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Southern Highlands Eat Stay Play

Bowral, Southern HighlandsCREDIT: Destination NSW

Autumn colours in the town of Bowral in the Southern Highlands.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Southern Highlands
Eat Stay Play

Bowral, Southern Highlands CREDIT: Destination NSW

Autumn colours in the town of Bowral in the Southern Highlands.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Hashtags #lovensw #newsouthwales

The New South Wales Southern Highlands is only an hour and a half from Sydney, but thanks to its boutique food and wine scene, and picture-perfect towns, feels worlds apart. You’ll have all the ingredients you need for a memorable short break: cosy fires, great dining, plenty of history and country hospitality.  

Highlights: 

  • Exploring the many pretty towns across the region 
  • Indulging in fine wine and food at the many excellent restaurants 
  • Immersing in nature in untouched bushland 

Where to eat and drink 

Onesta Cucina is a family-owned fine dining Italian restaurant in charming Bowral, the largest town in the Southern Highlands, an 80-minute drive from Sydney. The name is Italian for honest kitchen, and that’s the ethos: excellent, honest food, cooked with passion. All brunch, lunch and dinner urges can be taken care of at Harry's on Green Lane, also in Bowral. It’s a lush, plant-filled eatery offering rustic share plates in an informal bistro atmosphere. The Press Shop cafe is located behind an iconic blue door on Bowral’s main street. It serves specialty coffee and a fresh, seasonal menu sourced by Southern Highlands small-batch producers. 

Michelin-starred Thai chef Bongkoch Satongun, along with her husband Jason Bailey (a Southern Highlands local), opened Paste Australia in the historic town of Mittagong, just 10 minutes northeast of Bowral, in 2020. This is the Australian stage for the remarkable flavours of the renowned Paste Bangkok, so book a table and discover how Satongun combines tradition with innovation to create incredible food. While you’re in Mittagong, visit Eden Brewery, which donates 10 per cent of profits to Oxfam to provide clean drinking water to those in need. Take a tour, join a beer tasting masterclass, and enjoy live music. 

You’ll find an organic farm, café and restaurant at Moonacres, in the town of Robertson (the setting for the classic Australian movie Babe), half an hour’s drive southeast of Bowral. The ethical production of high quality food from farm to table is top of the agenda. 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 Italian restaurant (named after an heirloom chilli). 

The Taphouse in Moss Vale, a 10-minute drive south of Bowral, is part of The Southern Highlands Brewing Co and shows off ‘beer cuisine’ at its best. You can enjoy a tasty seasonal menu of pizza, pasta and brasserie favourites while trying out craft brews. The menu at Birch Restaurant, also in Moss Vale, features locally grown produce and changes to suit what local growers and producers have at any given time. Chefs Ben Bamford and Daryl Laver create special dishes — try the seven-course degustation menu for a taste of all they have on offer.  

There’s a great cool-climate wine scene in the Southern Highlands, with more than 60 vineyards and 15 cellar doors. Follow the Southern Highlands Wine Trail to discover them. Make sure you call in on the Berkelouw Book Barn at Bendooley Estate in Berrima, a 10-minute drive west of Bowral. It’s a must-visit for foodies and bookworms; as well as tens of thousands of books (and a welcoming log fire), the barn is home to the estate’s restaurant and bar. Call in for a browse, a tasting, and lunch or dinner. 

Bendooley Estate, Berrima CREDIT: Destination NSW

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

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Bendooley Estate, Berrima CREDIT: Destination NSW

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

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Fitzroy Falls, Morton National Park CREDIT: Kramer Photography; www.kramer.photography

The scenic Fitzroy Falls in Morton National Park, Fitzroy Falls.

