The Southern Highlands region is filled with activities for every type of visitor. We spent a weekend getting acquainted with the region and chatting to the locals for their ‘must do’ activities and places to visit while in the area.
For the Food & Wine enthusiast
The Southern Highlands has a number of vineyards that produce award winning wine. We visited the Southern Highlands Wines in Sutton Forest and enjoyed their cool climate Pinot Noir. They have a restaurant which is quite popular with the locals. You can try their wines at the cellar door, or enjoy them with your meal at the restaurant.
If you fancy something with a bit more character, then drive over to Peppers Craigieburn on Centennial Road to Hickory’s Restaurant and bar. There, chef Warwick Brooke uses local produce to create outstanding dishes that sing the praise of those ingredients. Whether you choose to eat bar snacks by the warm and cosy fireplaces, or choose to have a more formal dining experience in the main restaurant, the dishes are sure to impress.
There are two producers in the Southern Highlands that are worth mentioning; Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms and the Truffle farm at Yelverton.
If you time it right, you can go on a tour of the Mushroom tunnel as it is referred to by the local. It’s a well known local supplier of mushrooms that has been in the press and also aired on TV as seen in Jamie Oliver in March 2014.
The Truffle farm at Yelverton comes to full swing in winter when Truffles can be harvested. You can participate in local truffle hunts between June and August.
For those that enjoy a bit of thrifty shopping
Southern Highlands is a hub for antique stores. In Bowral you can roam through the seventy five boutique stalls at Dirty Jane’s emporium and look for vintage bargains, classic crockery, unique pieces to decorate your home, or simple furniture that you may wish to revive.
Well known to Bowral residents, is also Barbara’s Storehouse. Filled with homewares that can transform any home into a stylish cave, this store will put fun back into your decorating skills. The store carries unique products sourced directly from South-East Asia, and perhaps like me, you will leave the store with items you hadn’t planned on buying, but once you saw them knew you had to have.
For the nature lovers
Just on the outskirts of Moss Vale, is Morton National Park. There are three main walks that range in the park, with the longest being 7km return. The easiest walk is to the viewing platform just 5 minutes from the park entrance and has spectacular views of Fitzroy Falls.
If you fancy bringing out your torches and exploring at night time, then the Glow Worm Glen is sure to delight. Located in Bundanoon, the glen, or rather the worms create a luminescent display for locals and visitors. It is recommended to start the 30 minute walk from the top of William Street at sunset, and descend the steep track while there is still light, this will ensure that you are not shining your torches when you arrive. At the end of your walk you will be rewarded with a bright display. The worms glow at night time, so make sure you keep your torches off as otherwise they might think it’s daytime and switch off.
Where to stay
Our accommodation of choice is Peppers Craigieburn in Bowral. The property is a refurbished and expanded homestead with 72 spacious rooms. It is ideally located in the heart of the Southern Highlands, Bowral. The property has 3 common area fireplaces, where you can quietly sip some brandy while reading a book. This is definitely the place for relaxation and getting away from a busy lifestyle.
What you need to know
Southern Highlands Wines – Cnr Oldbury Road and Illawarra Highway, Sutton Forest, NSW
The restaurant is open 12pm – 3pm Thursday to Monday and 6pm – 9pm Friday and Saturday.
Bookings can be made on 02 4868 2300
Peppers Craigieburn – Centennial Rd, Bowral NSW 2576
Hickory’s Restaurant and Bar is open for lunch & dinner, 7 days
Bookings can be made on 02 4862 8005
Li-Sun Exotic Mushrooms – 16 Davy Street, Mittagong, NSW 2575
Tours held throughout the year and open by appointment only
Yelverton Truffles – Robertson, NSW
Contact them on 02 4885 1924
Dirty Jane’s Emporium – 13-15 Banyette St, Bowral NSW 2576
Open 7 days from 10am – 5pm
Morton National Park – 1301 Nowra Road, Fitzroy Falls NSW 2577
Open daily from 9am – 5pm
Glow Worm Glen – Morton National Park, William Street, Bundanoon NSW 2578
Open 24 hours but best to visit at night
* We were invited by Southern Highland Tourism to visit the region during their pie time festival. We travelled in a private vehicle at our own expense, and were not paid for this post. We stayed at Peppers Craigieburn and lunched at Southern Highlands Winery as their guests.