From foodie destinations to booklover delights and must-visit wineries, the Southern Highlands is all about the finer things in life.
In a region that has long been capturing the imagination of sturdy farmhands, creatives, and Sydney's elite, the Southern Highlands, with its rolling hills and charming towns, is a must-visit destination. Smack bang in the middle of Sydney and Canberra, when it comes to things to do, the Southern Highlands well and truly delights.
A place of rugged beauty and exquisite offerings, the Southern Highlands is where the Australian bush gives way to rustic yet elegant villages that ooze history. Heritage buildings repurposed into cafes, paddock-to-plate fine dining restaurants, and boutique storefronts and art galleries. Plus, the cool-climate vineyards and cellar doors have genuine warmth that goes hand-in-hand with country living.
Yet, it's the landscape, estate homes and weathered cottage that keep locals rooted and has people from far-flung places dropping by. From Bowral to Moss Vale to Bundanoon and Berrima, the list of things to do in the Southern Highlands is long. And if you're a food and wine lover – you're in for a real treat.
Indulge the Southern Highlands Foodie Scene
There is so much on offer in this picturesque region, but the icing on the cake is the delectable foodie scene. Putting the likes of Flour Water Salt and Gumnut Patisserie aside, the restaurants and cafes of the Southern Highlands mean business and foodies are reaping the rewards. Eschalot alone is worth a visit to Berrima, while Highlands Merchant in Moss Vale and Grand Bistro in Bowral both play a leading role in Southern Highlands reputation as a culinary destination. But whichever café, restaurant, gastropub you visit, the menus are burst with homegrown goodness.
Southern Highlands' Drinking Spots
Wineries, breweries and local watering holes, the Southern Highlands is bursting with places to relax. Gastropubs housed in heritage buildings and wine bars with an impressive selection of local and international wine. Still, it's the 60 plus vineyards that has this is cool-climate wine region in a flutter. Centennial Vineyards, Southern Highlands Winery, and Tertini Wines are all leading the way. Yet, it's Bendooley Estate that is favoured for its wine and books and Tractorless Vineyard for their back of the ute vineyard tour. Mount Ashby Estate does not only do wine but they also house a French-inspired café and a provincial antique furniture restoration workshop. For those who prefer the breweries, Southern Highlands Brewing & Taphouse and Eden Brewery deliver tenfold.
Shop 'til You Drop in the Southern Highlands
With a swathe of homeware stores and fashion boutiques, you will never be left wanting when it comes to things to do in the Southern Highlands. Bong Bong Street in Bowral is the go-to for those looking to hit the shops, but be sure to venture to Dirty Jane's Antique Market, which has a mind-blowing collection of affordable antiques. Homewares and fashion aside, the art galleries are a nod to the region's creative community (think Milk Factory), and the bookstores are the perfect place to lose yourself – Berkelouw Book Barn at Bendooley is a must-visit.
Gardens and Parklands in the Southern Highlands
The Southern Highlands European-style gardens and rural landscape are a wonder in the region's changing seasons. Locals celebrate the beauty of the area through garden displays and festivals that attract people from all over. Spring is when Corbett Gardens in Bowral comes to life with the annual Tulip Festival, while autumn charms with trees of changing colour. Wander up Mount Gibraltar, along Berrima River Walk or discover Fitzroy Falls. And being the local stomping ground for Australian cricket legend Don Bradman, the playing fields and sprawling parklands offer up plenty of green spaces to swing a bat.
Stay in the Southern Highlands
From swoon-worthy resorts to grand homesteads to charming cottages, the Southern Highlands boasts some of the best stays south of Sydney. Milton Park Country House and Spa is the crème de la crème of accommodation in the Southern Highlands. Peppers Craigieburn in Bowral is a heritage beauty, and the cottages of Bendooley Estate will keep you local. A stay at Harry Sielder's masterpiece, Siedler House, is a must for design buffs, but with an array of bed and breakfasts and farm stays to choose from, booking accommodation in the Southern Highlands is very much a book your own adventure.
Foodie hotspots and stunning vineyards to lush gardens and national parks – there are many things to do in the Southern Highlands.