IN his continuing search for the more weird and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says that although it’s got just 47,000 residents spread over a sprawling 2,700 square kilometres – a mere 0.18 persons per hectare – the NSW Southern Highlands last year enticed an amazing 1.5 million visitors to come-visit… and to spend a whopping$262,000,000 in tourism dollars.
Just 90-minutes’ south of Sydney and half way to Canberra, the picturesque Southern Highlands is based on Bowral, Mittagong and Moss Vale, smaller Bundanoon, Robertson and Berrima, and a half-dozen surrounding villages, some with fewer than 200 residents.
And historic shale-oil mining Joadja that’s now a quiet, photogenic 1800’s ghost town.
Of last year’s 1.5m visitors, 65,000 came from around Australia and even overseas for the annual September Tulip Time Festival centred on Bowral’s Corbett Gardens, spending $7.2m during their stay.
The Gardens blaze with 100,000 tulips and 20,000 annuals in spectacular bloom, while many colourful private acreages with their grand mansions are also open on behalf of local charities*.
Others visited through the year for the Highlands’ renowned dining ( including in one-time 19th century coaching inns,) to visit the many local wineries, rummage through antique shops, boutiques and craft centres, or to enjoy a day at a spa.
The more energetic take to National Park bushwalking trails, lookouts and waterfalls, get into the spirit of the Scottish Highlands at the annual Bundanoon is Brigadoon held every April – or visit Bowral’s Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame, a shrine for cricket buffs.
For everything to do, see and enjoy, visit https://www.southern-highlands.com.au
*This year’s currently-running Tulip Time Festival ends on September 27.