It’s time for a holiday!
New South Wales, along with the rest of Australia, could do with a much-needed holiday. And we don’t need to tell you why!
Despite the current problems, though, New South Wales has done a wonderful job lately. So much so that the state is open for recreational tourism again. Which means you can finally have a holiday! And the greatest and most inexpensive holidays occur within one’s own backyard.
So, with thanks to Destination NSW, we’re sharing some of the most eclectic sights of the Southern Highlands.
How far is the Southern Highlands from Sydney?
From Sydney’s CBD, the Southern Highlands is just under a two-hour drive south-west of Wollongong. For your trip we recommend passing through Bulli or Kiama as a nice short pit-stop.
What to do in the Southern Highlands
Cellar Door Hopping
There’s a great cool-climate wine scene in the Southern Highlands, with more than 60 vineyards to wander through. You can make up your own wine tour at cellar doors including Centennial Vineyards, Artemis Wines, Tertini Wines, Joadja Estate, Eling Forest Winery, Southern Highland Winery and St Maur Wines. Better yet, Destination NSW has all the insights you need.
Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame
Shane Warne’s baggy green will be permanently on display here from August, so it’s time to explore The Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame. You’ll find plenty of fascinating memorabilia and absorbing stories from cricketing greats. And it’s all set in the beautiful surrounds of the Bradman Oval, which includes the Bradman Cafe and gift store.
By far, the most spectacular waterfall anywhere in Australia is the 81-metre high Fitzroy Falls, which cascades dramatically into the untouched bushland of Morton National Park. At the Fitzroy Falls Visitor Centre, you’ll find a cafe, souvenir shop and plenty of information on interesting local Aboriginal history and wildlife in the park.
Australia's Longest Running Inn
History buffs should definitely pay a visit to Berrima’s convict-built pub, The Surveyor General. Established in 1834, The Surveyor General is Australia’s oldest continuously licensed inn. The original taproom is still the main bar, with stone walls, timber and pressed metal ceilings, open fireplace and an 80-year-old carved cedar bar.
The owner of Eden Brewery learned to brew by watching YouTube clips, and now, everyone who works there is a jack of all trades. They donate 10 per cent of profits to Oxfam to help provide clean drinking water to those in need and have chosen to use 100 per cent green renewable energy in the brewery. Apart from the tours that are available, as well as beer tasting masterclasses – Eden Brewery also has a rotating line up of food trucks on weekends!
Where to Eat in the Southern Highlands
Berkelouw Book Barn
The Berkelouw Book Barn at Berrima’s Bendooley Estate is a must-visit for both food-lovers and bookworms. In fact, it’s the quintessential setting for the estate’s restaurant and bar. The winery’s cellar door overlooks the vineyards, with a host of different areas where you can enjoy a glass or two, some good food and perhaps an immersive book. Doesn’t that sound dreamy?
Southern Highlands Brewing & Taphouse
The Taphouse in Moss Vale is part of The Southern Highlands Brewing Co and shows off traditional pub cuisine at its best. Here you can enjoy a tasty seasonal menu using the freshest ingredients, supplied as much as possible by local producers. Match this with in-house brews, plus “guest” beers from other local breweries, and you’re in hipsters paradise!
The Press Shop Cafe
The first step to finding The Press Shop Cafe is to seek out an iconic blue door on the main street of Bowral. Housed within the flagship store of fine stationery makers Bespoke Letterpress, you can shop and eat at the same time. They serve specialty coffee and a fresh, seasonal menu that’s 100 per cent sourced by local Southern Highlands small-batch producers, alongside beautiful notebooks, stationery, cards and more.
We guarantee that despite of what time of the year you arrive, Birch Restaurant menu will have delicious fresh food to serve you, changing their menu to suit what local growers and producers have in abundance. Chefs Ben Bamford and Daryl Laver create special dishes every night in this Moss Vale dining room. Try the Birch Signature Degustation ($110pp) – seven-courses which offer a little taste of all they have on offer.
Michelin-starred chef, Bongkoch Satongun, has just opened Paste Australia on the Main Street of Mittagong. Located in the heart of the Southern Highlands, the new Thailand favourite uses Australian ingredients to serve revived Thai cuisine with respect for original cooking traditions.
Where to Stay in the Southern Highlands
Located on a gorgeous secluded 100-acre hideaway near Robertson is a tiny house called Edmond. Overlooking an escarpment with a lush green paddock all to yourself (except for a few friendly cows and nonchalant wombats), this is the best place for a true getaway for two to four people.
Birch Cottage is a classical Bowral home, only a short walk away from the centre of the town itself. Situated close to all major attractions, restaurants and coffee shops, the cottage is perfect for a short break from the chaos of everyday city life and is complete with gas fire for colder nights and a BBQ and outdoor seating under beautiful birch trees.
The Loch Barn
Sitting above the original stables of the farm at The Loch in Berrima are four large, luxuriously appointed guest rooms. Each comes with an ensuite and plenty of captivating rural views, plus access to an open-plan living room and a chef’s kitchen. Fresh produce can be bought on-site, and the Tasting Room does Sunday lunch in style.
We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land mentioned in our article, the people of the Gundungurra nation, and we recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging.
Feature image: Supplied via Destination NSW.