Looking for the best things to do while in the Southern Highlands? We’ve got you sorted!
The sun is setting earlier and the days are getting colder; we are halfway through Autumn and Winter is around the corner. Believe it or not, this is a great time of year to visit the Southern Highlands. This region is the perfect Winter escape from big, bustling cities. Sit back, relax and start reading our article about what’s on in the Southern Highlands, NSW to help you plan your next visit.
The Southern Highlands is a New South Wales’ district that among all is known and recognised as a wine region. It is one of the preferred go-to escape for Sydneysiders as the district is just 1h and 30 minutes away. Between the cool climate, the amazing green hills and picturesque villages there is no wonder that the Highlands is a place that has been attracting visitors for more than 140 years.
There are a multitude of things to do in the Southern Highlands: from bushwalks, walking tracks and cycling trails to amazing waterfalls, nationals park and picturesque towns. Nevertheless, even if it was hard to narrow the list down, we’ve put together our top recommendations with 5 remarkable things to do in the Southern Highlands.
1. Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk
To begin the list of top things to do in the Southern Highlands, our first stop is the Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk.
This walk is one of Australia’s premier treetop walk experiences. It is a 1.5km long walk through the wonderful temperate rainforest with 500 metres of steel walkway nestled in the treetop canopy that are on average 25 metres above the ground. The walk is situated 710 metres above the sea level offering an amazing view of the rainforest, the Royal National Park, the Lake Illawarra and the South Pacific Ocean.
The walk starts off inside the rainforest, then it continues on the steel walkaway to then go back into the rainforest canopy again. Due to the clever way the walkway was designed, the visitors have the chance to better appreciate the flora and fauna of the region. One of the highlights of the walk is the ending. The walk, in fact, finishes in the ‘Knight Tower’, a spiral tower that rises above the forest for more than 45 metres and gives you stunning views that range from Port Kembla in the north to Shellharbour in the south. Other thrills of the walk are the two confronting swaying springboard cantilevers that are suspended 25 metres above the ground where guests are taken to the edge of the escarpment.
If you are a nature lover and would like to see more than what you can see with the Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk, we think that our second stop, the Morton National Park is perfect for you. This national park caters for everyone, it doesn’t matter if you are an avid bushwalker or someone just looking for a lookout or someone that just wants to chill and have a picnic. Between all the things to do in Southern Highlands, Morton National Park can offer something to everyone.
Throughout the parks there are more than a dozen of different walking tracks with different lengths, some are just a few minutes long while others can go on for days. One of the walking tracks is the ‘Kangaroo River Walking Track’ that is 7km walk that goes from the ‘Tallowa Dam Road’ until the ‘Kangaroo River’ that is where the famous ‘Kangaroo Valley’ is situated. Another great aspect of the park is the amazing variety of wildlife that it offers like bowerbirds, lyrebirds, eagles, falcons and ground parrots. However, the hallmark of the park is the ‘Fitzroy Falls’ that is one of the most spectaculars waterfalls in Australia. It is 81 metres high and it dramatically drops into the untouched bushland of Morton National Park. The park also has some incredible different aboriginal sites, as the land was the country of the Yuin people for over 20,000 years.
3. Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame
Looking for something different on your list of things to do in Southern Highlands? No problem!
For our third stop, we have a change of scenery as now it’s time to deliver to our cricket’s fans. In Bowral, you can find the ‘Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame’. The reason why this museum was established here is that Sir Donald Bradman, one of the most legendary cricket’s figures, was born and raised in the Southern Highlands. The museum contains not only memorabilia related to his career but also memorabilia from the international cricketing world, interactive exhibits that will take you from the origins of the game throughout all important eras until the Big Bash League.
If you’re travelling with kids, next to the museums there is a fun cricket-themed children’s playground. This museum is not just something for cricket’s fanatics as it gives a terrific insight into Australia’s favourite sport throughout the years. We think it’s the perfect museum for a cricket beginner as it gives a good introduction to the game.
If you are into perfectly restored colonial architecture and impeccably maintained gardens and estates, you are in luck! Between all of the things you can do in the Southern Highlands, there are plenty of towns that will satisfy your thirst for beautiful landscapes!
Our fourth stop is Bowral. This is the largest town in the region that used to be a traditional summer retreat for Sydney’s upper class. As a matter of fact, there are still multiple aspects such as fine manor houses, antique stores and gourmet restaurants that are on display showing Bowral’s glamourous past.
If you’re a vintage lover, you should consider visiting the ‘Dirty Janes Bowral’, the city’s only permanent antique market that offers a variety of antique furniture, lighting, architectural, beautiful quality preloved home furnishings, LP’s, vintage clothing and so much more. Fun fact: there are over 85 dealers that bring new stock in each day to ensure the market is always kept ‘fresh’.
If suddenly while shopping for antiques you get a craving for a cup of tea, the market has a Tea Salon that offers a great place to relax with light lunches, high teas and morning and afternoon tea. While on the topic of sweets – a must-stop while in Bowral is the award-winning Gumnut Patisserie whose motto is ‘life’s too short, eat dessert first’. This patisserie is widely known in the region and many Sydneysiders do drive to Bowral just to visit the bakery. In case your sweet tooth was already satisfied don’t worry as they offer savoury dishes on their menu too.
Our fifth, final and most important suggestion, from our list of Southern Highlands things to do, is to make sure you visit some wineries!
Even though the Southern Highlands wine region is not one of the biggest in Australia, is still widely renowned for the amazing wines produced in the area. In fact, there are more than 50 vineyards and a dozen cellar doors to visit throughout the Southern Highlands. Each winery produces its own selection of cool climate wine in both red and white varieties along with fruit-based liqueurs, so there is something to suit even the most discerning of tastes.
Considering wine is such a big part of this region, we simply must suggest that you drop by and pay us a visit at Verwood Estate! We are a family-run vineyard that produces luxurious wines, so unique that cannot be found in any stores. As we are located in the Southern Highlands, a cool climate region, we produce smooth, aromatic, with pleasant palate wines. We look forward to meeting you when you come down to visit!
Visit the Southern Highlands This Weekend
If these 5 things to do in the Southern Highlands are not enough, allow us to give you the local downlow on which big event you should be attending in the region. We strongly suggest The Wildfest – Annual Festival. It’s Australia’s First and Only Wild Nature Festival! Wild Fest mixes premium produce, culinary artisans, award-winning regional beverages with accessible luxury and whimsical touches in unique natural environments to craft truly exceptional events. The festival is on from Wednesday, 14th of October to Saturday, 31st of October.
So, there you have it – our top 5 things to do in the Southern Highlands. We hope that we’ve helped to plan your next big adventure in the Southern Highlands. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and we’ll see you soon!