Centennial Vineyards, Bowral, Southern Highlands, NSW © Destination NSW

Guide to Southern Highlands

Berrima, Southern Highlands, NSW © Destination New South Wales

Explore historic Berrima township

With its striking collection of historic sandstone buildings, Berrima is the best preserved Georgian village in mainland Australia. Many of the buildings are made of sandstone blocks carved out by convicts, including the Surveyor General Inn, the oldest continuously licensed inn in Australia. Another highlight is Harper's Mansion, a hilltop home surrounded by extensive cool climate gardens and a maze that will enchant the children.

Tulip Time, Bowral, NSW © Destination New South Wales

Tiptoe through Bowral's tulips

The town of Bowral is the liveliest spot in the Southern Highlands. Beyond its inviting collection of homewares and antiques stores and cosy cafes, Bowral's other highlights include the International Cricket Hall of Fame, which has an impressive collection of memorabilia associated with Australia's favourite sporting hero – and Bowral boy – the legendary cricketer Don Bradman. The town is at its most glorious each September, when Corbett Gardens is planted with 100,000 tulips as part of the annual Tulip Time festival.

Biota Dining, Bowral, NSW © Tourism Australia

Become a locavore

At Bowral's award-winning Biota restaurant, it's all about thinking local. Chef James Viles sources his produce from nearby farms and from his own extensive gardens. Do not, however, expect a simple farm-style meal. From the minimalist decor to the intricately constructed dishes – confit duck may be teamed with puffs of aerated cauliflower, pickled curls of shaved cauliflower and pine needles – this sophisticated restaurant deserves its reputation as one of Australia's best regional dining destinations.

Centennial Vineyards, Bowral, Southern Highlands, NSW © Destination New South Wales

Go wine tasting

In recent years the vineyards of the Southern Highlands have been attracting attention as one of Australia’s exciting new wine regions. More than 60 wineries produce cool-climate wines such as pinot noir and pinot gris. Among the most acclaimed is Artemis, which produces highly awarded wines such as the Close Vine pinot noir. Also worth a visit is Centennial Vineyards, which makes a dazzling selection of about 30 different wines. Try some of its sparkling wines, such as the citrus-tinged sparkling pinot chardonnay, or the toasty blanc de blancs.

Fitzroy Falls, Southern Highlands, NSW © Huy Nguyen

Go bush

Surrounded by national parks, the Southern Highlands has plenty of great hiking trails, winding their way through dappled rainforest glens and ancient eucalyptus forests. The walks around the dramatic Fitzroy Falls are always popular, but the nearby 6.7-kilometre (4.2-mile) East Rim Walking Track is also remarkable, especially during spring (September to November) when vast numbers of wildflowers are in bloom. The fun doesn't stop when the sun sets, either: an evening visit to Bundanoon's Glow Worm Glen is a highlight. You will need a torch to find your way. Once you are there, switch it off to get the full effect of the dazzling display put on by these luminescent insects.

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