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Southern Highlands Spotlight

Centennial Vineyards, BowralCREDIT: Destination NSW

Scenic country views surrounding Centennial Vineyards, Bowral in the Southern Highlands region.

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Southern Highlands
Spotlight

Centennial Vineyards, Bowral CREDIT: Destination NSW

Scenic country views surrounding Centennial Vineyards, Bowral in the Southern Highlands region.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Hashtags #lovensw #newsouthwales

The Southern Highlands is known for its character-filled historic towns and villages, grand parks and gardens, and cool-climate wines, the latter thanks to grapes planted here by settlers in the 1870s. The industry took off in the 20th century, and today there are around 20 cellar doors dotting the countryside. Pinot noir and pinot gris are specialties, but there’s not much this region gets wrong when it comes to extremely memorable wines across the spectrum. Here are some highlights, and activities to keep you entertained between tastings.  

The Southern Highlands is the closest wine region to Sydney — from the airport, the drive south to Bowral (the region’s largest town) is 120km; allow just over an hour. The train ride from Central Station is only slightly longer, at 1.5 hours.  

Where to drink 

With a cellar door that offers fun and immersive experiences, Tractorless Vineyard embraces a combination of old-world knowledge with new world techniques, all guided by biodynamic principles. The property is also home to Bowral Brewing Company, which means you can enjoy a guided wine, beer and cider flight; discover the art of barrel tasting with the winemaker; or try grape stomping.  

PepperGreen Estate operates its cellar door and restaurant from an historic Berrima building that once operated as an antiques store. Sip sparkling wines or a pinot noir, sample the property’s olive oil or indulge in the Wine & Canapés experience, led by a sommelier in the private cellar. 

Since 2000, Centennial Vineyards has been bowling visitors over with its spectacular use of the region’s most coveted grapes: pinot noir and pinot gris. You can tour the Bowral winery or enjoy a tasting, then move into the restaurant for a meal or high tea — your finger sandwiches and scones are best paired with bubbles (there are seven varieties to choose from) from the cellar door. 

The grand Georgian homestead and stables at Bendooley Estate in Berrima are enveloped by manicured gardens and vines. It’s certainly one of the prettiest places in the highlands to enjoy a wine tasting. Move from the cellar door into on-site Berkelouw Bookstore — specialising in rare tomes — then the restaurant for a farm-to-table meal, before wandering back to your luxe cottage with lake views.

Artemis is one of the region’s pioneers when it comes to pinot noir. In winter, try a flight by the cellar door’s fire; in summer, order pizzas, mezze platters and your favourite bottle to enjoy on the lawn, sprawling over the Mittagong countryside. The brand has also branched into spirits, including a distinctive manuka-and-saffron gin.  

Where to eat 

Every Sunday, The Loch invites visitors to lunch, showcasing the bounty of produce that is grown and raised on this working farm. The menu changes fortnightly, to reflect what’s in season, and you can tour the gardens to learn where your meal comes from. A five-minute drive from Berrima, the estate also features sleek, country-style accommodation.

Set in a building dating to 1867, the Burrawang General Store is the type of café you’ll never want to leave. Soak up streetscapes from the verandah, or enjoy high tea in the flower-filled gardens. 

For flavours and ingredients that speak of the region, it’s hard to go past Birch. This fine-dining restaurant in Moss Vale heroes local produce, whether that’s carrots from the kitchen garden or pork from a nearby farm.  

Over in Berrima, Eschalot follows a similar ethos. Set inside a stunning heritage building, the eatery grows much of its own vegetables in the owners’ gardens and greenhouses, offering a true paddock-to-plate dining experience. 

Southern Highlands Wine Region Highlight Selects CREDIT: Destination NSW

Enjoy good food and fine wine in the Southern Highlands.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Southern Highlands Wine Region Highlight Selects CREDIT: Destination NSW

Enjoy good food and fine wine in the Southern Highlands.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Bendooley Estate, Berrima CREDIT: Destination NSW

With a cellar door, sleek accommodation and a restaurant, Bendooley Estate, Berrima, has all the ingredients for a romantic escape.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Bendooley Estate, Berrima CREDIT: Destination NSW

With a cellar door, sleek accommodation and a restaurant, Bendooley Estate, Berrima, has all the ingredients for a romantic escape.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Eschalot, Berrima CREDIT: Destination NSW

An elegant dish made from seasonal, local ingredients at Eschalot restaurant, Berrima.

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Eschalot, Berrima CREDIT: Destination NSW

An elegant dish made from seasonal, local ingredients at Eschalot restaurant, Berrima.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Tours, activities and attractions 

Wild Food Adventures offers a diverse range of tours that unite an active adventure (think hiking and kayaking) with culinary experiences (fine dining and farm visits). The signature ‘Wine, Wine, Fine Dine’ takes you to many of the vineyards above, as well as Berrima’s Tertini Wines (which took home an award for Australia’s best pinot noir in 2019) and St. Maur Wines in Exeter

Australian cricket legend Sir Donald Bradman grew up in Bowral, and his achievements are immortalised at The Bradman Museum International Cricket Hall of Fame. Catch live footage from games around the world, peruse fascinating memorabilia, and pick up a map for the self-guided Bradman Walk, taking you to sites around Bowral significant to Bradman’s life. 

Love vintage clothing and fossicking for new treasures? Try Bowral’s Dirty Janes, a huge warehouse with more than 80 dealers offering everything from furniture to clothing and collectibles. 

Walk off all the food and wine exploring Fitzroy Falls, where water tumbles 81 metres from a cliff to the forest below. It’s part of Morton National Park: the park’s visitor centre not only provides insights into local flora and fauna, but also the region’s long Aboriginal history.  

Or, lace up your hiking shoes and explore the trails around Mount Gibraltar (864m), a collapsed volcanic core now popular for the unbroken views its lookouts afford over the countryside.  

Where to sleep  

If you’re looking for a little luxury, Peppers has two properties in the Southern Highlands. The Craigieburn Bowral hotel occupies a century-old country estate, replete with manicured gardens and a private golf course. Meanwhile, the Manor House in Sutton Forest oozes country charm, with many of the original 1920s design flourishes still in place.  

In Bowral, Milton Park Country House & Spa is a European-styled mansion turned luxury hotel. The interiors are a fantasy of art and antiques, while the seasonal gardens burst with rare rhododendrons, giant elms and kaleidoscopic flowering bulbs. 

From alpacas and chickens to cattle and ponies, the working farms in the Downunder Farmstays’s Bowral portfolio allow visitors to meet animals and discover life on the land — all while sleeping in cosy accommodations.  

From a country homestead to cottages to cowboy bunkbeds, Farm Club Australia is a great way to sleep amid nature on the outskirts of the town of Moss Vale. During the day, go bushwalking or horse riding, or collect freshly laid eggs and find out what it takes to raise Angus cattle.  

The Vine Lodge homestead, outbuilding and stables may have been built in 1826, but today the Exeter estate offers modern accommodation for large groups travelling together. The lovingly restored Georgian buildings retain much of their original charm, with plenty of new conveniences for a comfortable stay. 

Set on an Exeter vineyard, the Me Jane Camp Out bell tents are fitted out with rattan rugs and faux-fur throws, a low-slung bed and luxe sheets — there’s no ensuite, but you’re only a short stroll from the main homestead, where meals are arranged on request.  

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.

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Farm Club Australia, Werai CREDIT: Destination NSW

Enjoy a guided farm and country experience with Farm Club Australia, Werai.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Farm Club Australia, Werai CREDIT: Destination NSW

Enjoy a guided farm and country experience with Farm Club Australia, Werai.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

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