The MACARTHUR region includes the cities of CAMDEN and CAMPBELLTOWN and is a vibrant, bustling region known for offering experiences which include adrenalin packed activities, heritage attractions, entertainment activities and award winning dining.
The region is rich in history and character as Macarthur was the birthplace of Australia’s wool, wine and wheat industries. Today, these links with the history of colonial settlement are reflected in the large number of heritage listed buildings that are still scattered throughout. Camden Park House and Macarthur Park are fine examples of 19C architecture prevalent in the area.
There are plenty of opportunities to get up close with nature as Macarthur boasts lovely public gardens and parks and is bordered by scenic hills, nature reserves and the Georges and Nepean Rivers, so bushwalking is a must.
Macarthur is rich in history but also in art and culture. There is a diverse range of cultural venues including a number of art galleries such as Campbelltown Arts Centre and the Campbelltown Entertainment and Exhibition Centre are the entertainment heart of Macarthur.
Macarthur is bordered by scenic hills, nature reserves and the Georges and Nepean Rivers. The beauty of the nature reserves and wildlife trails will surprise and delight with spectacular flowing streams, rock escarpments and native flora and fauna.
For a superb day out, visit one of Macarthur’s most interesting attractions, Australian Botanic Gardens, Mount Annan. Enjoy a delightful family day out in the midst of 416 hectares of Australian bushland. The facility includes picnic areas, a restaurant, over 10 kilometres of walking tracks and a native flora research facility and NSW Seedbank.
For more information go to: www.macarthur.com.au
WOLLONDILLY, is situated on the south western outskirts of Sydney and at the foothills of the Southern Highlands. It is surrounded by spectacular, natural beauty and rural pastures in an area that relies on dairying and mixed farming. It takes in Bargo in the south, APPIN and Menangle in the east, WARRAGAMBA in the north, Yerranderie Ghost Town and the Burragorang Valley to the west.
Historic PICTON was originally called Stonequarry and was in fact a private town in the early 19C. It has a number of notable historic sites; Vault Hill, owned by an early settler Henry Antill, the old courthouse, built in 1864, a Victorian classical stone post office with an impressive clock tower, dating from 1892, the CBC Bank (now the National Australia Bank) built in 1885, St Mark’s Anglican Church, and Larkin Cottage, one of the oldest surviving buildings in town.
Take in the breathtaking views of the Burragorang Valley, the waters of which are dammed by Warragamba Dam or picnic and BBQ at the Avon, Cordeaux or Nepean Dams.
Among the attractions in Wollondilly are Wirrimbirra, a local wildlife sanctuary and Trainworks, home of Australia’s oldest and largest railway museum.
Wirrimbirra Sanctuary, which is set in 200 acres of bushland, is a National Trust (NSW) property and is located between Bargo and Tahmoor. There are native animals, a native plant nursery, picnic tables and a Gift Shop.
TRAINWORKS in Thirlmere, is a magical place to visit for the enthusiast and the young at heart. Step back in time to an era when everyone travelled by train. There are over 40 locomotives and 80 carriages on display, dating from 1865. As well, there is an exhibition of railway items and memorabilia, a signals display, an authentic fettler’s shed, and a heritage-listed 1880s railway station.
For more information go to: www.visitwollondilly.com.au
MITTAGONG – the gateway to the Southern Highlands
MITTAGONG township is rich in history and is known as the gateway to the Southern Highlands. The town has a number of stunning heritage buildings, art galleries, antique and craft shops. It is a great place to search for that special antique or book and enjoy good food and wine. There are hotels, cafes, restaurants, and take-aways. The RSL offers dining, entertainment, large gaming areas and even accommodation.
The centre of town is a delightful shopping precinct with homewares, clothing, needlecraft, antiques, jewellery and health and beauty outlets. Indulge the tastebuds in one of the many cafes, restaurants, clubs and coffee houses. Wineries are close by as is the historic village of Berrima and the shopping paradise of Bowral.
In the midst of the township is Lake Alexandra where the kids can play, the big kids can picnic or just enjoy the quiet relaxed environment on the edge of the Lake. There are lots of walking trails around Mt Alexandra where you can explore the bush. The lookouts and walking trails on Mt. Gibraltar and Mt. Alexandra allow you to get close to nature, with abundant birdlife and wildlife.
Mittagong is south west of Sydney in the Nattai River Valley between Mt Gibraltar, known locally as ‘The Gib’ and Mt Alexandra, both extinct volcanic peaks.
