The Southern Highlands is where we go to escape the city life and feel as if we’ve stepped into a country haven.

According to the Southern Highlands website, the Southern Highlands is made up of 14 towns, to be exact.  However, it is not just the number of towns that make the Southern Highlands unique, but the personality, people and heart that can be found throughout, which is also the reason we just can’t stay away. Approximately an hour and a half drive away from Sydney, the Southern Highlands is the perfect place for a weekend jaunt, especially as we’ve done the hard yards for you, and basically organised your whole trip.

EAT

Eschalot, Berrima 

Eschalot restaurant is one of the Southern Highland’s finest restaurants, and since it’s opening in 2003, has retained the same high standard of quality food and service. The restaurant has a philosophy “to provide fresh food of the highest quality and combine it with professional and very friendly service in an elegant and relaxed environment.” Since its opening, Eschalot has been awarded 11 Chefs Hats and has won numerous Industry Awards.

Biota Dining, Bowral

Biota Dining is a well-known and Hatted restaurant in Bowral. The interior is coated with whites and contemporary greys while twig-like branches adorn the tabletops. The food is out of this world and has very much earned its good name. With only one degustation menu on offer, each dining experience at Biota is unique and one to remember.  A trip to Biota Dining is always a pleasure especially with such wonderful staff, it is dining experience unlike any other in Bowral.

Toshi’s Japanese Restaurant 

Not what you might expect in the Southern Highlands, but definitely worth your while. Toshi San has been serving Japanese cuisine to the Southern Highlands for over 30 years. His menu is inspired by the rich Japanese tradition and incorporates other cuisines, Australian produce and world techniques. He is passionate about making good food, which his restaurant and menu definitely reflect.

DRINK

Bendooley Estate, Berrima

Bendooley Estate. Image via Shutterstock

Is there anything better than a bar inside a library? We don’t think so! Bendooley Estate is situated on a large property and has a few different spaces to relax and enjoy, including Berkelouw Book Barn and Cafe. There is also a cellar door to explore with a variety of sensational wines to try. Be sure to taste their excellent chardonnay or riesling.

The Press Shop, Bowral 

The Press Shop sits in the main street of Bowral and is one of the most aesthetic cafes in the town. Located behind their famed curved door, The Press Shop combines our love of fine stationery, with speciality coffee and an incredibly delicious menu. Named so because it doubles as a stationery shop and Bespoke Letterpress, in which they are trying to maintain the old art form of letter printing.

Joadja Distillery, Joadja

Joadja, a town in the Southern Highlands, was established in the late 1870s, when hundreds of Scottish miners brought skills of mining and brewing their ‘sly grog’.  The Scottish heritage in the valley and the history of “sly grog” has inspired the Jimenez family who currently owns and manage Joadja Town, to establish Joadja Distillery in 2014. Visiting the cellar door will include gaining knowledge into how the Australian whisky is produced as well as a taste of their Scottish ale.

DO

Take in the serenity 

Fitzroy Lake. Image via Shutterstock

The Southern Highlands is a place of immense natural beauty and charm. Long walks, taking in the surroundings and immersing yourself in nature is one of the best ways to spend a weekend in this region. Places to explore include Fitzroy Falls, Fairy Bower Falls, Leighton Gardens, Corbett Gardens and much more.

Shop ’till you drop

The Southern Highlands are well-known for their fabulous vintage and antique stores. These stores, along with other boutique and unique stores add to the authenticity and small-town nature of the Southern Highlands – another reason we keep going back.

Treat yo’ self 

Bradman Oval. Image via Shutterstock.

If you’re a cricket fan, then treating yourself may mean visiting the Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame and the Bradman Oval, which are both in Bowral and are extremely interesting and entertaining. However, if this does not strike your fancy, worry not. The Southern Highlands are brimming with days spas that will hit the spot.

STAY

Peppers Craigieburn, Berrima

Built 100 years ago, Peppers Craigieburn is nestled in the Southern Highlands on a cosy estate, inviting you to come, relax and enjoy. Peppers Craigieburn celebrates the luxury of leisure with specialty service, fabulous dining and a private golf course. The country retreat is reminiscent of a gentrified period in time, which makes it all the more alluring.

Milton Park Country House Hotel and Spa, Bowral

Milton Park Hotel is a five-star hotel that offers luxurious accommodation and spa facilities which can be located on its own secluded hill east of Bowral. Milton Parks speciality is their fine dining, impeccable service and atmosphere of sophistication. The hotel’s main building is the grand mansion, built at the turn of the 20th century, while the grounds provide guests with breathtaking views of the surrounds as far as the eye can see.

Oakley House, Exeter 

The Southern Highlands. Image via Shutterstock.

If you’re looking for a more homey, authentic stay, there are many beautiful homes and country steads to rent for the weekend, including the likes of Oakley House in Exeter. Privately nestled on almost half an acre, the house exudes charm, style and comfort.

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