Literally "high"-lights, these two destinations offer billowing hills, historic villages and rolling wineries - and cricket!
An hour and a half’s drive from Sydney you’ll find yourself among the billowing hills of the Southern Highlands, a serene countryside region of historic villages and rolling wineries. Call in first at Bowral – the hometown of cricket legend Sir Donald Bradman – then wind your way down to the waterfalls and rainforest of Morton National Park via the pretty village of Berrima.
There are more than 50 vineyards in the area – Diamond Creek Estate, close to Bowral, and Eling Forest Winery, south of Berrima, are two top picks. The district’s cooler-climate wines are well known, with the pinot gris and pinot noir especially good. You can eat in style too – the region is known for its truffle farms, fruit orchards and some tasty cheeses.
When you’ve eaten your fill, head on to Morton National Park, where you’ll be greeted by the spectacle of 81m-high Fitzroy Falls, as well as swathes of sweeping woodland laced with mountain-bike trails and hiking tracks. If you’d rather be above the tree canopy, make the detour west to Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures, home to the country’s highest zipline.
Tulip Festival, Bowral, Southern Highlands (Destination NSW)
Half a day’s drive south sit the Snowy Mountains, crowned by 2,228m Mount Kosciuszko – Australia’s highest. There are also ten other peaks topping out above 2,100m. The range is an adventure playground par excellence, with great skiing and snowboarding from August to October, and caves, lakes and hill treks to enjoy year-round.
The mountain town of Thredbo is a great starting point, and consequently remains pretty lively year round. Hiking to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko is a big pull for many visitors. The good news is that it’s a manageable undertaking – with a return distance of 13km, most travellers of decent fitness can manage the climb. If you’re after something more testing, the Main Range Circuit is a 22km loop that takes in the summit plus some of the park’s most glorious scenery. It can be done in a full day.
Main image: Mt Blue Cow,Snowy Mountains (Susan Wright; Destination NSW)
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