BOWRAL – home to the International Cricket Hall of Fame. Bowral is a most delightful country town situated in a valley at the foot of Mt.Gibraltar. Due to the high altitude of the Southern Highlands, the town enjoys gorgeous autumns as exotic European trees and shrubs change their colour in preparation for the winter months. >
The shopping precinct in BOWRAL has an atmosphere like that of few other country towns as it offers an eclectic variety of boutiques, bookstores, antique and craft shops, restaurants and cafes.
Bowral is famous for its country gardens and fields of tulips in spring. Just 115 km south-west of Sydney, Bowral has always been a fashionable destination for Sydneysiders and day trippers.
A highlight for cricket fans is the International Cricket Hall of Fame. Outdoor sports include fly-fishing on the lake or golf at one of the town’s excellent courses. Bowral Lookout is well worth a visit.
Spring is tulip time and the Bowral Tulip Festival runs from the end of September until early October.
MOSS VALE is central to Southern Highland townships and villages and to Highland attractions and only a short drive away.
The town retains an atmosphere and charm of yesteryear due to an effort to preserve and restore old public buildings and private homes.
Some buildings date to the 1860s – 1890s, the Old Post Office. The Moss Vale Hotel, Court House and the historic Railway Station are fine examples of the 19C architecture.
The MOSS VALE area was once occupied by the Gundangara people, though they had disappeared by the 1870s, partly due to the loss of their hunting land to European settlers.
Moss Vale holds a large part of the Southern Highlands Industry – as well as being a minor centre for agriculture, many light and medium industries are found in and around Moss Vale.Take a walk or cycle in the crisp autumn air!
As you drive across the bridge over the Wingecarribee River near Moss Vale, you’ll see a concrete path winding across the paddock. This walk and bike way is a 4.5 km walk to Burradoo. From the roadway it looks a bit ordinary but once you’re on the path you might even wonder if you haven’t stepped onto one of those English rural footpaths which meanders by the river, past and through farmland.
Around about midway on the walk, you pass a section of the river where the scene resembles one of Constable’s paintings. The path is measured in 500 metre lots so you know how far you’ve gone or when it’s time to turn back.
Take a bottle of water with you, and if it’s a sunny day, you’ll need a hat. There’s no shade on this pathway.
There is a carpark near the bridge where the monument to Bong Bong, the first Southern Highlands settlement, is located.
Where to find the walk?
Look for the open land at the northern end of Moss Vale.
BUNDANOON. Early industries in the district included timber milling, sandstone quarrying and farming. Today Bundanoon retains many of its early 20C buildings and has a ‘yesteryear’ charm about it.
BUNDANOON has its share of interesting craft shops, art galleries, cafes, restaurants, nurseries and picnic areas.
You can hire a bike, walk through nearby Morton National Park, enjoy picnic spots, native flowers and birds and see kangaroos and wallabies at dusk on the edge of town.
Take a walk to “Glow Worm Glen” and discover how the Glow Worms live and glow.
Bundanoon is a bushwalkers paradise with fourteen suggested walks; most have vantage points with spectacular views across the valleys. Probably the most visited lookout is the one overlooking the Grand Canyon 3km from the town centre.
BERRIMA is a historic village offering a day tripper the most wonderful array of food and shopping experiences in a living history environment. It is a favourite destination for Sydneysiders and Illawarra and Canberra residents and has exquisite boutique shopping, antiques and great food.
Established as a township in 1831, BERRIMA is a preserved Australian, Georgian, colonial town. It is located in a picturesque valley on a bend of the Wingecarribee River. In the 19thC, the township was destined to become the main town of the Southern Highlands, but when the railway line was built through Moss Vale in the 1860s, it faded to a sleepy village.
The first Europeans to investigate the area were sent by the colonial governor, Governor Hunter. With a water supply provided by the nearby Wingecarribee River, a town plan, in the manner of an English village, was laid out by Robert Hoddle. Few substantial houses were built, although by the 1850s sturdy Anglican and Catholic churches replaced the original wattle and daub versions. Licensed since 1834, the Surveyor-General Inn, in the centre of town, is the longest licensed hotel in NSW.
By the 1960s, the preservation of old Georgian buildings became of national importance to our heritage, so the entire village of Berrima was declared a historic village by the National Trust.
The most interesting period in the history of Berrima is perhaps when it became an internment camp for enemy aliens and POWs during WW1. The Courthouse Museum and Berrima Gaol are still two impressive sandstone buildings which every visitor must see. Until a few years ago the gaol was still used as a prison.
BERRIMA is said to be a word from the language of the Dharawal people meaning ‘Black Swan’. The Dharawal were displaced in the area by farming and grazing interests and were rarely seen by the 1870s.