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Fitzroy Falls, Morton National Park CREDIT: Kramer Photography; www.kramer.photography

The scenic Fitzroy Falls in Morton National Park, Fitzroy Falls.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

What to do 

The Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame is a must-visit for cricket fans. Set in the beautiful surrounds of Bradman Oval, Bowral, it is an interactive experience dedicated to the game of cricket — and in particular, cricketing legend Sir Donald Bradman, who grew up in Bowral and ended up becoming the greatest batsman the world has ever seen. Have breakfast or lunch in the on-site Bradman Café. 

One of the most spectacular waterfalls anywhere in Australia, the 81m high Fitzroy Falls drops dramatically into the untouched bushland of Morton National Park. At the Fitzroy Falls Visitor Centre, a 20-minute drive south of Bowral, you find out about local Aboriginal culture and the park’s plants and wildlife before taking a short, wheelchair-accessible boardwalk to view the falls. Longer walks from the visitor centre include the combined East Rim and Wildflower walking tracks, which should take two to three hours.

History buffs should pay a visit to Berrima’s Surveyor General Inn, built by convicts in 1834. The original taproom is still the main bar, with stone walls, timber and pressed metal ceilings, an open fireplace and an 80-year-old carved cedar bar.  

Head to the Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve, an hour and 40 minutes northwest of Bowral, to take guided or self-guided tours of a remarkable cave system, including the stalactites and stalagmites of the beautifully lit Fig Tree Cave. 

Where to sleep  

The Loch guesthouse, on a working farm in Berrima, offers four large, luxury guest rooms above a converted stables, each with an ensuite, open-plan living and chef’s kitchen. Fresh produce can be bought at the Farm Stall on site, and the Tasting Room offers a three-course lunch with wine, combined with a farm tour to learn about chef and owner Brigid Kennedy’s paddock-to-plate ethos. 

The Bundanoon Hotel, with its distinctive black-and-white striped Tudor-style frontage, is an easy place to spot, in the village of Bundanoon, half an hour southwest of Bowral. Refurbished since a change of ownership in 2018, hotel offers country charm with a modern twist. There are gardens, a tennis court, swimming pool, and a bistro serving pub meals and wood-fired pizza. 

The Fitzroy Inn historic guest house, in Mittagong, opened in 1836. Today it offers 11 luxury rooms, four of which are in the restored school master’s cottage. It’s also got a fascinating original kitchen and convict cell, as well as manicured gardens, orchard, tennis court and croquet lawn. 

Settle into a luxury spa suite in the picturesque village of Burrawang, 20 minutes south-east of Bowral. The three spa suites at Wild Ducks Burrawang each has a king bed, a Japanese sitting hydrotherapy spa and views of rolling green hills. Order a picnic hamper and wine for when you arrive.

Fancy a round or two of golf during your stay? Check in to Peppers Craigieburn, which occupies a grand manor on a country estate in Bowral but, most importantly, has its own private nine-hole links, the Craigieburn Hickory Golf Course. 

The Milton Park Country House Hotel & Spa, on a hilltop just east of Bowral, offers deluxe rooms and suites overlooking gardens or pine forest, as well as a French bath house with indoor pool. This is a mansion on a country estate, with art, antiques, sitting rooms, tennis and croquet, as well as a luxurious Wellness Spa and food options including French-inspired fine dining at Horderns. Located on a gorgeous secluded 40-hectare hideaway near Robertson is a tiny house called Edmond. It sleeps up to four people (with a queen-sized bed loft and two beds downstairs) and overlooks an escarpment and paddock, which you’ll share with a few friendly cows. 

Peppers Craigieburn, Bowral, Southern Highlands CREDIT: Destination NSW

Peppers Craigieburn hotel, Bowral, Southern Highlands.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Peppers Craigieburn, Bowral, Southern Highlands CREDIT: Destination NSW

Peppers Craigieburn hotel, Bowral, Southern Highlands.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame, Bowral CREDIT: Destination NSW

Sir Donald Bradman memorabilia on display at the Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame, Bowral.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame, Bowral CREDIT: Destination NSW

Sir Donald Bradman memorabilia on display at the Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame, Bowral.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

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