Are you tired of the heat and noise of the city? Wouldn’t you just love to escape to a cool mountain oasis, full of wonders just waiting to be discovered, soaked up and savored? But where can you find this heavenly place? Well, believe it or not, just over a hundred kilometers from Sydney. If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to head over to the Southern Highlands! Here are is just a sample of what you will find there.
Cecil Hoskins Nature Reserve
Who says that happy accidents don’t exist? The Cecil Hoskins Nature Reserve is a perfect example. This protected nature reserve between Bowral and Moss Vale hasn’t always been there. When Bong Bong weir was made in the 1920s, the river created a lagoon and swamp. The tranquility of this unexpected nature’s gift is truly mesmerizing. The wetlands area is now a home to over 90 species of birds. Other animals, such as fox, platypus and Eastern gray kangaroo can also be seen here. When you get tired of wonders of fauna, you can have a barbecue or a picnic.
The Antique Stores of Bowral
The charming town of Bowral truly has something for everyone. Even when you finish exploring the flashier attractions, such as the Corbett Gardens and the Bradman International Cricket Hall of Fame, Bowral still has a few aces up its sleeve. Roam the picturesque streets, and allow yourself to be charmed and surprised. Antique lovers will have a great time hunting for superb vintage and antique pieces. Make sure you dedicate a few hours to Dirty Jane’s. This huge warehouse, named after a 19th century convict, turned antique magnate, has an impressive stock of rare wares.
Have you ever seen a waterfall? This mountainous area seems to have one tucked away in every nook and cranny. As the rivers and creeks of the region find their way across the plateau, and down to the valley below, they create the awe-inspiring Carrington Falls, Belmore Falls and Fitzroy Falls.
Each of these natural wonders is spectacular in its own, unique way. All three have lookouts, hiking trails, disabled access, picnic areas and toilet amenities nearby, and Fitzroy Falls have a great Visitor Centre, which offers plenty of information on the waterfall, surrounding wildlife, and the Aboriginal culture of the area.
Corbett Gardens in Bowral
One of the advantages of the four distinct seasons in the Southern Highlands is that they make it an ideal area for gardening. If you are a garden enthusiast, or even if you just appreciate beauty, make sure you head over to Bowral’s famous Corbett Gardens. Don’t miss the annual spring festival, Tulip Time. This celebration of nature, dating back as far as 1911, takes place every year in September and October. If you can’t make it in time for the festival, fret not! This park in the center of Bowral is worth a visit any time of the year, and, except for Tulip Time, the entrance is free. Tour operators, like Comealong Tours offer coach day trips during the festival.
Delight Your Palate
The Highlands are a gourmet’s idea of heaven. The cool climate and the mountainous terrain lend itself perfectly to winemaking. Try a wine tour, and enjoy the tastes of the local Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, and a delicious lunch. Or, head over to Bowral, for the annual Southern Highlands Food and Wine Festival, and sample the flavors of the region presented by famous chefs and local artisans. The festival is a whirlwind of fun and pleasure, with entertainment, cooking demonstrations, book signings, and lots and lots of delectable local food and wine.
If you are thinking about your next holiday, look no further than the Southern Highlands. This glorious region truly has plenty to offer. Plan your trip, sample at least some of the wonders of this beautiful land, and let yourself fall in love.