THE SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS
GARDENS, HIKES & ACTIVITIES
Exquisite gardens, rugged landscapes and lush natural scenery have always been the Southern Highlands main drawcard. While the region is blessed with some of Australia's best private formal gardens, it also showcases an array of half-day and full-day hikes and outdoor activities for nature-lovers. Whether you are planning your next picnic, waterfall adventure, outdoor activity or want to stroll through the manicured gardens of some of the Highlands oldest manors, we have selected our top picks below.
*Due to COVID19, many of the formal and open Gardens are not open for viewing at this time.
When they reopen we will share some of our favourite formal gardens.
BOX VALE WALKING TRACK
Box Vale Road Welby - follows the formation of an historic railway line passing through cuttings, an 84 metre tunnel and embankments.
It showcases a range of walks from an easy 1 hour to a more experienced walker track of 4.4km. Picnic tables at the start of the track.
Box Vale Walking Track, Woodlands NSW 2575
Belmore Falls walking track is located near the Kangaroo Valley, offering stunning waterfall and sandstone flora views.
Start at the Hindmarsh look out carpark. It is a 1.8 km return track.
Mon-Sun: 7am - 7pm
Belmore Falls Rd, Wildes Meadow NSW 2577
FORTY FOOT FALLS
The walk starts at the back of Lake Alexandra in Mittagong. A mostly easy walk but there are steep stairs and a long flight of steps towards the falls and a creek crossing.
A lovely walk through lush fern forests and shaded paths. When you arrive at the falls you can follow the path down the rocks ( a little rough!) to get to the waterfall.
There is another pathway that takes you up some steps and then to a ladder that will take you to the top of the waterfall.
In summer, whilst there is no clear swimming hole, there are deep pools that are a refreshing reward on a hot day.
Boxvale Rd, Welby NSW 2575
ILLAWARRA FLY TREETOP WALK
The Illawarra Fly Treetop walk is a fantastic way to enjoy the Illawarra escarpment views.
The walk takes you on a 500 metre steel walkway 30 metres above the ground where you will enjoy the natural surrounds and temperate rainforest.
The walk finishes in a spiral tower rising 45 metres above the forest floors. The views are breathtaking. For the more adventurous, experience the highest zipline tour in Australia.
A few of the women from work treated me on my birthday one year and we had an absolute ball!
Fri-Sun: 10am - 5pm
Last entry 4pm
182 Knights Hill Rd, Knights Hill NSW 2577
Just a few minutes out of Bowral township are a collection of walking trails and sunny outcrops to picnic on.
The Ninety Acre Hill Lookout is over 800 metres and has sweeping views of the Blue Mountains.
There is also a view of Mount Gibraltar from the Gib Lookout.
Mon-Sun: 10am - 3pm
Boronia St, Bowral NSW 2576
Carrington Falls showcases stunning waterfalls and a walking track ideal for nature lovers.
Located in the Budderoo National park, close to Robertson, it is an easy return loop that takes around 30 minutes.
Picnic facilities available.
Mon-Sun: 9am - 5pm
44-48 Hoddle Street, Robertson NSW 2577
MOUNT ALEXANDRA RESERVE
Mount Alexandra Reserve is an attractive lake with picnic and playground facilities.
From here you can simply walk around the lake and enjoy the water birds, or take one of two hiking trails.
One leading you to the Forty Foot Falls, the other to the top of Mount Alexander with spectacular views to the Blue Mountains.
Pioneer St, Mittagong NSW 2575
FAIRY BOWER FALLS
Located in the Morton National Park, the Fairy Bower Falls takes you the top of the escarpment with a ladder leading you to the bottom of the falls.
The walk starts at the Gambells Rest picnic area and takes around 1 hour.
Mon-Sun: 9am - 5pm
Fairy Bower Walking Track, Bundanoon NSW 2578
At 863 metres, Mount Gibraltar is a collapsed volcanic core.
150 million years ago it pushed through the Hawkesbury sandstone to form a high mountain now largely eroded by water and wind.
It is the highest point between the Illawarra and the Great Dividing Range. There are beautiful lookouts and picnic spots.
Between Bowral and Mittagong; can enter via Oxley Road, Bowral, NSW, 2576