There is so much more to Australia than Sydney. Most travellers head north in search of sun and beaches, which is great, but most miss the best that NSW and the ACT have to offer. Within a few hours drive from Sydney there are empty beaches, with sand deep enough to encase your feet; green, rolling hills that give the Irish countryside a run for it’s money; front row views of whale migrations; and shopping without the crowds.
Southern NSW is a place of peace and solitude. Hit the road for a weekend and check it out. You won’t be disappointed.
Head to the Southern Highlands…
Leave the hustle and bustle of Sydney behind and head south. The Southern Highlands awaits. Within an hour and a half, travellers will find places of retreat and seclusion. B&Bs are abundant and spaciously situated within rolling, green hills, to the point where you have to pay attention to actually notice them. Antique shops line the streets of small, boutique towns, alongside quirky shops and cafés. And award winning restaurants await your tastebuds.
Where to Visit:
For an outdoor adventure, Fitzroy Falls offers easy trails, for those wanting to meander, to more strenuous trails for those keen to pit their skills against nature. Either way, you will experience sensational waterfalls, which are your companion along the trail. If you are lucky (and quiet), you may even catch a lyrebird in its natural surroundings.
For great shopping, Bowral is the place to stop. A popular spot for a weekend away for many Sydney-siders, Bowral offers cafés galore, antique and quaint specialty shops, along with farmer’s markets and craft guilds in a rural highland setting.
The Sturt Gallery in Mittagong offers a beautiful setting to present artist works in mixed media including wood, ceramics and textiles. A café set in the picturesque gardens offers a lovely stop for lunch or a relaxing afternoon tea.
Where to Stay:
The Dormie House in Moss Vale. A historical house mixing old world charm with modern comforts – a great deal. Be sure to ask for a room overlooking the golf course as the views are stunning in the early morning when the mist hits the greens. This hotel offers a restaurant on-site, but the hotel does not offer WiFi. Not a big deal if you are looking to escape though.
Where to Eat:
The award-winning Porterhouse Bistro, tucked into the Moss Vale Hotel, is unassuming until you bring your taste buds into the mix. The calamari is said to be out of this world but to experience it for yourself, be sure to call ahead for a reservation because all of the locals do, which leaves slim pickings for the visitors. We got lucky.
If that doesn’t fit your bill, try Bernie’s Diner. Don’t be put off by the marquee lights flashing outside, as the diner experience inside is genuine. Bernie’s is now a ‘must stop’ any time we head south. From their old fashioned shakes, to humungous burgers, their pastrami sandwiches to their damn good Chicago hotdog, this is a great stop.
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