Southern Highlands (New South Wales)
Several towns in the southern highlands have a choice of accommodation, restaurants, large variety of services.
- Bowral - largest town in the region
- Moss Vale
- Queanbeyan An effective suburb of the nation's capital Canberra, but part of New South Wales
Smaller Towns and Villages
Smaller towns and villages offer general stores, cafes, and other local attractions.
The Southern Highlands is within commuting distance of Sydney and is popular for weekends away from Sydney. It is a cooler climate than Sydney. It has more identifiable seasons than Sydney, with a cooler spring, and leaves falling in Autumn.
The district can be reached by train from Sydney and by car via the Hume Highway. Allow 80 minutes to travel by car from Sydney to Bowral unless driving on a weekday afternoon when an additional 30-45 minutes will be needed. Friday afternoon traffic can be particularly bad. A regular mini-bus shuttle service from Sydney Airport is also available.
Private car is the easiest way to travel around the villages of the Southern Highlands.
Cycling around the many country lanes and national parks can be a pleasant way to see the area. Moss Vale and Bowral are linked by a pleasant cycleway by the river. Mittagong to Bowral is more problematic, with the highspeed four lane road being the only route past Mt Gibraltar without going over it!
By public transport
- The Morton National Park has view, waterfalls, cliffs, bushwalks, and picnic and cycling opportunities access the park at Bundanoon, Tallong and Fitzroy Falls. The Macquarie Pass National park waterfalls, views, and more bushwalking and cycling opportunities. Access the National Park from Robertson.
- Flower gardens at Bowral
- Cricket tragics can't miss the Bradman Museum attached to Bradman Oval in Bowral. A walking tour of Bowral starting at the museum passes a number of historic sites connected with Sir Donald Bradman .
There are also several wineries in the area which serve food.
Short diversions off the main freeway from Sydney can give a much more pleasant and tasty place to eat than the highway services.
- Meridian Cafe, 85 George St, Marulan (Coming from Sydney, take the first exit, go under the freeway, turn left into George Street. The cafe is just past the railway line on the left. Coming from Canberra or Melbourne, take the service centre exit, head up George Street, the cafe is on your right past the pub), ☎ +61 2 4841 1126, fax: +61 2 4841 1126. Thu-Mon 8AM-11AM (for breakfast) & 12-3PM (for lunch). The only cafe on the 150º meridian. Highly recommended, lovely food, great for a half-way stop between Sydney and Canberra or vice-versa (and much better than the fast food services). Restaurant food serves local produce and wines, menu changes often depending on seasonal produce. Breakfast $5-$15; Lunch $9-18;.
There are country pubs in Bundanoon, Sutton Forest and Berrima. There is more serious nightlife in the larger towns of Bowral, Mittagong and Moss Vale. The Bowral scene is more upmarket, and caters more for the tourist traffic. The Moss Vale pubs by contrast seem a little smaller & friendlier, catering for locals & tourists.
- Berrima Bakehouse Motel is in Corner Wingecarribee Street and Old Hume Highway, Berrima, New South Wales.
- Country Inn Motels is a popular motel chain in Southern Highlands, NSW. It has motels in Berrima, Bundanoon, and Moss Vale.
- River Island Nature Retreat secluded naturist resort in 1500 acres along the Wollondilly River. Access via the Wombeyan Caves Road, approximately 39km from Mittagong.
- Poplars Motel in Mittagong, ☎ +61 2 4889 4239, toll-free: 1800 656 963, fax: +61 2 4889 5074. Pleasant family run accommodation in a garden setting. On the Old Hume Highway as you enter Mittagong
The southern highlands is generally a safe area. Beware of some alcohol fueled violence in the larger towns, like Moss Vale. Many of the roads in the area can be narrow and sometimes unsealed. There can also be cyclists and pedestrians walking on the roads.
If you are travelling on to Sydney, consider taking the Illawarra Highway from Moss Vale over the Macquarie Pass via Robertson and Wollongong, with spectacular winding mountain roads, and coastal views, and only adding 30 minutes or so to the trip to Sydney.