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Rejuvenate in the Southern Highlands

Centennial Vineyards, BowralCredit: Destination NSW

Couple enjoying a romantic getaway at Centennial Vineyards, Bowral.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Rejuvenate in the Southern Highlands

Centennial Vineyards, Bowral Credit: Destination NSW

Couple enjoying a romantic getaway at Centennial Vineyards, Bowral.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Hashtags #feelnsw #newsouthwales

The New South Wales Southern Highlands is only a 90-minute drive from Sydney, but thanks to its boutique food and wine scene and picturesque heritage towns, it feels worlds apart. Surrender to blissful days of fine dining and wining, and warm country hospitality on a memorable short break.  

Wine and dine for days 

You’ll feel spoiled for choice of great places to eat all across the Southern Highlands. In charming Bowral, the largest town in the region, you can taste the passion of the chefs at family-owned fine-dining Italian restaurant Onesta Cucina — the name is Italian for honest kitchen, and that’s the ethos: excellent, honest food. Surround yourself with a jungle of potted plants and a massive wall of books as you graze on rustic share plates at Harry’s on Green Lane, or put a buzz in your day with the specialty coffee and a fresh, seasonal menu sourced from local small-batch producers at The Press Shop cafe, behind an iconic blue door on Bowral’s main street. 

Savour a barrage of unfamiliar flavours as Michelin-starred Thai chef Bongkoch Satongun and her husband Jason Bailey (a Southern Highlands local) combine Thai traditions with innovation to create incredible food at Paste Australia in the historic town of Mittagong, just 10 minutes northeast of Bowral. While you’re in Mittagong, gain an appreciation for how grain turns into your glass of beer with a private tour of Eden Brewery, finishing with a guided tasting with an expert brewer. 

Feel great about your meal at Moonacres, an organic farm, café and restaurant in the town of Robertson (the setting for the classic Australian movie Babe), half an hour’s drive southeast of Bowral. You’ll be pleased to learn the ethical production of high quality food from farm to table is top of the agenda as you join a farm tour, take a cooking class, enjoy breakfast or lunch at the Moonacres Kitchen, or a classic Italian dinner with a Southern Highlands twist at its Jimmy Nardello pop-up Italian restaurant.  

For another hands-on experience, join Stefano Marvello’s Italian Cooking Experience in Burradoo. Overlooking the rolling pastures of the scenic surrounds, each class offers guests the opportunity to make classic Italian dishes, and some with a modern twist. Options range from four-hour basic pasta and sauce classes to Italian Master Classes so pack your chef hat, and appetite!  

Tap directly into the season at Birch Restaurant, in Moss Vale, a 10-minute drive south of Bowral, which heroes locally grown produce — the menu changes to suit what local growers and producers have at any given time. Ease onto a comfortable lounge at The Southern Highlands Brewing Co’s Taphouse, also in Moss Vale, and graze on a tasty seasonal menu of pizza, pasta and brasserie favourites while trying out interesting craft brews such as Bong Bong Picnic Ale and the Goodfather porter.  

While away a pleasurable day or two learning about the region’s cool-climate wines — follow the Southern Highlands Wine Trail to discover 15 cellar doors among more than 60 vineyard estates. Indulge your passion for food and books at the Berkelouw Book Barn at Bendooley Estate winery in the Georgian village of Berrima, a 10-minute drive west of Bowral. Work up an appetite browsing some of the tens of thousands of books in the barn before unwinding over lunch at the estate’s restaurant, or dinner from Thursday to Saturday in the cellar door.  

Bendooley Estate, Berrima Credit: Destination NSW

Autumn at Bendooley Estate, Berrima.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Bendooley Estate, Berrima Credit: Destination NSW

Autumn at Bendooley Estate, Berrima.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Bendooley Estate, Berrima Credit: Destination NSW

Salad and wine available at Bendooley Estate, Berrima in the Southern Highlands.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Bendooley Estate, Berrima Credit: Destination NSW

Salad and wine available at Bendooley Estate, Berrima in the Southern Highlands.

#feelnsw #newsouthwales

Immerse in nature and heritage 

Prepare to be awestruck by one of the most spectacular waterfalls anywhere in Australia, the 81m high Fitzroy Falls, which drops dramatically into the untouched bushland of Morton National Park. Head to the Fitzroy Falls Visitor Centre, a 20-minute drive south of Bowral, to learn about local Aboriginal culture and the park’s plants and wildlife before taking a short, wheelchair-accessible boardwalk to see and hear the falls up close.  

Drink in the history of Berrima’s Surveyor General Inn, built by convicts in 1834, as you trace your hands over the rough convict-hewn sandstone and sand bricks and refresh with an ale drawn in the original taproom, which is now the main bar. 

If you’re a cricket buff, you’ll want to spend the whole day at the Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame, tracing the footsteps of cricketing legend Sir Donald Bradman, who grew up in Bowral and ended up becoming the greatest batsman the world has ever seen, and immersing in interactive experiences dedicated to the game of cricket. 

Recharge in luxury 

Retreat to Milton Park Country House Hotel & Spa, a grand mansion on a hilltop just east of Bowral, to recharge in a deluxe suite overlooking gardens or pine forest, and linger in the pretty French bath house before a treatment in the luxe wellness spa. Or check in to another grand manor on a country estate in Bowral, Peppers Craigieburn, to soak up the serene setting before tackling the nine-hole Craigieburn Hickory Golf Course. 

Get a taste of country charm with a modern twist at the Tudor-style Bundanoon Hotel, in the village of Bundanoon, half an hour southwest of Bowral, or hide away from the world at Osborn House, a relaxed bespoke luxury hotel also in Bundanoon.  

Reconnect with family or your inner circle of friends at the three-bedroom Residence at Berrima Vault House, a former inn built by convicts in 1844 and now reimagined as a members’ club in Berrima. Or embrace history as you sleep blissfully in the restored school master’s cottage at the Fitzroy Inn in Mittagong, built in 1836 as a traveller’s inn, and be astonished by the convict-made original kitchen before relaxing in the manicured gardens.  

Soak up the views of rolling green hills while steeping in a Japanese sitting hydrotherapy spa in your suite at Wild Ducks Burrawang in the picturesque village of Burrawang, 20 minutes south-east of Bowral. Or continue east to relish a sense of seclusion in a tiny house called Edmond, overlooking an escarpment and paddock on a 40-hectare near Robertson. 

Imagine you and your loved one are the only people in the hills by going off-grid in a tiny cabin for two in Joadja with Tiny Homes Joadja. Choose from Elevation, The Rapids or Wilson’s Rest, all little houses set on the banks of the Wingecarribee River. 

Peppers Craigieburn, Bowral Credit: Destination NSW

The heritage property at Peppers Craigieburn, Bowral.

#feelnsw

Peppers Craigieburn, Bowral Credit: Destination NSW

The heritage property at Peppers Craigieburn, Bowral.

#feelnsw

Osborn House, Bundanoon Credit: Stephanie Hunter

A suite at Osborn House, featuring bespoke bedheads and custom joinery.

#feelnsw

Osborn House, Bundanoon Credit: Stephanie Hunter

A suite at Osborn House, featuring bespoke bedheads and custom joinery.

#feelnsw

Note: Always plans ahead and check the National Parks website to make sure certain walking tracks are open before visiting. 

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