ROBERTSON is the lushest of the Southern Highlands landscapes and is renowned for its rich volcanic soil in which potatoes are grown for the NSW market.
Potatoes were the first crops planted in Robertson when a large parcel of land was cleared in the mid 19C. It could be said that this was due to the prevalence of landholders with an Irish background.
Robertson’s development followed the usual pattern of rural towns with churches, cricket and football teams, schools, school of arts and agricultural societies.
Macquarie Pass, linking the Highlands to the coast was such a brilliant spectacle that Robertson soon became the eastern gateway to the Highlands. Local businessmen, eager to capitalise on the town’s potential, brought the attractions of the area to general attention; the waterfalls, gorges and lush countryside.
The village is worth visiting both for itself, and as an ideal base to explore a spectacular hinterland; it is recognized as the “green heart” of the Southern Highlands on account of its superb rural scenery.
The building known as ‘The Cheese Factory’ is a ‘must see’ in Robertson as it now houses a collection of shops offering cheese, gifts, craft, collectables and a cafe.
The Illawarra Fly turns exploring the cliff tops into a great adventure with treetop walkways, a soaring tower, and sweeping coastal vistas from Port Kembla to Kiama.
ROBERTSON is a great place to use as a base when exploring the Highlands, close to national parks and half way between the coast and plains. The town is within easy reach of the surrounding towns of Berrima, Bowral, Bundanoon, Fitzroy Falls, Mittagong, Moss Vale and Sutton Forest, all great places to wander, stop for something to eat and browse through the unique little shops and galleries.
GOULBURN, has become a thriving regional centre rich in extraordinary, vintage and handmade shopping, as well as great food and fantastic wine. But if you still need to be convinced to get off the highway and visit Goulburn perhaps the choice of fascinating historical locations, beautiful architecture and natural vistas, as well as the delectable food and wine will tempt you.
Standing sentinel over the City is the Goulburn War Memorial and Museum on Rocky Hill. Built by public subscription in 1924, the War Memorial is a lasting tribute to the gallant men of the Goulburn District who served in WWI. The War Memorial is a square tower of stone conglomerate and concrete. It stands at a height of 20 metres above the top of Rocky Hill. Inside the tower is a tablet inscribed with the names of those who enlisted from this district and a lookout gallery that provides spectacular views over the city of Goulburn.
Whilst at the Memorial, visit the Museum in the adjacent cottage, which houses a valuable collection of artefacts allocated to the city of Goulburn after World War I including; personal items used by soldiers, memorabilia and medals. The local history room displays Goulburn’s association with, and contribution to the two World Wars. Each object tells a unique story, of survival, mateship and the history of warfare.
It’s not just a sense of history that shapes this lovely inland city but the beautiful gardens that are scattered throughout. There is plenty more to discover if you dig around or go further afield and enjoy the rolling countryside, majestic caves and winding rivers.
Pop in to Goulburn’s Historic Waterworks set on the riverbank. For young or old, the mechanically-minded or uninitiated, it is certainly not to be missed. The Waterworks and Museum is a tribute to Australia’s industrial revolution and features; the beam engine, installed in 1883 and one of the last fully operational original examples remaining in the world.
For more information go to: www.igoulburn.com
WOLLONGONG is located where the mountains meet the sea. It is a great visitor destination and is located 80 kilometres south of Sydney. It is bordered by the Royal National Park, Lake Illawarra and the Illawarra Escarpment.
Stanwell Park to the north of Wollongong City, could be regarded as the gateway to the Illawarra region and is an ideal spot for day trippers. Experience sweeping views of the Seacliff Bridge and northern Wollongong suburbs as you take in the view from nearby Bald Hills. As Bald Hill is internationally known as a hang gliding point, you might get to see some of the hang gliders take a running leap over the edge of the cliff.
An experience not to be missed is the Grand Pacific Sea Bridge as it encompasses some of the most spectacular coastline. It is elevated 665 metres over-the-ocean and can be found near Stanwell Park. Spend some time exploring northern coastal villages while heading down the cliff hugging roads hanging above the ocean.
North of WOLLONGONG the coastal villages are famous for their unspoilt beaches and rock pools, unique art and crafts, great fishing and surfing spots as well as many cafes and restaurants.
Grand Pacific Drive then makes its way into the bustling city of Wollongong, which is the main ‘hub’ along the drive, offering an abundance of adventure activities, great beaches and shopping, fantastic local restaurants and cafes, golf courses, art galleries and more.
Visit Belmore Basin and Lighthouse near the Harbour and stroll along historical Flagstaff Hill then continue on to soak up the sensational state parklands at the world class Surfing Beach.
For more information go to: www.tourismwollongong.com.au