in Bowral is an impeccably maintained estate, offering rural luxury, with a casual atmosphere, and a private nine-hole golf course.
The Book Barn Cottage on Bendooley Estate is a self-contained two-bedroom, two-bathroom cottage only a short stroll from the renowned Berkelouw Book Barn, near Berrima. For those who prefer a B&B experience, there are several stylish choices in Mittagong, while The Sebel Bowral Heritage Park in Bowral is ideal for those who wish to self cater.
Credits: Destination NSW